VeitshOchheim (dpa / tmn) – The garden is a paradise for voles. The small rodents are mainly after root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and celery. Now winter vegetables such as sugarloaf, endives and Brussels sprouts are also on their menu.
Hobby gardeners want to get rid of the animals – but many methods hardly help or are problematic to see. However, there are also good approaches to drive out the rodents.
Should you kill her?
Conservationists say no. Killing animals is never the right solution, says Marja Rottleb from the German Nature Conservation Union (Nabu). "If you have too many pests in the garden, something is out of balance." It could be that there are no natural enemies like foxes nearby. But Rottleb also admits that the question of how to deal with too many mice has not yet been finally clarified in Nabu.
Should I catch the mice alive?
The Bayerische Gartenakademie considers catching the voles with live traps not effective. Because if you put the animals somewhere else again, they can cause just as much damage. Especially in dry years, the animals proliferate and a different kind of fight becomes necessary.
Although Rottleb considers live traps to be an alternative, he is also skeptical as to whether this works well: "You can expose the animals far away, but that is painstaking." And: New rodents tend to come into the garden.
What about home remedies that drive away the animals?
This method is just as unsuccessful. Rottleb reports that although the rodents dislike a range of home remedies, these include buttermilk and garlic. However, these would only help for a short time.
How else can you protect the vegetable patch?
Whoever promotes the vole's enemies has a good chance of getting rid of the animals. If there is a mole in the garden you usually have no voles, so Rottleb. "So you should not drive it out, because it eats the cubs of the vole," she explains. Cairns, in which the Mauswiesel settles, and waiting for birds of prey are an option. Even the cat likes to go hunting mice.
To prevent the voles from hiding from their enemies, the Bavarian Garden Academy recommends removing mulch covers and keeping grass short.
Can I protect the plants from the mice?
The rodents reach the roots of the plants via earth tunnels. These can be protected by placing a wire net in the soil around the roots. The compost and raised beds should be secured, advises Rottleb.
And if all that does not help?
Poison baits are taboo for conservationists and gardeners. Rottleb warns against the use, because with it also other animals are endangered. If alternative methods do not help, the Bavarian Garden Academy, for example, allows classic mousetraps to be used. Good baits are Nutella, Schokokekse, carrot and parsnip. To protect other animals, however, the trap should be covered, for example by a plastic bucket with a hole turned upside down.
Are the mice dangerous?
Caution should be exercised when dealing with mouse droppings and carcasses. The feces, urine and saliva of the mice can transmit diseases such as the hantavirus, warns the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) on its platform infektionsschutz.de. Therefore, trapped animals should only be handled with disposable gloves. Anyone who removes dry mouse waste in the shed or in the traps should wear a protective mask.
The BZgA recommends moistening the manure so that it does not form dust. Animal carcasses should be disposed of in a plastic bag in the household waste and the trap cleaned with household cleaners.
Those who still want to eat grilled vegetables should cut out the chewy place generously, wash well and cook the best, advises the Bavarian Garden Academy.