Steve Bender

Hi Steve. Been loving your Grumpy blog. I read your article on voles but I was wondering if there are certain plants that they are more attracted to...or do they just eat anything?

I planted some pink and red coreposis on the bank out front. Looking good one day...hmmm...brown....looking closely...holes...no plants. Watered them faithfully every morning before 6 am. My water bill equals to one year of the Iraq war. Voles have in time eaten my entire "patch" of hosta...any bulb other than daffodils...and one year ate my monkey grass one little clump at a time. I have an oleander plant, but they have no taste for it. Shame.

Along with half the squirrel population of west Tennessee, I must have ever danged vole that lives here too. If I can't interest you in a Rocky replacement, how about a few little innocent voles to get rid of some of those pesky plants? I could probably supply most of Alabama and Georgia. Would appreciate your answer on this.

Jean Sherrill

Grumpy's insightful response -- The easy answer is that voles prefer any plant you consider valuable and/or irreplaceable. Thus, they will always eat your hostas, toad lilies, plants with fleshy, juicy stems, and just about any bulb, corm, or tuber besides narcissus (which poisons the little slobs). The Grump appreciates your offer to ship him boxes of voles for Christmas dinner, but frankly they're so small it takes forever to prepare them. Hmm....maybe I could do something like hot wings.

Sure-Fire Control Methods Voles are related to lemmings (and thus perfect for lemming-meringue pie). Like lemmings,their populations explode suddenly and then fortunately die off. Cats are one reason. Ketchup, my cat, is an expert vole-hunter (Ever try voles with Ketchup? Mmm...sounds delish.)

Other than cats, two things I've used to limit vole damage is to plant susceptible plants inside cages of hardware cloth and to scrape way any mulch from the base of the plant. Voles love to burrow underneath the mulch where they can't bee seen by predators.

What Doesn't Work                                                                                                                                Over the years, I've tried poison peanuts (they don't look like peanuts), animal repellent, vole traps, and spreading gravel around. None of these has had any appreciable effect on the vole population or the damage they do. Have they worked for any of you? Grumpy

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