Ask a Question forum: Is this due to climate change?

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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
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joannakat
Sep 23, 2017 10:43 AM CST
Hi all.

I have recently experienced a population explosion of chipmunks and rabbits in my area. It seems that they are hungry enough to eat stems of my creeping phlox, something that has not happened in the past. They're also pooping all over my yard--this is the first time that's happened too.

We have these populations explosions now and then, but it's usually cyclical and happens in the spring and summer, and then again in the following spring. I've never seen this type of thing in the fall.

Oh, and my grape hyacinth are coming up too. They're supposed to do that in spring.

Does anyone think this might be due to the changes in weather? We also had a tick explosion this past spring. Everyone said it was due to the warmer winter.

Also, any advice on how to discourage them hanging around would be appreciated. Just please don't tell me to put up a fence or get a cat. I'm tempted to bring in a fox or two though.
AKA Joey.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Sep 23, 2017 11:03 AM CST
I think rodents go through natural population cycles like that in response to quite a few things, including predators. That would probably be way too hard to sort out where you are. In the arctic, to give a random example, lemming and snowy owl populations are closely related and swing wildly. Maybe the neighbors moved and took their killer cat with them?

We have rabbits and ground squirrels here and I have more or less given up on controlling them, so much as limiting their access to my plants. I refuse to poison those animals. Inviting a predator onto the scene is probably the best solution. I am always curious about the ways people have devised to protect their gardens from these animals, so let's see what other people have come up with. Smiling
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 23, 2017 11:38 AM (+)]
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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Sep 23, 2017 11:12 AM CST
Yes, so true. It is so frustrating to plant something, and then the following morning, to find that it's been eaten to a nub. And the poop is driving me crazy! Didn't these creatures ever hear that it's not smart to $**t where you eat?

We're having a lot of construction across the highway too--huge shopping complex going in store by store (pad by pad) so that's probably having an influence too.

BTW, you can't poison chipmunks, don't know if ground squirrels are the same (they certainly look the same). They just aren't attracted to anything that exists on the market today. People talk about the have-a-heart traps, i.e., trapping and relocating, but it turns out that that is actually quite cruel too.
AKA Joey.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Sep 23, 2017 11:22 AM CST
Interesting about the bait not working. I do regularly use the live traps, and don't feel particularly bad about it. Field mice like ours (the only rodents I catch and release elsewhere) do not usually have very long lives in nature. It's built into their reproductive strategy. A mouse can go from birth to pregnancy in 6-8 weeks, give or take, and give birth 3 weeks later.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 23, 2017 11:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Sep 23, 2017 12:30 PM CST
I've also found that voles seem to go in cycles. BTW grape hyacinths always start to come up in fall here.
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
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McCannon
Sep 23, 2017 12:42 PM CST
We usually attribute a population explosion to rabies. When the predators, like coyotes and raccoons, are prevalent we have few rabbits, squirrels, and other small animals. When we have a rabies spike the predators disappear and the small animals come back en masse.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Sep 23, 2017 2:12 PM CST
sooby said:I've also found that voles seem to go in cycles. BTW grape hyacinths always start to come up in fall here.


Do the grape hyacinths do okay come spring?

Mac, I sincerely hope that's not what's going on. Is there any way to know?
AKA Joey.
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
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McCannon
Sep 23, 2017 2:16 PM CST
joannakat said:Mac, I sincerely hope that's not what's going on. Is there any way to know?


Only if it makes the news.

The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Sep 23, 2017 2:25 PM CST
McCannon said:

Only if it makes the news.



Lots of information, but nothing recent in the news. Let's hope it's not that.
AKA Joey.
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
Image
McCannon
Sep 23, 2017 2:38 PM CST
That may nor be the case in your area. I was just relating what we've experienced.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Sep 23, 2017 2:41 PM CST
McCannon said:That may nor be the case in your area. I was just relating what we've experienced.


Understood.
AKA Joey.
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
Image
McCannon
Sep 23, 2017 2:46 PM CST
I bet your local Humane Society would know if it's been reported.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Sep 23, 2017 3:16 PM CST
joannakat said:

Do the grape hyacinths do okay come spring?



Yes, they start growing in fall, stop while it's cold, then flower in spring.

Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Sep 23, 2017 3:19 PM CST
sooby said:

Yes, they start growing in fall, stop while it's cold, then flower in spring.



Schvew. Thank you. I was worried. I do love those little blue trees!
AKA Joey.

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