Voles can be quite the pests. They make passageways and holes in grassy areas and chew on the roots and trunks of trees and plants. When cold weather and snow set in and vegetation is at a minimum, voles frequently do damage to tree trunks and roots, oftentimes killing them.
It is best to use traps to control small infestations of voles in the yard. Rodenticides are also used as vole bait. Simple practices can be done to help reduce the number of voles in the yard. Getting rid of weeds and thick ground cover helps reduce the yard’s ability to support voles. Grass should also be cut on a regular basis.
For infestations with only one or two voles, mouse snap traps may also be used. The traps should be placed perpendicular to the area where the voles run, with the trigger side in the runway. Apple slices or oatmeal and peanut butter combination serve as effective baits. The best times for trapping voles are during the fall and late winter months. If a large number of voles are infesting the yard, trapping is not an effective control method.
The most popular control method used is zinc phosphide. The baits are placed in burrow openings and on runways. Zinc phosphide baits may be harmful to ground-feeding birds, particularly waterfowl. Putting the baits into burrow openings could lessen the hazard.
Anticoagulant baits may also prove helpful in controlling voles in the yard. They take from five to 15 days to be effective, and multiple feedings are required for most anticoagulants to be successful. Remember to adhere to the label when using any pesticide or rodenticide.