My tulips are dissapearing. The leaves are left sticking out of a hole in the ground where the stems used to come through, and when I stick my fingers down it I can feel that there is a tunnel running through - the roof of it has caved in a few other spots so I can see that my whole flowerbed has been substantially undermined over the winter. The first question is, which critter is making his home there and snacking on my tulips (the daffodils have been carefully skirted to get to the tulips, I assume the bulbs are gone). The tunnels aren't raised, as mole tunnels usually are. The second question is, what is my best course of action to remove the culprit, without doing harm to any innocent bystanders?
Of Mice or Moles . . .
Probably moles, they love tulips. You will have to try to and trap them which will kill them if you use the kind of trap you put down in their runways.
Maybe voles too. I think the traps would work for them too.
Either voles or field mice. Moles are carnivores. http://www.pestproducts.com/voles_meadow_mice.htm
OMG, I can't believe that the first hyperlink you provided, Farmerdill, mentioned that shooting was not an effective method of controlling voles. Can you imagine!?! LOL!
I think you & ecrane could be right, it may be voles. I know I have moles in the yard, but no signs of their humped up tunnels in my flowerbeds. I have many scattered 2" tunnel openings, as described in the vole link. And I live in a former alfalfa field - most of my yard is alfalfa and red clover with some various other pasture grasses, which appears to be their favorite habitat.
I was thinking about buying the biggest jar of cayenne pepper I could find and liberally sifting it down the holes.
Does anyone know if the Juicy Fruit gum method of mole killing acutally works? I've heard that if you put sticks of it down their holes they eat it and die.
Well, if they are indeed carnivorous as Farmerdill points out, I doubt that they would be attracted to a piece of fruity gum (maybe try a bacon flavored dog treat instead? That might just encourage them though!)
Their favorite food is earth worms. There was a discussion on the juicy fruit treatment a few days back. Supposedly the gum stops up their intestines, but I don't put much stock in it myself. And I have no idea why Wrigley's would be prefered over other brands. Unlike voles, moles are easy to trap. I have pine voles and I have never found anything that does more than minimize their damage.
I have an outside cat. I hope she catches more than yesterday's "present".
I've liberally applied chili powder around my tulips - if nothing else it will discourage nibbling. I also dumped small piles of it down every tunnel opening I didn't knock in. I hope it encourages them to move elsewhere!
ecrane - I do think the Juicy Fruit gum sounds farfetched also, knowing the moles like grubs. I'm not sure about the dog treats, I certainly don't want to encourage them to stay!
About shooting the voles - I must admit, with some chagrin, that my laughter should be more self directed. I learned over the weekend that my uncle has been doing just that. He sits on his patio with a bb gun. lol.
As you noticed, voles don't care for daffodils (neither do squirrels). Have you tried planting your tulips among the daffs? I've heard that this can be a repellent.
Marigolds worked for me....guess they didn't like the scent!
Oh yes, the tulips are planted in clumps with daffs, also crocus and scilla siberica - the darned critters wove their tunnels around all the other bulbs to get to the tulips!
So far no more flowers have been destroyed, not since the chili powder went down.
So glad to hear that the chili powder has worked so far. My Jack Russel Terrier seems to keep them away from my gardens. She killed 3 in one week!
Perhaps I should use keeping critters out of the flowerbed as another reason to convince DH we need a dog. :) We have 3 cats, but one is afraid of the outdoors, one is a spaz, and one is just not real bright (to put it kindly). So I couldn't use any of them for critter removal.
I'll keep trying the chili powder, see if that remains effective.
Just have DH read up on JRTs. They were bred for hunting rodent-like prey. I'm actually glad she has something to keep her occupied.
I may have to get myself a Jack Russell--the gophers are not at all intimidated by my Sheltie or the presence of the neighbor's three cats who hang out in my yard a lot when the dog's not out.