Your landscaping could profit from vole control, but you don't wish to take the measures discussed on Page 3 to kill the pests? You want to just drive them away, or at least keep them at arm's length? Then the pest control products for you to consider are vole repellents and rodent-proof garden fencing.
Thiram-based vole repellents such as Shotgun Deer and Rabbit Repellent may be effective against these pests, but they need to be re-applied frequently, since they dissipate with rain. The need for repeated applications raises another problem: meadow mice become accustomed to the smell, reducing the effectiveness of the vole repellent. Keep in mind as well that thiram should not be used on garden plants. Because of the latter restriction, I'd recommend predator urines instead as the vole repellent of choice. Predator odors are most displeasing to voles. Fox and coyote urines can often be bought at trapper supply houses.
Wire mesh garden fencing (hardware cloth) can be wrapped around the base of a young tree in winter to keep voles from gnawing at its bark. Garden fencing can also be placed around garden plants, to protect their roots against voles. Make sure to bury such fencing products at least a few inches (but a couple of feet is preferable, to be on the safe side) beneath the ground surface.
Fumigants and ultrasonic repellers, however, are not effective against voles. The network of tunnels made by the vole is just too extensive for these pest control products to be of much use.
Removing Live Voles: Havahart Wire Traps
Besides fences, a humane option is live removal of voles. You can trap voles and remove them from your landscape, using a small live-trap, such as is put out by the Havahart Company. The problem with these Havahart wire traps, though, is that you still have to get rid of the live vole after you’ve trapped it. In some states animal relocation is even prohibited. So if you don't want to exterminate voles, and if you don't want to repel them, you may have to just live with them....
"What's the big deal, after all?" some may ask. "How can it hurt your landscaping to have some little mouse-like pest running around?" To be sure, for those who love wildlife more than landscaping plants, voles probably are not that big a deal. Indeed, deer pose a much greater threat to landscaping than do voles; yet many diehard wildlife-lovers are perfectly content to provide Bambi with snacks. Different strokes for different folks! Obviously, the present article has been geared to homeowners who wish to protect their landscaping. Those who do not share this wish need no advice from yours truly (or anyone else) on the matter of pest control. The latter group of readers, however, will be glad to know that I have future articles planned for attracting wildlife....