Category Archives: Voles

Anything to do with voles

An Unexpected Move

I have voles in my basement, which sounds crazy considering they live and tunnel under grass.  Honestly, when I heard other people talk about having voles in their homes anywhere, I would roll my eyes because to me it seemed obvious that only mice (not voles) get inside of houses.  I WAS WRONG!  At first, I even thought my own rodent problem was mice and not voles, I was completely convinced that a vole couldn’t get inside, and my husband was more than happy to say “I told you so”, when we got the news.

We have had a very prevalent vole problem since earlier in spring, they tore apart our grass leaving trails and dead grass in their wake; and they killed my husband’s vegetable garden!  They ate through everything they could find including the flower beds; basically, almost everything in our backyard is either dead or dying because of these nasty rodents.  My husband was very upset about the loss of his vegetables, so he decided to start a small garden in the basement and try to get somewhat of a harvest.  What we couldn’t believe was when, somehow, the voles got into the basement and started slowly working their way through that garden as well.

I saw one run from the basement garden to a crack in the wall and vanish, and later that day our dog was barking and digging at the outside part of the home that almost directly lines up with the crack in the basement.  Then, I came face to face with one when I was doing laundry and I couldn’t deny the truth any longer: I had voles in my basement.  Now, we just need to figure out how to REMOVE the voles from the basement, which is our number one priority at this point.  I may have been wrong about what kind of rodent it was, but I’m not wrong when I say that it can’t stay.

One Sick Puppy

We have voles in our backyard and it’s pretty clear that we’re not going to be able to solve this problem on our own.  This isn’t the first year we’ve had problems with them, either.  Two years ago is when we first discovered them, we searched the internet for at home solutions but it never really got serious enough that we worried about them; it was just a few holes and trails here and there, nothing we couldn’t live with.  We pretty much just ignored them and figured they’d die off once winter hit and we wouldn’t have problems the next spring at all.  Yeah, apparently that’s not how that works.

Last April as the snow melted, we found 10 times as many vole trails cutting through our grass! I was shocked, I couldn’t believe the vole problem could’ve gotten that out of hand, especially when it had been as cold as it was.  That was when we really started looking for a solution to the madness, we wanted to stop the voles in our yard before our yard was destroyed so we took to the internet and tried just about everything we could on our own. You name it, we probably tried it, flooding the tunnels? Yep.  Not watering anything at all and trying to dry them out? That one too.  Electrosonic Yard Spikes? You can bet on it.  Since we had dogs running around, we were doing our best to avoid poisons or sprays that could hurt them, but eventually we tried those too.

All summer we tried whatever we could get our hands on to get rid of the voles in our yard, until eventually my husband came home with a bucket of Lord knows what with the slogan of “Whatever it is, we can kill it”. Why did I think it was a good idea? Probably mad vole disease, but I let him lay it out.  We did our best to keep an eye on the areas we treated and make sure the dogs didn’t go near them, but one afternoon our youngest pup got into a big patch of poisoned grass and (being a dog) she couldn’t resist trying some.  She was so sick for weeks, I was terrified she was going to die, but luckily she pulled through.  All I know is this year, I’m not letting my husband put any kind of poison ANYWHERE in my lawn.  I want a professional, someone that knows what they’re doing and how to do it right.

Tunnel Trouble

I’m 99% positive there are voles in my lawn; that or aliens that look like voles are creating aimless crop circles into my grass (I wish it was the aliens).  Two weeks ago in between the winter storm breaks, the snow at my house started to melt and I noticed that there were long stretches of dead grass cutting through the green stuff.  It wouldn’t have made me worry except that it was all over the lawn.  In almost any patch I uncovered you could see dead grass, and that was only the beginning.

Within a couple of days of noticing the dry strips, my cat started bringing home dead mice.  Except they weren’t mice, their ears were smaller and tails were shorter, I was a little baffled because I didn’t know what my cat was bringing home!  I figured that the two had to be connected because they showed up around the same time, so I did my research.  It didn’t take that long to solve the mystery, five minutes on Google and I knew: there were voles in my lawn.  I learned a couple of things like voles are attracted to moisture, making them more common in winter and spring months; and that they can carry a deadly virus called the Hauntavirus.

Once I read that last part, I was freaked out.  Not only were these things killing my lawn and gardens, but my cat had already killed and eaten four of them and they could kill us back with some virus!  That’s when I started trying to get rid of them myself,  I bought some poison at an IFA in town and tried my best to apply it to my lawn, but after a week: no luck.  The tunnels were expanding and my cat killed two more, so now I’m looking for a professional.  I haven’t really been able to find anyone with a slogan that says “Got Voles in your Lawn, We Can Help!” (which would be useful), but I’ve called a couple of wildlife technicians and things are looking up; hopefully by the time spring hits for good, they’ll be gone.

Dangerous Tunnels

I have a severe vole problem in my yard.  Last week was warm and small holes started to melt in the snowing exposing the grass beneath.  I was surprised to see that the patches of grass were split into sections of green, healthy grass, and yellow, dead paths.  It wasn’t in just one spot either, it was in a few so I dug up some of the snow to investigate and they were everywhere!  Trails of dead grass snaking across my yard.  I had never heard of animals that did that until I Googled the things I was seeing and found out that it was a common sign of voles (a small, mouse-like creature).

