Are voles running amok in your yard and filling it with holes, tunnels, and dirt mounds? Or, perhaps, your voles are consuming more of your garden vegetables than you are, and you’re determined to put it to a stop.
Voles are just field mice, and although they can infest your garage and home as surely as a field, we will here be focusing on how to get rid of voles in your outdoor spaces.
Your yard provides a wonderfully well-suited habitat for voles, so it’s no surprise if they manage to find it and take up residence there. But there are effective ways of combating outdoor rodent infestations just as there are for indoor ones.
Read on to learn the best ways of ridding your lot of voles and of discouraging them from ever returning!
Table of Contents
- An Easy Approach to Getting Rid of Voles
- How to Get Rid of Voles in the Flower Beds
- Choosing the Right Vole Extermination Method
- Vole Removal Services
An Easy Approach to Getting Rid of Voles
So voles are tunneling around in your yard and garden, blazing surface trails like “mouse pioneers, ” and killing your plants and grass by nibbling on their root systems. What can be done about it?
The first step is to identify that the species you’re dealing with really is voles. Voles are smaller than most other mice, usually only growing to a few inches long (though they can reach nine.) Also, voles have shorter, furry tails, beady eyes, tiny ears, and relatively wide faces.
But you can identify voles by the presence of above and below ground tunnels if you can’t “get a good look at one.”
Besides ruining your yard, voles also (like other rodents) carry diseases like salmonella and fleas or ticks that carry diseases like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Thus, your health, as well as your property, are at risk if you don’t take steps to eliminate voles.
There are many ways to go about getting rid of voles, but here are four key steps for a simple approach:
- First cut back all weeds and overgrown grass in your yard, and eliminate random clutter. The fewer places there are to hide, the less likely voles will stick around.
- Next, protect your most valuable plants by enclosing them in steel mesh set a few inches into the ground.
- Third, spray hot sauce (yes, hot sauce) on your precious plants to keep voles away from them above-ground.
- Finally, you can set mouse traps outside in the garden, along with your foundation, and on vole trails. But be sure they have covered traps so you, your kid, or your cat doesn’t trap a toe in them!
Removing Voles From Your Front/Back Yard
It won’t be hard to figure out voles have invaded your front or back yard: dead vegetation, pushed up soil, and little pathways meandering through your grass will give it away.
But you then have to find the voles if you want to exterminate or remove them. Follow the trails and they’ll be led to entrances to the underground tunnels. Right in the doorway is where you want to set a trap.
In fact, it’s good if you put two traps end to end, so you can get them coming or going!
Then you’ll just need to check your traps daily, and if you don’t catch any voles after 3 days, you should find another tunnel door to place them in. And if all else fails, you can call in a professional vole exterminator.
Aside from that, take care to follow the 4-step simple starter plan mentioned in the section just above!
Ridding Your Lawn of Vole Infestations
Traps are generally the best DIY method of getting rid of voles in your lawn, but you have to be very careful to position the traps correctly. If you do and you secure them so they don’t blow away in the wind or wash away in the rain.
That means putting the traps on “runways” used by the mice and setting them with the trigger in the mouse’s path of approach. You don’t actually have to bait the traps if they are set correctly in the vole hole, but a little PB, cream cheese, or other favorite rodent food certainly won’t hurt!
In the wild (your back yard), voles eat roots, insects, seeds, snails, and slugs. But they are constantly foraging day and night and will eat almost anything any other mouse would eat, so no need for “special baits” for voles.
Eliminating Voles in Your Vegetable Garden
Your garden is full of roots, bulbs, insects, slugs, and more. That makes it prime territory for voles who may be lurking about in the vicinity.
Even small mice like voles can climb and jump surprisingly high, and these particular mice can tunnel as well, remember. But nonetheless, protecting plants and garden beds with tight-knit wire mesh will discourage voles from getting at your garden plants.
And again, hot sauce on the plants tends to repel them and keep them from targeting such “spicy vegetation.” Voles (like people) also hate castor oil, so you might try that as well.
Finally, eliminate all weeds and mulch and try to create as much open space between plants and garden-sections as possible. Voles don’t even like to dart across a foot-wide open spot if they can help it, and given the fondness of local hawks for vole flesh, who can blame them?
These techniques, plus well-set traps, will help end a garden vole infestation. But for information on how to keep voles out of your garden to begin with, follow the provided link!
How to Get Rid of Voles in the Flower Beds
Getting rid of voles in the flower bed works about the same ways 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 (aluminum).
- 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 doesn’t 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, that’s 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.
Voles Are Under My Deck. Now What?
What if you’ve spotted voles going under your deck or see voles paths/tunnels leading to the deck and stopping there? If your deck has a surrounding wall, it can be difficult to access areas below your decking where voles may be breeding and threatening to find a way into your house.
First, you can lay down traps near the deck’s edge or slip them just underneath. Otherwise, you may have to take down a section of decking wall or take up a few deck boards.
While you have access, remove all rubbish, leaves, and clutter. Dig around till you eliminate vole refuges and scatter any voles currently present. Then run quarter-inch mesh chicken wire along the edge of your deck to keep the voles out.
Choosing the Right Vole Extermination Method
Many people immediately think of the best vole poison when they want to get rid of voles, but that’ not usually a good idea. Poison could end up affecting your cat or dog – or the neighbors. And it can kill harmless wildlife too, besides possibly being a hazard to small children playing in the yard.
Also, the dead carcasses left behind by poisoned bait could be eaten by cats or hawks and hurt them. Or, it could just sit around hidden in your grass and rot, spreading disease.
What should you do then?
Your major vole extermination and removal methods are as follows:
- Covered traps at vole-hole entrances. Use peanut butter to ensure your rodents can resist. But it’s hard to catch a whole group of voles with traps set in one location, so this method has its limits.
- Use vole repellents as soon as you notice the infestation. And plug up all the vole holes. This is a hit-and-miss method, but it’s worth a shot at least. Further details can be found here.
- Introduce a cat into your vole infested area. Cats, and the mere smell of cat, can often drive voles away.
- Use a catch and release trap that holds numerous mice at once. A trap door style contraption that lets voles in but not out can be placed by a vole hole.
- Contact a vole exterminator. Voles are difficult to remove, and you might end up having to call in the professionals.
If you want to know how to get rid of voles naturally, click on the link for more information.
Vole Removal Services
If you can’t get rid of your voles any other way, you may have to contact a vole removal service. Licensed vole removal professionals can use vole poisons that are safe (when used by an experienced exterminator) and that are not available in local hardware stores.
Due to the amazingly fast reproduction rates of voles, you can quickly get an infestation involving hundreds, and ultimately, thousands of voles. That may be too much to handle on your own.
It can easily cost over $500 for an initial inspection of your lot for vole life and follow up extermination and vole removal services. It might only cost you $50 to $100 using DIY methods. But when you can’t manage to do it on your own and the vole population is soaring, it can be worth it to pay the additional cost.
Also, note that it’s not uncommon for two or more neighbors suffering from the same vole problem to agree to split the costs of professional vole removal.
In small numbers, voles might not be much of a concern to you. But when they kill your grass, plants, flowers, and garden vegetables and riddle your yard with holes, that’s a different story.
Most vole removal and extermination techniques can be done by a dedicated amateur willing to learn a few “new tricks, ” so it makes sense to tackle your vole problem on your own to try to save money. But if it becomes obvious you can’t stop it, there’s no shame in calling in the pros to finish the job.
You can find further details of Voles Control here.