Asked April 30, 2020, 11:27 AM EDT

When the snow melted this spring we discovered extensive vole damage. They are destroying our mature shrubs, trees and ground cover. I have researched online and tried every trick suggested. I haven't caught one vole! I am frustrated at what I have purchased meanwhile the devastation continues. There are some areas more removed that the voles have not discovered so I am hesitant to use repellents because it will push them to simply relocate to other areas of my yard.

Oceana County Michigan

1 Response

We appreciate your patience in receiving this response. Voles likely did a lot of the damage you describe during the winter when there was snow on the ground. During winter, they tunnel out from the ground and into the snow banks in search of food. They can potentially girdle many types of trees and shrubs as far as the snow reaches. Once the snow melts, they retreat into their underground tunnels, but they can still damage underground roots, and come above ground to damage the lower bases of woody plants as well as eat other plants. Although the resource below is from California, it has a variety of ways you can try to deal with them. Perhaps you have already tried some? If so, the best recommendation is one that I give for moles: Set the old fashion traps - mouse traps in this case (as opposed to deterrents). Many of the chemical and noise deterrents are not very effective b/c they only work across a small distance. Some folks have tried running hoses down through the tunnels to flood them. If most of your damage occurred during the winter, be sure to protect tree and shrub trunks in the later fall by wrapping them, preferably with vinyl/plastic tree wraps, but remove the wraps in the spring to avoid insect infestation.