Voles are also called Meadow mice or Meadow mouse or Meadow vole or Prairie vole or Field vole or mole vole or garden voles. A lot of different names for the same little mouse like creature.
WHAT IS A VOLE: A vole mouse as seen in the vole photo above is strikingly similar to pocket gophers in their looks. Voles scurry to and fro above and below ground leaving well worn trails that connect to hidden openings to shallow tunnels.
Voles include red backed voles, pine voles, California voles, bank voles, the meadow jumping mouse as well as other local varieties. Microtus arvalis, clethrionomys, zapus, are all scientific names for this small rodent.
Because voles are poor climbers, voles do not usually enter houses. A vole diet consists of grasses, bulbs, tubers and the roots and bark of trees.
VOLE CONTROL and WHAT DO VOLES EAT: According to University of California experts, pest control for voles is required because voles cause damage by feeding on garden plants such as beet, artichoke, cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, turnip, sweet potato, spinach, and tomato. Grass and other landscape plantings such as lilies and dichondra may be damaged.
MORE VOLE DAMAGE: Voles will gnaw the bark of fruit trees including almond, apple, avocado, cherry, citrus, and olive. Vole damage to tree trunks normally occurs from a few inches above ground to a few inches below ground.
If the damage is below ground, you will need to remove soil from the base of the tree to see it. They girdle trees and roots effectively killing the affected tree.
- Maintenance of the surrounding areas is key to control voles as well as reduce the numbers of voles, that is removing the cover they require to travel to feed and escape predators. This can be accomplished with herbicides, mowing, tilling, etc.
- Fences with 1/4 inch grids will deter most voles from entering and feeding however they fence bottom must be buried at least 6 inches to stop them from burrowing under it.
- VOLE TRAPS: Trapping voles is done by using mouse traps placed along vole runways with or without bait. Dead vole rodents should not be handled and should be placed in a bag and trashed or buried.
- VOLE POISON Toxic Vole Baits work effectively but again the poison must be placed along the runways to be eaten and it will kill voles after several days.
- Organic or natural prevention occurs as voles moles are hunted by many small animal predators as well as owls and hawks who consume a whole lot and usually keep the population under control.
- Fumigation of the tunnel system works sometimes.
- Flooding the tunnels is not effective.