If you have ever had severe vole infestations in your garden or yard, you know how annoying these little creatures can be.
These small animals bear a close resemblance to mice – some people even refer to them as meadow mice, pine mice, or field mice.
However, unlike mice, voles can wreak havoc on your garden by creating a network of deep crisscrossing tunnels.
Voles eat plants and chew up the young tree trunks. The most common species of voles are the meadow voles and the prairie voles, primarily found in North America and Prairie areas.
One of the best ways of eradicating voles is by repelling them. Repelling voles means preventing future invasions or the rise of the vole population by targetting entire colonies at once.
Here are a few ways to repel voles and keep them out of your territory;
Identify the damage areas.
For vole repellent to be effective, you need to identify the areas where the voles are.
It is not easy to notice voles running around since they spend most of their lives underground and are protected by ground cover. You will be able to identify voles by the type of damage to your property.
Signs of vole damage include;
- Vole burrows- These are holes around the bases of trees or lawns. They are distinctive from molehills because they do not feature soil mounding.
- Vole runways are irregular paths of trampled or clipped grass or soil. The pats are about 1-2″ in width on the turf surface.
- Spaces or areas in the lawn where the grass is suddenly very short.
- Exposed stems or noticeable gnaw marks on the branches of woody voles. Young trees voles also leave irregular marks that cause delayed or halted growth.
- Increased dead plants which, when lifted have no remaining root surface structure.
- Lack of fruit production in trees or delayed production due to girdling causes root damage.
Get a Vole repellant
After identifying the areas where the voles could be following their damage, the next step is to obtain a vole repellant. Since voles are terrestrial animals, get a repellant that can target voles at and below the earth’s surface.
Vole repellents made from castor oil work best because they can penetrate the ground.
In addition, they have a strong odor and taste that deter voles naturally. This drives them to seek food somewhere else.
Castor oil-based repellents are also preferred because they are biodegradable, natural, and poison-free; hence can also be used for other pesticides.
Apply the repellant as directed
Following the directions of application is quite essential when using a vole repellent. The longevity and effectiveness depend on how well you follow the instructions.
A hose comes in handy in applying water and helping the repellent penetrate the ground. You may also need to reapply periodically to ensure the voles stay away.
Vole repellent comes in two forms;
- Ready-to-spray liquid
This is a concentrated solution of castor oil and water. Spray vole hotspots on your garden, lawn and all the affected areas. It penetrates the ground and will do the job.
These are castor oil-infused repellent granules. You spread them in the affected areas and used water from a hose to activate them and send them deep into the ground.
Add vole repellant plants to your garden.
Some scientists have discovered that there are plants that are voles naturally dislike. These plants are of the bulb variety, such as Italian arum, daffodils, pachysandra, boxwood and grape hyacinths.
Plantinting a few of these in your garden or around your yard will repel voles from entering your territory.
Maintain upkeep and reduce food and cover
An unkempt garden or yard is a breeding ground for voles.
To ensure you do not attract voles to your garden, it is essential to maintain the proper upkeep of your garden and yard.
You can do this by;
- Cleaning up your yard – remove all the debris that may cover voles.
- Keep your lawn mowed at all times, especially when it starts getting bushy. Cleared areas repel voles.
- Till the soil.
- Remove fallen nuts, bird seeds, or fruits from your garden.
Keep Domestic pets
This may be a bonus if you love household pets such as cats and dogs. Dogs and cats naturally repel moles, voles, and mice due to their predatory nature.
Dogs will chase and kill voles on sight, same as cats. Cats also feed on them. Voles will try to avoid areas where these animals are.
What smells do voles hate?
Voles have an acute sense of smell which, while it helps them locate foods- you can use this against them.
You can discourage voles by using scents that they hate. Here are some of the smells that voles hate;
- Castor oil scent
Voles dislike the scent of castor oil. Put some castor oil in a spray bottle and spray it in the affected areas or across your garden. First, clean the area before splashing it around.
To get rid of voles pest deep in the ground, use a smoker made from burning castor oil with a wick. Dip the smoker down holes that the voles have burrowed.
Once the smoke penetrates the underground vole tunnels, they will have no choice but to leave the area because they dislike the scent.
The beauty of using castor oil is that it is natural, poison-free, and biodegradable. It is very human-friendly and will not harm your plants. You will also not be tasked with disposing of off dead voles as they run away from your territory.
- Rosin scent
Voles hate the rosin scent because it is derived from pines. You will typically find Rosin on the bows of musical instruments such as violin.
You can use Rosin to deter voles in one of two ways. First, if you want to protect young trees from voles, take some rosin and rub it on the tree bark. Since it is made from pines, it poses no danger to your tree.
Another way is to cut the Rosin into small cubes and put it into some bag of sorts. A cheesecloth is preferred for this. Place the bags strategically around your garden or at the base of trees you want to protect. This method covers more ground and gives you a wide range of repellencies.
- Garlic Scent
Garlic always has a strong and to some pungent smell.
Voles quite dislike this scent. Mince garlic cloves and add a cup of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray it in areas with a vole infestation.
- Peppermint oil scent and Cedar oil scent
Vole also hates peppermint and cedar scent. Make a spray bottle using essential oils. The capsaicin found in hot peppers is excellent in vole control. It has a smell and taste that is quite unpleasant to voles.
For every cup of water, ad 10-15 drops of either peppermint oil or cider.
