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Asteggiano L.,Consorzio di Ricerca e Sperimentazione per lOrtofrutticoltura Piemontese CReSO | Giordani L.,Consorzio di Ricerca e Sperimentazione per lOrtofrutticoltura Piemontese CReSO | Vittone G.,Consorzio di Ricerca e Sperimentazione per lOrtofrutticoltura Piemontese CReSO
Journal of Pest Science | Year: 2015

The development of an integrated rodent pest management strategy requires the adoption of protocols that should be based on a good knowledge of species–habitat relationships. Vole damage to orchards has increased in Italy in recent decades, as new cultivation practices have been introduced, despite the use of rodenticides. To improve our understanding of factors influencing Savi’s pine vole abundance in Italian apple orchards, we monitored the relationship between environmental and agronomic variables and population densities. Vole population sizes were influenced by the abundance of voles in the neighbouring fields and the presence of kiwifruit orchards, usually not treated with rodenticides, bordering on apple orchards. The type of irrigation system had the strongest influence on vole abundance and flood-irrigated fields had fewer voles than drip-irrigated fields. Apple-tree age and tilling practices also had an influence on vole abundance. Our research provides evidence that vole populations are influenced mostly by agronomic practices and type and extension of fruit orchards. An integrated management strategy in the apple orchard district should include coordination in chemical treatments between farmers and the experimentation of flood irrigation and regular soil tillage management as a possible cost-effective way to reduce vole populations. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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