As mentioned on Page 2, voles can do significant damage to your landscape, so the need for eradication should be taken seriously. In implementing do-it-yourself eradication tactics against voles, or "meadow mice" your first choice is between:
- Exterminating the voles that are damaging your landscaping.
- Repelling the voles or keeping voles away from plants with fences.
- Live removal of voles from your yard.
Supplies for Do-It-Yourself Extermination: Poison Baits, Mouse Traps
If you select extermination, you must then decide between poison baits (rodenticides) and traps. Zinc phosphide-based products such as ZP Gopher Bait are commonly used home rodenticides for vole control. But the two best-known brand names in the poison bait industry, d-Con and Rodex, are Warfarin-based. Warfarin is a blood anticoagulant, causing internal bleeding and hemorrhaging leading to death.
Poison baits are, of course, potentially hazardous to other wildlife, children and pets. If you place the poison bait directly into burrow openings, the hazard is reduced. Another tactic the do it yourselfer should consider to make poison baits less hazardous is to place them in bait containers.
Trapping Voles With Mouse Traps
Mouse snap traps can be used to trap voles. Situate the trap perpendicular to the vole runway, aligning the trap's trigger with the very path the vole must take in using the runway. Peanut butter is an excellent bait for trapping voles. The best time to trap is either autumn or late winter. Like poisons, however, these traps can be dangerous for other wildlife, children and pets. To minimize the risk, place the traps under boxes.
The key to success in trapping is determining where the voles on your landscape are most likely to be passing by -- that's where you want to locate the trap. The widest vole runways are indicative of heavy traffic. Another good indicator is if a runway is heavily soiled with vole urine and feces. Use these same indicators for ideal placement of your poison baits.
On Page 4 we'll consider less hazardous ways for handling vole pest control....