Voles are small, burrowing rodents that belong to the Arvicolinae subfamily. They are often confused with mice and rats due to their similar appearance, but voles have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Voles are sometimes referred to as meadow mice or field mice.
Key features of voles include:
Voles are typically smaller than rats and mice, measuring around 4 to 8 inches in length, including their short tail.
They have stocky bodies, short legs, and furry tails. Their fur can vary in color, ranging from brown to gray, and they may have a slightly rounded snout.
Voles are herbivores and primarily feed on plants, grasses, and the roots of vegetation. They may also consume seeds and fruits.
Voles are well-adapted to a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows, orchards, and gardens. They create intricate burrow systems with multiple entrances and runways under the surface.
Voles are prolific breeders, and a female vole can give birth to multiple litters each year. The gestation period is relatively short, contributing to their ability to quickly establish populations.
Voles are active year-round and do not hibernate. They are known for their rapid tunneling and burrowing activities, which can lead to damage in agricultural and landscaped areas.
While voles play a role in ecosystems by contributing to soil aeration and nutrient cycling, they can become pests when their populations grow excessively and cause damage to crops, lawns, and gardens. Effective vole control often involves a combination of trapping, habitat modification, and, in some cases, the use of rodenticides under proper guidance to manage their impact.
What Kinds Of Voles Are There?
There are several species of voles, each with its own characteristics and habitat preferences. Some of the common vole species include:
Meadow Vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus):
Also known as the field vole, meadow voles are widespread in North America. They prefer grassy habitats such as meadows, fields, and grassy marshes. Meadow voles have a brownish fur coat and a relatively short tail.
Prairie Vole (Microtus ochrogaster):
Found in the central United States, prairie voles inhabit grasslands and prairies. They have a compact body, short tail, and a brownish fur coat.
Woodland Vole (Microtus pinetorum):
Woodland voles are often found in wooded areas, shrublands, and grassy habitats. They have a shorter tail compared to other voles and a brownish-gray fur coat.
Montane Vole (Microtus montanus):
Inhabiting mountainous regions of North America, montane voles are adapted to higher elevations. They are known for their thick fur, which helps them withstand colder temperatures.
Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius):
Unlike other voles, water voles are semi-aquatic and are found in wetland habitats. They have a more robust body and a shorter tail. Water voles are native to Europe and parts of Asia.
European Pine Vole (Microtus subterraneus):
Common in European coniferous forests, the European pine vole is adapted to burrow underground. It has a compact body, short legs, and a short tail.
These are just a few examples of vole species, and there are many more distributed across different regions. While they share some common characteristics, the specific behavior, habitat, and appearance of voles can vary among species. Understanding the particular vole species in a given area is essential for implementing effective control and management strategies if they become pests.
What Causes Voles in Your Yard?
Several factors can contribute to the presence of voles in your yard:
Voles are attracted to lush vegetation, including grasses, plants, and the roots of shrubs and trees.
Tall grass, dense vegetation, and cluttered areas provide hiding spots and protection for voles.
Piles of debris, woodpiles, and overgrown vegetation create suitable habitats for voles.
Voles are herbivores and are drawn to areas with abundant food sources, such as seeds, bulbs, and plant roots.
What Damage Do Voles Cause?
Voles can cause various types of damage in yards and gardens:
Voles create extensive burrow systems and runways under the surface, leading to the destruction of lawns and landscapes.
Girdling of Trees and Shrubs:
Voles may gnaw on the bark of trees and shrubs near the ground, causing damage known as girdling. This can lead to plant stress and even death.
Feeding on Roots and Tubers:
Voles feed on the roots and tubers of plants, impacting the health and growth of vegetation.
How to Get Rid of Voles?
Controlling voles involves a combination of preventive measures and targeted strategies:
-Reduce ground cover and maintain a well-groomed landscape to minimize hiding spots.
-Clear tall grasses and remove debris that can serve as harborage for voles.
-Use fencing or barriers to protect vulnerable plants and create physical barriers to discourage vole activity.
-Live traps or snap traps can be effective for capturing voles. Proper placement and baiting are crucial for trap success.
-Baits containing rodenticides may be used with caution. Follow safety guidelines and use them responsibly to prevent harm to non-target animals.
Professional Pest Control:
-Seek the assistance of professional pest control services for a comprehensive and effective solution.
-Alta Pest Control specializes in vole control, offering tailored solutions to address specific needs and ensure the eradication of vole infestations.
Alta Pest Control's Vole Control Services:
Alta Pest Control understands the challenges posed by vole infestations. Our experienced technicians employ targeted strategies, safe methods, and comprehensive inspections to address the root causes of vole-related concerns. With a commitment to customer satisfaction and a focus on personalized solutions, Alta Pest Control is your trusted partner in achieving a vole-free yard. Contact us today to reclaim your outdoor space and benefit from our expertise in vole control.