Biology of Voles • 2 species in SC • Pine vole (underground) - root damage • nests underground • Meadow vole (above ground) - trunk damage • nests above ground • Also called meadow mice • Short tails, small eyes, small ears • Both eat seeds, fruit, grass • Can breed throughout year (1-5 litters/year, 1-11/litter)
Vole Hole Identification: Voles vs. Moles Since voles are not the only animal pests responsible for runways in lawn and garden areas, they are often confused with these other pests you'd like to get rid of – namely, moles. Because both moles and voles are rarely seen, it makes more sense to base identification on the signs they leave behind, Moles produce two types of runways in your yard. One runway runs just beneath the surface. These are feeding tunnels and appear as raised ridges running across your lawn. The second type of runway runs deeper and enables the moles to unite the feeding tunnels in a network. It is the soil excavated from the deep tunnels that homeowners find on their lawns, piled up in mounds that resemble little volcanoes. These mounds are a dead giveaway that your problem is not voles, but moles. Voles leave no mounds at all behind.
Damage & Damage Identification • Can cause extensive damage • orchards, ornamentals, tree plantings, field crops, gardens, flower beds, lawns, golf courses
Damage & Damage Identification • Signs • girdling and gnaw markings • (1/8 inch wide, 3/8 inch long) • extensive runways • vegetation clipped near runways • spongy ground
Damage Prevention & Control • Exclusion • Hardware cloth cylinders • 1/4 inch mesh • bury wire 6 inches • not cost effective on large scale
Damage Prevention & Control • Habitat Modification • Reduces but not eliminate damage • Remove weeds, ground cover, and litter • Lawn & turf regularly mowed • Mulch cleared 3 feet or more from base of trees • Soil tillage destroys pine vole tunnels • Research indicates some species of grass (orchard) not preferred by meadow voles
Damage Prevention & Control • Frightening Devices • Sonic and other devices do not work! • Don’t waste money.
Damage Prevention & Control • Repellents • Taste • Thiram or capsaicin (hot ingredient in chilis) for meadow voles • Short-term protection at best
Damage Prevention & Control • Toxicants • Zinc phosphide baits most commonly used • Single-dose toxicant • Anti-coagulants • Multiply-dose toxicants • Placed in runways burrow entrance (MV) • Placement important for PV • Tunnel entrances • Cover with shingles or wood plank
Damage Prevention & Control • Trapping • Snap traps in runways & tunnel systems • Procedure for PV very important • PV bait with sliced apple, MV peanut butter/oatmeal mix • Fall and winter are best times to trap
Damage Prevention & Control • Other Methods • Predators • least shrew, owls, coyotes, foxes • cats • some dogs