Pest Profile: Voles
A vole is basically just another one of those little rodents that stirs up trouble in your yard. Though you may not be able to distinguish one from a mouse at this point, their behaviors are actually quite distinct and easy to spot-as long as you know what you are looking for.
Voles are small rodents that look a lot like mice, but upon closer inspection are shorter and stouter, with smaller eyes and ears. Females give birth to litters of 5 to 10 young, with a gestation period of only 3 weeks, which mean their populations grow exponentially if allowed to run wild. They love to eat small plants, including the roots or bulbs. If left with little other options, they will sustain themselves with the bark of trees or small shrubs. The gnawing pattern they leave on tree will leave a completely bare circle around the trunk.
Why They’re Pests
Voles’ voracious eating habitats can absolutely destroy gardens and lawns. They will leave visible trails of destruction across a lawn. Even when there are few plants to be found, they will resort to a practice known as girdling. Girdling, or tree barking, is when they eat strips of bark around the circumference of a tree. Oftentimes this practice is lethal for the tree.
Are They Dangerous?
Voles have such limited contact with humans that when left alone they pose no threat to us. However, they can become a danger when we try to handle them or if we corner them. This is because when in a situation like this they may bite-and like all rodents, they have powerful and sharp teeth that you don’t want touching your skin.
Do They Carry Disease?
Voles are known carriers of two diseases: tularemia, or Francisilla tularensis, and Yersinia pestis. The second one is better known as the plague that once wiped out a third of the European population. This is another excellent reason to not want voles in your yard!
Vole removal can be quite difficult, especially considering how quickly they can infest your yard. Even leaving one can cause the infestation to return in full force within a few months. Luckily, there are experts who can professionally remove your vole population. If you notice your yard being destroyed by what seems like voles, contact a professional wildlife removal company to come and help you out. They can remove or exterminate your vole population and offer you tips on how to exclude voles from your yard in the future.