Have You Noticed More Critter Damage This Year?

Nicholas plummer nickplummer@gmail.com
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 08:32:13 PDT
Hi Cynthia,

I'm referring to Microtus pinetorum (commonly called pine vole around
here).  They're roughly mouse-sized with small eyes, small ears, and a
short tail.  They burrow extensively and eat the roots of plants
underground, so I rarely if ever see them above ground.  I actually see
more damage to woody plants than bulbs; when bulbs disappear, I can't tell
if they have rotted or been eaten underground.  The damage to shrubs is
distinctive.  I have noticed roses swaying in a slight breeze, and when I
give a slight tug, the plant comes right out of the ground.  The roots,
even large woody roots are gnawed down to little stubs.

The vole tunnels are deeper, and slightly smaller than mole tunnels.
There's no raised soil to indicate the burrow, but they can be exposed by
digging.  I often expose tunnels when moving large pots, paving stones,
etc., that have been sitting on the soil surface, and when planting I'll
sometimes find unexpected voids as I dig.

I have tried using mouse traps under a flower pot placed over an entrance
hole, but haven't had much luck.  The local critter control company puts
out bait stations that seem to help and don't harm the resident squirrels,
moles, and chipmunks.  Adding lots of permatill (expanded slate) to new
planting holes also seems to help -- by the time the roots grow out beyond
the permatill zone, the plant is well established.

This Spring, I have noticed holes around a large and beautiful Edgeworthia,
which worries me,


On Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 11:05 AM, Cynthia Mueller <cynthiasbulbs@hotmail.com
> wrote:

> Nick, I often wonder what folks are referring to when they say "voles." To
> you, are they rodents larger than mice but smaller than rats? Do they have
> haired, or naked, long tails? Most people see the damage on plants, and
> possibly burrows near greenhouses, but never actually catch anything.
> Cynthia W Mueller

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