|See the trench going under the plant!|
I've been noticing underground trenches in my pepper bed, starting at one end and on through to the other end. The holes are about 1 1/2-2" in diameter, and go under the pepper plants, up again, down and up to the end of the row. First off I discovered that 6 or so peppers on my only paprika plant had completely disappeared. Then I found holes and chew marks on some of the anaheims. Each day I inspected, I'd kick the soil back into the holes. I'm amazed that the pepper plants are still living, with the holes going right through their roots.
I began researching on the web to determine what kind of critter might be burrowing like this and eating chile peppers. All I could find was that I should use chile pepper spray to repel them. Ha! These guys seem to LIKE the chiles and at first were leaving the sweet peppers alone. I said, "at first". Now, I find chew marks, holes, and half-eaten sweet peppers almost daily. They really seem to like the peppers, but so do I! That's enough.
Yesterday I went out and bought some snappy-type mouse traps and placed them near some of the entrances/exit holes. Before I ever left the area, in maybe 3 minutes, I'd already caught a vole. Mystery solved--it IS voles. Overnight I expected I might catch more, but although a couple of the traps had been snapped, no more catches. I also bought some castor oil, which is supposed to repel them, so I'll give that a try, too. Perhaps I can keep them out of the peppers, but hopefully by just "repelling" them from the peppers, I won't be sending them off to the tomatoes nearby.
I took a pic of the dead vole in the snap trap, but I'll spare you. There's a nice picture of a cute, fuzzy vole and more information HERE.