I was mooching up beyond the potting shed en route to the asparagus patch (slow, slow, only a few poking above the ground.)
And I noticed something odd with the hedge.
Those effing mole rats have been at it again. I am so, so cross. Beastly creatures.
A slug or a snail may munch a newly sown broad bean or pea shoot. But these rodents are taking down established shrubs I have been growing for years.
It’s the beaver equivalent of a losing a full grown tree to one animal’s voracious teeth.
And how is it eaten? The mole rats eat the roots.
Sample here. Not much left to hold up this large shrub.
So it has gone onto the compost heap and it’s time for me to come indoors and do some research.
I need to stop moaning and learn about this enemy of mine. This is war.
So. Internet. The Mole Rat – arvicola terrestris. And before you suddenly sit up straight and think, ‘What? You have a garden overrun by water voles?’ The answer is the water vole (Ratty in Wind in the Willows) has now been renamed arvicola amphibious.
Does that get me closer to admiring mine? No. I’m still stuck on the rat part of the problem. The genus arvicola: the burrowing rodent.
In Africa, they have the naked African mole rat which is affectionately (I don’t think so) called a sand puppy. But they are called Heterocephalus glaber, something completely different. And that’s a relief. Have you ever done an internet search of a naked African mole rat? Don’t do it close to bed time; they will haunt your dreams. But the amazing thing is the naked mole rat may eventually save mankind from cancer. See this link.
Scientists are all in a lather about the fact naked mole rats don’t go on to develop cancer. So they are probing hard at their genes and trying to work out why.
So how am I going to get rid of these rodents? And believe me, I have learned that I’m not dealing with one or two, but a colony. A reproductive queen and a number of siring males.
There are traps. There is rat poison (if you could get into the runs) and there is the solution that I am going to try first: sound.
The device I have orderened is a Reddix Pest Repelling plug in device. It supposedly works by emitting short wavelength, high frequency sound waves which will hopefully really annoy the rodents, the mice, the mole rats and as a bonus the pine martens in our roof.
The sound waves will change every few days so the rodents don’t get used to the annoying noise.
It comes with rave reviews from Nicolas the gardener’s father who has used one successfully in his garden. But I have hesitated for months as I am worried these sound waves will disturb the bees and other pollinating insects that are hard at work in my vegetable garden.
So I will have to plug it into the power supply in the open barn and see if the device works. It supposedly has a radius of 200m which ought to incorporate all parts.
I have doubts about the penetration power through the thick walls of the guest house. But let’s be honest, it’s the garden rodents that are exercising me right now, rather than pine martens in the roof.