How To Get Rid Of Voles In Your Garden
Dealing with pests can be one of the most trying aspects of gardening. Whether its insects or animals, it seems like theres always something disturbing our plants. Voles are one of those creatures that can wreak havoc if not properly identified and controlled. Voles cause damage to lawns, gardens, golf courses, crops, orchards, and young trees. Damage can be severe when populations surge.
There are many different ways to deal with voles. Effectiveness depends on many factors, including property size, type of method, vole population, time of year, and weather. Here are some suggestions:
Trapping Voles With Mouse Traps
Mouse snap traps can be used to kill voles. Place the trap perpendicular to a vole runway, aligning the trap’s trigger with the path the vole must take in using the runway. Peanut butter is an excellent bait for trapping voles. The best time to trap is either autumn or late winter.
The key to success in trapping is determining where on your landscape the voles are most likely to use as a thoroughfare that’s where you want to locate the trap. The widest vole runways are indicative of heavy traffic. Another good indicator is a runway that is heavily soiled with vole urine and feces.
How To Repair Vole Damage
Damage is usually most severe in spring when voles are most active. In many cases, plants will recover on their own once the vole population is under control. Destroy runways and burrows with a shovel or rototiller to discourage new voles from moving in. Rake up dead grass and replant bare areas with grass seed to restore lawn areas where runways are present.
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What Does Vole Look Like
Voles look like field mice with short tails, compact heavy bodies, small eyes, and partially hidden ears. Voles are 5 to 8 inches long and have prominent orange teeth for gnawing plant roots and stems. These opportunists will dig characteristic golf ball-sized exit holes in previously established mole tunnels. via
Professional Lawn Care Companies
Treatment of Vole Damaged Lawns can be complicated. Our recommendation is to contact Organo-Lawn in Boulder or Fort Collins and schedule a disease diagnosis with one of our professional lawn care technicians. Our state licensed lawn care technician will come up with a plan to correct the problems that are causing this situation.
Vole damage is usually first noticed soon after the snow melts in the spring.
Voles create tunnels or paths in the grass that have unusual patterns.
Vole damage to lawns can be difficult to identify and often look like a lawn disease.
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How To Get Rid Of Voles In The Flower Beds
Getting rid of voles in the flower bed works about the same way as ridding your garden of voles.
But we can add a few additional strategies here:
- Dig a 12-inch deep trench all around the flower area. Voles will retreat rather than try to cross it. But make it narrow so you can just step right over it yourself.
- Install a vole fence. It should go three to six inches under the soil and four to 12 inches above the ground. Use quarter inche metal mesh that will not rust .
- Let your cat out all day long, weather permitting. A cat constantly lurking around the flower bed can frighten voles away.
Getting Rid Of Voles In The Grass
Voles love grass, but grass doesnt necessarily love voles. In fact, it ends up withering, browning up, and dying as voles gnaw on grass root systems from the comfort of their subterranean burrows.
If you see patches of dead grass, thats the place to look for vole runways and entries to burrows and tunnels so you know where to set your traps.
Also, be sure to cut your grass as short as possible to deny voles the cover they need.
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What Is Digging Up My Lawn At Night
Raccoons and skunks are two common grub-eating nocturnal culprits for digging in yards. If you have wild animals digging in your yard at night, they are almost certainly seeking either shelter, in the form of an underground burrow, or food, such as the grub worms many animals eat that live in the soil beneath the turf. via
How To Fix Vole Lawn Damage
Vole lawn damage is not difficult to fix if you know what to look for. These rodents will leave runways in your lawn made of rope-like material. The runways are created by them feeding on the grass. The voles will repeatedly use these pathways to enter and exit their burrows. You may see gnawed stems and roots.
In most cases, voles will move on to other parts of your yard, so you will have to keep an eye out for these marks. A common symptom of vole infestation is a series of runways in your yard. These are unmistakable depressions in the grass that lead to their burrows. Because voles dont hibernate, they are active all year round. Youll likely notice these runways as soon as the snow starts melting.
A thorough inspection of the lawn will reveal the extent of the infestation and how to fix vole lawn damage. Vole damage can appear most obvious in the early spring when combined with snow mold and low temperatures.
Fortunately, voles do not eat the roots and crown tissue of the grass. If youve seen any of the above symptoms, you can try to repair the damage by mowing the grass and fertilizing it. Alternatively, you can hire a pest control company. If youre not sure what to do, you can buy Vol-R-Poison to kill the vermin. A core aeration and proper fertilization will help repair the most damage done by voles.
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Do Mothballs Get Rid Of Voles
THE SNOW MELTS, revealing the horror: Mice and voles have had at it in your garden, coldframe or greenhouse. As fall approaches, maybe they’re scurrying for a nesting spot in your house or garage or shed. Whatever the havoc, mothballs are not the answerand are in fact highly toxic, and illegal for garden use. via
How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Voles
The answer to this question depends on which method you use. For example, if youve chosen to set live traps, you can expect to spend about 3-4 weeks reducing your vole population.
