Anthraquinone as a Vole Repellent: Not Just for the Birds?

Roger , A. Baldwin, Ryan Meinerz, Gary , W. Witmer, Scott , J. Werner
2018 Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference  
California voles cause extensive damage to tree crops through girdling of young stems. Recent laboratory trials have indicated substantial repellency (up to 84%) of anthraquinone (a post-ingestive repellent) to voles on treated grain. Given these lab results, we established a field study to test the efficacy of anthraquinone applications to tree stems to reduce girdling damage from voles. We also assessed the impact of vegetation around the base of trees to determine the impact of cover on
more » ... ing activity. In Fresno County, CA, during summer 2016 and spring 2017, we established twenty 3.35 × 2.44-m bins (hereafter mesocosms) where we evenly spaced eight 1-yr-old clementine orange trees. Cover crops including various grasses and forbs were planted on randomlyselected halves of each mesocosm. All trees were treated with anthraquinone in half of the mesocosms; trees were left untreated in the remaining half. We captured 40 voles and released two individuals into each mesocosm and tracked girdling damage once weekly for five weeks during summer and six weeks during spring. We observed a significant reduction in girdling damage on anthraquinonetreated trees. The removal of vegetation around the base of trees completely eliminated girdling damage for anthraquinone-treated trees during summer, although vegetation did not significantly impact damage for untreated trees during summer, nor for either anthraquinone-treated or untreated trees during spring. We did not observe an increase in damage over time in anthraquinone-treated mesocosms, indicating that anthraquinone maintained its repellency during the duration of this study. Anthraquinone appears to be highly repellent to voles, and it is worthy of field study in other mammalian species as well.
doi:10.5070/v42811031 fatcat:l4gsgwpopbg75mgyxrduf77ydu