Tag Archives: vole damage

Vole Problem

get rid of volesvole_bodyWe’re seeing a lot of voles in Utah this year, especially in Park City and throughout Summit County.  While we’re unsure of the cause of the explosion of vole population in the area, we can take care of the problem.

Often, our customers don’t realize they have a vole problem.  They assume they either have gophers or groundhogs (also called woodchucks), or they think they have mice.  When people don’t correctly identify the animal causing damage in their yard or getting into their home, they don’t know the correct ways of getting rid of that wild animal.  In order to accurately identify the animal causing problems, experts with Allstate Animal Control looks at the type of damage, animal droppings, and any other tell-tale signs.  They then have the correct materials and methods to catch or trap the animals, get rid of them, and can often identify what has attracted the animals to your home or property.  Knowing why wild animals come to your house or yard means Allstate Animal Control can help you prevent them from coming back.

A vole looks very similar to a mouse, with a few exceptions.  Voles aren’t as sleek as mice, they have a shorter, hairy tail, smaller ears and eyes than a mouse, and a slightly rounded head.  They are like mice in that they are prolific breeders.  A single vole can have about a hundred babies per year.

Voles are omnivores.  While they prefer to munch on small plants, bulbs and roots, they will also eat dead animals.  The most obvious vole damage is a network of burrows or tunnels across a lawn with small exit holes that are usually about the size of a nickel or quarter.  Unlike gopher holes or mole holes, voles don’t leave a mound of dirt surrounding their exit holes.  You may wonder why you have trails of dead grass criss-crossing your yard, or why flower bulbs aren’t blooming, or why small bushes or young trees have been girdled at the base.  It’s likely the work of voles.

Voles won’t just stay in the yard, though.  They’ll burrow under crawlspaces, sometimes get into the walls of a building, or invade a garage if conditions are right for them.

Like most rodents, if you see a vole or vole damage, you probably have many more that you don’t see.  It’s important to be proactive, get rid of the voles as soon as you’re aware of the problem, or the problem will quickly become more serious.  Call Allstate Animal Control at 1-888-488-7720 or visit the home page at allstateanimalcontrol.com.

Idaho Vole Problem

vole4            We moved into a new construction early last fall, and now the spring is here, we are ready to do some landscaping.  We can’t start, though, until we take care of the vole problem here in Idaho.

I’m well aware that the neighborhood we moved into is brand new, and used to be farm land, so we probably moved right into an area where voles already lived.  I can’t imagine that an Idaho farmer would just let voles run rampant over the fields, so these fields must have just been sitting here, unfarmed, waiting to be sold, and the voles moved in.  All the construction activity disturbed whatever nests they had, and they’re probably just running around, trying to find new safe areas to live.  My yard will not be

one of those safe areas, because I refuse to have an Idaho vole problem.

We moved in early enough last fall that we had time to get the lawn seeded.  I wanted to make sure we got a lawn in, that the grass would have time to get some good root system down before the snow started.  Plus, I knew if we didn’t get the lawn in, we would be stuck with weeds when the spring came, and we wanted to make sure we could choke out most of the weeds before they became a real problem.  So, we got the grass in, even though we had to finance that in with our mortgage.

When the snows melted, I was really upset to see that we had a vole problem here in Idaho.  Our beautiful new lawn had long dead spots crossing all over it, and we found a couple of dead voles over by our basement windows.  They had chewed holes in the mesh covering the windows.  All that work that I’d put into getting a lawn in was nearly wasted.  Dead voles, or live Idaho voles, for that matter, will just attract other animals, like raccoons or skunks.  Plus, it is going to cost me a lot to get it fixed.  But I’m going to get it fixed and get rid of those voles.

I don’t want to drop a lot of money on young trees and bushes and flowers if we have an Idaho vole problem.  We need to get rid of the voles first, and repair the damage to the lawn before I’ll put in new landscaping.  They’d just destroy the young roots of any plants we put in.  It’s not like we have a lot of money to spare, but what we have, I’d rather use getting rid of the Idaho vole problem before we spend a penny on anything the voles would destroy.

Vole Problem


Book club this morning was a huge disaster, thanks to the vole problem I have.  We started book club on the first of January, which seemed like a really great idea to all of us.  We chose the books we want to read for the year, and decided who will be hosting which months.  It all seemed to work perfectly, and I’m getting to know some of my neighbors and their friends better than I would have otherwise.  It’s March, and my turn to host.  I made sure to read the book early, I prepared discussion questions in case there was a lapse in conversation, I got my house all clean and made sure we had enough seating for everyone and things for the kids to do, and I even made refreshments that were mentioned in the book.

