Voles are small mouse-like animals that can make your life miserable if they make nests in your garden or backyard. These animals are quite different from moles in their diet habits. Unlike moles, the vole’s diet includes seeds, fruits, nuts, beans, bulbs, leaves as well as tree bark. They can destroy all your prized plants and trees in your garden unless you take proper action to drive them away from your yard. This article discusses about the most effective ways for getting rid of voles.
Keep the Yard Clean
Make sure to keep the garden clean by getting rid of any litter and weeds around vegetables and plants. Remove the mulch around 3 feet away from the trees and mow the lawn short; these measures help to keep the voles from causing much damage. Soil tillage is another useful method for driving voles away. This helps you destroy the underground tunnels used by the rodents, thereby preventing them from coming back.
Bars and Fences
Keep voles away from the seedlings and saplings in your garden by putting bars around them using hardware cloth cylinders having 0.6 cm mesh. Make sure that the cylinders are set at least 6 inches deep into the soil. This keeps the rodents from reaching the plants by burying underground. Drift fence is also useful when used along with pit traps, especially for controlling large vole populations.
Using chemical products is not advisable unless no other measures for driving out the voles are working. Zinc phosphate is an effective chemical weapon to be used against voles. It is available as granular product and as pellets. You need to place the bait inside the burrows and runways of the rodents to get rid of them. However, using this product too frequently is not advisable as it may cause the voles to develop bait-shyness. These baits are also very dangerous for ground-feeding birds like waterfowls. Anticoagulant baits are an alternative option, requiring you to place the baits repeatedly to eliminate the rodents.
You can use mouse snap traps for trapping voles. But, this method works only if there are very small numbers of the rodents in your garden. Place the trap with its trigger facing the path of the voles. Use pieces of fruits or a mixture of oatmeal and peanut butter as bait. Fall and late winter are the best times for trapping them because during these seasons, they remain out longer than usual to search for food.
Voles are easily hunted by predators like owls and cats as they are quite slow and vulnerable. But, it is difficult to get rid of voles by the means of predation as they have a very high rate of reproduction, making their population to grow faster than that of the predators.
Other Measures for Eliminating Voles
Fumigants may be successful in driving the rodents away when the burrows are small with no more than two openings. Capsaicin or thiram based rodent repellents are also useful for getting rid of voles, but only for a short duration. You can make a vole repellent combination at home by blending together a few cloves of garlic, some soybean oil, a few chili peppers and dish washing soap. Now add some water to the blend and spray it around your garden, especially around the tunnel-openings used by the rodents. The strong odor of the mixture repels voles, keeping them from coming back. Having garlic and soybean plants in your garden also helps to keep them away.
Another option is to call the local pesticide regulatory agency to learn about registered repellents that can drive voles away permanently.