slormand
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Voles? Or something worse?

Okay, I have a clue. There is definitely a TON of voles, at least one mole and maybe a shrew (something smallish and black will charge the squirrels out of one of the overgrown areas of the yard--during the day).

But then I found this thing at the base of our front steps:

[img]https://i287.photobucket.com/albums/ll132/Steph_Lormand/DSC_0748.jpg[/img]

It went deep, like 4 foot deep. Groundhog? Woodchuck? Gasp...rat?

I stuck newspaper in there for a week and it wasn't removed, so I filled it with dirt and moved on. Later in the week, about 4 feet away from the original hole, a smaller hole popped up.
[img]https://i287.photobucket.com/albums/ll132/Steph_Lormand/DSC_0780.jpg[/img]


I've set traps. Nada. I put baby powder to check for tracks. Nada.

Any other tried and true methods for vole removal? I can't use poison (dogs and small kids). My method of annoying them out of my yard isn't working so much. I'm thinking of dropping dry ice down the bigger holes. :D

tunia923
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I have used the sulfur bomb sticks; I think they are called Giant Killers or something like that. They look like a large crayon and I stick a punk in them and light them. They start like a sparkler and then I plunge it into the hole as far as I can before it starts smoking. (Don't breathe the smoke.) The idea is to plug up all the holes except the main entrance. I set big river rocks on the holes I can find. As the stick smokes, any place that starts smoking is another hole! Sometimes it looks like I have a volcano beginning to erupt under my flowerbed. Mine are definitely voles and sometimes the damage is so severe I have trouble plugging all the holes. They love to tunnel under my bearded iris, but since those like good drainage and rather extreme conditions, they always seem to thrive in spite of the voles.
I'm going to set out snapping mouse traps with PB next, this was recommended by a landscaper in town, but I have to be diligent. I have a dog and a cat and I'll have to set traps at night and check them in the morning. Otherwise, my dog is sure to get snapped as he eats anything.
I hate killing anything. But I will not have a yard if I do not discourage these voles. They were very damaging this year and made a mess of my lawn, which I can live with, but they tunnel under my evergreen shrubs, and I'm afraid the exposed roots will kill the shrubs.
The sulfur sticks, while a poison, are not an "eat and carry away" poison. It gases them right then and there. It would be hard for them to be eaten by another creature anyway, but I'm not sure it would affect them. They were recommended by the hardware store so I wouldn't be affecting other wildlife, like the coyotes that roam here.
dirtgalonavalon

slormand
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I've read about the sulfur bombs, but the vole holes/tunnels are too close to my house (we have a basement). I'm afraid that this 60 year old house probably has enough little holes to let the sulfur in.

Sigh.
Stephanie

Dillbert
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those holes look way too big for moles or voles or mice.

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Kisal
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I hate to say it, but the Norway rat typically digs burrows next to buildings and fences. That was my first thought when I saw the pic of the hole by the brick wall. The size, compared to the dimensions of the bricks (which I assume are standard) is about right, too. This is a pretty good page about rats and their control:

https://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74106.html

I get rats around my house once in awhile ... I've seen 2 in the past 5 years. I put out seed for the birds, and a lot of it ends up on the ground. That doesn't go unnoticed by a hungry rat. I'm very careful not to provide spaces for them to nest. I also frequently check the screens in my foundation vents to be sure they remain secure. My little dog, Daisy, has proven herself to be quite talented as a ratter, as well.

If I found a hole like that beside my house, I'd drop about a tablespoonful of d-CON down it. In fact, every couple of years, I open the access under my house and put in a little box of d-CON, just to be on the safe side.

I've raised rats and mice, so I'm not afraid of them. I realize they're out there and a part of the natural environment. However, I draw the line at them living in the walls and attic of my house. :lol:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

MaineDesigner
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Let's start by eliminating the the things that clearly didn't make those burrows:
groundhogs aka woodchucks - the holes are too small
pocket gophers - completely different style of burrow
shrew - no
mole - no

voles - the holes look too large but this one is a maybe

Do you have chipmunks?
I have no idea what a rat burrow looks like so I can't help you there. Ground squirrels usually pile more soil around the burrow entrance.

slormand
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Kisal- I've been harping about rats for a looonnnggg time, my husband just thinks I'm nuts.

That said, there is no reason for it not to be a rat (bleh). Our house is old, we purchased it from a 70-ish year old woman, and the habitat in our backyard was out of control when we got here and hasn't improved enough thanks to 2 kids in 2 years.

