Rats vs rats

Rodger Whitlock totototo@pacificcoast.net
Mon, 06 Sep 2004 09:10:12 PDT
On  3 Sep 04 at 9:09, Jane McGary wrote:

> The big problem in bulbs is field mice and voles... now [that Koshka
> the omnivoroous rat-killing dog] has died... I'm going to contact a
> pest control company to see what I can get against these rodents,
> so I can grow crocuses in the borders again, and not have to cover
> my most precious pots of crocuses with wire mesh caps in the bulb
> frames.

A lost cause. A veritable King Canute commanding the tide to not come 

The difficulty being that for every field mouse or vole you kill, 
there are a million more on the circumjacent lands, waiting to move 
in and fill the vacancy.

Now that I've rained on your parade, let me ask an important 
question with respect to your anti-field-mouse-and-vole wire mesh 
pot-caps: what mesh size?

Actually things aren't *quite* as grim as I make them out to be. 
Consider the lowly slug. I've read that if you go out at night and 
sedulously collect and destroy them by flashlight, after five years 
your slug population will start to go down. You will have become a 
major predator of sorts.

It's easy to imagine that a similar kind of population dynamic would 
occur with fm&v's. Nuke them thoroughly and frequently and eventually 
the population will decline, as your property becomes a kind of 
black hole: anything reaching its boundary just disappears. Just how 
far the influence of the black hole would extend is anybody's 

It might be well worth the effort to find out if anyone has estimated 
the fm&v population per acre in your area (a favorite project for 
undergraduat biology majors) so as to get a grip on the actual 
numbers involved instead of whistling in the dark.

Good luck!

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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