If you've deduced from Page 1 that you don't currently have a vole pest problem, it's a good idea to learn how to keep it that way! Prevention sure beats battling lawn and garden pests after they've already arrived. By taking preventive measures, you can stick to purely natural pest control, which is beneficial both to your health and to the health of the environment. Natural pest control can also save you money, since you won't have to go out and buy pest control products. I'll have more to say about natural pest control against voles in a moment. But first, let's find out exactly what kind of damage voles do to your lawn, garden and landscaping plants.
Voles can burrow into the root systems of landscaping shrubs and trees, causing young specimens to experience dieback or to begin to lean. These rodent pests will also gnaw on a tree trunk and at the base of a shrub. In addition, voles damage the roots of perennials such as hosta plants, spring bulbs, and the root crops in the garden, such as potatoes. Mainly, however, voles eat the stems and blades of grass. And the runways they leave behind in the process make for an unsightly lawn.
Natural Pest Control Measures Against Voles
A vole pest problem is most likely to arise in yards where voles have abundant amounts of vegetation and debris to hide under and build their nests. If you keep your garden weeded, avoid planting dense ground covers such as creeping junipers, and keep your lawn mowed, you're less likely to have to worry about voles in the first place. That's rule #1 of integrated pest management (IPM): preventing pest problems through foresight, rather than waiting for damage to occur and then killing pests as an afterthought.
But it's not just vegetation that voles take shelter under. Because vole gnawing will cause damage to trees and shrubs, you have to be particularly careful about applying mulch too close to trees and shrubs. Voles will be emboldened by the presence of a deep layer of mulch. Even in winter you're not home-free with respect to potential vole damage; voles will use snow as cover to perpetrate a furtive attack on your landscaping. So try to keep snow cleared away from shrubs and young trees. You can also protect young trees by wrapping the lower trunk with wire mesh.
But what if it's too late for preventive integrated pest management measures? If your landscaping is already being damaged by voles, you need to consider vole eradication. Voles can be removed humanely from a yard by using Havahart live-traps, exterminated by using mouse traps or poisons, frustrated by garden fencing, or driven away with vole repellents. I begin a discussion of these tactics on Page 3....