Wondering what caused small tunnels in some of the snow banks on your property? Have you been frustrated about your lawn being torn up when the snow banks melt in the spring? Are mice getting altogether too friendly and paying you visits INSIDE your home?
In all likelihood all three of these events have the same cause, probably meadow voles/mice. Heavy snow cover is a paradise for mice. They can freely tunnel around at ground level, and feed on the roots and bark of grass, forbes, perennials, shrubs and tree seedlings. Under all that snow cover they are very safe from predatory hawks, owls, fox and the like. There is little reason for them to go anywhere else, so if they like the plant materials they encounter on your property, they will probably continue to do damage all winter.
While they are cute and fuzzy, they are very destructive. Trapping them is a hit or miss approach to solving your mouse/vole problem. The most effective way of eliminating the problem is placement of poison bait. It is essential to be sure that the mouse/rat poison can’t be eaten by pets and wild animals. A simple and safe way to do this is by purchasing a heavy duty plastic bait station. It opens side so you can load chunk type bait on spindles from which the bait can’t be removed once the cover is screwed shut by a handy set screw. The rodents smell the bait inside, crawl through a winding labyrinth and easily find the bait. One feeding is all it usually takes to poison the rodent. Where populations of mice and voles are high, bait stations are a very effective way to safely control rodents. They work for you 24 hours a day, and probly only need to be checked and re-baited every month or two.
Most hardware stores and building centers sell the bait stations and chunk style bait. Make sure the bait station has a secure way of being locked after placing the bait in the station to protect Fido and Garfield. Your landscape plants and lawn will thank you.