The toolbox: How to control voles

  • Updated: June 17, 2014 - 12:21 PM

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the toolbox

Controlling voles

Q: I have holes about 1 to 2 inches wide in my yard and this winter had tunnels through the snow. What could cause them?

A: It sounds like you have voles, said Marne Titchenell, a wildlife specialist with the Ohio State University Extension. Voles are sometimes confused with moles, but voles eat plant material; moles eat insects and earthworms.

Voles can damage plants by eating roots and other plant parts. They create surface tunnels in grass or snow and sometimes underground tunnels with openings.

Titchenell said you can catch the voles with snap-type mousetraps placed just outside the holes, baited with an apple slice or a mixture of peanut butter and oatmeal. Cover the hole and the trap with an empty, upside down plant pot to protect pets, children and other animals, she said.

Titchenell said you can also try using a rodenticide labeled for use on voles, she said, but it’s critical that you cover the bait the way you would a snap trap to protect other creatures.

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