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Voles

Voles are small, mouse-like rodents that occur throughout most of North America. Though they commonly are called meadow mice or field mice, they are distinguished from true mice by their short tails (about one inch long), stocky build and small eyes.

Voles can cause problems by damaging lawns, gardens, tree plantings and other plants.

Vole damage to woody plants usually occurs during late fall through early spring. During these months green vegetation is scarce, so voles feed on woody plants, which they prefer less. Voles tunnel through snow, and may gnaw on trees and shrubs up to the height that snow accumulates during winter. Individual tooth marks (about one-sixteenth inch wide) may be visible on the wood after winter vole damage (Figure 4). Rabbits leave tooth marks that are larger, about one-eighth inch wide. The gnawing marks left by voles will be irregular in appearance and at various angles. Pine voles, and occasionally meadow and prairie voles, tunnel below ground and feed on roots of trees and shrubs.

The best time to treat for voles is in the fall. A high sulfur fertilizer in the fall will help deter the rodents. Also limiting plant coverings and mowing the lawn the last time at a hieght not greater than 2" will reduce the vole activity.  Trapping is the best method but their are many baits available.  You must follow the directions carefully. It will take anywhere from 6 weeks up to 4 months (in heavy infested areas) to reduce the vole population.