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Getting rid of voles

 
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I am having trouble with voles this garden season. We noticed one when we were cleaning up aorund the garden last fall, but I have noticed some holes around our yard back by the raised beds and a few in my raised bed where my Lemonbalm is. Any idea on getting rid of these before I plant my main garden? I don't have a dog that can get them, and my husband is allergic to cats, so this idea I can't use either.

Thanks
 
Posts: 15
Location: Southeast NE - Zone 5b
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Carla Terry wrote:I am having trouble with voles this garden season. We noticed one when we were cleaning up aorund the garden last fall, but I have noticed some holes around our yard back by the raised beds and a few in my raised bed where my Lemonbalm is. Any idea on getting rid of these before I plant my main garden? I don't have a dog that can get them, and my husband is allergic to cats, so this idea I can't use either.

Thanks



I also have a flush of vole(s) this year, with at least 10 holes around my garden shed. I am doing my best to ignore them, so long as they leave the garden alone, which they seem to be so far. I am leaving the grass longer between the shed and my garden, which I hope will bring in more snakes to snack on the rodents. Not sure if this will work or not. Edit: This is probably bad advice, given Skandi's post.



I have heard* that castor oil is effective in "smoking them out". Won't kill them, but will make them want to leave. I haven't done this but may try if they move into the garden.

*Source: https://www.gardensalive.com/product/voles-these-little-rodents-can-do-a-lot-of-damage  [organic (not permaculture) radio show]

 
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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We have cats and various birds of prey and we still lose a huge amount to voles. The best things we have found are to keep the vegetable area clean, i.e very short grass no thick mulches no hiding places. we also bought some traps that go into their tunnels. you find one of their holes then trace the tunnel back, use the "corer" that comes with the trap to dig a hole into the tunnel and then place the trap down into it. It sits across the tunnel and catches anything coming through the tunnel. We make sure to place ours far enough back from the entrance so it can't catch cat paws.
Between cats, birds and traps we can keep the damage to a minimum, we have both water voles, feild voles and bank voles. we've only put the traps in the latter two's tunnels and water voles tunnels are much larger and deeper, we have to rely on the cats to keep them down.
 
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Carla, I was reading this and remembers your thread so I thought I would share this lady's remarks HERE.

Rose said "Dave in camas talks of moles bothering the roots of his plants.. Euphorbias are said to put off burrowing rodents and so is the very smart bulb fritilaria imperialism



This sounds like a great suggestion for voles and this is a very pretty flower.
 
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Location: Clackamas County, OR (zone 7)
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My wife and I managed to regain control of our garden with ordinary mouse traps. A few bucks for traps and a jar of cheap peanut butter is all you need. Our garden beds looked like swiss cheese at the end of last season, so we put out about a dozen traps (in a 1600sq ft garden). Once you catch a critter next to a hole, plug the hole up and move on. We used little flags to keep track of the traps. Persistence is key; ants, slugs and other things will eat the bait, so you need to keep resetting them. We caught proabably 10 mice for each vole, so it seems like the voles must be making the tunnels, and then mice move in. At any rate, we caught over 50 vermin, and now the garden is free of holes. Our traps are strung out on the perimeter now, but we barely catch anything anymore. When we were first starting, I once caught 4 mice in a single day.
 
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What type of traps do you use? Brand name? Thanks, Peter
 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Do you catch other things in your traps? I must confess I've caught a couple snakes and birds in the traps we set out for mice in our garage. I worry that willy nilly putting them in the garden would catch more snakes, I'm fine with catching the birds.

I've not found a vole or ground squirrel solution. They dig up and eat everything. I can't win.. We do have cats now so maybe they'll help.
 
pollinator
Posts: 262
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
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We had a lot of vole damage over the winter so I scoured the Permies forums looking for ideas. This thread https://permies.com/t/89883 prompted me to build a Kestrel house. I still see no signs of occupancy but I know that they are in the neighbourhood.
Kestrel-apartment.jpg
[Thumbnail for Kestrel-apartment.jpg]
 
Carl Nystrom
Posts: 43
Location: Clackamas County, OR (zone 7)
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We just used generic mouse traps; the wooden and metal ones. I think a 4 pack is like 2 dollars. There was a certain amount of collateral damage. I caught a few birds, and towards the end of the campaign I caught a handful of shrews. I am not sure how long it will take for rodents to attempt to recolonize, but at least now I am starting from a clean slate. It should be a lot easier to see new activity, and target the pests with more accuracy.

An air rifle is a good way to deal with ground squirrels, although they are also pretty easy to trap in a "humane" trap. I say humane in quotes because I usually want them to wind up in my compost pile, but killing a trapped animal feels rather unsportsmanlike.

I choose to see animal pests as being somewhat akin to weeds. If they are causing problems, you got to take them out. I do like the thought of encouraging their natural predators. I might try putting up a perch of some kind to try and encourage birds of prey to do some of the work for me.  

 
pollinator
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Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
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We also use snap traps. To keep other critters out of the traps we make a trap "cage" from 1"x2" mesh fencing (orientation of the mesh is with the 1" dimension of the fence mesh as the width and the 2" dimension is the height) about 6-10" tall and the diameter less than 12" so an old plate will fit on top to be a roof. The plate keeps rain off the trap, which will sometimes trip the trap, and keeps birds out. Rodents can get into the cage easily but birds are almost never a problem. Also, toads tend to be wider than 1" and so stay out of the cage. The trap can't be hauled off by the rodents and they are easy to spot in the garden. We usually put out about a dozen traps starting in mid June and run them until the root crops are harvested and in the cellar. We often catch several each night. Without traps the sweet potatoes, beets, potatoes, and several other crops aren't possible. You do need to do a trap run daily, rebaiting if necessary as some bugs will also eat the peanut butter. It also helps to reduce habitat by keeping pathways mowed, getting rid of cardboard or plastic mulches, etc.
 
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