But, the snow has melted, and it looks like my yard is covered in ugly cracks, just small ditches criss-crossing all over the lawn.  I worked really hard getting the yard nice last year, so I was looking forward to spring and watching the grass and landscaping turn green and lush.  With the strawberry bushes I’d worked on for a couple of years, I literally was hoping to reap the fruits of my labors.

And, then, the snow melted enough to show me all the damage caused by the vole problem.  Just in time for book club.

As people arrived, I made the mistake of apologizing for the state of my lawn, which brought more attention to it.  Before too long, we were all just talking about different lawn care programs and pests, and I found out I wasn’t the only one in the area with a vole problem.  The voles were destroying the looks of lots of lawns, but killing grass roots along their little trails.  Bulbs weren’t growing into flowers, because something had eaten them during the winter.  And, my strawberry bushes were a mess.  Other people had planted young trees last year that were struggling now, because voles had chewed on tender roots.

It was all very helpful, especially to know I wasn’t the only one with a vole problem.  I even got the contact information for a great company that gets rid of voles.  So, I won’t have to waste the nice Spring days by battling voles instead of planting flowers and putting in new landscaping.  Even still, we barely got to talk about the book.  We didn’t even touch the discussion questions I’d worked so hard to prepare, and people ate the refreshments without even noticing how they related to the themes in the book.

I guess it wasn’t a “huge disaster,” really, if you think about it.  We got together, we had fun and laughed about things, and we helped each other out with the vole problem.  But, I don’t think I’m going to be hosting book club for a while, and I’m really okay with that.

Get Rid of Voles

I’ve never been good at yard work, so I have no idea how to get rid of voles.  I didn’t even know what a vole was until yesterday, much less how to take care of the vole problem.  This is the first time I’ve actually been happy I have neighbors who love yard work.

I work long hours at my day job, and I usually have a gig somewhere most nights.  When I’m not out at night singing in clubs, I’m watching other bands or writing songs, or just hanging out.  So, my lawn is really the last thing on my mind.  Most weekends are busy for me, too, so I don’t spend a lot of time mowing my lawn, pulling weeds, trimming bushes, and whatever else people do.

Unfortunately, I have neighbors who really care about that stuff.  I mean, these guys are out there almost every night with their big power tools edging stuff, cutting stuff, trimming stuff.  They mow so carefully, it’s like an art form for these guys, with perfect mow lines evenly spaced across the yard.  They all have gardens, and every year they come over and politely drop off bags full of excess tomatoes from their harvest.  I hate tomatoes.  Their wives suggest I could can them.  I don’t can.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  Then their wives ask me, very kindly, if I’d like their husband to help me out with my yard.

It’s not a girl-guy thing, either.  Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can’t do it.  It’s just that it’s not important to me.  And, just because I’m single doesn’t mean I need a man to come over and take care of the yard for me.  I hire a kid from the neighborhood to mow once a week, I make sure the sprinklers are turned on regularly, and I call it good.  It’s not like I spend a lot of time at home, so why waste it doing yard work?

It was the kid who mows my lawn who told me I needed to get rid of voles.  I had no idea what he was talking about, so he invited me outside so he could show me the criss-cross streaks of dried grass all over the lawn.  He also pointed out the tiny little holes everywhere.  Then, he showed me the piece-de-resistance – a dead vole.  Kind of looked like a mouse, but with a more pointed nose.  The kid told me all about how there’s probably tons more under my grass, blah, blah blah.

Then, one of my neighbors spotted me and came out, full of advice of how to get rid of voles.  My eyes kind of glazed over after he talked about traps and trips to the nearest gardening store for bait or poison.  Seriously, I think it’s great that people try to do it themselves, but I really don’t need to.  The one thing I know about problems like this is who to call.  Allstate Animal Control.  I figure if there might be a lot more of them, and it’s a real problem, why not just have an expert come out and take care of it, right?  They’ll get rid of voles at a good price, and I can keep on living my yard-work-free life.

