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Name this vermin...

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Name this vermin...

Post  Squat_Johnson on 5/30/2010, 3:18 pm





I have some kind of vermin. Help me figure out what it is and what to do... I have had some mole activity, but not sure if this is related. I found a nest of sorts under the ground. It had hay, mulch and chewed up weed cloth in it.

Symptoms: Tomato plants completely disappear under the ground.

Broccoli roots completely eaten below the surface (some peppers too).

Potato plants died very early. I dug up all my potatoes. This is all I got from 16 squares.

I am in Kentucky, 6a. Help would be appreciated.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  chocolatepop on 5/30/2010, 3:22 pm

mole, vole, groundhog?

do you see tunnels or anything around?

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  Squat_Johnson on 5/30/2010, 3:37 pm

Not a groundhog. There are some tunnels though.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  dmpower on 5/30/2010, 3:44 pm

First I would like to say how sorry I am for your crop loss. I am spending far too much of my time watching my potato plants, and would be devastated if my crop was taken over.
While I would blame a mole for many things, I don't think they have the jaw structure to damage a potato the way yours seem to be damaged. I live in 5b - central Indiana, and the moles here are nothing like the moles I came in contact with in Toronto. The locals are the size of small cats and can move a great deal of earth. That being said, most of a moles damage to a garden is to the displacement of root systems while it is moving the earth to look for insects. As far as I know most moles are strict insectivores with the exception of the Townsend mole. It lives in N. California and in S British Columbia.
I'm guessing a different rodent left this mess for you - sorry

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  milaneyjane on 5/30/2010, 4:02 pm

That would be voles that you have. Nasty creatures!

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  milaneyjane on 5/30/2010, 4:04 pm

If you staple 1/4 inch hardware cloth to the bottom of your boxes it would help greatly!!!!!! Be warned it is a timely and expensive project. It took me days with the help of a neighbor to do my boxes.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  Finch on 5/30/2010, 4:33 pm

How irritating! I have two big corn snakes hanging out in my yard and I'd bring one over to you if I could. I'm not familiar with voles. Can cats get them?

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  Squat_Johnson on 5/30/2010, 9:24 pm

After some research and talking, I agree. I think everyone around here calls these little @$#%^s field mice. I had dinner with family and walked back by my garden and there were three holes in the ground where I left my empty potato patch. I baited four victory mouse traps with peanut butter, watered the plants and called it a day. Wish me luck.

BTW, there was another dead broccoli plant.

A corn snake is sounding like a good idea.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  dmpower on 5/31/2010, 12:02 am

If you have other garden visitors that you don't want to see hurt, you might want to put a box or some other covering over the trap, but leave a hole big enough for only the vermin you want to catch. You don't want your cat, or your children getting in trouble.
Just a thought since I told a friend to set out a trap for her chippies, but caught her favorite squirrel.
good luck!!

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  jtwenting on 5/31/2010, 1:27 am

Not moles. Moles are carniverous, eating mostly worms and grubs.
I guess one could accidentally dig into a tater, but not at this scale Smile

Mice, rabbits, maybe even rats, are possible.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  johnfromfl on 5/31/2010, 10:22 am

@Finch wrote:How irritating! I have two big corn snakes hanging out in my yard and I'd bring one over to you if I could. I'm not familiar with voles. Can cats get them?

Cats can destroy a small tree with their urine. I had a 4 foot tall citrus tree that was killed by a cat.

As far as the potato's it looks like mice/field rats to me. I'll have to read up on the voles. I do have some problems with toads and frogs digging in the soil. Since they are carnivores, I let them go. we can co-exist with toads.

A tip about frogs and snakes:
We have a garden radio show that originates from Orlando, Fl. Someone called in a few years ago and said there were frogs in their toilet. I wrote and told them to put a screen over the vent on the roof. Frogs and snakes will climb into the vent and may frighten some people when the critters appear in the house. Use wire screen and a hose clamp to fasten it to the roof vent. Not many roof vents are covered.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  LaFee on 5/31/2010, 11:31 am

The frogs in my Florida toilet came from a sewer drain between us and the street (happily, on the county's side of the line!) that was broken by the roots of the neighbor's live oak tree.

It was months before we quit finding frogs in the toilet and the sinks! (Good news...there weren't that many -- a half-dozen or so, and they were mostly young leopard frogs...so not terribly high on the ick scale, but unnerving at 3 am...!!!)

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/1/2010, 1:57 pm

OK, out of a dozen Victory mouse traps and peanut butter, I got no hits the first night.

This evening I am going to dig up my white potatoes and am thinking about turning my mom's Chihuahua loose on them. (The voles, not the potatoes ).

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And Survey Says: Vole or Field Mouse...

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/3/2010, 9:37 pm



Voles or Field Mouse... Same difference. Very big teeth. I have caught two 4" long very fat voles. They like peanut butter a lot, but not so much the Victory mouse traps.

I will likely plant broccoli in the empty place after eating my first serving this very evening. Wow.

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Voles

Post  ander217 on 6/3/2010, 10:22 pm

You have my total and complete sympathy. I had a thread about these little monsters a few weeks ago. I've lived in southeast MO all my life and have never seen a vole infestation like we've had this year. They got half of our corn, half of our peas, a third of our potatoes, half of our sweet potatoes - we'd look at the sweet potatoes in the morning and all were there, then by afternoon there would be two or three holes where the plants had been that morning. My husband actually saw a corn plant going down through their tunnel one day.