If you prefer to hire a professional pest control service for vole control, youll see much faster results.
Companies like Smiths Pest Management provide prompt removal services to help you quickly reclaim your property.
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How Do I Know If I Have Voles In My Yard
Here are a few sure-fire signs of voles in your yard:
- Paths 1-2 wide in the turf surface.
- Vole burrows look like holes in the lawn or around the bases of trees. Unlike molehills, these dens do not feature soil mounding.
- Spaces where the grass of the lawn is suddenly very short.
- Noticeable gnaw marks on the stems of woody plants and young trees.
- Exposed stems that have been gnawed to a pointed tip.
- Dead plants that, when lifted, have no root structure remaining.
Since voles reproduce rapidly, its critical to control the populations at the first sign of infestation.
Ways To Get Rid Of Voles
If your landscaping is already being damaged by voles and exclusion and prevention measures have been unsuccessful, you may need to consider vole eradication. Voles can be removed humanely from a yard by using live traps, or they can be exterminated with mouse traps or bait traps . They can also be deterred by fencing and driven away with vole repellents.
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Mole And Vole Lawn Repair
As winter’s snow begins to melt away, you may notice an eye-sore of what looks like a dirt bike track across your lawn but is actually damage from moles and voles During winter, moles and voles burrow underground to seek warmth and additional food sources. In many areas, blankets of snow will hide this damage throughout winter, resulting in daunting lawn repair projects come early spring.
Depending on their depth and severity, mole hills and tunnels can do significant damage to your lawn, creating tripping hazards and leaving grass roots exposed, killing grass and resulting in bare lawn patches. While it may seem challenging, recovering your lawn from mole and vole damage can be a simple two-step process.
How To Get Rid Of Voles In Your Yard And Garden
The Pests Stop Here!
Voles: theyre tiny animals that can drive homeowners and gardeners crazy!
Known for creating networks of deep, crisscrossing tunnels, voles can wreak havoc on a lawn or garden. If youve ever wondered how to get rid of voles, youre not alone.
Here at Smiths Pest Management, our team specializes in helping clients in and around the San Francisco Bay area identify the best way to get rid of voles in their yard, so we know a thing or two about the process.
Well share our top tips and tricks to help you become a vole extermination master in this post.
Lets dive in.
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Repelling Voles With Chemicals
Thiram-based vole repellents, such as Shotgun Deer, Bobcat urine, and Rabbit Repellent may be effective against these pests, but repellants will need to be reapplied frequently because they dissipate with rain. After several applications the voles become accustomed to the smell, reducing the effectiveness of the repellent. Thiram should not be used on garden plants. Predator urines are often preferred as vole repellents as they are the most displeasing to voles. Fox and coyote urines can often be purchased online and at farm and garden centers.
Are Voles Protected
Habitat. It is important to note that water voles and their habitats are protected in the UK it is illegal to capture, harm or kill them. Water voles inhabit cool, damp ground, ditches, edges of streams, embankments, and extensively used meadows, grassy areas with young trees gardens, orchards and vineyards. via
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What Do Voles Eat
Voles, like many other rodents, are omnivores, which means that theyll eat almost anything. However, voles have a primarily vegetarian diet they mainly eat stems and blades of lawn grassso its usually vole tunnels that youll see near the surface of the yard. Moles, on the other hand, have a mainly carnivorous diet consisting of insects.
Its helpful to know this difference not only because it will help you identify the damage , but also because a vole bait might use peanut butter whereas moles would be more interested in an insect or earthworm.
If it helps, remember that their frenzied activity does subside. Vole populations cycle, and about every 3 to 5 years there will be a population boom. Mild winters with good snowfall can help to increase vole populations, as the voles can travel beneath the snow cover, safe from predators.
Can Voles Destroy A Lawn
Meadow mice are pests of both lawns and gardens, building extensive burrows that can destroy or mar turf. These tiny, mouselike pests can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. They are also found in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
In the U.S., the most common species is the American Microtusk, which is native to North America and has been introduced to other parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. Other species, such as the European and Asian Microsuckers, have also been imported into this country.
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How Can I Repair My Lawn
Voles tend to feed on the blades and shoots of the grass rather than damaging the roots, so though the lawn may have a patchy, shorn appearance in some areas, these often fill in well given time. You can give it a hand by putting some additional seed down, but if so, cover with wire mesh to avoid the vole returning and pinching the seed!
It is generally the tunnelling on the surface of the lawn that is more problematic. You may be able to rectify it by taking the steps below. However, depending on the extent of the damage in extreme circumstances a new lawn or lawn renovation may be required.
