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Voles are kind of the outdoor version of your friendly neighborhood house mouse. Voles need vegetation to live to be senior citizens, although for the vole, the average lifespan is only about three to six months. Voles hang out in weedy gardens, abandoned fields and fallow plots, giving them easy access to their vegan diet of vegetables and grains.
The pesky vole can cause extensive damage to your property when they dig for bulbs or underground food, such as roots or potatoes. This is why you’ll want to know how to repel voles if you have them. Voles are firm believers in the concept of strength in numbers, as they reproduce up to 10 times a year at an average of five young per litter. These extended vole villages wreak havoc on your landscape and gardens where there are thick layers of mulch.
How to Trap a Vole: Tips for Vole Trap Setting and Placement
One of the best tips for vole trapping is to use a live vole trap that has small openings, such as the Havahart® X-Small 2-Door Trap. Another of the important tips for trapping voles is to place the trap where you see the activity, as voles rarely venture far from their home. Because of their typically large numbers, one or two vole traps usually won’t get it done. Some vole trapping experts say that placing 12 to 24 vole traps for two to three weeks is the only way to make a dent in your vole invasion. But if you set that many vole traps you need to be sure you’re able to monitor all of them and check them frequently for a catch so the vole isn’t stuck in the trap too long.
Best Vole Bait and Vole Baiting Tips
If you want to know how to trap voles, you also need to know how to bait the vole traps effectively. The best bait for voles includes bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds, mixed peanut butter and oatmeal or gumdrops. When baiting vole traps, make sure you put the bait in and around the trap.
How to Deter Voles
You can avoid having to trap voles by keeping them away in the first place through the use of a vole repellent. Choose a repellent that contains capsaicin, one of two registered active ingredients proven to repel voles. Another of the vole repellent tips is to use granular repellent to create a perimeter of protection, while using liquid to protect large areas. The best vole repellents last up to 30 days, and target their keen sense of smell and taste.
You can also make your own vole repellent by combining ingredients like eggs, red pepper sauce, garlic and water and spraying the mixture in the vole’s habitat. However, this method is time consuming and the results aren’t always the best.
Voles can also be kept at bay by eliminating weeds, ground cover and litter around lawns, gardens and crops. You can try using hardware cloth cylinders with mesh ¼-inch or less in size to protect seedlings and young trees. Bury the wire six inches in the ground.