I was deliberating over whether to remove my layers of pine needle mulch or not being that I'm in the Chicago land area and there is a definite threat of frost for at least another 6 weeks. I finally decided to leave it but curiosity did get the best of me after last fall with the all out assault from the squirrels so I wanted to take a little peek to see if anything unexpected might have survived. *Much to my horror, I found a veritable labyrinth of tunnels under the mulch as well as actual holes similar to those I find in my composter. The tunnels were tiny and not inconsistent with that which I believe would be created by mice. The larger holes were a dead match for what I have seen the chipmunks create. It appears the chicken wire was able to finally deter the squirrels however it didn't deter mice and chipmunks. The holes didn't seem to do that much damage but the tunnels were woven here there and everywhere and were circling clumps of Sarracenia and would then dip down below the surface of the sphagnum peat and sand mix in and around the roots of the CPs.
This is about the straw that breaks the camel's back as I think they have killed off one of the 3 or 4 CPs that were left standing after the squirrels did their thing before we put up the chicken wire last fall. I completely removed the layers of mulch and then spent a few hours out there and have everything righted and the roots are back in the ground and I've added more sphagnum peat/sand mix but it was incredibly disappointing to find there had been so much activity under the mulch and snow this past winter. Quite frankly, I'm shocked. So many places on this property to have a field day and they pick that bog? *
I will humanely destroy a feral cat in a heart beat by trapping it and calling animal control to come and pick it up- there aren't enough homes for socialized cats as it is and cats do pose substantial risks to human health so this is how I choose to handle their growing numbers and destructive behaviors on my property and I realize it may not be for everyone. Don’t freak out fellow fluffy lovers as I do pay to take stray cats to an animal shelter, I can differentiate between the two. I will also humanely destroy European House Sparrows without batting an eyelash as well as Rusty Crayfish. We also use a commercial rat zapper to humanely destroy rats that get into the animal feed. All 4 of those species are introduced (exotic invasive species) and wreak havoc in our environment. *I will not kill any North American species of wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, squirrels, chipmunks, muskrats, or mice. *Personal choice. *One exception, mice in the house get zapped with an electronic mouse zapper.
The chicken wire appears to be doing a fine job of keeping larger undesirables out- thank heavens. *The fruit tree netting is keeping the English House Sparrows out- thank heavens again. The chicken wire is NOT keeping out the chipmunks and mice that evidently sought the insulating benefits of the mulch after it was laid down last fall. *I use electric zap fencing around several ponds I have to keep out raccoons but I am relatively sure I could not install that close enough to the ground to stop chippies and mice. I have an entire inventory here of very expensive products and concoctions that don't work to deter critters. My last recourse is to see if anyone out there has had any success with ultrasonic machines or any type of an electromagnetic device otherwise I will have to live with this mess and plant loss every spring. I’d really like to know if anyone else out there has found a way to encourage mice and chipmunks to bed down somewhere else for the winter.
Here’s one such product-
On an upbeat positive note to this whole unveiling of my little bog, I found two S. purpurea as well as one S. psittacina and one S. ‘Tarnok’ that I think might actually be alive out there. That is an incredibly good find given those plants were uprooted so many times by the squirrels and left to dry out that I had thought for sure they were toast. *It would be really nice if those started putting out new growth in the next two months. *Think I will add them to my grow list and think happy thoughts and maybe they will come back for me.