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VOLE AND MOUSE FEEDING STATIONS


Kay Dye mentioned in her post my name in the same sentence as the word
"vole". That was enough to prompt me to re-send this posting from
1-31-99.

Subject: VOLE AND MOUSE FEEDING STATIONS

This information is for public use.  Author: Dan Nelson
================================================

This is how I keep voles and mice will fed down on the farm.

      The feeders I  use are made from plastic 5 gallon spring water
bottles. I cut
them in half along the seam making two small greenhouse like structures.
When I see vole activity I place one of these small greenhouses over the
hole. Also under this small greenhouse I put poison bar baits on 6 inch
diameter plastic plates along with a few green pellets of "Remik". The
voles
will hoard the remik and this is one way I tell if rodent activity has
stopped. The Bar baits I use are called "Just one Bite".

I have cut bait use to 25 percent of what I was using with my last
feeders that allowed the baits to get wet. The bar baits are too large
for the voles to move to an underground storage area as I am sure  was
happening with the smaller baits. Mary Chastain posted a few weeks ago
that she had found vole hoarding sites around her garden. Alex Summers
has also told me that voles hoard food. Ralph Keene has also mentioned
that he has seen 30 pellets disappear in minutes from his feeders and
actually has seen the voles in action. This is my third year fighting
voles at my new location.

Moisture damage to these bar baits is eliminated with the small
greenhouses.
I am using 10 feeding stations at the present time with no present vole
activity . (that is, as of 10 am this morning!)(1-31-98)

I find that the voles feed for less than a week when a feeder is placed
over
a vole run. Monitoring is as easy as walking by and looking at the baits
through the clear bottles. When I find a new vole run or hole I move one
of
my existing feeders to the new location. Some of my bar baits are 4
months
old and if you don't count a few nibbles, they look as good as new. Even
irrigation this summer(1998) did not wet any of the baits. Mold caused
by moisture was a major problem with my other feeders which resulted in
a short life span for my bar baits. I have never found any dead voles in
the garden. I believe the voles die underground and therefore do not
become food futher up the food chain.

To monitor activity at the feeding station I push leaves or small
amounts of
mulch over the vole hole. The voles will move small debris from their
hole
and this reveals their activity. Vole activity stops in less than a
week. I
leave the feeders in place until they are needed somewhere else.

The shape of the five gallon water bottle cut in half  is such that they
are not moved even by high wind. I search my garden for new vole holes
every
weekend and move my feeders accordingly. I get many re-uses out of the
bar
baits. Pets also seem to ignore these feeders.

I get these five gallon water bottles for free. To get them free you
will
need to find a bottled water supplier and ask for any bottles with pin
hole
leaks. These bottles have a limited life span for the water companies
and
are discarded at first leak. New bottles are 7 dollars in my area and
leakers are free. I could get hundreds of leakers. Leaks make no
difference
when these bottles are cut in half and used as feeders.

It may interest you to know that it's standard oprating procedure for
pest control operators to use feeding stations to control rats and mice.
An interesting or not interesting note: voles seem to mark their trail
like mice, using feces and urine. I find vole feces on my plastic plates
and on the ground under my feeding station covers. I delight in keeping
them well fed.

I cut the plastic spring water bottles in half with an electric saber
saw. It's easy if you cut along the seam. I have even noticed moisture
seeming to condense more on the active feeder covers.

I believe I have meadow voles. I live in the middle of a 40 acre farm
and
have vole runs everywhere in the fields. They love no till farming.
Voles
are also a problem in New England apple orchards. By coincidence I grow
my
hostas under Crabapple trees.

The above article was posted on 1-30-99. I lost no hostas to voles
between 1-30-99 and 5-11-99. Last winter I lost at least 15 good sized
hostas to voles. I am always on the lookout for voles. When I discover
new vole activity I stop whatever I am doing and go get a feeding
station. I don't put it off or tell myself I will come back later. This
is the kind of persistance it takes to get rid of voles if you have a
problem.

I may lose a battle with the voles every now and then.

But I am winning the war.

Dan Nelson
Bridgeville DE
SussexTreeInc@ce.net










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