Helleborus is the most recommended plant I have been reading about for vole deterrents. Also garlics, rosemary and mint, basically strong aromatic plants. I like the idea and will try it out more pragmatically soon. I am curious about personal experiences and clear success/failure stories that can be shared.
Please note that often voles and such rodents are going in a multi year cycle of being in excess and less populations because of natural influences. So don’t let one year of good results confuse you, results should be somewhat perpetual with a perennial rodent repellant.
I can’t say about voles but I started using fresh mint clippings 2 weeks ago sprinkled around developing watermelons that were getting chewed up. No more rodent damage. The now dried clippings are still aromatic enough to still work. I read elsewhere potted mint plants in among susceptible plants are good deterrents.
The patch of escaped mint in my wife’s herb garden never has anything eating it. Although its too aggressive to want to plant it in a garden without an underground barrier to limit spread. If I was a vole, I wouldn’t appreciate tunneling through mint plants.
The wild and feral rodents in our region have been trained for decades with mass plantings “rodent repelling” plants, including mints and society garlic. Nowadays they just go right through it to get to what they are interested in.
I have not seen a significant difference with trees that have narcissus or garlic planted near the base opposed to the ones that don’t for vole damage. Those plantings certainly do not help much during rodent nightmare winters like we just had. I would be curious to see if a thick planting of hellebores around the trunk would work. I may try that.
I don’t think any plants are going to be effective;
we are in the process of adding ~150 fruit trees and we live in the country surrounded by farms and fields, and a large vole population
there is a very effective cheap simple way to eliminate voles/mice
I bought a single 10ft 2" PVC and cut in into 9 pieces and made 3 bait stations like this - just need a 3 tee connector, cap and 12" 1/8" threaded rod and washer/nuts
you can see the bait being eaten, and within a month, no more problems
very happy and effective
I use this bait which ships with 1/8" holes in the bait already so they simply slide onto the threaded rod
in the above video, he puts braces on to stand it, which are not needed; can simply lean it against a tree
again, very happy and it is incredibly cheap and effective
here is a 2" bait station (the arms are longer than in the video and it seems to be more stable)
this is a bigger 3" for squirrels but it continues to work for voles and mice
we have 6 total (just cut up 2 10ft PVC pipes) - some close to the house and 4 out in the orchard
My critique of that video and your bait stations……
If I were to make them like that , I would definitely glue the parts together, and use a theaded cap for access.
My dogs would pull that apart in minutes and eat the bait. !
Glue and a threaded cap would prevent that .
My cheaper method….
I know the use of rodent baits is controversial. Due to secondary poisoning,
But , after reading about Lyme disease, I learned that it’s the rodents that transmit Lyme disease ,deer may be hosts of the ticks, but only rodents carry / transmit Lyme .
So with out rodents, you may have ticks , but no Lyme D.
Many ticks here.
After learning that, and a very bad year of vole damage in my nursery ( hundreds of $) I decided to make war with voles !
I had 2inch pipe but no fittings ( “Ts “ caps )
I cut about 16 in. Lengths of sch 40 pvc , drilled a 1/4 in hole in the center, put a length of stainless wire in there ,out the end of pipe , through the bait block , secured wire back to itself , pulled the bait into the pipe , wrapping wire back to itself very well on the outside of pipe. Done !
This is very cheep , compared to buying all those fittings to make a “T” , equally effective , harder to find me under the snow ? Less noticeable in the landscape.
I put these in between nursery pots before I mulch for the winter.also around the perimeter of house.
Works good , cheep , dog proof .
My dogs won’t eat voles / mice.
If I catch one in a snap trap and give it to the dogs they won’t eat it. Maybe they toss it in the air, then ignore it.
They will destroy a nursery bed to get a vole,then ignore the carcass. After setting bait stations,at times I can smell dead voles .
But they seem to die in their burrows. Not above ground.
So ,I am not so worried about secondary poisoning.
Lots of natural predators here , they don’t seem to effectively control them some years.
I don’t want Lyme disease!
Also can’t have voles eating the roots off my nursery trees.
So… that’s what I have been doing , effective ! Cheep !
. Cats would be good , but the coyotes kill my last ones.
And a jack Russel. Too !
i too need to up my game. lost 2 fruit trees to them last winter despite putting out bait blocks in pvc pipe. i need to put out more .
I am terminating my peach, apple and may terminate my pear trees because of animal problems. I am growing corn to attract racoons to my Havavahart traps for drowning. Squirrels are to numerous to deal with. I am able to get citrus and fig with out animal problems so far. Sour cherries are plagued with diseases.
My neighbor put out some bait stations and my dogs brought me two rat carcasses. Thankfully they do not eat them and were not affected, but secondary poisoning is definitely an issue for rats and mice. We have lots of owls and hawks around and I’d hate to see them harmed.
I don’t use poison for secondary reasons
If I am not mistaken there are rodenticides like zinc phosphate that have basically zero risk of secondary poisonings, I don’t think it is appropriate to disregard the approach because of accidental poisonings, but to be selective about what substance you choose.
As the original topic went though, I am even considering using plants that would also kill animals if they accidentally consumed them to prevent rodent damage because i like the idea of a self replicable source of rodent prevention and ideally something that is more automatic like a perennial plant.
I will progress in both directions… Although i have had almost no vole damage on a few hundred trees, I don’t expect that to last forever. The only reason i can think of for this is that they have plenty of other food… not sure though. Rabbits have been a issue and deer are fenced out.
Only peripherally related (and back to the natural front)…
I have a strawberry bed that was aggressively harvested by our groundhog last year. He not only grabbed every berry, but also managed to mow the actually plants down to the ground as he has a fondness for strawberry leaves.
Last year, I planted garlic around the edges of the strawberry bed. This year, the groundhog left the bed completely alone until two weeks ago when I pulled the garlic and now he’s back to his bad habits.
Bottom line, it seems like garlic does work for at least our groundhog. I plan to plant more around the yard this year to see if I’m successful with the chipmunks in the front yard who also love our strawberries.
I wonder if the ornamental garlic would work in the same manner. I planted a Millenium Garlic plant in my perennial bed to begin spreading around and dividing each year to help keep out the voles. I cant tell if it works yet because I still use a lot of Castor Oil and moth flakes around them until I get enough planted. I did plant Euphorbia polychroma cushion spurge in all of the perennial beds last year and they have taken well. I was hoping the roots would keep the voles from digging in the beds. The sap is latex and considered toxic and an irritant.
As for the Rodenticides, only use 1st generation poisons. They may require several feedings to work, but they arent a neurotoxin and only require a Vitamin K shot and week long course of vitamin k if a pet eats the block. The 2nd generation baits have no antedote.
Yes I use diphacinone (1st gen) for those reasons as well
Unfortunately, your Ramik rodentcide is horrible for the whole food chain and ecosystem…
This product is extremely toxic to mammals, birds and other wildlife. Dogs, cats and scavenging mammals and birds might be poisoned if they feed upon animals that have eaten this bait
please read more about secondary ingestion and secondary poisoning, the differences between them and the actual likelihood of harm
and I am using diphacione in accordance with the directions in the product label; we had a vole problem and now don’t and I don’t regret anything about using them at all
best of luck
My warning quote was directly from Ramik’s own label.