How to Get Rid of Voles

How to Get Rid of Voles

voleRudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock

Voles, much like other small rodents, are never welcome guests in or around your home. Sometimes referred to as meadow mice or field mice, these little critters can do a lot of damage in your lawn and garden. That’s why it’s important to learn how to get rid of voles.

Popular Videos

Keep these simple and effective solutions handy, so you can act fast if a pest problem arises.

These burrowing, mouse-like rodents with a rounded muzzle are shy creatures that measure 3.5 to 7 inches in length. “Voles are frequently confused with another common landscape pest, moles,” explain experts at the UMass Extension Turf Program, an extension of the UMass Center for Agriculture, Food & the Environment. “These two species are in fact completely unrelated. Moles spend nearly all of their time beneath the surface of the soil, excavating and navigating a network of tunnels which can be very disruptive to the turf surface. Aside from time spent in underground burrows, voles accomplish much of their scavenging and feeding above ground.” And that’s where the problem with voles begins.

Did you know you can use coffee grounds to critter-proof your garden? Learn about that and other humane pest control methods.

If you notice a “runaway” route on your grass (a path where the grass has been flattened), it’s likely caused by the constant traffic of voles at work. Your first move is to eliminate the environments that are attracting the voles in the first place. They love excess brush and mulch, stacks of wood, tall grasses and leaf piles. They love fallen pine needles and indulge in fallen fruit. Be sure to clean up such messes as quickly as possible to remove nesting areas and food sources for the voles.

Try these tips for getting rid of garden weeds.

If your garden is taking an unexpected hit, with plants suddenly beginning to droop, that can also be a sign of a vole problem. Protect your hard work by installing a fence. While voles are good at eating your crops and damaging your lawn, they’re not winning any awards for climbing. “Protect your plants by fencing the area with a half-inch of mesh (hardware cloth), at least 12 inches above the ground and buried 6 to 10 inches deep,” suggests The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Check out these 15 pest control horror stories that will make you squirm.

You could also try relocating them. “Some vole trapping experts say that placing 12 to 24 vole traps for two to three weeks is the only way to make a dent in your vole invasion, explains Havahart, a leading manufacturer of wildlife control products. Be sure to place the trap where you see the activity, and use bait like bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds, mixed peanut butter and oatmeal or gumdrops around the traps.

If you have an infestation, even the strangest solutions may be worth a shot.

Finally, try natural deterrents. Voles despise the smell and taste of castor oil. They also hate capsaicin—the compound found in peppers that makes them taste hot and causes stinging. Make a capsaicin spray with water, hot pepper flakes or chopped hot peppers and biodegradable dish soap. Follow these steps. Spray either substance on your lawn and plants. You can also purchase coyote or fox urine. Either scent will notify the voles that a predator is in their presence, scaring them off.

Here are 11 more tips for DIY pest control.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com