Lawn rodent control

Asked January 5, 2018, 9:27 AM EST

Small holes (1-1/2") and runways spreading all over my lawn. What can be done to control rodent infestation?

Benton County Oregon wildlife damage management voles horticulture

1 Response

Hello, sounds like you have a vole problem. Unfortunately, they are tough to control with their populations explosively increasing some years and dipping in others. There are some things you can do to reduce their numbers. Number one is keeping your grass cut short. Pull tall weeds and rake mulches back from the base of shrubs. Wood piles and compost piles also provide shelter for them. These critters are active day and night and do not hibernate, unfortunately they breed all year. They need cover to protect them from predators. Voles are preyed on by a wide variety of other creatures, owls, hawks, snakes, foxes, neighborhood cats, and herons etc. Shorter grass and reduced dead plant material exposes them and helps predators find them. Cleaning up leaves and dead plants and raking mulches and leaves reduces their hiding areas. Voles often attack shrubs and tree barks often girdling them causing death of the plant. Keep shrub foliage off the ground and protect bark with hardware cloth to discourage them. If your lawn does not have inground irrigation pipes you may want to consider tilling the area of the damage; collapsing their tunnel system will discourage them and even possibly kill some of them. Set mouse traps PERPENDICULAR to the path of their tunnels. Peanut butter or a mix of peanut butter and rolled oats will work as a bait. I recommend you put a box over the traps to prevent unintended victims, refresh bait often. Toxic baits are not a good solution in lawns as children and pets could be exposed. Fumigants do not work well as there are so many entrances and open trails that the chemicals will dissipate before reaching a concentration necessary to work. Consider a predator perch conveniently located for birds of prey to survey the affected area. I attached a file that gives you more information about voles.

http://icwdm.org/handbook/rodents/Voles.asp