How to Get Rid of Voles

It is my goal to educate the public about voles and other wildlife, and provide tips for safe, effective, and responsible wildlife removal.

HUMANE HINTS: Spray very hot sauce, like capsaicin, on plants. Install barriers around plants. Keep habitat less attractive, by eliminating excess plant life or long grass. NEVER attempt to poison voles. Read below for how-to hints.

Summary of Step-By-Step Instructions:
1) Eliminate as much weed or unwanted plant life and debris as possible, and keep yard trimmed short, to make habitat less appealing.
2) Install cylinder of steel mesh around and into the ground around plants you want to protect.
3) Spray very hot sauce, like capsaicin, on plants.
4) You can trap with enclosed mouse snap traps, if all else fails.

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How to Get Rid of Voles in the Yard
Voles in the yard are hard to spot at first. They are subterranean dwellers though they will come up to the surface more often than a mole. Voles tunnel for their food but they do not eat the strict diet of grubs and worms that moles do. Voles like to eat the roots of plants. This is the reason why they tend to create problems around a yard. Vole tracks are not always obvious unless you are walking through the grass, but any dead plants will be a sure sign. Voles will burrow beneath a plant then eradicate the root system, leaving no chance for the plant’s survival. The best method of getting rid of voles is to use vole poison. This poison cannot be purchased over the counter in a farm store. Only a licensed professional can buy and use vole poison. Because of this your options are limited. You can either hire a professional or you can try and trap the voles yourself with the use of lethal body traps. Trapping a vole will mean locating an active tunnel within the yard. The trap must be set in this tunnel and must be positioned correctly to prevent dry firing. If you check your vole trap for a few days in a row with no results, try finding a new tunnel to set it in. Information about vole trapping - analysis and methods for how to trap.

How to Get Rid of Voles in the Garden
Voles like roots and bulbs and there is no better place to locate those two items than inside of a garden. If you have noticed your precious plants suddenly keeling over for no obvious reason, you should suspect a vole problem. Voles in the garden are very hard to trap. The loose soil in most plant beds does not leave a tell-tale path like the runways out in the yard. Within the confines of a garden, it can be virtually impossible to locate a vole tunnel. In this situation consider having a professional come out and set vole poison. Vole poison can only be handled by a licensed professional but has seen very good success rates. While poisoning is not the ideal method when given a choice, vole control is one instance where it has good implications.

How to Get Rid of Voles in House
Voles do not want to be in your home any more than you want them to be. If you see a vole in your house, first make sure that it is indeed a vole and not a mouse. Voles do venture above ground more often than moles but the animals still prefer the dark tunnel system they create throughout the yard. If a vole is in the home it is probably there by mistake. Trapping this creature and removing it will be very difficult. Voles do not take bait easily so traps inside the home will be hit and miss. A cat might do the trick, but there is no catch and release with a cat. If possible create a path using furniture and boards to guide the vole back outside of the home. Once the animal is outside, see if you can figure out how it invaded your home. If a vole can get inside your home so can a mouse or squirrel.

More in-detail how-to vole removal articles:

Information about how to kill a vole - with poison or other methods.
Information about how to keep voles away - prevention techniques.
Information about how to catch a vole - remove one stuck in the house.
Information about vole repellent - analysis of types and effectiveness.

Vole Information & Facts

Vole Appearance: Voles are not moles, nor are they mice, although they are often called Field Mouse or Meadow Mouse. They are rodents, and they are similar to the aforementioned creatures in size and shape. The vole is small, though certain species can grow up to nine inches in length. Most voles are less than three inches, and have a short, fur-covered tail. Voles have broader faces than other small rodents with smaller ears and beady eyes. They are usually brown or gray in color, though occasional pinto patterns are seen.

Vole Habitat and Behavior: A vole is a burrower, though not as complex of an architect as other species. These rodents create runways, above ground paths that furrow into the upper crust of the soil, displacing grass and other vegetation. These runways are usually near a subterranean group of tunnels. The vole will burrow beneath a plant it likes to eat, creating a large enough chamber to eat the entire root system. These burrows and runways are usually built in an area of thick grass or ground cover, making the vole able to live in most regions of North America.

Voles breed quickly. A female vole can have a litter of ten young up to ten times a year. This reproduction rate makes a vole infestation something that can occur in a very short amount of time. Male voles are loyal to the female vole and will help raise the young. Young are weaned from the mother after less than a month and are able to breed on their own in less than two. Female voles tend to be very territorial towards other females, though several young animals may live in a section of runways at a time.

These animals are active both during the day and the night, constantly foraging for food. Voles are less active on nights with a full moon, not for superstitious reasons, but because the light exposes their movement to a host of aerial predators. Because most foraging movement is done in runways on the surface, movement by the vole is easily seen. Foxes, owls, snakes, and housecats are common predators for the vole.

Vole Diet: Like most rodents of the same size, voles eat insects, slugs, snails, roots, bark, seeds, and bulbs. They will eat a root system to the point of destroying the plant, and often burrow through landscapes in search of food. Voles are omnivorous and will eat from carcasses. Bones and antlers are a source of minerals in the animal’s diet. Voles do not hibernate, and so do not need to eat an excess of food at any specific time of year. Instead, they eat constantly regardless of the season. Unlike other rodents, they do not store caches of food. The vole will eat its weight in food daily to keep up with the energy requirements needed to burrow.

Vole Nuisance Concerns: Voles can do permanent damage to vegetation, not to mention landscaping. By the time most homeowners know there is a vole infestation, the lawn is so riddled with runways and tunnels that extreme revitalization will need to be undertaken to remedy the situation. Vole damage, while occurring over a long period of time, will appear seemingly overnight when valued plants are suddenly dead. Vole damage is invisible to the untrained eye. Warning signs include plants that are dying or wilting for no apparent reason, worsening with each passing day. Small gnaw marks around the plant will tell if it is a vole or another predator.

Vole Diseases: Voles carry the same diseases as other rodents, but are known carriers of babesiosis, Hantavirus, and salmonella. Wild voles are hosts to a number of external parasites including ticks that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis.

How to Get Rid of Voles in the Lawn
Voles are less obvious pests than are moles. A vole will not leave a mound of dirt in the yard; instead, a vole will tunnel to the root system of a plant and strip it bare, killing the vegetation above. If you’ve noticed tunnels through your soil and you have a handful of mysteriously dead plants, chances are you have a vole issue. Getting rid of voles can be tricky. One of the least effective means of control is poison. Vole poison is highly toxic and can only be bought and used by licensed professionals. You can try to trap voles on your own if you don’t want to hire help, but finding active burrows to place your traps in can be very difficult. A vole trap is similar to a mole trap and should be placed under the sod in a tunnel. There is no need to bait the vole trap if it is correctly positioned and secured. Check the trap daily. If you haven’t seen any activity, try another runway in the lawn

This site is intended to provide vole education and information, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a vole problem. This site provides many vole control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of vole removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance vole.

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