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  Moles, Voles or the like
From: Al Wootten <awootten at NRAO.EDU> on 1997.05.19 at 18:35:17(758)
I planted the Alocasia macrorrhizos I received from Tony Avent this weekend,
and then proceeded to cozy away the new Bletilla I also received from him.
I thought it curious that none of my plants had appeared yet, so I excavated
the topsoil from the bed. I discovered many little holes throughout, and
no sign at all of my old Bletillae! There have been some mole problems; my
neighbor planted castor beans about to no visible effect. Another neighbor
used electric thingies in the soil, again with no visible effect. I am
toying with the idea of planting them in a wire cage
with half-inch or smaller openings. Are there other ideas?

Clear skies,

From: Tony Avent <tony at plantdel.com> on 1997.05.19 at 20:21:29(760)

Sorry to hear of your hungry voles. I have had similar problems
before we declared war! Voles are actually quite easy to kill if you follow
three simple steps. We use a product called Rozol, although any rat killer
will work except Warfarin based products. #1 - bait must be placed every 10'
thru the planted area. If you can't find a run, simply dump it on the ground.

Step #2, you must cover the bait as voles only feed in the dark. We
use upside down clay flower pots.

Step #3 Bait must be replaced 14 days after original. Three weeks
will not work! If after the second feeding, the bait continues to disappear
(unlikely) continue the feeding. We feed in the spring and fall only.
After 2 seasons of treating, we have now gone 3 years with virtually no
voles. In university tests, 98% control has been achieved. Those without
sucess have not followed the above steps. I hope this helps.
Tony Avent

From: hesterc at niven.acpub.duke.edu (Clarence Hester) on 1997.05.19 at 20:27:48(761)

I have a similar ongoing problem. It seems the moles and voles always
go for the most expensive plants. I don't buy that theory about castor
beans, frittilaria imperialis, etc. supposedly detering small rodents;
that's a bunch of crapola in my experience, although it is universal
propoganda in the gardening lore (it's certainly disproven in my garden,
as they actually eat Frittilaria imperialis and pay no mind to castor
beans). Nonetheless, I've never had them bother my alocasia macrorhizas,
xanthosomas or any similar plants. Something (I suspect a vole) *did*
eat big chunks out of the bottom of the corms and a lot of the roots
from two unusual bananas I was growing ("Praying Hands" and "Thousand
Finger"). Oddly, it didn't eat the "Brazilian" or "Burro" banana
corms/roots. I solved the problem by purchasing very large plastic
containers (whiskey barrel size) that I sunk fully into the ground,
replanting the bananas within these. This seemed to stop them. Perhaps
they prefer to tunnel laterally and stopped when they hit the plastic
(?). For whatever reason, they never tried to burrow in from the top.


From: Mike Bordelon <MNHBO102 at SIVM.SI.EDU> on 1997.05.20 at 14:17:27(767)
I've never tried it, but I heard Juicyfruit gum will kill them. Put
gloves on so your scent isn't on the gum. Roll it into a ball and place
in one of the tunnels. They will eat it and it blocks their digestive
system. I still rely on my cats and a pitch fork. Gross but satisfying.

Mike Bordelon Greenhouse Manager
Department of Botany Smithsonian Institution

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