Vole tracks are not always obvious unless you are walking through the grass, but any dead plants will be a sure sign. Voles will burrow beneath a plant then eradicate the root system, leaving no chance for the plant’s survival. The best method of getting rid of voles is to use vole poison. This poison cannot be purchased over the counter in a farm store. Only a licensed professional can buy and use vole poison. Because of this your options are limited. You can either hire a professional or you can try and trap the voles yourself with the use of lethal body traps.
Trapping a vole will mean locating an active tunnel within the yard. The trap must be set in this tunnel and must be positioned correctly to prevent dry firing. If you check your vole trap for a few days in a row with no results, try finding a new tunnel to set it in. Voles like roots and bulbs and there is no better place to locate those two items than inside of a garden. If you have noticed your precious plants suddenly keeling over for no obvious reason, you should suspect a vole problem. Voles in the garden are very hard to trap. The loose soil in most plant beds does not leave a tell-tale path like the runways out in the yard.
Within the confines of a garden, it can be virtually impossible to locate a vole tunnel. In this situation consider having a professional come out and set vole poison. Vole poison can only be handled by a licensed professional but has seen very good success rates. While poisoning is not the ideal method when given a choice, vole control is one instance where it has good implications. Voles do not want to be in your home any more than you want them to be. If you see a vole in your house, first make sure that it is indeed a vole and not a mouse.
Voles do venture above ground more often than moles but the animals still prefer the dark tunnel system they create throughout the yard. If a vole is in the home it is probably there by mistake. Trapping this creature and removing it will be very difficult. Voles do not take bait easily so traps inside the home will be hit and miss. A cat might do the trick, but there is no catch and release with a cat. If possible create a path using furniture and boards to guide the vole back outside of the home.
Once the animal is outside, see if you can figure out how it invaded your home. If a vole can get inside your home so can a mouse or squirrel. Voles are not moles, nor are they mice, although they are often called Field Mouse or Meadow Mouse. They are rodents, and they are similar to the aforementioned creatures in size and shape. The vole is small, though certain species can grow up to nine inches in length. Most voles are less than three inches, and have a short, fur-covered tail.
Voles have broader faces than other small rodents with smaller ears and beady eyes. They are usually brown or gray in color, though occasional pinto patterns are seen. A vole is a burrower, though not as complex of an architect as other species. These rodents create runways, above ground paths that furrow into the upper crust of the soil, displacing grass and other vegetation. These runways are usually near a subterranean group of tunnels. The vole will burrow beneath a plant it likes to eat, creating a large enough chamber to eat the entire root system.
These burrows and runways are usually built in an area of thick grass or ground cover, making the vole able to live in most regions of North America. A female vole can have a litter of ten young up to ten times a year. This reproduction rate makes a vole infestation something that can occur in a very short amount of time. Male voles are loyal to the female vole and will help raise the young. Young are weaned from the mother after less than a month and are able to breed on their own in less than two. Female voles tend to be very territorial towards other females, though several young animals may live in a section of runways at a time. These animals are active both during the day and the night, constantly foraging for food. Voles are less active on nights with a full moon, not for superstitious reasons, but because the light exposes their movement to a host of aerial predators. Because most foraging movement is done in runways on the surface, movement by the vole is easily seen. Foxes, owls, snakes, and housecats are common predators for the vole. Like most rodents of the same size, voles eat insects, slugs, snails, roots, bark, seeds, and bulbs. They will eat a root system to the point of destroying the plant, and often burrow through landscapes in search of food. Voles are omnivorous and will eat from carcasses. Bones and antlers are a source of minerals in the animal’s diet. Voles do not hibernate, and so do not need to eat an excess of food at any specific time of year.