Dispatch Voles

Trap the Vole to Kill It

Voles are fairly easy to trap if you have an idea of where they hang out.

Snap Traps - The traditional “mouse trap” still works. An effective way to reduce voles through trapping is to buy a large number of snap-traps and plan a one or two night massacre. Buying a few traps and expecting to catch voles over a long period of time does not work as well. Bait the traps with tiny pieces of apple. A good technique is to bait the traps for two or three nights without setting them. Then when you finally do set the traps, you'll catch the voles by surprise. Unlike the mice, voles require a different system of trapping. First identify the runways they are using. It will be a beaten path inside a tunnel. Look for pieces of food they have been eating inside their tunnel. Dig out a small area in front of each tunnel, set a trap in each excavated area and cover it with a piece of wood or cardboard. Bait the trap with small pieces of apple.

Live trap - If you use a live trap it must be baited with chunks of apples and must be covered so the trap is in the dark. Use a piece of board or cardboard, but don’t let light in. Use a live trap measuring 2 X 2.5 X 6.5 inches. Set it the same way as the snap trap.

Glue Trap - Besides the basic mouse trap there is also a product on the market called a glue board. This is a sheet of extremely sticky material that literally stops voles in their tracks when they try to run across it. These do not work as well for voles as they do for mice. Use trap this as a last resort.

Since so many inventors have tried to “invent a better mousetrap”, there are many models and designs on the market. They usually will work on voles as well as on mice if they are baited and set properly.

Encourage the Predators of the Voles

Natural predators of voles , which include owls, hawks, foxes, snakes, and cats, can help keep down the population. Cats, especially, are natural rodent predators. A spayed female cat is a better hunter than a tomcat. Having a few voles around is not a great problem. The problem arises when they reproduce and begin to cause more than casual damage.

Avoid Using Poisons

Several products are available at hardware and garden centers for poisoning mice and voles. They consist of grain or pelleted food materials dosed with strychnine or an anticoagulant. We do not recommend using these products in the home landscape. They may be appropriate for commercial settings, but not in an area where there are pets and children. Using poisoned baits risks secondary poisoning of other animals. Poisoned rodents may wander about in the open, to be eaten (and poisoned in turn) by predators or household pets such as cats. Traps are easy to use and are very effective. We like traps over poisons.

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