Monday, March 18, 2013

Is it a Mole or a Vole?

After the snow melted I discovered many holes in some of my bulb beds, usually near a plant base.  In some cases, as many as five holes down into the ground, leading to a single tunnel.  In order to put a stop to this, I needed to know exactly what type of animal  I was dealing with.
Moles are carnivorous; they eat worms and bugs, where Voles are vegetarian and eat blades of grass, bulbs and plant roots.  So setting a trap with peanut butter to catch a Mole would be pointless.  The main tell for a Mole, is the little mountain of dirt setting next to the hole, and there were no mountains of dirt.  The logical question for me is, what do the Voles do with all the dirt, because they are serious tunnel engineers?
This area was under snow, but that didn't seem to stop the Vole, he just scooted his way along the grass and ate the blades.
Here he's dug under the wood, into the planter and nibbled on the tender greens of a sprouting hyacinth.
This is an elaborate system that came out from under the deck, generally covered in snow.  Amazing!  I'm sure they are like mice, if there is one, you can bet there are more.  There is good news: I've caught one.  I can tell you from experience they won't go for almond butter, just use regular peanut butter.  As spring comes, I'm anxious to see which bulbs and young perennials survived this underground attack.  This battle will go on.

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