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How to Get Rid of Voles

Updated on May 8, 2013

Getting rid of voles, moles and gophers is difficult

Many homeowners have at some time stood before newly discovered entrance holes and asked themselves what the best way to get rid of gophers and voles is.

Voles (as well as mole, gophers, etc) are a nuisance that many homeowners battle against. Voles are omnivorous but prefer plants and the hyperactive hungry little animals wreak havoc in a garden over time. Voles are diggers and create extensive tunnel and chamber networks that also undermine and deteriorate lawn and orchards and feed on the roots of your loved plants.

Voles are also known as meadow mice or field mice and there are 155 species of voles. Most resemble small mice and are 5 to 9 inches long. Vole population growth can be extreme with females maturing in about 35 days and being able to have 7-8 litters a year with 4-5 young in each. Voles are hyperactive and a normal lifespan is about a year.

Image creative commons José Ramón Pato Vicente / Wikipedia

Cheap Mole and Rodent Deterrents

The nuisance of a vole infestation in a garden manifests through the tunnel and chamber network which creates depressions in the lawn, poor grass quality and a general feasting on most garden plants. On top of this, voles are known to spread disease such as hemorrhagic fever.The question of how to get rid of the voles should be a priority in every targeted garden.

In a nutshell: voles are problematic little creatures and if you have them in the garden you will want them to go away. This is easier said than done though and getting rid of voles once they have settled in is difficult.

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My weapon of choice against voles is a sonic spike. While it won't scare the rodents away immediately, they will eventually move out - just like a homeowner from an unsafe & noisy neighborhood will.

Sound spikes like these are also the most effective vole deterrent (as in keeping voles from moving in at all). Keeping rodents from establishing a foothold is a lot easier than trying to get rid of them once they have moved in.

Solar sonic spikes against rodent burrowers are cheap and do the job 24/7.Photo Credit: K.Latham

Here's a tip - downrate the area coverage indicated by half for better effectiveness and get at least two spikes that will then be pulsating at odd intervals between them.

How to Attract Owls to Your Property

One of the best ways to keep voles, moles, and small rodents out of your property is to have a pair of owls nearby. Small rodents are always on the Owl menu and letting nature do the job is a simple and effective rodent control solution.

Woodlink OWL/KESTREL Screech House
Woodlink OWL/KESTREL Screech House

This owl nest is well built and the perfect box to set up on or near your property to attract a nesting pair of owls.

 

Anti-rodent strategies

POISON A common way to battle voles is by baiting them to ingest a anti-coagulant. The method requires research on their paths for bait placement and the voles have to eat the poison 5 days in a row for it to have effect. In the end, they die from internal bleeding. My suggestion: do not use poison against voles or other burrowing rodents. It has a short-term effect, new ones may move in, it is a hassle to use and all you are doing is filling your lawn with rotting animals under your feet.

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TRAPS You can trap voles pretty easily. There are numerous special vole traps for sale... but then what? Do you kill them? How? Where do you put the dead ones? Trapping one vole is pointless and a normal garden problem will require 10 - 20 traps used simultaneously. Big cost. Big workload. Not for me.

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GAS If you do some research you will find many homeowners who suggest all forms of gassing. There are even small cartridges that you are supposed to drop into the tunnels and that will gas them to death. other people may suggest connecting a hose to your car exhaust and connecting it to a tunnel. I don't like this method - for various reasons. I have also found many, many reports that it doesn't work very well because the tunnel network has so many openings and because the tunnel network is so vast. Some may die, but they breed almost once a month! Enough said.

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FEAR There are humane, non-lethal ways to wage war against the rodent attack. These work through fear and voles, like most animals, will choose a calmer neighborhood if the perceived threat persists. Voles don't like predator smells, and they don't like ground vibrations which triggers their danger awareness. This is the method I use and it works. I keep sonic spikes in my garden at all times. This keeps the rodents from wanting to settle at all so the tunnel and root eating problem never starts in the first place.

DIY If you don't want to buy a sonic stake you can try a DIY home remedy against voles, moles and gophers: Take several glass bottles of different sizes such as coke and wine bottles. Dig holes and plant the standing upright into the ground so that just about an inch or two of the bottle is above ground. Push the earth firmly back around them so that the bottle has good contact with the ground. When the wind blows it will now randomly create sound that vibrates down into the burrows. Bottle body works like a resonance amplifier. Doesn't work in all types of soil but is free and simple to try.

Digging tunnels in the garden

my image
my image

It isn't their fault of course, after all what do rodents know about humans, right? But at the same time, if you got something that looks like this, as I have in my garden, then you know you will have a summer problem unless you take care of it. Personally, I am not for any type of gassing or other lethal methods. There are other tactics that work pretty well.

This is what it tends to look like when the snow melts away in spring. I use sonic spikes and after a couple of weeks they are all gone.

What methods worked for you?

Did you get rid of voles, moles, gophers, etc?

See results

What do you think about the vole problem? Comments welcome!

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    • profile image

      sassysan911 

      3 years ago

      I did not have too much of a problem with the voles in the yard other than making holes. However, they have now found their way into our house. What do you bait the trap with?

    • kindoak profile imageAUTHOR

      kindoak 

      5 years ago

      @nickupton lm: I agree, this is an excellent suggestion!

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 

      6 years ago from California

      I haven't heard about sonic spikes. We don't have voles; we have gophers. I've had some success putting dry ice in their channels but it doesn't always work. I'll have to look into these spikes. Thanks for the info. Blessings.

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 

      6 years ago

      They look cute but I can understand that they might be a nusicance too...

    • nickupton lm profile image

      nickupton lm 

      6 years ago

      Owls love to eat voles. Put up the type of nest box that is preferred by the local owl species.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      OK, sonic sound it is, then. I will definitely give it a try this season. I really did not want to kill the little varmints.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 

      6 years ago

      We had voles in one of our yards - they made horrible trenches in the yard. Scaring them away with sonic sound worked well!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 

      6 years ago

      Such a shame that they're so destructive, as they are rather cute by rodent standards.

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