Voles are small rodents distinguished from mice primarily by being stockier, having shorter tails and darker fur. Similarly to mice, they have a high reproductive potential, culminating every few years in an explosion of voles, which is currently causing problems for farmers and homeowners throughout Camrose, regardless of where you live and your proximity to natural areas. Feeding primarily on grasses, voles will also eat the bark and roots of young plants when food is scarce, especially during the winter. The most obvious sign that voles have moved in to your yard is the small burrows that they dig, connected by surface tunnels they build and maintain in vegetation and other objects in your yard. Also look for droppings and fresh grass clippings along these tunnels, a sure sign that the voles are active.

Since voles prefer to remain under the cover of long grass, weeds, and other objects, one of the simplest ways of keeping your yard vole-free is clearing any debris from your lawn and mowing your grass, especially around the plants you want to protect. If you have plants with special importance, wire cylinders placed around trees will prevent voles from getting at them. Set the cylinder 4-6 inches into the ground and have the top extend above the snowline for the best protection. Unfortunately, during years such as this when vole populations are larger than usual, you might still end up with an infestation doing damage in your yard. In this case, traps are the easiest and safest method of controlling these pests. Large mechanical and repeating traps do exist, but your typical mousetrap will do just fine. Larger mousetraps will work better, but the most important variable is where you set your traps. Their burrows and runways are high-traffic areas, so placing the traps by the entrance to a burrow or along the runway will give you the highest chance of success. Check traps frequently and replace in the same spot until you stop catching voles. Increase your success by camouflaging the traps by placing a cardboard box or other container over the trap, leaving holes to funnel the voles into your trap. You can also add a peanut butter and oatmeal mixture or apple slices to the trap, but this poses the risk of attracting other animals like birds, dogs, or squirrels. Being small rodents, voles have many predators, including garter snakes and birds of prey. If you see these animals around, try not to scare them off, as they are helping control your vole problem!

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