Tag Archives: vole traps

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.

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 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?

Rodent Control

I began my career in rodent control as a 12-year old kid trying to make a few bucks to fix up my bike just the way I wanted.  Mom and Dad believed if I wanted something really badly, I had to find a way to pay for it, and today I’m happy they taught me the importance of self-reliance.  I’m not sure how happy Mom was that I chose to make that money through rodent control, though.  She was more than concerned over my safety and health, but after Mom’s long lectures, Dad’s lessons in trapping rodents and exterminating rodents, and many promises and reassurances from me, I was finally able to start my business.

Mom had hoped that I would’ve earned money through babysitting and lawn mowing, but my friends and I saw a real need for rodent control that summer.  For some reason, as the snows melted that spring, voles, mice, rats, gophers and moles were out in force.  It seemed like the whole neighborhood was fighting off rodents.  I’d heard Dad complaining about it loudly enough when he discovered trails of dead grass snaking through the yard.  Our lawn looked like a roadmap of seemingly random vole trails.  Mom and some of her friends were chatting over coffee one spring morning, alternating between horror stories of mice in the pantry or rats in the walls, and sharing ideas on how to get rid of mice and the best ways to exterminate rats.  We lived in a nice enough neighborhood, so no one understood why we were under attack that year.

So, my friends and I walked around a few neighborhoods, offering rodent control.  Our nose for business steered us right to easy money.  Fifteen cents for each mouse or rat we caught, twenty cents for each vole, and a whopping thirty cents for catching gophers or moles.  We experimented with all different kinds of bait, traps, techniques, and yes, rat poison.  Mom put a stop to us using the poisons, though, until the following year when I could prove I was wise and mature enough to use it safely.

We went inside people’s homes, crawling around on the floor to find mouse holes or rat droppings.  We’d set the traps, come back later to get rid of dead mice or dead rats, set more traps.  When we stopped catching rodents from that hole, we’d block it up as best we could.  If rodents came back, so would we.

The best part of the job, though, was rodent control out in the yards.  My friends and I would scout through the lawn looking for vole holes or vole damage.  Gopher holes and mole mounds were easy to spot.  We got to spend our summer afternoons together outside, under the warm sun, joking and laughing and catching voles, trapping gophers or getting rid of moles.  We’d earn a few cents each time and go home tired, happy and a little bit richer.  By the end of the summer, I got my bike fixed up just the way I liked, and my friends and I were talking about how we could expand our business.  We took care of my neighborhood’s rodent control for years after that, and I got a real sense on how to run a business and have fun at the same time.

How To Get Rid Of Voles

I just love these do-it-yourselfers who come in every year, right when the snow’s melted, and ask me “how do I get rid of voles from my yard?”  With all the new housing developments going up, I’m doing great business as the owner of the only yard supply store in the area.  I sell sprinkler systems, mulch, grass seed, and all kinds of traps for the local critters like voles, moles, mice and gophers that tear up the lawns around here.

As soon as the snows melt, people look out their windows and see a roadmap of dead grass in their yards.  If they look closer, they can see little holes spotting the lawn, or they might even catch a glimpse of a vole scampering through the grass.  I’ll admit, they’re cute little suckers, but anyone who spends time and money caring for their lawn doesn’t want all their work ruined by some little mouse-like wild animal making crooked little lines of dead grass all over their property.

Personally, I have to shake my head when someone comes in to ask me how to get rid of voles.  But, they’re happy to pay for the traps I sell them, and I’m a good businessman – won’t ever turn down a sale.  It’s just that voles can have four to six young per litter, and they have been known to have up to 17 litters per year.  So, yeah, I’ll sell a homeowner or landscaper a handful of vole traps, but it’ll only catch a handful of voles.  I’m happy to instruct them how to use them, which bait to use, and I’ll let them know that voles are active day and night, throughout the year.  They’re better off, though, if they call a professional who knows how to get rid of voles and does it all the time.  That’s really the best way to get all of them.

Until then, selling vole traps helps me to pay the lease for my store.

One guy came in with a story the other day about his cat catching a vole in his backyard.  As cats like to do, it brought the vole inside as a special “gift” for his owner.  His six-year-old little girl saw it first and actually picked it up before anyone stopped her.  Turns out the little rodent had a bloated tick on it, and was probably infested with all kinds of other parasites like mites.  It was still alive when his daughter brought it to him, even though the cat had chewed on it a bit.  I have to admit, the image made me gag, but I know it happens.  I actually suggested to him, the best way to get rid of voles is to call in a professional wildlife removal service.  Oh, and tell his daughter not to pick up any wild animals, but I’m sure he’d already told her that.

Vole Trapping

Aaaah, this family here has no idea they should have someone come out and do vole trapping, and I am going to use them to my advantage!  Here, I’ll sit here with my cute little vole paws, my rounded head, my large ears, and my tiny little nose.  Yep, gets ‘em every time.  I’m so much cuter than a mouse, and I resent anyone who thinks I look anything like those common creatures!  Besides, I normally don’t even go into a human’s precious home.  That’s when they get really mad, when stupid mice get in their homes and run around like they own the place.

No, so much better to live in the wilds of the yard.  Especially this yard, where they let the grass grow long, which is just perfect cover for me to hide from those horrible beastly birds that eat my kind.  This yard has lots of beautiful places that provide cover, like that woodpile over there.  Not to mention that lovely, lovely garden full of tender little roots.  Delicious!

Vole holes are tiny enough that ignorant humans don’t notice them, not like those ugly gopher holes that have dirt thrown everywhere.  And, I’m cute enough that if a human sees me, they just think I’m adorable and leave me alone!  This family thinks I’m so cute that they even GIVE me food instead of doing any kind of vole trapping.  Fantastic!  Like this huge piece of bread here, for instance.  They saved it and tossed it in the yard just for me.  Sure, I’m careful before I grab it and eat, making sure it’s not bait for a vole trap, but it turns out they just want to watch me be all cute.  Well, I’m happy to oblige!

So, I’m assuming my tunnels running throughout their yard are completely okay.  They must not mind that some of the grass is turning brown, because I’ve killed the roots.  They must not mind that I’ve destroyed some of their garden plants.  I know they don’t mind, because they keep inviting me and my friends back with more food.  It’s a perfect situation for any vole to be in.

I’ll just bring some of this bread back to my family.  Some of them have gotten sick, and they’ll love the free food.  My vole uncle has a couple of ticks feeding on him, and I don’t think he’ll last long.  Who knows where those ticks will go to feed when he passes on.  Probably the family dog.  That huge snuffler keeps rooting around our holes, hoping to catch one of us.  Maybe he’ll get lucky one day.

But, until then, I’m just going to enjoy the good life.  Free food while the family dog is penned up inside the house, plenty of good water from the hose, soft dirt to tunnel in, and an excellent vegetable garden.  Gotta love a family who doesn’t believe in vole trapping.