Thursday, March 11, 2010

Help, I'm Being Invaded!

Okay, so those of you who visit my blog know that I am not a master gardener. I just love pretty plants, shrubs, and flowers. I am a trial and error gardener who plants what I love. However, I do try to do a little research on proper placement before I place a plant in the ground. I am learning as I go along.

One thing that I have come across lately has me baffled. I have been noticing little holes in one of my flower beds.

At first I thought oh no, we have snake holes! I have seen several snakes in my landscaping over the years. But this spring I noticed that some of my flower bulbs had been dug up and eaten. That is something a snake wouldn't do.

Then, a few days ago while washing dishes, I looked out of my kitchen window to see Mo flipping and flopping around in the yard. She was having the time of her life! She had something that she would throw up in the air. It would complete several somersaults before falling to the ground. She would then pick it up again and start all over throwing it into the air and jumping around waiting for it to fall again.

I stood there laughing and the crazy little dog's antics until curiosity got the better of me. I opened the patio door and questioned the insane doggie. "Mo, whatcha got there?" She sat there guarding her prize.

A mouse? I don't think so. A rat? No, feet are too close to the body and the tail is too short. A mole? Too little, I think. I went back inside and looked it up on the internet. A vole! I think I have voles!

I didn't know those lived in this area. I need advice from all of the master gardeners out there. Is this a vole, or is it something else? Most importantly, what in the world do I need to do to get rid of them? Help!


*Ulrike* said...

The cats around here get rid of them for me. I really don't know how to get rid of them so I will be very interested to find out!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Could be a short tailed shrew or a vole. Your dog will probably get rid of them for you or maybe a neighbors cat. Good dog!

Skeeter said...

Oh boy you have a Vole there girl... These are number one enemy in my gardens! Moles make tunnels under the ground while looking for grubs. Voles will use the Moles tunnels to eat roots and bulbs. So the Moles are kind of your friend while the Voles are not. My vote goes for letting Mo go for all he can get! We have tried all kinds of ways to rid our yard of them both but with little luck. Spearmint gum, animal hair, etc. The main thing is to keep the food source down for the Moles thus less tunnels. The only way we can do this is to use grub killer. We hate using pesticides in the yard for fear of harming wildlife thus we only do that when we have a major problem, about once a year if that. I am an animal lover and hate the thought of killing any type of animal but we have resorted to using a trap which will sometimes kill them. I am happy when we catch one and can relocate it elsewhere but I am so sad when we kill one as it was only being a mole. The neighbors cat does a good job of finding them so he is welcome in my gardens. We feed the birds also thus crumbs under the feeders are attractive to mice as well. Good luck and if you find a sure solution, let me know as I could use the advice also….

myletterstoemily said...

oh dear, know nothing about voles, except wasn't
it a vole who tried to get thumbelina to marry him?

i have seen your comments on joan elizabeths' blog,
'burnbrae journal.' i try to comment late because she
has some very pithy commenters that i don't want
making fun of my obtuse ones.

i loved the story you wove here and look forward to
future visits.


sweet bay said...

I agree with Marnie, that could be a shrew or a mole. Moles look just like field mice but with short tails. Snakes, cats and dogs are your friends with regard to voles, but as fast as voles reproduce... For the most part voles don't give me problems, but they will have a ball in newly dug beds, and newly dug or not, there are plants that need protection, like Baptisias and tulips.

sweet bay said...

PS Shrew and voles often use the same tunnels, and voles will use mole tunnels as well as the ones they dig themselves.

Randy Emmitt said...

WE have had a lot of mole tunnels this year already and we are in NC like you too. Let Mo have a time getting them, Mo is a Jack Russel right?

Our Jack Russel tore up a number of mole hills on Sunday and our mouser cat is the best out there. No losses to moles or voles thus far.

Southern Lady said...

Thanks for all of the helpful comments. We have been thinking about getting a couple of cats for a while to help with barn rodents. I think it is time to do just that! Mo is a good little hunter, but I think she may need a little help.

Mary said...

It's very, very difficult to get rid of voles and they will destroy your plants as they eat the roots under the soil. If you see leaves falling over - such as hosta (they love the expensive varieties!) - on the ground, and go to touch them they will just come right out of the earth and you will curse under your breath recalling how much you paid for them at the garden center!!!!! You have vole holes - moles leave mounds of earth, voles don't. We've tried everything over the years, even resorting once to the "dynamite" type sticks you put in the holes and light - the neighbors thought our lawn was on fire when the smoke signals went up! Didn't work at all!!!!! Nothing works unless perhaps you have hungry, hunting kitties. Since we have acquired several feral cats around the neighborhood in the past 2 years, the vole population seems decimated at last - I think it's due to these wild guys - at least 4 felines pass through our garden daily!

Time to head to the animal rescue center and choose some kitties who need a lovely country home with a barn!!