vole

Voles

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Voles

Have you ever seen little trails winding around your yard? They may have come from voles. A vole is a small rodent that often gets confused with a mouse. Although voles may look small and harmless, they can actually damage your lawn, garden or landscaping, resulting in a real headache. Occasionally, it is necessary to get rid of voles.

Learn more about what voles look like, the damage they can cause, and how to discourage them from spending time at your property. And if your vole problem is out of hand, reach out to Western Exterminator for vole control today.

What does a vole look like?

Voles are rodents sometimes referred to as meadow mice and are not to be confused with the similar-sounding moles. What does a vole actually look like? Well, a little like a mouse. Small and chunky, a vole has rounded ears and the tail measures about 1.5 inches in length. Mature voles are usually colored brown and black or reddish; the underside is gray and the feet are brown. Voles favor living in creeping or low-lying vegetation.

The United States contains more than 20 species of vole, but the state of California has two examples such as:

  • The California vole (Microtus californicus)
  • The montane vole (Microtus montanus)

Vole nests are typically located in shallow burrows or under rocks or low-lying vegetation. They have runways that connect to the openings of burrows.

What do voles eat?

Voles are mainly herbivores, which means they do not generally eat meat. Voles use roots, bark, seeds and bulbs of ornamental plants and grasses for nourishment.

Baby vole

Each vole litter contains five voles on average. One healthy vole is capable of yielding several litters each year, which is why having a few voles in your yard can quickly lead to a lot more and more damage. Voles do not often live for more than 12 months.

Vole damage

It may be that you have voles but you may not see the voles themselves. Instead, what you’ll notice is the vole damage done to your yard. Trails can result from voles eating grass. Droppings and urine are also found in the trails. Now and then, voles put dead grass over the tops of the runways.

Did you know that an acre of land may contain several hundred voles? If your property contains many of these creatures, this can lead to extensive damage to the vegetation (particularly during colder months as food is not as plentiful).

Voles may eat cabbage, cauliflower and artichoke. They can also turn to flower bulbs. Voles have been known to harm orchards and field crops. Voles can chew tree and shrub bark close to the ground. You ‘ll likely notice the grooves this damage leaves, close to the ground. Immature trees are more liable to die due to vole activity. Voles can also harm a golf course or that pristine lawn you’ve worked to maintain.

You are not likely to see voles because they do not want to be eaten by predators such as owls and coyotes. Voles are active during the day, night and all year long and do not hibernate. In fact, snow during the winter helps protect them from predators. If it has been a bad winter, when the snow disappears, you may be surprised at the number of trails from voles.

Getting rid of voles

Steer away voles by trimming your vegetation and lawn and getting rid of ground cover and weeds so those places are less hospitable to voles. Try to remove creeping or low-lying vegetation, and use landscape stones rather than mulch. Trim shrubbery and bushes to make sure branches do not make contact with the ground.

Keep in mind that sometimes, getting help from a pest professional is the optimal way to get rid of voles. Vole extermination can help protect your property for the future. Contact your local Western Exterminator today to discuss your vole control needs and you’ll be on your way to living vole-free!