Voles, sometimes referred to as meadow mice are small rodents that belong to the cricetidae family under the Arvicolinae sub family, with an average weight of an ounce and whose body length ranges from 4 to 7 inches. Their features include very tiny eyes, flat ears, blunt noses and very round bodies. Voles are quite diverse when it comes to their number of species as there are over 155 known to date spread all over the world, although the majority are exclusively found on the North American continent.
Voles’ main choices of food are plants, tree barks, roots and sometimes grasses, although they occasionally feed on dead insects as well. Voles have very terrible effects on plants as they use their special burrowing abilities to dig holes beneath a plant and gnaw away at its roots until it dies. They are extremely agile as they are able to make as much as 1.5 acre of land their territory. Their burrows are not only a major source of food for them but they also adopt them as their homes.
Voles which work tirelessly during the day play a very vital role in the dispersion of vital nutrients through several layers of soil as a result of their rampant rummaging.
Life Span and Reproductive Activities
Voles are among the most prolific breeders among all rodents, with the ability of sometimes giving birth over 12 times in a single year! And with an average of 10 litters per year, a female vole may end up giving birth to over 100 offspring in any given year.
They are also very quick to mature as a young vole takes only 1 month to transform into a full adult able to start reproducing themselves. However, their life span is not that long as rarely does a vole live for more than 12 months (especially smaller voles), as they averagely die between 3 to 6 months of birth. For their larger counterparts such as the European water vole, their life span is almost double that of smaller voles, with most seeing 2 winters in their lifetime. Generally however, most voles die before even reaching the age of maturity as they barely live a few weeks before death.
How to Get Rid of Voles Naturally
Getting rid of voles is no easy task, as the pests almost always manage to stay away from the public glare until the damage they’ve caused through killing plants and sometimes serious structural damages manifest itself. They are extremely harsh on plants and extremely difficult to control. However there are certain natural methodologies that prove extremely effective in repelling voles, some of them are:
Creating a Garlic Perimeter
Voles have extremely sensitive noses that they usually use in searching for food. They are extremely repelled by the strong smell of garlic that is why planting bulbs of garlic around your quarters which will grow and continue to re-grow with every passing year is highly effective in chasing them away. This method of repelling them is especially useful as it is very cheap and poses no harm to children or pets
One of the more reliable methods of eliminating voles is through the use of meshed wire baskets which are deployed as a perimeter fences around the roots of plants. Placing them at about 8m deep into the soil the cage wire restricts the movement of voles and eliminates those that come too close. It is however important to note that this method is rarely used as it is considered to be quite expensive
This is another highly effective natural way of controlling voles. A baited trap is usually positioned at the entrance of their burrow, and with the voles being voracious eaters, it is almost certain that the bait will attract some to be caught in the laid trap. The traps can be customized to either simply catch or go the whole length by eliminating them on the spot.
This is another method that is harmless to kids and pets. Vibration devices that oscillate after every 90 seconds are laid deep into their burrows to unsettle and chase them away. Although highly effective, this method is quite strenuous to maintain which is why it is rarely used except on very serious instances.
There are very environmentally friendly vole repellents that can be deployed with maximum effect. The natural repellents are usually made of different essential oils such as eucalyptus oil, neem oil, cedar, peppermint and vinegar. All theses oils and their smell are extremely disliked by the voles that then choose to leave their burrows and search for new homes with friendlier smells.