How Dangerous are Voles – How to Get Rid of Them?

are voles dangerous

Voles belong to the rodent family and can be found throughout North America.

They are often confused with house mice. But unlike mice, they live in the outdoors and you will never find them inside a house or building.

You will generally find them in the gardens, meadows, woodlands, grassy fields, and also along the rivers and lakes.

Since voles are mammals, they usually make an underground tunnel and burrow to store food and to give birth.

Are Voles Dangerous?

Voles are generally not aggressive.

For this reason, they will always prefer to run away and hide rather than confronting humans, or pets like dogs and cats.

Though voles aren’t hazardous to humans, they may harm by spreading infection and various diseases through their feces and urine.

The fact is they can easily contaminate your property by introducing parasites through their poop.

These vole droppings are a threat not only for humans but also for cats, dogs, and other pets at home.

Voles also possess teeth and therefore can bite you if threatened, but it is very rare to see a vole biting someone.

Voles although are harmless creatures that don’t usually enter your house, can still be a disaster for your outdoors.

They may also damage your foundation, lawn, landscape, garden, plants along with all the veggies you have there.

Having said that, you should take immediate action to deal with them whether indoor or outdoor.

But, the fact that they are not much scared of people around makes getting rid of them difficult.

Signs of a Vole Infestation

Voles trespass properties that have big lawns or the ones sited next to golf courses and parks.

You can generally see them in colonies burrowing on areas that have a lot of vegetation to eat and can offer them good shelter.

The very first noticeable sign of a vole invasion is above-ground runways, tunnels, and golf-ball-sized entry holes that are dug down to a depth of about 12 inches.

It is used by them to travel and they also link the entry points of their burrows together.

The runways are around 1 to 2 inches wide and visible in grassy locations.

Many times, the tunnels of voles are hidden beneath mulch, shrubs, fresh grass clippings, or plant seeds.

Another essential sign of vole infestation is that you will see your plants and grasses wilted and turning yellowish. You will also notice a lot of droppings on active runways.

are voles poisonous

Steps to Get Rid of Voles in Your House

The first step to getting rid of voles is their identification.

Then only you can get rid of them.

Identify the type

In general, there are very few vole species that are found. Some of the most common ones in the U.S. include:

  • meadow voles
  • prairie voles
  • water voles
  • woodland voles

Species like the European water vole or the prairie vole are a bit larger than others.

Plus, there are a few differences found in the dietary preferences of certain species.

All of them are still omnivores and can feed on plants, worms, and underground lawn grubs.

What do voles look like?

Voles present around the world are of different colors, ranging from brown to black.

An adult vole is around 5 to 8 inches in length and it has a short furry tail.

They have a short and stout body with tiny legs, small black eyes, and well-developed ears which are only half visible.

Voles and moles also have very poor eyesight and they usually stay underground in their tunnels.

Once you know that there are voles present in your property (and nothing else), it’s time to follow certain strategies that can help you keep them away…

How to Get Rid of Moles and Voles
Vole digging ground

7 Ways to Get Rid of Moles and Voles in the Yard

You put a lot of effort and hard work into making your lawn better.

And it takes very few days to get a golf-course-like yard dream get shattered if voles and moles destroy it?

It can make anyone go mad but there are ways through which you can get rid of moles and voles.

Here is a complete list of options for you to choose – some a little humane, while others are the aggressive ones.

Find out which one of these home remedies is most suitable for you in winning the fight against moles and voles in your yard.

I bet some of these options may come as a surprise to you:

1- Noise

Usually, voles and moles cannot bear loud noise.

So, you can use portable radio, chimes, and other noise-producing objects to “shoo” them off your yard. 

Just put a radio in a Ziploc bag and keep it in the area infested by voles.

You can also place them at the entry and exit point of the mole tunnels keeping the volume up.

As they are sensitive to noise, they will get annoyed and deterred from entering your yard.

However, make sure that the noise isn’t very loud to annoy your neighbors.

Natural noise-making items such as wind chimes also work as a good option to irritate these critters and make them leave your property.

