It is a fact that voles can drive gardeners and property owners crazy. Voles can be identified by the snakelike tunnels in your garden.
Voles and moles are not the same
You should not confuse between voles and moles although these 2 creatures have lots of similarities. Both of these creatures are in the habit of making tunnels through your garden. It might not be possible for you to observe either of them given that they are usually underground. However, there are some differences between them which will be known to you.
Voles feature small and rounded ears which are usually concealed by their fur along with short tails and small eyes. They usually have thick fur which is light brown or color. You will come across 2 common types of voles at present in North America, namely, the meadow vole and the prairie vole. They have plenty of similarities, and the control methods are almost the same as well.
In this article, we will mention some essential info on how to deal with voles in an effective way.
It might be the fact that one day you find your coveted azalea leaning in an abnormal fashion. When you inspect it more closely, you find that it is hardly attached below the surface. After pulling back the mulch you find that there is a small hole at the trunk’s base. You might be wondering what has happened out there. Your adorable plant has become the victim of a vole.
As mentioned earlier, voles are actually small-sized rodents similar to moles and are 4 to 6 inches in length with small eyes and short tails and feet. All of them love to consume all types of plant stuff including the roots, grasses, and bark. As a matter of fact, they are capable of devouring the plant’s root system in such a way that it will be lifted from the soil void of any roots at all.
Sadly, the perfect covering is provided to the creature by a thick mulch layer which extends up to the base of the plant. They are going to work best when they are undercover where they will be residing, breeding, and dining. The cover likewise helps the voles to remain concealed from the predators out there. Furthermore, voles remain active throughout the year causing extensive damage to the vegetation and also multiplying their population.
How to understand the presence of voles
Indications of the presence of voles consist of severed foliage, plants which are dying or already dead, and so on. Signs of vole droppings might likewise be apparent.
As a matter of fact, the options for controlling the population of these animals are somewhat limited. They are going to reproduce at a quicker rate as compared to human beings or the rate at which the predators consume them. Nevertheless, they become the easy targets of the animal hunters since their movement is quite slow. Clearing and getting rid of their habitats will be the initial line of defense. Leaf debris, weeds, and mulch covers provide a great covering for these creatures. Make sure to get rid of these within a couple of feet of the vegetation and this will reduce their activity in the area to a great extent.
An impractical yet effective method for safeguarding the plants will be to provide an obstacle around them, and this can be done by encasing the root area in hardware cloth or metal screening with a spacing of 0.25” to a perimeter barricade around the root area. Even though this method might prove to be effective for some prized plants, it isn’t that practical on a bigger scale or in an already existing landscape.
You will also come across other control methods which consist of trapping, modification of habitats, toxicants, as well as repellents. It is a fact that one can consider habitat modification to be the least effective way environmentally for dealing with the reduction of the population for these creatures. It is less likely for them to start living around your plants in case you are able to expose the voles to predators out there and also eliminate their nesting locations.
Trapping can be considered to be effective
You can also resort to trapping which can be somewhat effective as well. The usage of the standard mousetrap can prove to be a deadly process by positioning traps close to the burrow holes and baiting using apple pieces or peanut butter. Nonetheless, one can consider the method of trapping to be non-selective which can target other animals as well who might be beneficial to us.
Even though repellents can prove to be effectual for short periods, they need reapplication on most occasions, particularly in case the conditions are wet. One commonly used opponent happens to be Capsaicin which is used for making chilies hot. Other repellents consist of covered marble-sized balls which should be positioned near the entry point of the burrow. It is the smell of the repellent which is going to drive the animals away from that location.
Toxicants should be the last line of defense
One ought to consider toxicants to be the last line of defense. Despite the fact that they can prove to be effective, it is essential to check with your county extension service for seeing which of them are certified for usage in your particular state, if at all. The most typically used toxicant for controlling voles happen to be zinc phosphide which can give the desired results with only one application. Nevertheless, the poison baits can prove to be harmful to other animals which include even the ground-feeding birds. It is essential to bear in mind that one should use this method only as the last line of defense. The bait has to be glued into a PVC tube which happens to be several inches in length and approximately 2 inches in diameter and this will help to minimize the risk to other animals in the long run. This has to be placed in the burrow of the vole.
Last but not least, high-frequency devices which have been placed into the ground or scare tactics have not proved to be much effective when it comes to controlling voles, and as a result, these are not recommended for usage by any means.