Natural bait additives improve trapping success of common voles, Microtus arvalis
Common voles are serious pests in European agriculture, damaging cereals, rapeseed and other crops and causing substantial losses per outbreak. Not only might the usual approach of applying rodenticides for population management have disadvantages for non-target species, these rodenticides also cannot be used in organic farming. An alternative solution could be an approach related to the concept of ecologically-based rodent management combining environmentally sustainable methods based on knowledge about the target species. Such a method inhibits the dispersal of common voles from field margins to crop habitats via a trap-barrier system. However, little is known about attractants, which could increase the trapping success of common voles. We screened 22 natural substances in T-maze trials. The three most successful substances were further tested during enclosure trials under semi-natural conditions. Bisabolol, eugenol and maltol attracted six of eight voles during the T-maze trials and were mixed into grain pellet bait. Bait containing maltol caught significantly more common voles in enclosures than plain control bait or bait containing bisabolol or eugenol. Of all individuals, 21% chose exclusively baits with maltol. Generalized Linear Mixed Model (GLMM) indicated that every individual would be trapped once in 6 h with this bait type and GLMM predicted that 63% of females and 56% of males would choose this bait over plain control bait. Maltol bait could help either by more efficiently trapping common voles in a trap-barrier system or improving bait acceptance when rodenticides are applied.
License Holder: 2018 Elsevier B.V.
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