Rodent Control Tips
Controlling Garden Mice & Voles
In early spring young mice and voles look for places to build their nests. Rock ledges, ruts, unkempt fence lines are some of their favorite haunts. Often their choicest places are the same places where humans like to gather. But it just can't be. Wild rodent and domestic human should not call the same space home.
Don't be fooled. These vermin may look adorable and ready to darn your socks, but these are not the clean little sweet things with names who live in little health clubs and eat processed food. No. These rodents are wild and they do not belong in domestic places. They can bite. They make a mess. They were never taught to relieve themselves on newsprint. They were not raised on antibiotics. In fact, they can carry diseases that don't fit well with healthy living at all, and the closer they are to our lives, the less healthy the possibilities, like the plague (Yersinia pestis) and tularemia (Francisilla tularensis).
According to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, there are three or four different tyhpes of vole living in northern Nevada. And they will eat your plants.
Addressing the Problem
Often, mice will spend their summers living out of doors in tiny burrows with tiny tunnels. They will often raid compost boxes and beds, and even nibble on young plants like lettuce and spinach. If evidence of mice is detected, the problem should be addressed immediately. Left alone mice will only procreate and the problem will quickly worsen. Especially as the cold weather approaches, the mice will probably inevitably sneak past every sentry and thereby contaminate the interiors of the fortress.
It's fun to encourage the presence of larger natural predators, like hawks and non-poisonous snakes, but the most effective way to rid your garden of mice is to set out traps and to check those traps daily. Mice especially love peanut butter and usually are unable to resist tampering with the traps for a peanut butter snack.
It is perhaps beyond debate that the presence of a house cat deters the presence of mice, but there is a question as to just how effective a deterrent the house cat actually is. Perhaps they fool us into believing they are better hunters than they really are. And of course, some are much better hunters than others.
To protect young plants from voles, gardeners will surround the plants with mesh secured half a foot deep around each plant.
Keeping Rodents On The Run
In the early spring, rabbits will sometimes approach gardens. Their presence is common, especially in the suburbs, but also in city gardens in Reno and Carson City. Often exaggerated human activity will scare the young rabbits away in search of quieter, less public terrain. If the rabbit returns, an even louder display can sometimes remind them why they left in the first place.
Gardeners also set traps that catch the rabbit alive, unharmed. Once captured, the rabbit can be taken away and released into the wild, hopefully to become lunch for a Bald or Golden Eagle.
Ground squirrels can be trapped live as well, then taken away and released into the wild. It is said that the ground squirrel's release needs to be somewhere across a body of water, else they are known to return.
For obvious reasons, it's not a good idea to use poisons.