Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thar's Voles in my Peppers!

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.

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