Every homeowner deserves some peace of mind, especially given the hard work put towards ensuring you have that dream house for yourself.
This peace of mind, however, as we shall proceed to see, has remained an elusive concept, regardless of the many efforts by various homeowners.
More often than not, if you are not dealing with revolting kids, abusive spouse, stalking neighbor, defiant pets or a merciless burglar, then you can be certain you will be dealing with rodents such as voles and this article is about how to get rid of voles to get your peace of mind back.
What Are Voles
Though they may appear identical to rats, voles are actually quite different from them. They may be identified by their runways and openings to their burrows, as well as small brown droppings they do deposit on such runways.
How to get rid of voles From Your House And Yard?
Tidy Up Your Yard
Voles prefer to hide in dense ground cover as well as lawn debris. Therefore, you can make your yard less inviting to them by weeding and mowing your lawn. The lawn and the bush mowers can come in handy here. When done with mowing, you can move on to transfer the debris to a safer place where you can get rid of it either by scattering, burning or digging underground.
Enmesh Your Trees
Voles will likely damage the bark of your trees and may lead to the eventual death of such trees. You can however counter this by surrounding the lower trunks of your trees as well as your shrubs with a loose cylindrical wire mesh. The wire mesh needs to be slightly buried into the ground and should stretch to a short distance above the snow line. This measure will not only ensure you protect your trees but also push voles away from your yard, since it will deny them something to feed on.
When enmeshing your trees, however, always ensure you keep the mesh a safe distance from the tree itself, so it will not interfere with its growth and expansion. This is why this method of vole control is recommended for mature trees only.
Fence Your Compound
Since voles are notorious for burrowing, you can prevent their entry into your yard by surrounding your yard with a barbed and mesh fence. The fence needs to be dug to a near gravel depth, as this will considerably hamper the voles’ burrowing efforts. The size of the mesh and barbs in the fence should also be put into consideration – always look out for smaller mesh and sharp barb fence.
Line The Raised Beds
In case you have raised beds, you will need to line them before adding soil to prevent burrowing activities. The most effective way of achieving this is surrounding the beds with mesh.
Create Counter-burrowing Buffer Zones
You can reasonably diminish voles’ burrowing tendencies by creating buffer zones. The most effective way of achieving this is surrounding your yard or plants with gravel soil, or using a product known as volebloc. However, since it may be difficult for them to gnaw on coarse soil, voles are known to be creative, and they may decide to walk straight into your yard. However, since they are afraid of open spaces, you can still create buffer zones by plowing or graveling a buffer strip around your yard or trees. You will have to make the distance between the strips long enough to deter them by ensuring that if they gain access, they will be exposed into the open for a time long enough for them to be spotted.
Keep Mulch Back
Their temptation to burrow and munch on trees is often kindled by the sight of mulch piles against the shrubs and tree trunks. You can avoid this by keeping such mulch at a considerable distance [ at least 3 inches] away from the trees. If at all possible, get rid of the mulch permanently.
Till Your Yard
By ploughing or tilling, you reduce cover vegetation. Since voles like to hide in cover vegetation, they will be forced to look for a habitat elsewhere. Another important function of ploughing is the disruption of their tunnels, which in effect hampers their communication and access to each other, and in turn will cause them to move.
This is by far one of the most ingenuous ways of removing voles from your house or yard. This method ensures you actually get to the vole, either dead or alive.
Here, you can either use mouse traps or humane live traps.
When using the trap method, it is important to note the time and season for trapping voles. Voles are known to burrow during the fall, and for good reasons – this is often the opportune time to find matter from the trees and shrubs to munch on. With regards to time, research has it that voles are more active in the early morning and in the early afternoon. Timing, therefore, is the primary factor in setting up traps for voles.
Another factor that should be put into consideration when using this method is the inability of the trap to scare away other voles. If at all possible, the trap should be large enough to ensnare a good number of voles in one go and should be made in such a way that the voles will not even realize they are entrapped.
The last and the most important factor of using the trap method is that the kind of trap used should not be one that can ensnare little children or other vulnerable pets or livestock.
Where and how should a vole trap be placed? The trap should be placed directly in their runway, and in such a way that it’s perpendicular to the runway, and its trigger points in the direction of the vole’s path.
Do you need to bait?
