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Bait Station System

We Recommend Kaput Rat, Mouse and Vole Bait

Kaput is an EPA approved rodenticide for voles in all states.

Vole Facts - Questions & Answers


Do I have voles or moles?

Signs of Mole Tunnels
This picture shows signs of mole activity. Moles feed on earthworms and grubs in the lawn and their tunneling activity raises the soil into ridges. Their most active tunnels occur along a permanent structure such as a driveway or walkway. Below you can see the hills or mounds around their exit holes. Mole Mounds
Vole Tunnels and Burrow Entrance Holes
Here are pine vole tunnels just under the mulch and burrow entrance holes.

Moles and voles cause different types of damage. Moles make raised burrows in your lawn, ground cover, and shrub areas and their tunneling activity raises the soil into ridges. They are searching for worms and grubs to eat - not roots.

Voles on the other hand, cause damage to plants. They feed on plant roots, flower bulbs, your favorite hosta varieties, and the growing tissue of shrub and tree roots. Above ground foraging voles make clipped pathways in the lawn areas as well as gnaw and girdle trees and saplings at the ground level.

Below ground foraging voles such as the pine vole like to make tunnels or runs along house foundations, stone walls, and among perennials and groundcovers. They are also attracted to fallen birdseed from feeders. Look for their presence by locating their circular burrow entrances not more than 1" -1 ½" in size and by lifting mulch to reveal long narrow trenches or runways that are serpentine, and that wind around obstructions. A burrow system may house many voles. Their tunnel system makes the soil feel soft and spongy under foot. Many times moles are blamed for this damage because voles can use mole tunnels to reach plant roots and bulbs.

Surface Trails
Above ground foraging voles such as the Meadow vole, are found mostly above ground in taller grasses, lawns and cover. They make a network of surface trails in the grass and grass clippings or thatch that are linked to underground burrows.
Burrow Entrance Holes
A cluster of many burrow entrance holes is a common sight in lawn and pasture areas where Montane voles are present.


How did voles get in my yard?

Voles are part of the natural landscape. Voles can cause extensive damage when they move into our turf and landscaped gardens in search of food and shelter. Where you live and the surrounding habitat will determine what type vole may invade your landscape. Below ground foraging voles tend to be more abundant at the edges of forested land than in interiors. Homeowners living in wooded subdivisions are surrounded by the native habitat of voles. Each year young voles venture forth from their parent's nest and burrow systems to find their own territories. Newly planted landscapes, with succulent plants and mulch, provide ideal locations for establishing new colonies by dispersing voles.

Above ground foraging voles prefer open grassy pasture-like areas as well as orchards. Overgrowth and heavy vegetation surrounding lawn areas are ideal areas for voles to hide and invade your property. See Habitat Modification to learn how to help deter them.


Are there different kinds of voles, and which ones are most likely to damage my landscaped garden?

There are 23 species of voles throughout the United States with eight species that are most prevalent and cause significant economic damage. (See Vole -- Basic Information and follow the links to determine which vole type you are most likely to have.)

The pine vole and the meadow vole are two of many that can cause problems in home landscaped gardens. Meadow voles spend most of their lives above ground, living in and feeding on grasses, and they can girdle small trees and saplings at ground level. Tall fescue in orchards and lightly grazed pastures are typical habitats. Unless you have the conditions for the meadow vole to live, you are not likely to have problems with them, whereas the pine vole loves to infest our landscaped gardens. Pine voles spend most of their lives under the ground in burrow systems feeding on plant roots. The VOLE CONTROL Bait Station System is designed to control all vole types


What is a pine vole and what does it look like?

Pine Vole Pine voles (Microtus pinetorum) are rodents, commonly called mice. Their natural habitat is the shrubby edge between the woods and meadow openings where they dwell under the dense mulch. They are about 3 inches long, weigh 1 ounce or less, and have reddish brown fur, a short inch tail and tiny ears and eyes that are not visible. You are more likely to see signs of voles than the voles themselves, but sometimes you may see one scurry from one planting bed to another.

This is a shrew. A shrew will only eat insects and doesn't cause problems in the home landscape. It has dark grey fur, a pointed nose, and it doesn't have large front digging feet as does a mole. It can use vole and mole tunnels to get around. There is no need to try to control shrews.


What does a pine vole burrow system look like?

Vole Tunnels under Stepping Stones Imagine a network of winding trails or long narrow trenches or runways that are serpentine, and that wind around obstructions under the mulch and within a few inches of the soil surface, with the nest located centrally, about 12" under ground.


How many voles are there in a colony, and what makes up a colony?

There may be two adults, several juveniles, and a nest with up to 5 babies in a family colony. Adults are thought to defend their home habitat or territory from invasion by other voles.


What approximate size area does a colony of voles comprise?

A below ground foraging vole colony may occupy an area of 30 feet in diameter, or so. The shape of their home range need not be circular, but in orchards a colony claim the area within the drip line of a mature apple tree.

An above ground foraging vole colony may occupy a territory of 100 feet in diameter surrounding their burrow entrance.


Can below ground foraging voles travel above ground from one planting bed to another?

These voles do occasionally go above ground to explore new food sources and disperse to new territories.


Are voles active year round?

Unlike many other small mammals, voles do not hibernate. Instead, they are active throughout the year. And depending upon where you live, voles can have four or five litters each year, and in warmer climates can reproduce year-round. Due to this prolific ability to reproduce, voles can grow their population quickly.


Can I control voles under snow cover?

Trails left in lawn after snow melt
Notice the trails left in the lawn after a recent snow melt. Voles will move into areas that they usually will not if they are under the protection of snow cover.
(Picture provided by B. Gudddat)
Voles are active year round and can be controlled year round. When snow arrives, above ground foraging voles can tunnel under the snow and be protected from predators. These voles can destroy your turf as well as gnaw the base of your shrubs and trees. Close mowing in the fall before snow arrives can reduce damage to the lawns. It is best to anticipate vole problems and start controlling them before snow arrives. The Vole Control Bait Stations will work under snow cover for all vole types, however, if the snow is too deep (over 8"), you will be unable to monitor the stations effectively and access to replenish the bait will be inhibited.


Can I control voles with Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

You can deter vole populations and reinfestation, especially voles that forage above ground, by making their habitat less suitable for them. (See -- Habitat Modification)


What are the reproductive characteristics of pine voles?

Female pine voles have a gestation period of about 24 days, have an average litter size of 2.8, and produce four to six litters per year. They reach sexual maturity at 37 to 38 days and have a reproduction life span of 15 to 18 months. (You do the math. That can be a lot of voles!) Vole numbers fluctuate from year to year and under favorable conditions their populations can increase rapidly.


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