Voles chew on the roots of our plants, but often go unnoticed for a long time. The water and nutrient supply breaks down more and more and the unsteady plant finally dies. To prevent further damage, they must be tracked down and expelled from the garden as quickly as possible. The smelly butyric acid is a good helper when used against voles. Read here what must be observed when using them.

Voles are smell-sensitive animals

Deep in the dark earth, voles can’t get very far with their eyes, so they evolved to have a fine nose. It is the smell that guides them to the delicious roots. Mice seem to fare similarly to humans in the world of smells. We love some scents, while others make us downright sick. This circumstance can be of advantage to us when driving away the mice. It’s better than trying to kill those creatures.

Butyric acid: first odorless, then fragrant

In its original form, this acid is odorless. However, when it comes into contact with water and oxygen, it reacts, developing a strong scent. This intense “stench” is hardly bearable for mice, but also for us humans. It is reminiscent of rancid butter, which is where the name of the acid comes from.
When used as a control agent, this acid is initially odorless and only develops the typical and useful smell in combination with moist soil.

Where it is most effective

In order for the acid to have the desired effect, it must be placed in strategically appropriate locations. Of course, it is not possible to completely wet the burrows of the voles with it. They are endlessly long, their course is not immediately recognizable, and they often lead directly below the plants.

  • Acid use must focus on the exits
  • butyric acid is distributed there
  • Fragrance spreads into the interior of the corridors
  • the mice flee as soon as they sniff the scent

Benefits of this acid

The advantages of using butyric acid against voles are obvious:

  • it doesn’t kill the mice
  • still works effectively
  • “gently” get them to leave the garden
  • is a comparatively cheap means

However, in order for the mice to be able to find their way out, at least one of the exits must remain free of butyric acid. Select this exit from a strategic point of view. The closer to the edge of the garden it is, the better. After all, the mice should run away and not hide somewhere in the garden and dig new passages.

Procurement and storage of butyric acid

If the advantages of the acid are also convincing for you, you can find numerous sources of supply for it on the Internet. It is delivered in well-closed bottles and therefore does not give off any unpleasant smells.

As long as the acid does not come into contact with water and oxygen at home, there is nothing to worry about when storing it.

  • Store acid in the original packaging
  • out of reach for small children and pets
  • in a well-ventilated room
Note: Also make sure that the butyric acid cannot be accidentally knocked over.

Lurking human health hazards

Butyric acid, which offers us many advantages as a vole control agent, also has some disadvantages. Although it is not life-threatening for humans, the associated health risks should not be underestimated. Before you use them to repel voles, you should find out about these disadvantages in detail.

  • invisible vapors can be inhaled
  • this irritates the airways
  • dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting may occur
  • the sense of taste and smell can be affected for days
  • it can lead to dry cough and lung damage
  • Acid can also get on the skin
  • it has a strong caustic effect
  • Skin irritation and allergy-like rashes are the result
  • in the worst case, there is a risk of chemical burns

If these disadvantages are far too deterrent for you, you should avoid using this acid altogether and look for an alternative control method.

Precautions in use

The health hazards listed above will certainly only occur in their full extent and severity if larger quantities are used improperly. But even small amounts must be kept away from the body.

  • wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants
  • Protect hands with gloves
  • Put on goggles
  • use respiratory protection if necessary
  • take your time and work with concentration
  • Do not leave bottles open or unattended for long

Application step by step

  1. Before you start work, you should first protect yourself adequately against the lurking health hazards. Put on appropriate clothing and take other precautions as previously described.
  2. Gather some towels, a shovel, and the butyric acid.
  3. Keep an eye out for vole burrows, which lie close to the surface and are easy to spot with a little attention.
  4. Use the spade to clear the passages in several places. Be careful not to destroy the corridors themselves, otherwise the mice will not be able to escape as planned. Hurry up with the work so the voles don’t have a chance to reseal it.
  5. Identify an exit through which the mice should escape to the outside. It should be as close to the property line as possible .
  6. Start applying the butyric acid. The holes furthest from the escape exit come first.
  7. Dab some acid on a cloth and stuff it into the exposed passage. You can also cover the exit with some earth.
  8. Close all the exits one after the other and quickly, except for the one escape exit.
Tip: Moles don’t particularly like the smell of butyric acid and are therefore also recommended for combating them.

Repeat eviction if necessary

The use of butyric acid against voles can be described as a “gentle” repellent method because the animals stay alive. This circumstance can be associated with disadvantages. The question arises: How far have the voles moved from their own garden?

If the escape route taken by the mice was only a very short one, they could soon be recapturing the garden with a new gangway system. Therefore, remain vigilant in the time after the initially successful fight. Keep an eye out for new mouse holes and check your plants for feeding damage. If some mice have returned, you would have to repeat the procedure promptly and, if necessary, increase the dose slightly.

Voles usually come in large numbers and have an insatiable hunger for roots. Both have a devastating effect on our lovingly cared for plants. Butyric acid drives away these annoying pests with their terrible stench, but it is not entirely harmless to our health. If a few important precautions are observed, nothing stands in the way of the application.

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