What are Voles?

Posted on Feb 14, 2017 6:00:00 AM by Stephanie Morgan

What are Voles? | The Experienced GardenerThere are several types of rodents that can do damage to your yard and voles are one of the main culprits. Voles are rodents that have some similarities to mice. They can live in your yard and spend a lot of their time burrowing underground. It is easy to talk about moles and voles interchangeably but you can identify the difference between the two based on the type of damage they cause in your yard. Once you learn to identify voles based on the signs in your yard you can take steps toward getting rid of them.

  • Signs of vole damage  

The most easily identifiable sign of vole activity is the surface runways that their burrowing creates. The runs are just below or at the surface of the ground and can sometimes look like large cracks. If left unchecked, voles can do a lot of damage to your yard. You may also notice holes in the ground throughout your yard and these are likely openings to the burrows where the voles have entered. Another sign of vole damage is dead vegetation. Voles like to eat roots and bulbs which means they can kill grass and other vegetation without touching the visible part of the plant. Grass, flowers, vegetables, and even young trees can be damaged or killed by vole activity.

Voles will not create mounds of dirt in your yard. If you see mounds of dirt it is an indication of another type of rodent, most likely the mole.

  • Options for getting rid of voles

Once you have determined that voles are causing the damage in your yard you can start looking into your options for getting rid of them. One option is to create physical barriers that keep voles away. It is not practical or cost effective to create an in-ground physical barrier around your entire yard. But, you can create barriers around smaller areas that you want to protect from voles. For example, you can surround the roots of a young tree with a mesh cylinder to keep voles from feeding off of it. This will not keep voles away completely but it will protect the tree until the roots are strong enough to withstand vole activity. Another option is to put bait in the burrow openings so the voles come across it as they move in and out of the tunnels. Vole traps are also a possibility especially if you have a small yard. Vole populations can grow quickly so trapping may only be effective in the beginning stages of the problem. You can also enlist the services of a professional lawn care company that provides rodent control as one of their services. They will likely use a combination of methods to eradicate and protect your yard from vole activity.

Proper lawn maintenance can also help you protect your yard from voles. Ultimately, they need access to food and water to survive. If you allow your yard to become overgrown they will have plenty of roots to feast on. In addition, the damage they create can go unnoticed for a longer period of time in a yard that is not well maintained. Keeping your yard well maintained and addressing a vole issue at the first signs of a problem are your best two defenses against a major vole issue.   

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Topics: General Info