Voles are small rodents that are a relative of the mouse. They are shorter, with a hairier tail and they have a slightly rounded head with smaller ears and eyes. They are 4 to 8 ½ inches in length, weigh 1 to 3 ounces and can be brown to gray in color.

Damage Caused by Voles

The tunneling habits of voles are what cause the most damage. They construct surface runways and underground tunnels with many entrances to the burrow that will also damage gardens and interfere with irrigation systems, damaging lawns and golf courses. Girdling seedling and mature trees occur when voles eat away at the bark in a continuous ring around the trunk of the tree. This will deprive the tree of water and nutrients and cause the tree to die. They will also girdle the roots of trees and shrubs. If voles continue to eat away at the roots of a tree, it can cause the tree to suddenly fall over without warning. This is caused by the damaged root system.

How to Get Rid of Voles in Your Yard

Voles are busy day and night and all year round but you can reduce damage by modifying their habitats via exclusion, trapping, and poison grain baits. Voles can kill as much as 50 % of a lawn over a winter! Any rodent infestation should be dealt with by using more than one method.
Habitat modification. Infestations of voles only happen when food is available to them so remove weed ground over and tall grasses by regular mowing, tilling and herbicide application. These steps will provide long-lasting control by reducing vole population numbers.
Vole Exclusion. Surround young trees and shrubs with ¼-inch mesh hardware cloth or plastic mesh. This should be 18 inches above the ground and 3 to 6 inches below the ground. This method can also be used with vegetable and flower beds.
Vole Repellents. There are some repellents that will deter voles and can be applied to trees, shrubs and vegetable crops.
Vole Trapping. Fall and winter is the best time to start trapping. This is when food sources are dwindling also when damage caused by voles is the worst. Mousetraps work to get rid of small populations. Traps need to be placed perpendicular to runways with bait like rolled oats, apples or peanut butter. Place the traps along runways, hiding places and around areas you suspect activity; and also around burrow entrances. If there’s a large infestation of voles, then trapping may not be practical. Check traps regularly, reset and re-bait as necessary until there are no more voles being trapped. You might need to cover traps to protect pets and children. You can use boxes or inverted pans.

Professional Vole Control

Voles are common which makes it hard to get rid of them. They aren’t physically dangerous to people but can be dangerous as they can spread harmful diseases through their feces and urine. They can also introduce parasites onto your property. Contact Rentokil at the first signs of voles.

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