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 Meadow Vole Damage 
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Meadow Vole Damage
At the grafting classes (Feb. 21st) a discussion began over the control and/or eradication of Oregon Meadow Voles

http://gardening.wsu.edu/library/tree012/tree012.htm
SIGNS:

“In the Winter of 1988, these little animals were responsible for an unusual amount of damage in local apple orchards by feeding on the roots and girdling trunks. Meadow Voles will also tunnel through vegetable and flower gardens, feeding on juicy roots, tubers and bulbs - damage that is often blamed on our poor, insect-eating Moles! Voles will even use the mole's tunnels when making these raids!”

"How can you tell if you have a vole problem? Obvious signs include gnawed roots and root crops (note the small grooves left by the 2 large front teeth). In badly infested orchards, you can locate the dead trees during the dormant period by reaching out and giving them a wiggle. If they move very much, the entire root system is probably gone. In the growing season, damaged trees are leggy and thinly leafed with a reddish tinge to the foliage. If you pull the tree up, the underground part often looks like it was run through a pencil sharpener. Girdling of tree trunks extending to just above soil line (rabbits usually damage trunks and twigs higher up and leave larger tooth marks at 45° angles while Mountain Beavers generally clip the branches, leaving 2 inch stubs) and well-used tunnels through the soil and/or in the grass or thatch are other signs of infestation. Finally, voles often leave open, 1 inch holes in areas of heavy activity (moles always seal up their holes)."


Image

Back in class - it was suggested we drop poison pellets down their holes, cheap stuff like ‘Just One Bite’ came to my mind - which I’d done. Ignoring the warning of my Brother that, “You’ll kill all your owls,” I went ahead and dropped 3 to 4 pellets down the hundreds of vole holes throughout my yard and orchard. The voles thinned out - but my owls were gone for five years ~ Tragic; I live in the deep woods among some of their last local habitat and I’m sure the cheap poison transferred directly to them, and likely any other natural predator lurking; not counting dogs and cats.

Sickened and depressed, the voles ran amuck! They killed a dozen massive and newly transplanted blueberry bushes - I didn’t know what was killing them stem-by-stem until I yanked a dead plant out to find its roots were gone. Pulling back the mulch - there were vole tunnels and runs throughout the area! I lost them all - a three year and thousand dollar caging project~

Discussing this with my brother’s organic mate (& HOS Member propagating and promoting fruit trees on Oregon’s Coast) she searched her organic gardening magazines until finding the following product, Quintox. As I was more than ready to declare war on these rodents, and smoke bombs, water and urine didn’t slow them; I did my homework. On Feb. 2nd of last year (08) I ordered a 5.5 pound plastic tub of Quintox 'Rat and Mouse Bait' for $37.90 (free shipping over $25). With an active ingredient of 0.075% Cholecalciferol (CAS #67-97-0) I applied it as I had the ‘cheap stuff,’ about 3 or 4 pellets per vole hole.

After a week or so there were no signs of increased activity, and after another week it was obvious something had gone drastically wrong with their world! -- I’m laughing hard :lol: Those little varmints were on the decline! Expecting to have missed several holes, I gave another application to any set that appeared active, having fresh chewed grass or runs near them. Same thing, as the population dwindled to a handful.

Pleased as punch, I’ve wanted to allow a full season to pass before giving this report. Not only did I not find entire plants of potato’s chewed on or hollowed out by voles, their activity in the orchard had ceased! I likely did three more follow-up applications through the summer and fall, but have done nothing this winter. And - they’re back! Not in large numbers, but several little communities just begging for attention and they’re going to get it - just like my blueberries got it! I’ve got about half of the 5.5 pounds left - and it’s not cheap; but neither are our fruit trees ~

I’d also placed beautifully designed (if I may say so myself) owl perches throughout the gardens and orchard; round sanded pegs of varying sizes located high for my owls (of various kinds) to monitor the yard but they apparently had little interest in these voles. And, I’ve watched these voles scurry across the grass in daylight; so they’re not only active at night!

Anyway, here’s the stuff; I notice the price has increased - but not by much. It actually took me a lot of time to locate it in this form and container size. I’m getting no kick-back from the company, Pro Pest Products (unless they feel compelled!), but their product worked, arrived on time, free shipping, apparently fresh, and they’re definitely a legit company to deal with; online or by phone - 1 800 476 3368.

So here’s a little product info and their link to what I bought and used:

Quintox Rat and Mouse Bait

"Quintox Rat and MouseBait: active ingredient, Choelcalciferol, known as Vitamin D3.
This offers a different biological approach to killing rodents.
Once a rodent eats Quintox, all feeding stops,
unlike anticoagulants where feeding continues.
The toxicant mobilizes calcium from the rodent's bones ,
producing hypercalcemia and heart failure.
It acts faster than anticoagulants."

http://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/P ... _R200.html

The way the entire grafting class erupted with vole stories compelled me to speak up; I hope this works for you 8)


PS - the owls are back!