There were a lot of different remedies suggested on the other thread and I tried most of them. We tried flooding them out with a water hose, but their runs were so extensive I don't think it did any good. We tried moving the straw mulch, but it didn't seem to matter to them. We pressed down every mole and vole run we found since voles also use mole runs. We purchased a gizmo at a garden center that runs on batteries, and is stuck in the ground. It emits a beep every few seconds. It said it would take up to two weeks to clear them out. I'm not sure if it finally worked or not. About two and a half weeks after putting it in place the voles seem to have finally cleared out, but I also have a cat who started sleeping in the garden, and one day I saw a huge black snake going down one of their holes. Our dogs were also digging them out of my herb garden and asparagus patch, and from beneath my yucca plants.

I phoned our local extension office and the garden expert there told me to buy Havoc at our local farm store and put the poison in the tunnels. It makes them slowly bleed to death. I was too afraid it would affect other animals and we didn't try it, but when we checked on its availability the store clerk said his neighbor got rid of his voles by putting ramen noodles in their tunnels. He claimed they would eat the dried noodles, and the noodles would swell up inside and kill them. We tried that, but by the time we put the noodles in the runs the voles had suddenly disappeared.

I'm guessing the snake had more to do with it than anything, but it could have been the beeper, the cat, or a combination of everything.

The extension expert told me they can also kill fruit trees and shrubs by either riddling the bark, or eating the roots. That probably explains the two fruit trees we lost last year.

Good luck in getting rid of them. They can devastate a garden in just a couple of weeks. I wish I knew what finally did the trick for us, but all I can say is, "Good riddance to them, and I hope they never come back."

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One more thing

Post  ander217 on 6/3/2010, 10:29 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention we tried the Victory mouse traps, too, baited with peanut butter. They pulled the trap completely underground and ate the peanut butter without springing the trap. I barely saw one corner of the trap visible down a run or I would never have known what happened to it.

As you stated, our extension agent said they are also called field mice and meadow mice, but they aren't really mice. There are pine voles that prefer forests and two other kinds I've now forgotten, but they all like to overwinter where they have plenty of cover such as pine needles, field crop residues, dead grass, etc.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  jtwenting on 6/4/2010, 1:49 am

The poison will kill anything that ingests is, including (if the dose is high enough, which isn't high at all) humans.

We used to use it on moles here (no voles around) until the sale was outlawed (and even then, until out supplies ran out, we had some left).
Highly effective, but have to be careful.
Best way in our experience (but that's because moles are carnivores) was to dig up some earthworms, cut them in half, coat them in the poison, and drop in the runs.
Moles eat the dying worms, ingest a lethal dose underground, and die quickly.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  jillschmill on 6/14/2010, 2:29 pm

I've had voles, too, and posted about them in another thread. The tricky part is, I didn't have any trouble last year, so didn't do anything different to my box, but this year, they have been at my garden. I called a pest control company and they put out some traps, though honestly, they told me that until there isn't anything else for them to eat (read: ALL MY VEGETATION), they won't go for what is in the traps! It sounds like there isn't much help until we get to fall/winter (I'm in Missouri).

The best idea is to put that small-squared garden mesh under the box, but it's a huge pain once you've planted, I'm sure. I built a cage OVER my SFG, to keep out squirrels and bunnies, but have just given up on the voles this year. Next year, I will add the garden mesh underneath.

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  mckr3441 on 6/14/2010, 8:20 pm

Get hardware cloth and staple it to the bottom of the box. Yes, it's a pain to empty the box but a bigger pain when all the veggies disappear.

You have my sympathy.

Claire

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Research came across...

Post  jinx on 6/16/2010, 11:18 am

I've been researching my garden pests (thinking fungus, aphids or ear wigs) and came across a website for home remedies for a the most common garden pests that included:

"You can repel moles, gophers, ground squirrels
(Figure 9), and marmots by placing jalapeño
peppers within 4 inches of where they are
invading."

You can see the whole list here:
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/ec/ec1586.pdf

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I mean business!

Post  jenjehle on 6/18/2010, 4:51 pm

Ok, just got done putting out about 2 dozen jalapeno's and set out 8 D-Con Blocks. And my husband bought me a 4 pack of Victory Traps. Going to put those out tonight. Not sure what, if anything, will work, but I'm not messing around. My garden is the fruit of my labor and I will not go down easy! My plants are beautiful and just starting to flower. No way will I let those little good-for-nothing rodents destroy all that I've done.


Sorry, I get a little worked up.

I am out there a lot and haven't SEEN any of these voles, but the new tunnels are always there in the morning. So I'm assuming they come out more at night when it's cooler.

Wish me luck!

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  jenjehle on 7/15/2010, 10:17 am

@jenjehle wrote:Ok, just got done putting out about 2 dozen jalapeno's and set out 8 D-Con Blocks.

I knew this stuff was toxic for animals but my gardens are outside of our fence on my side yard in the front. My dogs almost NEVER go over there.


Well, my little dachshund somehow squeezed under the privacy fence and got into the gardens. She either ate a D-Con bait or ate a vole that died after eating one, and passed away yesterday.

My family is so sad. Esp my kids; they are heart broken. She was such a sweet, onery little thing. It was awful to know she died b/c of something I did. I feel so bad. Wish I could go back and do things differently.

We all miss her so much!

Here's my youngest boy holding her just a few weeks ago:


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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  camprn on 7/15/2010, 10:22 am

Oh! Gutted! I am so soooo sorry for you and your family!!!

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  cansaskgard on 7/15/2010, 10:41 am

I am sooooo sorrry for your loss.... Sad

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Re: Name this vermin...

Post  Ha-v-v on 7/15/2010, 10:44 am

I am so sorry for you and the family !!

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Re: Name this vermin...

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