Voles are field mice or rodents. Voles often move into an old gopher or mole runs and make it their home. Unlike gophers and moles they do not plug the opening. They make small holes in lawns and garden areas, keeping the opening clear for easy access. They eat all the grass from around the opening of their home for quick access in case of danger. This is a good way of determining if you have vole activity.
They are very mobile creatures, constantly moving and eating everything on their way. Voles are mostly herbivorous, feeding on a variety of grasses, herbaceous plants, bulbs, and tubers. They eat bark and roots of trees, usually in fall or winter. Voles store seeds and other plant matter in underground chambers.
Voles are active day and night, year-round. You’ll normally find them in areas with dense vegetation. Voles dig many short, shallow burrows and make underground nests of grass, stems, and leaves.
Several adults and young can occupy a burrow system. The size of the burrow system and foraging area varies with habitat quality, food supply, and population levels, but in most cases it is no more than a few hundred square feet.
Vole numbers fluctuate from year to year, and under favorable conditions, their populations can increase rapidly. In some areas their numbers are cyclical, reaching peak numbers every 3 to 6 years before dropping back to low levels. Voles can breed any time of year, but the peak breeding period is spring. Voles are extremely prolific, with females maturing in 35 to 40 days and having 5 to 10 litters’ per year. Litter size ranges from 3 to 6 young. However, voles seldom live longer than 12 months.
Voles are poor climbers and usually don’t enter homes or other buildings. Instead, they inhabit open areas or croplands adjacent to buildings or gardens and landscaped sites with protective ground cover. Most problems around homes and gardens occur during outbreaks of vole populations.
Voles cause damage by feeding on a wide range of garden plants including, but not limited to beet, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, and turnip. They also can damage turf and other landscape plantings such as lilies and ornamental grasses. Voles will gnaw the bark of fruit trees including avocado, almond, and apple, cherry, citrus, and olive. Vole damage to tree trunks normally occurs from a few inches aboveground to a few inches below ground. If the damage is below ground, you will need to remove soil from the base of the tree to see it. Although voles are poor climbers, if they can climb onto low-hanging branches, they can cause damage higher up on trees as well.
Vole damage: Showing numerous connecting tunnels and shallow burrows.
Gingrich Horticulture Service use bait that can be spread lightly on the lawn and the voles will find it and eat it and/or put some bait directly into the holes themselves. Some dogs find this bait attractive and it is recommended that you monitor your dog if we do treat for voles.SEE ALL PROJECTS