Overpopulation of Voles

Last spring, my neighbors and I battled an overpopulation of voles in our lawns, and many of our conversations this winter have been wondering if we would continue to have a vole problem once the snows thaw.  One of our neighbors was particularly upset, because they invested in some gorgeous apple trees a few years ago and were starting to enjoy the “fruits of their labor”, so to speak, when we experienced an overpopulation of voles in our county.  Most of us just had to deal with vole damage such as trails of dead grass crisscrossing our yards, making them look like some kind of road map.  A few of us had planted tulips and daffodils and were disappointed, because voles had eaten the bulbs we’d so painstakingly planted throughout our flower beds.  But, the neighbors with the apple trees suffered the worst damage.  Voles had basically gnawed rings around the trees and roots, and exposed the trees to disease.  All of their hard work and the money they’d invested in the trees were now for nothing, and they were understandably upset.

I’ve done a little more research on the subject during this winter.  I was worried once I found out that voles can breed all year long, and a mother vole can have three or four litters during the winter season, each with up to ten babies.  I didn’t even bother planting bulbs last fall, and I’m not planning a vegetable garden until I can get a barrier in place to discourage the voles from eating all my vegetables and herbs.  I just imagined hoards of voracious voles running rampant under the layer of snow, munching, breeding and tunneling.  It made me sick and for the first time in my life I dreaded the spring.  I just dreaded the idea of battling an overpopulation of voles again when the weather turned nice and I could see the extent of the damage.

I inspected the yard as the snow melted off after each storm, but I couldn’t see any damage so far, and I began to have hope.  Had some disease spread through the vole community and wiped them out?  Did the high number of vole traps throughout the neighborhood actually catch them all?  Would we be able to enjoy our lush, green lawns this year, like normal?

Some of my neighbors actually considered getting outdoor cats to roam the neighborhood, and I could certainly see some merit in that.  They’d keep down the vole population, as well as mice or rats, right?  Of course, not everyone in the neighborhood likes cats or sees the value of having them around.  One neighbor was pretty upset, because she’d already had a problem with feral cats getting into her garage and making a mess of everything in a previous home, and swore she wouldn’t go through that again.  I guess an overpopulation of feral cats isn’t the solution to an overpopulation of voles, but something has to work, right?

So, we still don’t know what, if any, vole damage or vole problem we’ll have to deal with when the weather gets better.  But, I do know this – I won’t settle for setting my own vole traps or doing battle with them alone.  I’ll call in a professional to handle the problem for me this year!

Vole Control

As a vole, I am terrified at any efforts at vole control.  I’ve learned, through watching vole neighbors, brothers and sisters, that most vole control means a swift and sure death for us.  I’m not an adventurous sort.  I have kept a mental list of all the vole extermination methods used, vole traps, vole poison, and everything else, just so I can avoid them.

Some of my cousins, and even some of the local rats and gophers, make fun of me.  They call me a worry-wart, and tell me I’m more likely to die of a heart attack when I hear a loud noise than I will of any vole control method.  That may be true, and they can make fun all they like.  I intend on staying alive.

Some of the more unwise rodents dig tunnels through people’s yards, which is a sure-fire way to attract attention to us.  They end up destroying the grass, creating tunnels that look like brown dead trails on the surface.  Or, they eat flower bulbs that people have planted so carefully, or garden vegetables.  I’m told that people’s yards are beautiful, lush places where the ground is soft from constant watering, roots, flowers and garden plants are tender and juicy, and the people actually keep our natural predators away, as much as they can.  So, there’s not as big a threat from snakes, raccoons or other creatures that prefer a meal of voles rather than a nice juicy mouthful of plant roots.  I’ve noted, however, in my intense observations, that these predators will come anyway, when there is a high population of voles.  Lots of voles equals more determined predators, whether or not people want them there.

So, while I may not enjoy the juicier eatings, dig in the easier dirt, and while I may live a more solitary life, I have stayed alive much longer than most of my compatriots.  In fact, I just located a perfect place to live.  It is in someone’s yard, but it’s far, far away from the home, so I doubt even the household cat will become aware of my presence.  There is a wonderful compost pile right up against a sturdy fence.  A black tarp covers it, so I’m afforded warmth during the winter and protection from rain or snow.  Occasionally, the people will troop back to my pile, pull back the tarp, and dump delicious fresh plants on the top.

It’s hard not to feel superior at times.  I am wise enough to avoid vole control methods employed by the same people who bring me offerings of food and provide me a safe place to live.  If I can make sure they never learn of my existence, I could live a very long and healthy, fat life.

