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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

The effects of four repellents on bank vole consumption and germination of beech nuts and acorns

Villalobos, Adrian; Olsson, Gert; Birkedal, Maria; Lof, Magnus

Abstract

Consumption and removal of buried seeds by granivorous rodents is one of the major problems when direct seeding is applied for restoration of oak (Quercus robur) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica) forests. In this laboratory study, the use of four seed treatments to potentially reduce bank vole (Myodes glareolus) consumption of beech nuts and acorns and a control was evaluated using a no-choice feeding set-up. The five seed treatments were: Chili (Capsicum chinense)/coconut fat, citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus)/rapeseed oils, mink (Mustela vision) excrement, sand coating as a physical barrier and a control. Seed germination tests were carried out with all the treatments. A total of 40 bank voles were individually given access to beech nuts or acorns at a rate of one treatment per day during two sessions. Mink excrement and chili/coconut fat treatments greatly reduced the consumption of beech nuts, and also reduced touching of beech nuts and acorns. In contrast, the sand coating treatment increased the consumption of both types of seeds. Germination of both beech nuts and acorns was reduced by the chilli/coconut fat and citronella/rapeseed oils treatments. Our results suggest that mink excrement has a potential as an effective repellent against bank voles when direct seeding is applied. However, further studies to determine the best method of application, as well as the efficiency under field conditions, are needed before definitive recommendations can be given to restoration managers.

Keywords

Broadleaved forests; Pest-management; Regeneration; Sowing; Seed predation

Published in

New Forests
2019, Volume: 50, number: 2, pages: 241-254 Publisher: SPRINGER