Gophers, Moles, Voles, and Mice
Wed, 28 Dec 2011 20:16:47 PST
Thank you for your information, Judy--we have cats-a-plenty in the  
neighborhood but also foxes and coyotes so the cats (and our neighbor's  chickens) 
tend to disappear rather faster than the moles and rodents. No need to  ask 
for solids from litter pans--they are usually thoughtfully deposited in my  
gardens. I like your idea of plunking them down the vole holes...
I think the abundance of unwelcome Asian earthworms aka Alabama jumpers or  
Amynthas agrestis which infest our acreage is the big drawing card for the  
moles. We live above a stream which is stocked with trout and I suspect 
these  worms are progeny of decades old "bait" escapees from  fisherfolk. 
I don't care about mole hills or tunnels in our lawn (a grand name for  our 
diverse turf) but the time, energy and money involved in replacing plants  
and bulbs is considerable.
This year I tried surrounding the planting holes for bulbs and perennials  
with teased-out steel wool; spring will tell if this was worth the effort.
Carol in NW CT, where the weather is disappointingly warm (bulbs are coming 
 up) and we need the snow cover.
In a message dated 12/28/2011 8:26:31 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:

Carol in  Connecticut asked about controlling the above critters.

A good hunting  cat makes an excellent organic pest control device. They 
come in several  colors, are affectionate, easy to care for, and 
effective. Some say  females are better hunters but I've had males that 
would take squirrels  and young rabbits. While there are rants about cats 
killing great numbers  of wild birds this has not been my experience. 
Rather, it is very  infrequent (compared to mice and voles) and usually 
just fledged  youngsters who in any case would be at risk from the local 
foxes, coyotes,  raptors, snakes.

Some cats are great hunters, others not so good. If  mother is a good 
hunter, so are her kittens. Several of my neighbors have  barn cats to 
control the mice that come after the grain for the horses,  sheep, etc. 
And it is not true that a hungry cat is a more effective  hunter.

Terriers are good at rats but also tend to dig, another reason  you might 
prefer a cat.

Don't want a cat? Talk to a friend with a  cat, and ask for the solids in 
the cat's litter pan. Dump them down vole  holes and the critters will 
tend to move out.

Next year, at least  here in New Jersey, we will likely see a population 
crash in small rodents  over the winter. Usual production for a mature 
oak is about 25 pounds /  tree. This year oak trees had a very poor mast 
crop - only about 5 pounds  / tree. Small rodents will starve, and the 
knock on effect will be reduced  numbers of foxes, red tail hawks, owls - 
all the predators that rely on  mice, voles, squirrels.Wild turkeys will 
also suffer. Cycles of  nature.

Judy in New jersey where the weather is quite wet but  fortunately warm 
enough to be precipitating as liquid rather than  snow
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