Tag Archives: voles

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.

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.

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.