2- Plants

There are some plants like Crown Imperial, Castor Bean, Narcissus Euphorbia Lathyris, or Gopher Surge that help in deterring moles and voles out of your garden.

Usually, voles don’t like the taste and smell of them. 

So, it serves as a natural deterring agent to help you fight voles and moles.

All you need to do is get those plants installed strategically all over your yard.

It will not just enhance the aesthetic look of your yard, but also help you in getting rid of these varmints.

3- Fish scent

Voles don’t like the fish scent.

So, if you have a scrap of your fishing trip, then just keep it in their tunnel.

Just keep the left-over fish at the entry and exit points of tunnels and you will find them vacating the area in no time.

Though it may sound crazy, it also works as a hazardous pesticide for moles in your yard.

So, this non-invasive idea will literally help in keeping moles and voles at bay.

4- Pet waste

You would have no idea that your pet’s waste could be of any use to you.

But yes, it does help in battling against moles and voles. And I found it to be very effective.

Just like humans, moles and voles also hate pet waste.

Just place your pet’s feces at the entry and exit points (to block the holes) and you will not see these critters around your home.

Chances are these varmints will leave your yard and infest your neighbor’s yard.

5- Coffee grounds

A lot of people are unaware of it. But these critters can be repelled easily with coffee grounds.

Just put the used coffee grounds on the tunnel and cover it with mud.

The scent will irritate these varmints in the infested area and they will move out of their tunnels very fast.

This natural home remedy will not just help in eliminating moles and voles but also serve as a natural fertilizer to your soil.

If you want you can use it in combination with pet waste and plants to deter the moles from your yard.

6- Vehicle exhaust

The carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust is hazardous for moles.

Just flood their holes with it and make sure the gas doesn’t leak.

Also, ensure that the tunnels are fully covered. 

The hazardous emission will force the voles and moles to leave your yard immediately or it will kill them all.

7- Exterminate their food source

If there are a lot of lawn pests at your place, then moles get attracted to it quickly.

If you just exterminate their food, it will deter them all to find another area that serves as a good food source.

It’s a good idea to use a pesticide that can kill their major food supply like insects, worms, and grubs.

After the food supply is cut, if moles continue to make tunnels, you can sprinkle Whole Control Repellent in the places where there are still some holes seen.

Whole Control repels moles, voles in a much better way with its natural ingredients.

When should you seek professional help for stopping voles and moles damage?

Get it, you may not be able to get rid of these pesky pests without involving professional pest control help, especially when they are present in huge numbers.

The fact is it may be very tricky and daunting to prevent voles from invading your property and making burrows.

Therefore, in order to avoid any major problem or damage from voles in your building, you should immediately seek expert help.

As soon as you notice the first sign of voles on your property, contact them.

The professionals will primarily inspect your premises and look out for the areas where voles feed and reside and then choose human methods to wipe them out from your lawn, garden, or yard.

vole or mouse in house

Voles vs Moles: Are They Same?

Although these two lawn and garden pests are frequently mistaken for each other, moles and voles are not the same – but are different.

But the question is how to tell one from the other…

Voles vs MolesVolesMoles
ClassificationRodentsNot Rodents
ColorReddish-brown or black furMostly black or grayish
AppearanceRounded small ears, small eyes, and short tailPointed snouts, nearly invisible eyes and ears, large digging claws
NestsShort, shallow underground nestsDeep underground burrows
Mainly Feed onRoots, bulbs, bark, and plant seedsInsects, worms, and grubs in the garden soil

Can You Catch a Vole in a Mousetrap?

Using mouse traps to trap the voles in your yard or garage is generally the best DIY method of exterminating these stubborn creatures for good.

However, the only limitation to using this method is it’s very hard and time-consuming to catch a whole group of voles if they are present in huge numbers.

I have many times used these catch-and-release traps that can easily hold numerous moles at once. And it worked really well for me.

A door-style contraption can also be a good alternative.

This will trap the vole inside but not let them out very easily.