I did some research on why they would have suddenly moved to my yard, and I guess they look for areas with a lot of water.  I’m guessing that the snow we got this winter is what brought them around.  But since I can’t control the weather, I need help controlling the voles. They burrow through the ground, consuming the roots of grass, flowers, even trees!  They kill off all the vegetation and not only that, but they can spread a dangerous disease called the Hantavirus through their feces.

A couple of days ago, the vole problem got worse.  It’s not just the trails, but things started to sink into the ground where the trails are dug.   I was walking across the stone pavers in my garden and a couple of them sunk into holes in the ground.  I’m worried that someone will fall into one of the tunnels when they’re walking across my yard and get seriously injured.  I need some help; I didn’t even know these animals existed until a week ago, I have no idea how to get rid of them.

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

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.

Vole in the House

My landlord says we can’t have any pets, but he seems to be completely okay with a vole in the house, as long as it’s not a pet.  He swears there isn’t a mouse problem or a rat problem, but I started to doubt that when I saw some little brown, black and gray pellets in several different places throughout the house.  They weren’t in the kitchen, thank heavens.  But, I found some little droppings scattered under the bathroom sink, in the garage, and by one of the basement windows.  When I contacted my landlord, he said he’d already taken care of the mouse problem before I moved in.  That was news to me.  I think I would have liked to have known if there had been a problem with rodents living in the house I intended to occupy for the next couple of years.


My personality, though, is such that I can’t just not do something about a problem.  I have to take it on until it’s solved.  It’s the kind of personality trait that drove my mother crazy and made her proud at the same time.  So, I headed to the hardware store, picked up a few mouse traps, and set them around the house near the areas that had the droppings.


I was really surprised by what I caught, though.  It was definitely not a rat.  Nowhere near big enough.  It didn’t really look like a mouse, either.  I mean, it was small, brown and furry.  But, its nose was a lot longer and the face was, just different than a mouse.  So, I took a picture and threw it out, and then re-set the trap.  Then, I looked it up online.  Turns out, I have a vole in the house.  I’ve never seen a vole up close, until today.  I’ve seen the damage a vole does in a yard, though.  But, I was pretty sure they stayed out in the yard.  Chewing through tulip bulbs, the roots of bushes, and making yucky brown trails all over the yard, evidence they’ve successfully killed the grass over their tunnels.


And, now it turns out I actually have a vole in the house.  Well, at least I did.  But, my research shows that, where there’s one vole, there’s many.  I bet the voles just use the little mouse holes left by the mouse population my landlord swears he killed.  While I don’t have any plants or things for them to eat inside, it is warm and dry, and I’m sure looks like a perfect place for a vole to burrow.  I don’t care.  A rodent is a rodent.  Whether it’s a mouse, rat or vole, it needs to be out of my house.  Now, if I can only convince my landlord to call Allstate Animal Control to take care of the voles in my house . . . maybe I should fish the vole out of the trash and show it to him.  Sometimes, a visual aid is the best argument.



Dead Vole Removal

For a while, there, I thought I was dealing with some kind of supernatural force when I went out on the call for dead vole removal.  I’m a rodent exterminator, and sometimes I get calls to remove dead animals.  A homeowner will discover a dead rodent rotting in their house or yard, and they’ll call me to remove the dead animal so it won’t spread diseases or attract vermin or flies.  Sometimes, it’s the smell that bothers a homeowner, and sometimes it’s the worry that their children will pick up the dead rodent and get sick.

So, I got a call from a local daycare.  When the first teacher arrived that morning, they’d discovered a dead vole in the middle of the children’s play area, and she asked if I could rush over and remove the dead vole and sanitize the area.  She didn’t want any of the kids to get sick, and she also didn’t want any of the parents to see a dead rodent on the property.  I agreed and rushed over there early, before my first appointment for the day.

When I got there, I had the teacher show me where the animal was.  It looked like it had maybe died the night before, maybe a cat or raccoon had caught it in its jaws and then been interrupted before it feasted on the little animal.  Whatever the cause of death, it was definitely dead.  The teacher accompanied me to my truck, where I put on my protective gloves and took out my gear.  It would be a fairly simple job, but she was right to call me.  No reason to expose her or any of the children to disease or any parasite that might be feasting off the carcass.  No matter how small the animal, a dead animal must be handled correctly and the area should be de-contaminated.

When we got back to the play area so I could perform my dead vole removal duties, though, the thing had moved.  It was now about 3 inches closer to the trees.  I shook my head and figured that maybe I was wrong, but then the teacher squealed.  She swore she saw it move.  I looked back down at it, and sure enough, it was moving.  It was still on its back, paws in the air and eyes closed, but its rump jumped up a little, and the thing moved a tiny bit closer to the trees.

When I looked back up, the woman had disappeared into the building.  Was it really dead, or was this vole somehow coming back to life?  But, when I looked even closer, I saw two carrion beetles.  These tiny creatures were actually removing the dead vole for me.  I started laughing and gestured for the teacher to come see for herself what was happening.  She laughed, and although we thought it might be a great nature lesson for the children who would soon be arriving, we both agreed it would be much more sanitary if I removed the dead vole quickly, let the carrion beetles find something else to feast on, and clean up the area so the kids could play safely.