The Q&A Archives: Getting rid of voles

Question: I have identified that I have at least 1 vole in my fenced raised bed garden in a small area. I thought it might be a chipmunk - it wasn't. There is no grass. The garden is all flowers, bulbs, trees and shrubs. I currently use other indect and disease control along with Bayer systematic yet this is has no effect. In virginia what can I use to eliminate this problem that does not involve traps. Thank you.

Answer: I'm afraid there are no registered controls registered in Virginia other than trapping. According to Virginia Tech, "Voles infesting ornamental plantings and flower gardens may be trapped using standard house mousetraps. Special care is necessary to locate tunnels in which to set traps. The tunnels are in the grass thatch or just beneath the surface of the ground. Bait the traps with peanut butter, or small slices of apple that include part of the skin. Place the peanut butter on the underside of trap trigger to prevent voles from stealing the bait without
springing the trap. The trap should be placed at right angles to the line of-the tunnel in an area that has been excavated to allow the trap to rest flush with the bottom of the tunnel. The trap should be covered to keep the trap in darkness. The entire area suspected to be harboring voles should be trapped using at least one trap per 100 square feet. Check the traps daily. Bury the dead voles and reset the traps. After a week of trapping, the number of voles caught per day should be near zero. If not, continue to trap until none are caught. When no additional voles are caught, remove the traps and leave covers for future monitoring. In the fall and early spring, check for voles by placing apple slices in tunnels. Check the slices 24 hours later. When tooth marks appear, repeat the trapping process.

Meadow voles can be trapped by setting traps at right angles to their runways in the grass. No excavation is necessary to set the trap. Trapping conducted in these ways can be as effective as control based on chemicals, but trapping is much more
labor intensive. However, some homeowners may want to try chemical control, but a certified-pesticideapplicator license is required to obtain and use most of the effective rodenticides. When using chemical baits, always carefully follow the instructions on the label to avoid injury to yourself, other people, and to pets and
wildlife that are not causing damage.

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