Vole Control

Scientific Names:

  • Pine vole, Microtus pinetorum
  • Prairie vole, Microtus ochrogaster
  • Meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus


  • Voles do not hibernate.
  • They also can live in a variety of habitats including marshy and dryland areas.
  • They are diurnal.


  •   vole run in grass. Univ. of Nebraska Photo
      Vole trail in grass
    Pine vole damage. Photo by Stephen Vantassel Vole damage in grass.
    Pine vole hole Prairie vole runway


tree girdling by voles. Photo by Univ. of Nebraska

  • Turf damage is usually temporary as roots rapidly grow into runways with the onset of spring.

Trees can also be girdled by voles underneath the winter snow.
Photo Credits:University of Nebraska

  • 1 to 2-in wide runways in turf;
  • Alfalfa, grains, potatoes, sugar beets consumption.
  • Burrow hazards


Control Methods

Misguiged Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Mow, till or burn habitat to reduce overhead or dense vegetation.

    Tree guard
    Description:Plastic wraps can prevent rodents from gnawing thin bark on young trees and shrubs during winter and early spring.

    hardware cloth to protect plants from volesHardware cloth
    Description:This useful material, also called hail screen, comes in mesh sizes down to 1/4-inch which are useful to exclude mice from young trees or shrubs.
    Photo Credits:Dallas Virchow


Frightening Devices

None found to be effective.



None that are effective enough


  • Not applicable


snap traps used for voles. Photo by Dallas Virchow

  • Low numbers or densities of voles can be trapped using "mouse traps" baited with peanut butter and oatmeal mixture.
  • Mouse and Rat snap traps
    Description:Voles can be captured best in the larger traps. "Museum special" sized traps are useful.
    Photo Credits:Dallas Virchow
  • Place traps in runways or along foundations: box traps or multiple capture traps for mice, glue swabbed inside 1 or 1 1/2 in. X one foot black plastic pipeVole trap set perpendicular to runway
    Photo Credits:U of Nebraska
  • snap trap in trail. Photo by Univ. of NebraskaMultiple-catch mouse traps can also be effective in controlling voles.





  • Zinc phosphide-treated baits, if legal, can be hand applied directly into vole runways, preferably before spring green up.


University Publications

Control Vole Damage, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln

Control of Voles in No-Till Corn--University of Tennessee Vole Control

Managing Voles in Colorado--Colorado State University Vole Control

Vole Control--Alabama University 

Vole Images--Washington State University 

Voles (Meadow Mice)--University of California

Voles in Orchards--North Carolina State University 

Voles in the Vegetable Garden, 1999--Rutgers University  




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