How To Get Rid of Voles

Voles are destructive little creatures. This spring after all the snow melted off I discovered all these little runs going throughout my yard. As I was jogging around the neighborhood enjoying spring I actually noticed there were a lot of people having the same problem. Initially I didn’t know what the heck they were so I searched online for a few key words like “tracks in yard” or “burrowing under grass in yard.” What I found is that voles are often known as field mice also, at least that’s the brief understanding I got. The point is, voles can wreak havoc on your lawn and burrow little trails all over under the stay pack in the winter and eat all the immature grass. When spring arrives, you all these tunnels and roadways in the grass with dead grass everywhere.

So I went out on a search on how to get rid of voles in your yard and found several different approaches. One is using poison, so I got the Just One Bite poison (suggested by our local Home Depot) and was prepared to use it. Although I’m not a real fan of putting poison out anywhere so I kept on searching. What I found was this video posted by Grass Pad which is a well known local nursery and yard specialized store in my local area.

The video pretty much shows you everyone on how to kill voles, but I thought I’d share my photos here as well and show you that I got my first vole the same night I set the traps. Oh, and if you have moles, check out how to get rid of moles.

Basically you only need 3 things:

  • 2 Traditional style Victor Mouse traps (different types may work, but these seem to work the best from what I’ve found) – You can pick up 2 for under a buck at any store.
  • Cardboard box

Fold the cardboard box so that it will create a tunnel over a nice straight stretch of the vole run. I like to get them as close to their hole as possible. You can tell if a run is active because it will be padded down or smooth and indicative of high traffic. Place two traps next to each other facing outward; so that the trigger mechanism is facing away from each other to trigger if the vole enters from either side. No need to use any bait, just set them and cover the run with the cardboard box like in the pictures. The cardboard cover basically makes it so the vole feels safe and will run through the tunnel and hit the traps.

In my case, the vole actually got one of his legs caught and have moved my trap about 3 feet under a shrub. I actually didn’t have the heart to kill the vole as he still seemed pretty feisty. I had a leather glove and just grabbed him and he really started biting at me. I took him across the road to a big open field we have and let him loose. Hopefully he doesn’t come back. I have a feeling that a Red Tailed hawk will probably get him for lunch though. Just the day before my wife and I sit and watched a hawk standing on our front lawn watching the vole runs. We were hoping mother nature would take care of them but decided to set the traps anyway.

That’s pretty much all there is for how to get rid of voles… all for under a buck! You can’t beat that. Best of luck!

UPDATE: 04-25-2011. As of yesterday I've caught 6  voles using this method. Yesterday after I mowed I noticed some trails that looked fairly active so I setup my traps again when I finished mowing. I went back out 30 minutes later and had two voles, caught one on both ends of this trap setup. After resetting I had another one in a few hours. I considered showing pictures of them but figured it would be a little too morbid. Rest assured though, this trapping method works.

UPDATE: 06-14-2011. As of last weekend, I've trapped and killed over 20 voles. Yes, 20. Actually, I stopped counting after 15 but they keep coming. Although I can say that I've made a dent. They're out of my front and back yard but are now (I saw one yesterday) in one side yard so time to start trapping again. As far as I know, the neighbors I've talked to don't have a big of a problem with them as me so I'm thinking there must have been a big family living in my yard over the winter. Although I'm putting a dent in them I'm hoping they're family tree is getting shorter!

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