Spray this solution on areas that you suspect voles may be. The scent will drive them away. You may have to spray this over time to ensure the voles do not return.
- Ammonia scent
Ammonia has quite a pungent ordor. It is not only suitable for vole control but also for other rodents.
Remember to wear protective clothing and gloves when handling ammonia as it is a chemical.
Take a container and cut a hole in its cap. Pour ammonia into the container. Soak a piece of rag in ammonia and hang it on the spot you made in the container. The goal is to disperse as much of the ammonia scent in the air as possible.
You can also pour the ammonia on surface runways made by the voles for even better results.
How do I permanently get rid of voles?
A vole problem can be such a menace. Once the vole populations grow, it can be pretty challenging to eliminate them permanently. However, it is not an impossible feat.
Here is how you can get rid of voles permanently;
Trapping is a sure way to get rid of voles.
You can use vole traps or a mousetrap since they are just about the same size. These usually come in the form of spring traps that snap onto the vole when triggered. Some are glue traps that hold on to the vole until they die or are removed.
You can also use live vole traps by placing them near the most expansive vole runways or nesting sites. This way, you can trap as many of them as possible.
Here is how to use your vole trap;
- Read the instruction carefully. Every tap comes with its own manual for use- some of them can be dangerous.
- Place the trap strategically in areas that are likely to be more vole traffic.
- Place a vole bait inside the trap. Voles eat a variety of things from plants, seeds, and nuts. If you are using a mousetrap, you can place peanut butter as bait or take pieces of fruit covered in peanut butter.
- Take precautionary measures while laying the trap to avoid outside pets or children from getting stuck in it.
- Check the traps regularly to remove dead voles before they attract other animals. You can also choose to release the voles in the live traps far away from your property before they dehydrate and die. Either way, always wear protective clothing when handling voles to avoid contracting diseases and infections.
These have been known to be pretty effective in reducing vole populations.
However, they are not easy to use as one may think. You need to have a meticulous plan to prevent it from affecting your plants or being ingested by children and pets.
Poisons are usually more effective during the winter and fall. During this period, the food sources for voles are generally limited; hence they’re more like to take the bait.
Ensure you read the instruction manual carefully and wear gloves when handling poison. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling poison.
Proper yard maintenance is very critical in getting rid of voles. Maintaining a clean environment all through will keep voles out of your property.
Trim bushes, mow your lawn, cut the grass short and remove debris. Rake up leaves, brush and branches. Dense ground covers provide hiding spaces for voles. Keep the mulch light, especially around trees or plants.
If you have mulch in your garden, ensure there is quite a distance between it and your plants and trees.
Additionally, promote a dry yard by trimming down trees to enable the sun to reach the ground. Keeping the grass short will also ensure proper drainage across your garden and yard.
Use Natural Repellents
Like we already talked about, vole repellent is a sure way of ensuring voles stay out of your territory. You can use repellent as a preventive measure, but it works just fine as a treatment method, mainly when used with other methods.
Apply the repellents directly in areas you suspect the voles reside, like vole runways, burrow entrances, around vegetation, and on the roots of trees.
We already talked about what repels these little animals like castor oil, Garlic, ammonia, peppermint oil, and Rosin.
It has been approved that Thanos sonic vole repellent is effective in repelling vole.
Contact a professional pest management company.
If the problem is extensive and you need a quick fix, it is best to contact a professional team. Professionals will address the problem at its source and even give you advice on what is bringing about the problem and how to solve it.
Some professional companies will keep coming back until the problem is solved, and should it not, they will offer you a refund.
How do I prevent voles in my yard?
Prevention is always better than cure. It takes less effort to take measures to prevent voles from getting into your yard than trying to get rid of them.
Here are some of the preventative measures to help you control vole numbers.
Fence your Yard
Fencing your yard is an excellent way of preventing voles from coming into your yard. Forget standard privacy fence as voles can dig through that. You will need a vole-proof fence – the kind that is made from some type of screen and a mesh.
The wall will also need to be a foot deep so that these little critters cannot dig through it. It should also be ata least 12 inches above the ground. Voles aren’t very good climbers, so you are assured they won’t climb over your fence.
You can also get tree guards for the trees in your yard. Wrap the base of your tree with a mesh wire, sheet metal, or plastic cylinders. This will help prevent girdling of the trees and prevent voles from destroying the root structure.
This device works by emitting a high-frequency sound audible only to rodents. On the other hand, the vibration devices provide a disturbance that the voles and other pests can feel while running.
This device works by the principle of motion detection. When a vole scurries by, it senses it emitting the high-frequency noise that will drive away from the vole.
Mix Gravel with Soil
If you are not planting in your yard, you can mix gravel with the dirt or soil in your yard. Voles love softer soil so they can dig through it.
Gravel will make the soil or ground hard and move to softer grounds.
Invest in Entrance covers
Voles will get into your yard through the open spaces or crawl spaces. It is vital to seal off any holes or cracks in your yard large enough for voles to crawl through.
Get covers made specifically for these entrances while still maintaining the original purpose of the spaces.
Failure to address your vole problem will only make the problem worse. Before the situation gets out of hand, ensure you use some of the tips from this article to take control of the situation.
Above all, maintain cleanliness around your yards and garden. Eliminate all the things that are likely to draw voles into your yard and garden. Reclaim your territory!