I'm guessing the matching holes that start on the long end of the driveway and end up opposite of the giant hole by the steps is another bad sign. And the burrow/tunnel that I found today extending from the compost heap 200 yards along the fence line, under the trash can and out to the street.

Sigh. I do love the wildlife and I'm not naive enough to think that there aren't rats around here, but, dude, stay away from my house.

D-con, hunh? Whatever it might be, it's certainly not responding to the peanut butter in my buried trap. With D-con in the holes, they just eat it and die, yes? Is there any chance that the rat would bring it out in the open, leaving it accessible to my kids or dogs?

MaineDesigner--chipmunks? Who knows. We had starlings in the attic last year, squirrels in the attic this year. There is a plethora of wildlife in this 'hood (part of why we moved here). Now my goal is to just make them go back to living in the wild! That was certainly the biggest of the holes--the rest were significantly smaller. And, despite my hunt for scat, I haven't found anything other than squirrel. :lol:
Stephanie

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applestar
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We have chipmunks around our house. They're all called "Chippie" :lol: You should be able to spot them if it's chipmunks. They're so cute when they're running full-tilt with their little tails straight up in the air -- always gives them away. :roll: :lol:

Maybe a Hav-a-hart trap? So you can find out for sure what it is?

slormand
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applestar wrote:Maybe a Hav-a-hart trap? So you can find out for sure what it is?
That's what I buried w/ PB in the same bed where we found the hole. We put it right in the spot left by the discovery of the buried, unconnected, plastic drainpipe--perfect rodent superhighway.

The...ahem, guest, just circumnavigated the trap and dug a different hole. :evil: The more I consider it, the more it sounds like a rat. I doubt voles are that smart.

Perhaps a trip to petsmart to purchase a gopher snake? :D
Stephanie

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Kisal
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slormand wrote:Perhaps a trip to petsmart to purchase a gopher snake? :D
Or maybe a ferret. :lol:

I just happen to use d-CON, because it's what the nearest store carries. I'm sure there are other brands on the market. I wanted a bait in pellet form, though, because I know rodents love grain.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Gerrie
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Does anyone have anything to add about the 'giant destroyer' smoke bomb? I'm going nuts with gophers or some other burrowing critters eating my garlic plants from underground (they just pull the whole plant under) and now they're moving into my strawberrie and tomato beds. Some of the holes definately look like gopher holes with the crescent in the top covering dirt, but others just look like plain round 2" holes with no covering at all, don't know what they are. This weekend hubby killed two rattlers near the garden and I'm getting kind of nervous about the whole thing. The smoke bombs say to use them in non crop areas-how does that help me? It doesn't. Got ideas? Anyone?
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

BlackThumb85
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Location: Tennessee

new here & i have a similar problem

1st off what on earth is a Vole? I had never heard of 1 until I visited this forum.
2nd I have found a somewhat similar hole n my yard. I just moved into this house & I was trimming back some existing plants & found a LARGE hole! Like at least 3" in diameter. I know snakes don't actually dig holes but what else could make a hole this big?! I killed a mole the other day but the hole is 2 big for that. Little thing scared the bajesus out of me! I was planting flowers & this lump started running around under my gardening mesh. If it makes anyone feel any better I didn't know what it was when I hit it with the shovel, only that it kept running back & forth & freaking me out! If anyone could shed any light on what this hole is from & if I should be conserned i'd greatly appreciate it! -helpsos- [/img]

Gerrie
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Could be a squirrel hole, we've got those, they run from 3"-6"across. I'm still having trouble with something eating my garlic, darn!
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

tomthumb99
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Location: Northern NJ

So, I have a hole 2" to 3" with 1/2 cubic yards of

Folks, I am following this posting with great interest. I found a rodent hole that was under wooden steps going under my backyard breezyway room, but it had 1/2 cubic yard of dirt outside of it (2 wheel barrels full). I found a second hole in front yard, near the street storm drain. Wife said she saw something with a tail, going into front yard hole from the street storm drain.

I have been using 'green block' of mouse/rat poison all winter (keeps disappearing). I even left the bag out by mistake one night on the steps; the animal ripped the paper bag and clear foil to eat to green 'vitamins'. While digging the dirt away I found the green stuff in the hole entrance, chewed. So, what could it be (ie: assumed rat), but all of this dirt. What leaves so much dirt outside hole?

Note: I have lots chipmunks and squirrels have been catching them and drowning/moving them, but this is different.

Also using smoke bombs (in front yard hole & storm drain) , jury still out on those. I was not going is use them under breezeway ( ….I have kids).

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