Meadow Vole Issues? Here’s the Top Tips to Protect your Yard

By Allison Clayton

You’ve worked hard to maintain a healthy lawn or backyard, and it’s disappointing to see your efforts disturbed by outdoor pests!  Meadow voles are pesky animals that eat grass, roots, and bulbs. These pests can wreak havoc in your yard by destroying the lawn and creating unattractive holes and trails on the grass. To protect your backyard and plants, check out these tips to keep meadow voles at bay.

What is a Meadow Vole? 

While they make look similar, meadow voles aren’t mice. These rodents prefer to spend their time outdoors, even in the winter. These voles create extensive tracks through your yard as they forage for food. While you’re more likely to spot the rodent aboveground, these trails connect to underground burrows that they can disappear into. 

They can live around a year, but most won’t live longer than 4-6 months, as they have numerous predators like owls, foxes, snakes, and domesticated cats. Pest control efforts also result in their lifespans being cut short.

Despite similar names, voles and moles are highly different. Both animals can damage your yard, but that’s where their similarities stop. Moles are larger mammals that feed on insects, while voles feast on seeds, grass, and plants.

Some voles may consume their young, but these tiny pests primarily prefer eating vegetation.  Using their long snout and sharp claws, moles tunnel underground, searching for their next meal. Instead of long trails, moles will kick up unsightly mounds of dirt.

A mole crawling out of a dirt mound beside a picture of a meadow vole hiding in leaves.

Because they spend most of their time hunting for food underground, a mole’s eyesight isn’t the best. What they lack in eyesight is made up of their other senses, like hearing and touch. Unlike most voles that live together in family units, moles tend to live alone.

While a handful of moles can occupy the same area, they won’t live close together.  In fact, moles and voles alike will aggressively defend their territory against their own species if they believe another is encroaching on their space. 

Fixing Vole Damage

As a meadow vole burrows through the ground, it will create aboveground tracks in your grass. Oftentimes, this can rip up the vegetation and expose the soil. If you take great care to preserve the appearance of your lawn, it can be an inconvenience to repair your hard work once as a vole scurries underfoot. 

Not only can a vole destroy your grass, but these pests can leave a serious impact if you have crops on your property as voles will snack on the seeds, roots, and bulbs of plants. A  vole can make a significant dent in your backyard garden when left unchecked.

The damage may leave you feeling discouraged, especially if you take great care of your lawn and garden. However, there are ways to restore your hard work!  If a vole has dug up the grass around your home, rest assured that it will grow back in time.

These pests cannot cause any significant damage to your lawn, and you should notice the reemergence of new grass within a few weeks. Damage during the winter may take longer to repair itself, but you will begin to notice a change in your yard when springtime rolls around.

If you want to jumpstart the growth process, you can always reseed your lawn or add sod.  If you’re weighing your options on lawn care after vole damage, check out this article from the University of Minnesota. This will give you more information on what process will work best on your property.

Unfortunately, if a vole has caused damage to shrubs or trees, there’s a chance you can’t salvage the plants. Once a vole destroys the roots or bark of a plant, it will die soon after. When a vole is ruining your garden, focus on removing the problem pests. 

Preventing Voles from Burrowing on my Lawn 

Because these pests can cause significant damage, it’s wise to prevent them from settling on your property. However, there’s no exact way to stop these tiny creatures from visiting. 

Unlike many common insects repelled by pesticides, voles aren’t impacted similarly. Despite this, you can take certain precautions to make your lawn more inhospitable to meadow voles, like these:

  • Regularly mow your lawn
  • Reduce the amount of mulch around your garden and yard
  • Prune shrubs and bushes 
  • Line your garden with fencing or gravel to prevent voles from digging inside
  • Avoid using bird feeders as the fallen seed will attract voles
  • Use plastic or mesh guards on young trees

These suggestions won’t completely prevent voles from visiting your property, but these methods could encourage them to stay elsewhere. Use these tips to protect your property and limit the damage these pests can cause. 

Can I Get Rid of Voles? 

Voles are tricky rodents to combat alone. Repellents with castor oil can help once you figure out where they are nesting. Meadow voles will avoid areas sprayed or soaked with repellent as they do not like the smell of castor oil.  Poisons can be an effective tool to eliminate pests, but you should be cautious when using potentially dangerous products.

Other animals, including your pets, could stumble upon the poison and get sick from consuming it. You can place traps in your lawn or garden to catch them in action, but you may ensnare other animals if you use spring traps. Watch this video to learn a safe way to catch voles with spring traps. 

If you are looking for a more humane solution, you can utilize live catch and release traps. Place bait inside one of the traps and wait for a meadow vole to climb inside. When they step on a pressure plate, they will be locked securely inside. However, these methods may not eliminate all of the voles on your property.

Because these little pests prefer to stay covered underground, it can be hard to pinpoint their nesting spots. When you’re unsure about how to combat pests, contact a qualified pest control company like proof.!

Servicing over 100 locations across America, we can tackle the pest problems in your area. Our trained technicians will come and easily remove voles from your yard and return if any pop up after. Give us a call today to reclaim your lawn and keep it looking its best! 

Call proof. pest control at , or send us a message online.