During the winter, rabbits often eat voles and cottontails in orchards. If you own or are planning to own an orchard, it is important to know how to control these rodents. Below, you will find an article that discusses the various methods for controlling voles and cottontails.
Eurasian water voles
During the breeding season, Water Voles breed from April to October. The female produces a litter of up to eight baby voles. These small animals weigh 4 or 5 grams and develop their full coat by the fifth day of life.
The adult Water Vole is approximately five to nine inches long and weighs about six to twelve ounces. The tail is flattened and scaly. The fur on the back of the animal is typically mid-brown in Great Britain, but may be black, brown, or white.
Water Voles usually live along banks of slow-moving rivers. However, they may travel into fields, gardens, and woods in Europe and Russia. In some regions, water voles are considered an agricultural pest. In 2004, the European Water Vole population was estimated at 220,000 individuals.
European Water Voles live in small family units. The female Water Vole builds a nest from dried grass and rushes. The young Water Voles leave the nest two weeks after birth.
Water Voles are prey to a variety of predators. The most common predators on dry land are weasels, domestic cats, and foxes. In the air, owls are the most common predator.
In Europe, water voles are threatened by several factors. Predation by introduced American mink, competition from introduced muskrat, habitat loss, and water pollution are just some of the factors that are negatively impacting the population.
Mink are an aggressive predator, and they can enter waterside burrows. The presence of mink greatly reduces the population of water voles in upland areas. Grazing also has the effect of decreasing the height of bankside vegetation.
In the United Kingdom, the Water Vole is protected by the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to block or damage Water Vole habitat. The Mammal Society provides information on water voles as protected species.
Prairie and meadow voles
Several species of voles have successfully established breeding colonies in the U.S. and Europe. In the western US, voles are found in grasslands, mountain meadows, sagebrush, riparian, and forest habitats.
These little rodents are similar to field mice. They have small eyes, ears, and feet. They are light brown to gray with small rounded ears and short tails. They are small and stocky and can be found in both wet and dry grassy areas. Their diet includes grasses, roots, fruits, seeds, berries, and insects.
Prairie voles are the most common species of vole in the Great Plains. They are mainly found in old fields and grassy areas. They also build shallow underground burrow systems. They are generally found in upland and marshy grassy areas, especially those that are dry or fallow. They can travel up to a quarter mile for food.
Meadow voles are smaller and more widespread than their prairie counterparts. They prefer grassland and wet areas. They build a system of runways through grass and eat a variety of seeds, roots, fruits, and flowers.
Meadow voles have a relatively short gestation period, 21 days, and produce one to seven young. They wean their young within a few weeks. They reach adult size after three months. They have a lighter tail than their prairie counterparts. Meadow voles are most common in the northern half of the U.S., though they are found in several other areas.
The best way to prevent voles from damaging your yard is to keep the area around your landscaped beds free of mulch. Wildlife Illinois recommends pulling 3 inches of mulch back from the base of trees to deter voles.
Typically, voles are small ground-dwelling rodents that resemble mice. They have short tails, short legs, and stocky bodies. Voles are known to carry a number of diseases. Vole urine can carry viruses such as Korean hemorrhagic fever and Hantavirus.
Voles can cause damage to plants and weeds. They also eat snails and tubers. The damage can be visible in the spring when the grass is growing.
Voles can have between one and five litters per year. Each litter consists of one to eleven young. They are sexually mature in about thirty-five to forty days. They weigh from eight to twenty-three centimeters (three to nine inches) depending on the species. Voles are gray or black, and their tail hair is usually dark brown or black beneath. They have sharp teeth.
They are generally active day and night. Voles breed year-round. They have short tails and small snouts. Their underfur is thick and dense. They usually eat grasses, weeds, and seeds. They also relish the remains of dead animals.
They live for about sixteen months. They have small eyes and ears. They are generally gray in color. They have short, sharp teeth and have small snouts. They resemble rats and mice.
Voles are small ground-dwelling animals that usually eat weeds and grasses. They can be found in all areas. The problem is that they are usually out of sight.
Voles are known to carry a variety of diseases, such as Korean hemorrhagic disease, Hantavirus, rabies, and Korean hemorrhagic fever. They can carry viruses in their urine and feces.
Voles can also be affected by climate and predation. Studies have shown that predation influences population levels. In northern regions, long, cold winters may lead to vole fluctuations.
Habitat heterogeneity affects persistence of invasive and native species
Increasing knowledge of spatial habitat heterogeneity will help us understand how ecological invasions affect persistence of invasive and native species. It also may help us mitigate the negative effects of these biological invasions.
Habitat heterogeneity is the amount of spatial variation in habitat connectivity, physical features, and abiotic variables. It is not necessarily related to the species diversity of the area. However, it is a major component of the persistence of interacting species.
Spatial habitat heterogeneity is particularly severe at fine spatial scales. It has been suggested that this may profoundly affect the dynamics of indirect interspecific interactions.
Fine-scale spatial heterogeneity is not yet well-understood in large-scale natural landscapes. It is also important in wildlife management decisions.
A study in Xi’an, China examined the effects of spatial habitat heterogeneity on the persistence of spontaneous vegetation. A randomly selected sample of the city’s spontaneous vegetation was randomly surveyed to determine how much fertility, microhabitat density, and spatial heterogeneity were present.
The study found that there were three main effects of habitat heterogeneity on the persistence of species. Firstly, there was an increase in relative abundance of the invasive species. Secondly, there was a reduction in relative abundance of the native species. Thirdly, there was an increase in the number of propagules that were available to the native species. The latter effect was consistent across 250 simulations of 20-species communities.
This study suggests that habitat heterogeneity may be a critical component of the persistence of interacting species. However, we need to better understand how the smallest spatial scales affect persistence of invasive and native species. This is particularly important in riparian ecosystems, where disturbance regimes are highly dynamic and far from equilibrium.
Controlling voles and cottontails in orchards
Whether you’re growing apples, pears, or another type of fruit, controlling voles and cottontails in orchards can be a challenge. This pest is not only a nuisance, but it can also cause serious damage.
There are several effective methods for controlling voles and cottontails in your orchard. The best approach involves an integrated system that includes chemical and mechanical controls. If your orchard has a large infestation, you may need to call in a professional.
Biological control involves removing weeds and brush piles from your orchard. This reduces the cover voles need to survive. Additionally, it reduces the amount of food voles can access.
One effective method is to build a system of monitoring stations scattered throughout a large block of orchards. In larger orchards, you should place at least five to six monitoring stations in each acre of orchard.
These stations should be situated near woods and at the edges of the orchard. The locations should be based on the types of trees in the orchard and the number of voles in the orchard.
The first step in controlling voles and cottontails in an orchard is to monitor the area. This can be done by making a map showing the area. Then, mark the area with + and -, so you know where the voles are spreading.
The next step is to place humane traps along the vole runway. If you’re concerned about the non-target animals, you can cover the traps with a folded roofing shingle.
Trapping is effective if the vole population is small. A trapping system should contain at least 20 traps in a 3-5 acre orchard block.
If the population is large, you may need to use chemical control techniques. These include a fast-acting stomach poison. The poison disrupts cellular respiration, blocking protein synthesis.