What Are Voles?

What Are Voles?

Voles

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:

Size:

Voles are typically smaller than rats and mice, measuring around 4 to 8 inches in length, including their short tail.

Appearance:

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.

Diet:

Voles are herbivores and primarily feed on plants, grasses, and the roots of vegetation. They may also consume seeds and fruits.

Habitat:

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.

Reproduction:

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.

Behavior:

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:

Vegetation:

Voles are attracted to lush vegetation, including grasses, plants, and the roots of shrubs and trees.

Ground Cover:

Tall grass, dense vegetation, and cluttered areas provide hiding spots and protection for voles.

Harborage:

Piles of debris, woodpiles, and overgrown vegetation create suitable habitats for voles.

Food Sources:

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:

Tunneling:

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:

Habitat Modification:

-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.

Exclusion:

-Use fencing or barriers to protect vulnerable plants and create physical barriers to discourage vole activity.

Trapping:

-Live traps or snap traps can be effective for capturing voles. Proper placement and baiting are crucial for trap success.

Rodenticides:

-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.

How Alta Pest Control Protects Your Home From Pests

All of our treatment plans are customized to your home and yard. We do this to ensure that you get the exact coverage you need to keep your home safe. All of our technicians and inspectors are experts in their field, so you can be sure that you are getting top-tier protection.

01
Inspection

One of our expert technicians will inspect every inch of your home and business for pest activity. Then they will create a custom plan based on their findings.

02
Initial Service

Once your custom plan is created, we will treat your home and yard to give you immediate relief from pests. Then, we will create a boundary around your property to prevent more pests from entering.

03
Follow Ups

After the initial service, we will conduct regular maintenance to ensure that your pest problems remain solved. We will also conduct free inspections for problem pests, such as termites.

04
Alta Guarantee

When it comes to pest control, we put our money where our mouth is. If we treat your home, and you're still seeing pests, we'll come back and retreat for free. We'll always have your back.

FAQs About Voles

What Attracts Voles to Your Property?

Voles are attracted to properties for various reasons, and understanding these factors can help in implementing preventive measures. Common attractants include:

  1. Vegetation: Voles are herbivores and are attracted to lush vegetation, especially grasses, plants, and the roots of shrubs and trees.
  2. Ground Cover: Voles prefer areas with sufficient ground cover, providing them with hiding spots and protection from predators.
  3. Harborage: Tall grass, dense vegetation, and cluttered areas create suitable hiding places for voles, encouraging their presence.
  4. Food Sources: The availability of food sources, such as seeds, bulbs, and plant roots, can attract voles to gardens and landscaped areas.

Are Voles Hard to Get Rid Of?

Voles can be challenging to get rid of, particularly when their populations are high. They reproduce quickly, and their burrowing and tunneling behaviors make them resilient. Effective vole control often involves a combination of strategies, including:

  1. Habitat Modification: Reduce ground cover, clear tall grasses, and maintain a well-groomed landscape to minimize hiding spots for voles.
  2. Exclusion: Use fencing or barriers to protect vulnerable plants and create physical barriers to discourage vole activity.
  3. Trapping: Live traps or snap traps can be employed to capture voles. Proper placement and baiting are crucial for trap effectiveness.
  4. Rodenticides: Baits containing rodenticides may be used with caution. However, it's essential to follow safety guidelines and use them responsibly to prevent harm to non-target animals.

What Do Voles Hate the Most?

While voles do not have specific dislikes, there are some scents and substances that may deter them:

  1. Repellents: Some commercial repellents with natural ingredients like castor oil or peppermint oil may have a deterrent effect on voles.
  2. Predator Urine: The scent of predator urine, such as that from cats or owls, may signal danger to voles and discourage them from the area.
  3. Garlic and Chili: Planting garlic or chili plants in your garden may help deter voles due to their strong odors.

Are Voles Good or Bad?

The assessment of whether voles are considered good or bad depends on the context. In natural ecosystems, voles play a role in nutrient cycling and seed dispersal. However, in urban or agricultural settings, voles can be considered pests when their activities lead to damage to crops, gardens, or landscaping. Effective vole management involves finding a balance between their ecological role and minimizing their impact on human activities.

How Long Do Voles Live?

The lifespan of voles can vary based on factors such as species, environmental conditions, and the presence of predators. On average, voles have relatively short lifespans, and their survival is influenced by several factors.

In the wild, the typical lifespan of voles is around 2 to 16 months, depending on the species. Meadow voles, for example, may live for about a year, while other species may have shorter or longer lifespans.

Voles face various threats in their environment, including predation by owls, hawks, snakes, and other carnivores. Additionally, environmental conditions, availability of food, and competition with other voles can impact their longevity.

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