How to Get Rid of Voles
Voles are small rodents that are relatives of mice. They have a stouter body with a shorter hairy tail and a rounder head, smaller eyes, and molars that are formed differently. Voles are usually brown or gray in color and from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail, they are 5 to 7 inches long.
There are 23 species of voles in the United States and in North America, they are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice.
What Do Voles Eat & Where Do They Live
Voles thrive on small plants but will eat dead animals and almost any fruits and nuts. They will eat succulent root systems and burrow beneath plants or ground cover, eating until the plant is dead.
In the fall and winter, they will eat crops; especially when vole populations are high. They may even eat snails and insects.
Voles are active day and night and year-round. They do not hibernate and will construct tunnels and surface runways with many burrow entrances.
Signs of Voles
Voles spend most of their time out of sight. You will find you have a problem with them when you notice damaged bark at the base of trees and ornamental plants. Girdling damage typically occurs in fall and winter while voles are eating the crops. Their extensive runways and tunnel systems also cause damage. These systems can interfere with irrigation systems due to the displacement of water. Tunnels can cause washouts and ruin lawns, golf courses, and ground covers.
Girdling and gnaw marks are not the only indication of their presence because other animals, like rabbits, can cause similar damage. The girdling by voles produces non-uniform gnaw marks with various angles and in irregular patches 1/8 inch wide, 3/8 inch long, and 1/16 of an inch or deeper. The marks of rabbits are larger and not distinct. Identifying damage via other signs like feces, tracks, and burrow systems is needed to determine which animal is causing the problems.
Preventing Vole Damage
The size of the vole population will determine the best course of action. Exclusion with mesh can be effective and you can install cylinders of steel mesh around and into the ground of the plants you want to protect.
Voles can be deterred by planting marigolds, castor bean plants, and Scylla.
Many times, voles can be confused with moles, shrews, or mice so when it comes to prevention you’ll need a pest management company to perform an inspection and come up with a plan.