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Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:50 pm
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Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:00 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Chehalem Mountain
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
Viron, I have had terrible problems in my young orchard and garden generally: apple tree, large-ish eucaplytus, Japanese maples, currant bush, many,many roses where the roots were entirely eaten and the main trunk sharpened like a pencil. I have thought this was gopher damage (we have a lot up here on Bald Peak) where we have mole holes (no problem really), gopher mounds, runs, holes and open vole holes too. We trap the gophers and plant in cages now---but how do I distinguish vole damage underground from gopher damage?


Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:05 am
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
So what makes this stuff safer for owls?
And what about cats? My cats occasionally bring me a vole.

I'm assuming I have voles. They're not moles or gophers, that I know for sure.
My cat drags in specimens that look alot like your picture.
They leave smallish, open holes scattered randomly about. With no sign of
excavated dirt. I sometimes wonder what they do with it?

I'd be very willing to spend a few bucks to get rid of them safely.


Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:22 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
Kartini:

- but how do I distinguish vole damage underground from gopher damage? -- Likely by the proximity of their holes, or kick-out mounds. I’ve been so successful exterminating gophers I’m completely unfamiliar with their damage. But I’ve seen a lot of orchards in the area over-run by gophers! Around 20 times larger than meadow voles, I suspect gopher damage would be twenty times as fast, and perhaps as obvious?

I’ve come to look for the meadow vole holes, there’s no mound or kick out soil. They will use mole tunnels! Whereas moles are searching for meat, voles are after vegetation. I’d do my best to eliminate both (or should that be all three?) - though my means of gopher eradication is now considered an antique, of which are no longer available.

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Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:47 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
Tstoehr:

So what makes this stuff safer for owls?
And what about cats? - I'd be very willing to spend a few bucks to get rid of them safely.


My original lead to Quintox was in an Organic Gardening Magazine (of which I don’t have). It was described to me by several people that the cheap poison transfers to the predator (or cat/dog) - and that this poison acts on the bones of the intended victim and is not transferred to any predator. I suspect one could search a better description online.

...just found the following description (again) on a Natural and Organic Products site: Once a rodent eats Quintox, all feeding stops, unlike anticoagulants where feeding continues. The toxicant mobilizes calcium from the rodent's bones, producing hypercalcemia and heart failure. It acts faster than anticoagulants. The pellets work best in damp locations.

-- And 'original site:' "Quintox may be used around homes, farms and commercial locations and is authorized by USDA for use in federally inspected meat and poultry plants."

You’re certainly encouraged to hunt for further information, but my antidotal evidence and experience has shown it to be effective; and my current crop of owls seem to confirm that :P

They leave smallish, open holes scattered randomly about. With no sign of
excavated dirt. I sometimes wonder what they do with it?
That’s vole work! And I was wondering the same thing about the dirt, other than by using mole tunnels the mounds have likely disappeared - Maybe they pack it off in their cheek-pouches..? Either way, they’ve earned my wrath :mrgreen:

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Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:19 pm
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:24 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Sublimity, OR
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
This is really great information. Thank you ! It is wonderful to hear about control options that seem to be safe to predators. I'm not in favor of cats because cats reek havoc on wild bird populations.

This subject is interesting and timely ........... Vitamin D deficiency is endemic in the U. S. population; espceially a problem for those living farther north (above 45 degrees N). It appears that we don't get enough exposure to sunlight (a definite problem in winter what with Oregon's typical rain and cloud cover, and because of solar angle). We also seem to be scared to death of sun exposure vis a vis skin cancers such that when ever we go outside, we cover up and use sun screen. To resolve my severe Vitamin D deficiency (determined by a simple blood test) I now take D3 suppliments at a level of 4000 IU's per day.

The gel caps are relatively inexpensive (less than $0.10 per 2000 IU gel cap). I wonder if it is possible to mix several capsules with some oats and innoculate the vole holes. I will do some experimenting. My primary concerns are water solubility and obtaining a sufficiently toxic dose to kill those damn little voles. Last summer, they ate off all the bottoms of my otherwise beautiful carrots.


Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:45 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
I went ahead and bought a bucket of Quintox from the link Viron posted above. The shipping was free and it was shipped all the way from Wilsonville, OR. Like 5 miles from my house, it arrived the day after I ordered it. I can't wait to see if it works, I'll post any results.


Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:05 am
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
Well, now I have 5.5 pounds of this Quintox stuff, and I used about a 1/2 of a cup. I've got more than I think I could ever begin to use. I wish I could have bought it in a much smaller quantity. Then I thought their might be other home orchard society types who wish the same thing. You see where I'm going with this?
To help defray my costs, and others, I'd like to offer my spare Quintox for sale in 1 cup volumes. The price I paid was $40 for 5.5 pounds, which is $7.27 per pound. So I think $3 per cup would be quite reasonable, and by the way, a cup is quite alot. Anybody willing to drop by my house on a weekend or after 5 during the week in backwater Canby, or meet me in downtown SW Portland near noon during the week, can arrange a purchase. Use the e-mail icon on the left of this post and notify me if you're interested and we can arrange a "pickup". I'm not really interested in costs as much as I don't want it to go to waste.


Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:16 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
Tetoehr, keep in mind, you’ll need more than one application – I’ve at least given mine 4 rounds; and as mentioned (after my first application a year ago) they’re back. That’s back in small numbers of new infestations, of which when the rain stops (I prefer to apply it with a week of dry weather ahead so it doesn’t dissolve from rain) I intend to dose them again.

I’m dealing with roughly 2 acres, and after a years worth of applications (2 or 3 pellets down each hole) I’ve got a bit less than half of that 5.5lb container left. I do keep it twist-sealed in its plastic bag - inside its plastic bucket container, in a dark dry location, so I don’t expect it to go bad. Your offer is generous - just so you’ve enough to carry on the battle.

I was in the orchard of some friends yesterday and noted lots of vole activity around their poorest looking trees. Even in poor soil, the trees looked near death. I highly suspect that was due to voles secretly chewing at their roots. I suggested the Quintox, even sending them a link to this thread (Hi!). They’re working with a couple of acres, too, and with multiple applications I suspect they’d eventually use an entire bucket.

As far as I’m concerned there’s been far too little in the local media about the widespread damage caused by these rodents. Out of sight out of mind? I realize we’ll never eradicate them from the entire Willamette Valley, and likely shouldn’t, but their cumulative damage is surely in the multi-millions of dollars.

I toured the 100 acre farm my former neighbors bought, SW of McMinnville (Ore.), where likely 10 acres of their lowland was inundated by these pests. At the time, all I could do was tell them what 'they' were.

I was also giving some thought as to why a healthy fully loaded Braeburn Apple of mine had fallen over two years ago..? I propped it up and it’s doing fine, but as I’ve looked and listened to more vole damage reports - I suspect they were to blame! There were holes all around it But this is a battle I think we can win!

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Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:26 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Marquam, Oregon
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
I too have been inundated with these little darlings this past year. I've been monitoring their holes and my method is as follows:

I bait new holes that show signs of newly eaten grass with a Strychnine coated seed that I get at Wilco. I use a capful and mark the hole i baited with upside down marking paint. A few days later I use a small hand sledge to cave in the hole and then I put soil in and seed it. I continue looking for new holes and bait them as they appear.

I have tried the different anti-coagulant baits and all they do is store them for later use. I went through 4 trays of bait in my shop only later to discover their stash.

I'll try that bait listed on the website just to give them some variety. I've also installed one owl nesting box and am working on a second.


Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:33 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
J Bee:

I have tried the different anti-coagulant baits and all they do is store them for later use. I went through 4 trays of bait in my shop only later to discover their stash.

By they, you must mean mice? I’ve field mice in the garage, too; they get the snap-trap - and a last meal of peanut butter! In fact, Wilco has the best black plastic traps - with the high trigger bar, so you aren't messing around with those cheesy metal catches - that take a day off my life every time they trigger when setting :shock:

As mentioned, I’m no expert in the field - just a do it myselfer, but won’t Strychnine transfer to predators..? I’m not sure how, or how fast it acts, but I’m told the trouble is when they’re feeling poorly, wandering around in the open either going crazy or dehydrated and looking for water - they become easy targets for owls and cats... As described, I learned the hard way and my hype over this product, Quintox, is that it doesn’t transfer.

I'll try that bait listed on the website just to give them some variety. I've also installed one owl nesting box and am working on a second.

I feel better already :P

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Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:43 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:26 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Marquam, Oregon
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
The Strychnine bait is dyed blue to prevent misidentification with other animals so they don't feed on it. I also make sure I drop it down the hole because I have two dogs, one of which eats anything......

I have caught mice and shrews in my shop......in the traps.


Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:01 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
So I've been using this stuff for a couple months, dropping a few pellets down each hole every two weeks. The problem is I can't find any holes anymore. How can I use this vole bait if there aren't any holes left? It's useless now... oh wait... :D


Sat May 09, 2009 7:57 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
Congratulations – that’s my problem too! I was a bit worried as my grass got so long before its first mowing - that I wasn’t able to see what was going on down there; but after a good close mow - nothing, not even holes!

Now I’m sure I’ve a scattered cluster of the little vermin dug in somewhere around here but I’ve got half a container of my original purchase awaiting them :mrgreen:

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Sat May 09, 2009 8:37 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
Post Re: Meadow Vole Damage
I've got about 99% of a container left. I wonder what the shelf life of this stuff is.

I also wonder if it's useful against gophers?


Mon May 11, 2009 9:04 am
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