Voles are typical rodents and as such, gnawing is their second nature. In order to improve the effectiveness of the trap, ensure you add food baits to it. If you have a regular diet preference, chances are the voles in your yard may have already been accustomed to the kind of food substances they scavenge on in your litter bins. In this case, give priority to these kinds of foods as bait. However, if you are a free eater, it means the voles may not have acquired a specific taste of food remains in your litter bins and as such, the most recommended food baits would be apples or peanut butter mixed with oatmeal.
There are many brands of traps in the markets today. Some of the most common ones include: cage traps, slide traps, noose traps and snap traps. The type of trap to be used will be determined by the size of vole population in your yard as well as the number of burrows built by them.
How to get rid of voles using baits
Poison The Voles
This is a very effective way of reducing the population of voles from your yard and house, because you are guaranteed of death in the event the voles take the poisoned baits.
Like the traps, the poison substances should be kept directly in the vole runways and near their burrows.
This method, however, has serious drawbacks. First of all, you have to be sure that the vole will get to the poison before your children, pets, livestock or birds get to it. Some of the vole burrows may not be so hidden, and the poison may just be consumed by an unintended victim. When administering this method therefore, it is imperative to engage the services of a qualified drugs and poisons expert, pest control professional as well as an animal specialist.
The second drawback to using this method is that you have to determine the actual size of voles in your yard so as to be aware of the amount of poison you will require. This is necessary as it is not recommended for any kind of poisoned to be stored for future use due to health and safety concerns.
The third disadvantage of this method is its detrimental exposure to plant life, in the event of rain. This may cause permanent environmental risks to the plant life in your yard, which in turn may spill over to yours as well.
The fourth drawback to using this method as a means of vole control in your house or yard is that in the event the method is not incorporated with trapping, it may be a serious pollution to the environment around your home since the air will be filled with stench of rotting vole carcasses you are yet to locate.
The last disadvantage to using poison as a way of removing moles from your house or home, is merely the difficulty with which it may be to obtain such poisons, based on the legislation in place that may hinder such procurement.
All in all, poison method can still be used to eliminate voles from your house or yard, even though it requires caution and precision.
When choosing vole poison baits, always look out for the Warfarin-based such as :Rodex or D-Con.
Fumigate The Voles
Fumigation may be very effective in the house but not at all effective outdoors.
When dealing with voles inside the house, fumigation can be very effective. Often, this technique is coupled with smoke bombs. The procedure basically involves: closing all the ventilation points and then unleashing the fumigant, waiting for a considerable length of time before accessing the house, opening all the ventilation points upon return to the house and lastly, checking for possible deaths caused by the fumigant. It is however important to note that smoke bombs are not encouraged for indoor use.
When applying this method outdoors, one needs to put into consideration the porosity as well as the extensiveness of the vole burrows. As such, you will have to ensure you conduct the operation across several areas of your yard to be sure of effectiveness. Here, the smoke bomb technique can be applied as long as the cartridges used are not highly flammable and the area is not so dry as to trigger a fire.
This method has obvious drawbacks as the fumes from the fumigant or the smoke bomb used may cause direct respiratory problems, not to mention the long term effect to the soil, and hence plant life.
Another drawback to this procedure is that when used indoors, there may be severe instances of contamination to the food substances or clothing, hence rendering them unfit for consumption or wear.
Some examples of fumigants that may be used in vole control are :trichloroethyne, sulphuric fluoride, phosphine, paradichlorobenzene, chloropicrin and hydrogen cyanide.
Like the name suggests, repellents basically act as push factors for voles in your house or yard. By using repellents, you actually try to keep the voles away by sending them a message you or something they don’t like is watching or following them.
When dealing with voles inside your house, you can use repellents such as sprays and ultrasonic devices.
However, when dealing with the voles outside your house, the most recommended repellents are predator urines. Voles will surely avoid your yard when they pick up the smell of cat or fox urine.
This method, however. has major drawbacks too. First of all, the repellent used has to be frequently changed and reapplied. This is necessary for the voles may get used to a particular smell that it may not scare them any longer.
The second drawback to this method is that it may be very difficult to obtain certain repellents, say cat or fox urine.
The last method in getting rid of voles from your house or yard, is by minimising wastage and dumping. If at all possible, ensure that you only dump that which is utterly useless, as well as taking up proper dumping methods such as underground digging and dumping in closed cans and bins.
This will reduce the attraction the waste causes on the voles in terms of food and hiding places, and they may just have to move elsewhere.
Voles are indeed a menace, though they need not be. From the above methods, it can be seen that their removal from your house or yard is merely a do-it-yourself kind of operation. Try one of these and you may just overcome that one last hurdle to your peace of mind.