Voles (not moles)

(Question)

I have voles in my vegetable garden. Last year they nibbled on patty pans. This year they have taken up residence in my asparagus bed. Any suggestions as to how I can get rid of them? I am in Newmarket Ontario.

(Answer)

Voles and similar rodents can be controlled in many ways.  One of the ways to minimize populations is to clear dead brush and leaves from your property.  Keep your grass trimmed and avoid open sheltered areas that may be attractive to them (ie: under a shed).  Block those off with wire screening.

There are many poisons and traps available on the market.  There are organic options that contain castor oil which makes the voles itch.  Spread the organic deterrent from the inside of an area out as opposed to a ring around an area.  A ring would trap the voles inside instead of allowing them to leave the area.

If you elect to use traps, use snap traps around the entrance to their burrow and camouflage them with a rock or pail.  Voles are sensitive to light and the shade of an object gives them a false sense of security.  Bait the traps with bird seed.  Check the traps in the morning and carefully remove any dead rodents.

Live traps are another option but probably not a good one since it isn’t nice to send your voles to your neighbour down the street.

There are also sonic devices that use high-pitch frequencies to remove rodents of all sorts.  They claim to be inaudible by the human ear however, some are quite annoying.  They also tend to cost more than other alternatives and may require running electricity to the infected area.

All the above-mentioned products should be available at any hardware store.

Last and very effective is to have an outdoor cat or two.  Remember to spay or neuter your cats to avoid feral populations.