Judy Glattstein jglatt@ptd.net
Sat, 04 Sep 2004 06:02:41 PDT
Last winter the voles ate most of the "corm" on my Musa basboo, planted
close to the house foundation, which had otherwise survived four winters.
They ate every scrap of Canna 'Purpurea' and Alstromeria planted in the same

My organic pest control devices are slowing down. Madam is 19 years old,
Miss Chubette is not as swift as she once was, and the grey shadow is not
leaving as many fertilizer packets on the deck as he once did.

I read a suggestion of dipping bulbs in Ropel before planting, and also one
that suggested using a solution of castor oil to deter moles/ voles in the
lawn. I am considering pouring some of both on the banana this fall.

Anything that poisons domestic dogs and cats seems likely to kill other
canines such as foxes and coyotes, felines such as bobcats. Poisons need to
be kept secured, in pest-proof containers: galvanized garbage cans (do they
still make these?) or tightly lidded sturdy plastic, with the poison in its
original package.

A handy, dandy slug bait poison station is easily made from an empty 2-liter
plastic soda bottle. Cut it apart at the shoulder. Scissors or a box cutter
works well. You now have a cylinder piece and a funnel piece. Insert funnel
into cylinder and staple together. Toss some slug bait into the contraption,
and lay on the ground. Slugs are attracted to the ? smell of the bait, crawl
down the neck and dine on the bait. They are not smart enough to find their
way back out. When the contraption gets too raunchy, toss it into the trash
and make another one. Side benefit: no slug slime on your hands.

A pit trap for small rodents is made by burying a plastic bucket or similar
container in the ground. They go in after the bait, and plastic sides are
too smooth for them to climb back out. Partially cover lid to make it more
attractive to them. Check regularly (daily) and dispose of the critters -
they starve fairly rapidly, will cannibalize on each other - you may want
them dead but there is no need to be cruel about it.

Placed under an angled board, snap traps have no secondary harmful effect to
chicken toes, cat paws, etc. Such placement also makes the "run" more
attractive to voles and mice. Assiduously set, emptied and reset, they can
be quite effective. Better on mice and voles, rats are too smart. Once you
trap the first one, the others stay away. Same with rats and poisons, or so
I've heard.

Ah, the joys of gardening, such a genteel pastime, suitable for ladies in
flowered dresses, big brimmed straw hats, gloves, drifting through the
garden picking bouquets. Me, I'm in blue jeans hurling rocks and
imprecations at the deer.

regards from Judy on this Labor Day weekend.

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