Voles
(Microtus agrestis)

Vole.jpeg

Voles dig burrows and tunnel systems that snake through the ground and feed on a variety of plants, which makes them a nuisance to landscapes, gardens, nurseries, orchards and agricultural areas.

Appearance
 
  • Bodies are 5-8in in length

  • They have short tails (less than half the length of their body)

  • Their bodies are round and robust with short legs

  • People often refer to them as meadow mice

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Voles are active both day and night, but especially during dusk and dawn. They build system of burrows, usually located just under the surface of the ground, often protected by storage buildings or piles of debris such as rocks, firewood or lumber. Voles dig tunnels from their burrows to feeding sites that appear to “snake” through ground vegetation. Several voles can inhabit one burrow system. Sometimes they inhabit vacant underground tunnels built by moles or other voles. They are food for owls, hawks, cats, snakes, raccoons and foxes.

Since voles like to live in grassy or weedy habitats with heavy ground cover they become a nuisance when they invade our landscaped lawns and gardens to feed on plants. They also eat a variety of plants which makes them pests in agricultural areas, orchards and plant nurseries. Occasionally voles may eat snails, insects and dead animal remains.

Reproduction

Voles breed year round. A female vole can have up to 10 litters a year with 5-10 babies per litter. Females start producing litters at 2-months-old.

Signs of an Infestation

You many see voles during the day, but the best infestation indicator is the surface of their tunnel system. If it’s an active tunnel, it will have evidence of cut or chewed vegetation and droppings along the tunnels. Vole droppings look very similar to mice droppings, cylinder shaped with multiple droppings at one sight.

Treatments

Since people often mistake voles for moles or mice, the prevention and control begins with an inspection by your pest management professional. After the inspection, your pest management professional will provide you with a plan to eliminate the infestation.