Vole Removal

vole removal

Most people don’t think about vole removal in the middle of the winter, but let me tell you, it’s one of the best times to think about it, at least for us raccoons.  Let’s face it, you take too much care of your yard, and voles spend the winter destroying your hard work.  You don’t know it, but we’re watching during the beautiful, warm months as you sweat in the sun, pruning, cutting, raking, and destroying vole homes, holes and tunnels.  Personally, as a raccoon, I can’t understand why you would waste so much time.  If you just let the grass grow up longer, or left that pile of leaves and sticks alone, you’d have a thriving vole population.  Mmmmm, juicy, crunchy little voles.  Admittedly, I love to hang around the places that have lots of voles.  Easy pickings and easy meals.  But, it gets kind of crowded at those places, and when the skunks move in, it’s time to find someplace else.

Which is why I’m here.  You think you’ve done everything you could do to get your lawn ready for the winter.  But, when the snow comes, and lays down a blanket over your nicely cropped and hibernating grass, the voles come out to eat and play.  They make little tunnels that stay warm enough for their tiny little yummy bodies, and then they chomp through grass or dig tunnels just underground and munch on those flower bulbs you took so much time to plant.  You think you’re getting tulips and daffodils in the spring?  Think again.  I can tell you right now there’s enough voles hanging out in that layer between the snow and your yard that you’ll be lucky to get a flower or two to pop up.

And those voles think they’re so safe, because you’re not doing anything about vole removal.  They think they’re safe because we raccoons can’t see them as easily when they tunnel under the snow.  You won’t know they wintered at your place until the snow melts and you’re left with a yard full of trails of dead grass.  But, I still have ears, don’t I?  I can still hear them under the snow, rattling against a dead leaf your rake didn’t pick up or using their tiny paws to rustle through the grass.  It might be a little bit of work for me to pinpoint exactly where the vole is tunneling, but if I pay close enough attention and listen carefully enough, with enough patience, I can usually pounce on them.  My paws will grab them and I’ll snap them up, and you’ll have your vole removal done for you.

I don’t even charge anything.  Well, room and board, but what’s that for a raccoon?  I just need a place to hole up.  Maybe a warm place for me to have little raccoon babies in the spring.  And, when the vole removal’s all done, then I might be able to help myself to your garbage or pet’s food.  You won’t mind, will you?

Vole Exterminator

Sweet, domestic cat by day, vole exterminator by night, I prowl the premises and get rid of voles with my incredible skills in stealth, stalking and staking prey within my sharp claws.  I live with a lovely woman and her little girl, both of whom adore me.  The woman has given me a very soft bed to sleep on during the day, a wide variety of delicious foods, and fun toys to chase and bat around the few hours I’m awake when the sun is up.  The little girl dotes on me, and who can blame her?  I’m soft and beautiful and I let her pick me up, carry me around as I’m  draped over her shoulders, pet me and tease me until her mother makes her “be soft,” whatever that means.

As the evening approaches and the sun goes down, my wild predator side emerges.  Soon, the woman will open that front door and let me loose on the world for a few hours before she calls me back inside.  She offers me food, but I’m usually satisfied during my time in the wild outdoors.  I’ve usually gorged on a rodent of two during those brief hours of freedom, especially since I am a vole exterminator extraordinaire.

I begin with my normal routine.  I get down to about the third cement stair and roll around.  I rub my house-cat scent all over, making sure all the other felines know that this is MY house, my territory.  Then, I roll around in the dirt, which works to mask my scent a little.  Then, there’s running time.  Under the chain link fence and I’m streaking across the neighborhood as fast as my legs will carry me!  A day of pent-up sleeping and it’s time to get the blood racing.

Only then am I ready to take on my noble role as a vole exterminator.  I enter into stealth mode, poking around in the undergrowth, the garden, and seeking out any holes or scent of voles.  I listen to the ground around vole tunnels and vole holes for any sound of vole activity.  Once I know a vole is in there, I slink back to an appropriate hiding place and lie in wait.  Sometimes, I’m weak, and a passing bird or dog barking will distract me, but usually I can wait for the longest time.  I don’t pounce when the vole sticks its nose out of the hole.  I don’t pounce the moment it exits the tunnel.  No, I wait until it’s a little too far to duck back quickly to safety.  Then, I’m like lightening, and the vole is in its death throes before it even realizes it is caught between my sharp teeth.

Satiated and happy, the evening’s work as vole exterminator is done.  I get back inside the warm home, purr as the woman gives me cold, clear water to drink, and head off for another well-deserved nap.