How Do You Fix A Vole
If voles have damaged your lawn, you want to restore it quickly.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Give the entire lawn surface a gentle rake to break up debris and excrement in vole runways and promote lawn growth.
- Fill in vole pathways with topsoil.
- Fertilize and overseed any areas of thin or chewed-down grass.
- Prune and fertilize trees or shrubs that voles have gnawed on.
If you have severe vole damage in your lawn, hire a professional company that offers turf and ornamental treatments.
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How To Repair Lawn Damaged By Voles
Homeowners just need to take a few easy steps. Rake the debris and excrement from the runways to promote growth. Fill pathways with topsoil. Fertilize and overseed areas that do not recover. Prune and fertilize trees and shrubs that have been chewed by voles.
Removing Voles With Live Traps
If you prefer not to kill vole pests, you can attempt to trap them in live traps and move them to an appropriate location. However, relocating pest rodents is restricted or prohibited in many areas, so check with local authorities before using live traps.
For best results, use a live trap designed for small rodents that has two openings. Place the trap directly in the path, and parallel to, a well-defined surface runway . Baiting is not always necessary, but you can add peanut butter inside the trap if desired. Check the trap frequently, and relocate any trapped voles to an approved location at least 5 miles from your home.
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Whats The Difference Between Voles And Moles
First off, voles are not moles! People confuse the two animals because they both tunnel through your yard and are small, dark-colored mammals. You might not have seen either critter since theyre usually underground, but they look very different up close. Voles are small, stocky rodents similar to field mice. In fact, a vole might look like a mouse at first glance. In contrast, moles (are NOT rodents. Moles are all nose and mouth. And they have big feet used in digging! See our article on dealing with moles here.
Voles have small rounded ears that are often hidden by their fur, small eyes, and short tails. Their fur is generally thick and light brown to gray. Two common species of voles in North America are the prairie vole and the meadow vole . Meadow voles are more widely distributed, but prairie voles are more common in grassland and prairie areas. They are very similar, and methods for controlling them are mostly the same.
How To Keep Voles Out Of Your Yard
The Spruce / Brianna Gilmartin
Most people have heard of moles but may be unfamiliar with voles. Relatives of hamsters and lemmings, voles are small, mouse-like rodents that live in the wild and can do a lot of damage to trees, lawns, and gardens. In North America and Australia, they are sometimes referred to as meadow or field mice. Voles share many characteristics with moles but are more destructive to plants moles typically feed on grubs and earthworms.
Voles construct well-defined, crisscrossing tunnels, or “runways” at or near the surface of the ground, about 2 inches wide. The runways result from the voles eating vegetation, like the roots of grass and perennials, as well as from the constant traffic of numerous little feet beating the same path. And if any lawn and garden pest can literally âbeat a pathâ through the grass due to their sheer numbers, itâs the vole.
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Turf Damage And Repair
Damage from vole ‘runways’, as pictured, is an un-welcome sight as snow melts in the spring.
Turf damage is primarily caused by feeding, in which the voles chew the plants down to the crown at ground level. Additional damage is caused by wear from vole ‘traffic’, and also from the accumulation of vole excrement along the runways. Folks are often blissfully unaware of the activity occurring beneath the snow, until damage becomes apparent upon snow melt in March or April.
When the snow recedes and the turf first becomes visible in the spring, vole damage can appear dramatic, especially when coupled with other issues such as low temperature injury or snow mold. As noted above, however, voles feed only on turfgrass shoots and the vital crown tissue and root system are typically not disturbed. Very often, grass plants will re-grow in the damaged areas as the weather warms. Practices that can encourage rapid recovery include thorough raking and a light application of fertilizer. For extra insurance or repair of areas that do not recover acceptably, overseed with a compatible mix of grasses.
What Are Those Trails In My Lawn
In early spring, when the snow finally melts and people get back out into their yards, some may be surprised to find trails and burrows in the lawn.
Many will see these above ground trails and mistakenly assume moles have invaded their yard. These trails were created by a different rodent known as a vole. Foraging voles tirelessly feeding on the crowns of healthy grass plants creating small tunnels under the snow pack or fallen tree leaves. Hidden from predators, under snow cover or piles of leaves, these trails become a vole super highway leading to their underground burrow. Once the snow has melted or the leaves removed, the trails are easy to see.
Moles can do the heavy lifting. While moles have had millions of years of evolution in honing their excavation skills, they are not the only creatures that instinctively dig or that will occupy mole tunnels. In fact, a variety of rodents including voles, will gladly take advantage of abandoned mole tunnels as safe passageways from area to area.
Voles are rodents and generally are 4-7 inches in body length with small eyes, ears, and stubby tail. They look like a mouse with very small ears and virtually no tail. When seen, many people will call them field mice. They eat a variety of plants, grasses, crops and bark. Best control for voles are traps. See video below.
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