I’m not sure whether our problem is shrews. During late summer I noticed a couple of “trails” which were about 3/4 inch wide. The grass was gone. These are not burrows. They were interesting, but didn’t seem to be a major problem. With the melting of snow there are now many of these “trails”. Around our foundations are plantings–annual, perennials and small shrubs. We have had a problem with snails. I gave up on trying to eradicate the snails and dug up the hostas. The “trails” are in the grass stretching 10, 20 and up to 30 feet. Our home is on a crawl space.
Does this sound like shrews to you?
What you’re describing sounds a lot more like MOLES. In fact, moles are quite active late fall and throughout winter. This is because many of their “preferred” food targets become readily available just under the top soil. Additionally, the coming of cold weather causes them to feed more aggressively and even as fall turns to winter and the snow begins to fall, moles won’t give up their hunt for a good meal. For this reason it’s common to find tunnels magically appearing as snow melts away from the lawn and garden throughout winter.
We also know moles love slugs and grubs. Both of these will make themselves readily available throughout the cold months. And though slugs forage above ground they like to settle down into the top soil when resting. Grubs typically feed up high throughout the winter as our GRUB CONTROL ARTICLE explains and for this reason will many times become the main attraction in any yard for moles. In these cases the classic sign is tunneling throughout – especially in the fall right on into winter.
At this point I’d bet what you’ve got is moles and not shrews. Remember, shrews will move into vacant mole and vole tunnels but in general, they don’t spend their time creating the trails you describe. For this reason and based on the time of year you’re seeing all the activity, it sounds like you’ve got moles.
At this time I recommend a treatment of the MERIT LAWN GRANULES to the turf. This would not doubt begin to reduce the local insect population which in the long run is the best way to get rid of either shrews or moles. Of course you can also use any of the Mole or Shrew control options listed in their respective articles but in general the best way to get rid of either is to get rid of the food they’re seeking.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Mole Control: http://www.bugspray.com/articles98/moles.html
Grub Control: http://www.bugspray.com/article/grubs.html
Merit Lawn Granules: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page1547.html
Shrew Control: http://www.bugspray.com/article/shrews.html