To get success with catching voles, you will need to be careful while positioning these mouse traps (and baits) accurately at the correct locations.

For capturing these creatures in the trap, you can use the baits like cream cheese and peanut butter which are among the favorite rodent foods.

Some of the best locations for placing the mouse trap for voles are:

  • Inside vole-hole entrances
  • Near the deck’s edge or under the porch
  • Outside in the yard along the foundation of your house

If you are pretty sure about the exact location of the voles, it’s good to place two traps end to end.

This will make the voles coming and going, trapping at the end.

Once you have placed the trap precisely, check the traps daily for the trapped rodents.

If you don’t find any of them in the trap after 3 days, you should place the animal trap at a different tunnel door.

Make sure you cover the traps properly in the garden so that you, your kids, or your pets don’t trap a toe accidentally in them.


How Effective is Plunger Style Mole Trap?

Catching a mole in a live trap is one of the most effective ways to control the mole population in your garden.

The plunger-style mole trap (such as Victor Mole Trap) is the easiest to set up and use. Plus, it’s easily available online for you to buy.

With some patience and practice, you can get success with these mole traps very soon.

The design of the plunger-style is good at working and will ensure that it eliminates moles in their tunnels whatever the conditions are.

One great thing about the Victor Mole Trap that attracts my attention is its weather-resistant spears which remain below the ground when you set the trap.

This means you do not need to worry about your children or pets getting hurt due to the sharp points of the spears.

Besides the above, using a spring-loaded prong or choker-loop trap are the few other ways you can try for removing the voles and moles in your garden.

Whichever trap you use, make sure that you learn more about them and tricks on how to use them.

trapping a vole in the house


Should You Use Poison and Insecticides for Killing Voles?

This option is a little dangerous and should be tried if no other home remedy works for you.

You just need to spread vole poison pellets or the baits in your back garden to allure the moles and voles.

For being effective, voles will need to eat them daily for a few days.

Baits like Mole Patrol or Talpirid Mole Bait may be helpful in killing moles. Few other vole poison products you can use are:

  • Kaput Rat & Mouse Bait
  • JT Eaton Bait Block
  • d-CON Bait Poison Station
  • Tomcat Killer-Grub shaped bait

It’s more effective than normal Zinc phosphide baits and is more convenient which most people use often.

You can also use pesticides (such as Talstar or Permethrin) in order to kill and eliminate all these pests from making burrows in your yard.

Moles hate its smell and feel very uncomfortable when it’s sprayed around. And hence they will be forced to move out.

Remember, you will need to be extra cautious in case you have pets and kids at home.

And if you do it cautiously it is the most effective way to deal with voles and moles.

Other Related Questions:

Can voles swim?

Most homeowners dealing with a vole problem don’t believe that voles can swim – but the truth is they can! 

In fact, there are many vole species that are known to be skilled swimmers.

The European water vole, for example, can swim up to 50 ft. underwater.

Can you drown a vole?

One of the most popular home remedies, people try for removing voles is to smoke or flood their tunnels and holes.

While this can possibly help by drowning these underground creatures and their nests, the task itself can be messy as it leaves your entire lawn muddy.

Also, since voles are good diggers and can swim across, they can dig deeper holes into the tunnel or can escape and create other tunnels in your garden.

To avoid escaping of voles, many people catch them first and drown them in a five-gallon bucket of water.

Will rat poison kill voles?

Poison bait for rats can kill voles and any other animals that will eat the bait.

Most of these poisons for rats, moles, or voles are anticoagulant that works by altering the blood-clotting abilities.

Since there are not many differences between these poisoning baits, voles will come and eat them when placed properly at a targeted location.

The Conclusion

Natural remedies are always better to try rather than kill the varmints. 

The truth is if you don’t take the step fast, these varmints will damage your lawn fast with their tunnel activity to look out for food and shelter.

Hence repelling them in every possible way.

Above are the natural remedies that will hopefully, help you in fighting against moles and voles so that they can no longer damage your golf course or a backyard. 

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