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Get Rid of Voles

Get Rid of Voles
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VoleWe’d like to get rid of voles in our yard without using poison, as we have rabbits and other animals around. — M.S., Westford, MA

Voles (field mice) build tunnels in the landscape and lawn and can cause considerable damage to root systems, stems, and other plant parts. Vole populations are cyclical and encouraged by weeds, heavy mulch, dense ground cover, and even snow, all of which provide shelter. Maintain open ground around your plants to reduce damage. Mesh fencing, trapping, live removal, and various methods of repelling are other nonpoisonous options. But these methods can be difficult, time-consuming, and often unreliable by themselves.

Eradication is the surest control and, with some precautions, can be accomplished relatively safely without poisons. Try setting a mouse-type snap trap, baited with peanut butter or bacon, perpendicular to the largest runways. Position the trigger at the middle of the run. A wire hoop over each trap helps keep nontarget animals away.

Use multiple traps when activity is highest, usually in early spring or late fall, for best results. Natural predators such as owls, foxes, hawks, snakes, cats, and even coyotes may also be helpful in controlling vole populations.

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