10th October 2017 at 8:29 am #42760
I’ve been a no-digger & mulcher for more than 25 years, and we’ve been seeing more and more vole damage in our 600 m2 field (heavy soil). The European water vole and the bank vole, mainly. They ate all our sweet potatoes this year and now they’re heading for our carrots, next for the beets etc. There’s a tall pole in our garden that should attract hawks etc, there’s a mole family that may catch young voles and we’ve tried noises and smells, but the voles get more and more numerous and voracious. Thanks for your help.11th October 2017 at 8:57 am #42767
Hello Lieven, this sounds very frustrating. For whatever reason, they are growing more common.
Check this link to an earlier forum discussion on voles.
I hope someone else reads this who is having success in dealing with voles before they eat the vegetables.16th October 2017 at 9:28 am #42848
Hi, we’re gardening in Mid West Wales and this year has seen a veritable explosion in vole numbers. Both at our home garden, where two elderly cats managed three vole snacks per day each for most of the summer, and at our market garden which is about 3/4 mile from home. And many other gardeners in the area are reporting unusually large losses due to vole activity. I think it is the successive mild winters and a decline in natural predators that have allowed numbers to build up. Very frustrating when planting out new plants in no dig beds to find that the beds are absolutely riddled with vole runs. I have resorted to “walking” the beds before planting, but I worry about compacting our clay ground. We often find that the next day a fair number of the new plants are pushed up and out, as the voles re-establish their runs. So it’s deep breath, replant and bash in vole runs and block with stones and slates, which works about half of the times. We lost 30% of all our root crops and most of the strawberries this year and the live traps are not catching much, as there is so much food around this time of year.
However; I find that where there is an abundance of pests, the predators are usually not far behind and a few weeks back, after an absense of more than a year we spotted a barnowl in our field. So we are creating “raptor landing strips”; close cropped strips of ground of about two metres wide surrounding the crops where possible. The main issue is people putting out mouse and rat poison which the rodents are now fairly resilient to, but as they carry the poison in their bodies, still kills vast numbers of their predators, thus making the problems worse. I keep trying to spread the word to use live traps instead, but it’s an uphill struggle.
Hopefully this winter we will actually see some decent frosts. I will be trapping all winter to reduce their numbers for when the new season starts. The traps will be far more successful when the natural autumn abundance runs out. I’m currently using chip choc cookies and peanut oreos as bait, as just peanut butter tends to attract insects, which caused me to end up with a few toads in the live field traps this autumn, but I’m not catching a lot at the moment. I would like to know what people think is the most successful bait.13th May 2019 at 12:50 pm #58872
Since my post in Oct 2017, a stray ginger tomcat has taken residence in and around our field. Vole damage has gone down to almost nihil, hurray! Good job, Tom!
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