Voles, also known as water voles, are actually quite cute little animals. However, nobody wants them in the garden, because they can cause some damage to fruit trees, berry fruit bushes, ornamental trees, flower bulbs, perennials and vegetable crops. Since voles do not hibernate, they are in search of food all year round. It consists of purely vegetarian food, i.e. roots, rhizomes, onions and tubers. Young plants with delicate roots are particularly popular. The damage usually occurs unnoticed, often during the winter. One is then surprised that the trees, bushes and plants no longer sprout in the spring and then the damage is discovered. Voles in the garden are a major nuisance, but there are a number of things you can do about them. Many resort to dangerous means to combat voles, although they want to catch and drive away the animals instead of killing them. How to avoid this? Continue reading!
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The vole has a blunt head and small ears hidden so deep in the fur that they are barely noticeable. The fur color varies from brown-grey to red-brown. Even black mice have happened. The body length of a vole is about 15 cm. The tail is about half as long.
Voles raise up to five litters of young each year. All animals have their own burrow. You can imagine how branched out the tunnel system is in a very short time. Fresh, moist soil is particularly popular with voles. They like ditches, meadows and light deciduous and mixed forests.
Detect vole infestation
Voles make mounds of dirt in the garden similar to the mole. Most of the time, however, these heaps are not quite as high. The most important distinguishing feature is that the hole is not in the middle of the pile, but is offset to the side. The whole hill looks slightly askew. In addition, such a mound often contains roots and plant parts. The vole exits are at least three inches wide, more tall than wide. It’s different with the mole . Its passages are usually round or rather wide than high.
To determine whether voles are active in the garden, you can easily help yourself. You open the aisles, calmly everyone who can be found. The corridors must be uncovered over a length of about 30 cm. If they remain open, they are no longer used. If, on the other hand, they are locked, it is clear that the corridor is being used. Then you can start fighting there.
When to fight voles?
In principle, you can fight voles all year round. It is good to get rid of them before they start having offspring. If you want to use bait, you should try it in winter. Voles are also out and about in winter because they need food. The supply is limited, which is why they are much better at bait. In summer it is difficult to control voles.
Ways to combat voles
There are several ways to control voles. You have to know that you usually only achieve short-term success. Voles move in again, from the neighboring property, from the nearby field, from the forest and and and. You have to fight on a very large scale if you want it to have any success. Also, there is no method that is 100% safe. In addition, many products do not live up to their promises. You lose money, but what is more important to many, time.
Many hobby gardeners swear by home remedies to drive away voles. Buried surfaces, imperial crown onions, dog hair, feces and other means should help. Odor and noise development can work, but it doesn’t have to. Users have already had a wide variety of experiences. None of the means are reliable and people are often more bothered by them than the mouse.
Bait is placed in traps. There are different models. Traps are placed in the mouse corridors. They are fitted into the aisle openings or placed close to the aisle opening. Apples, potatoes, carrots or celery serve as bait. The problem is that voles are put off by the human smell. Mice won’t go for anything that smells like humans. It is similar with new traps. You can prevent the foreign smell by rubbing your hands completely with earth or by wearing gloves. Leave new traps outside for a while, exposed to wind and weather. Metal devices are often coated with a film of oil. This must be washed off thoroughly with an odorless cleaning agent!
- A distinction is made between trap types.
- There are traps that can be walked on from one side and from both sides.
- Bucket traps – with bait, high-impact catch, kills safely and quickly, place directly in the aisle, costs around 4 euros each
- Tube traps – live trap, two trap openings, insert in passage, works without baiting and tightening, check daily, because it can trigger without catching and then no longer works, prices between €3.50 and €4
- Sugan vole trap by Neudorff – box trap made of plastic. Can be cocked with just one hand, kills with a fall bar, bait trap, approx. 7 to 10 €
- Wire traps – e.g. Bavarian wire trap, install directly in the corridor, cover with a piece of grass, kills quickly and reliably, costs about 3 euros
- SuperCat – baited trap, baited with sex attractant, safe for humans and animals, ready to use quickly, easy to use, quite effective, almost always kills reliably, 3 to 10 €
- Topcat Trap – Easiest to use, poke a 2″ hole in the passage, insert tube-like trap from above and cock. Half of the trap sticks out of the ground, so success can be checked from the outside, kills the mouse
- Pincer traps – two-way trapping opportunities, (cost 3 to 4 €). deadly
- Shot traps – based on the gas pistol principle. The loaded and armed trap is placed in the open aisle. If the mouse tries to close the passage opening, the shot trap will trigger. The pressure kills the mouse. Like any firearm, this one is not without danger. Injuries can occur. Especially those who have children have to be very careful!
Traps are the most effective way to control voles. But you can’t catch everyone. Box traps are best for animal welfare reasons. Should a mole get lost in it, you can release it again. However, you have to set up many traps, one does nothing. For a garden of about 500 square meters you need about 20 vole traps. They have to be set up again and again and should be checked daily.
Fumigation of the vole exits
When fumigation with special vole cartridges, gases are released in the tunnels. However, the gas only serves to drive away the pests, it does not kill them. The baits are sprinkled in the vole exits. It is important that these are immediately sealed airtight afterwards.
- Put polytanol granules in the open aisles, 5 g per m², be sure to follow the instructions,
- CELAFLOR vole gas – smoke cartridge, effect by castor oil (2 cartridges about 13 €)
- DELU vole gas – released when the chunks of carbide (calcium carbide) react with the soil’s moisture. Effect limited to sandy soil. 5 g are said to be enough per burrow. (500 g cost about 13 €)
- Many users certify that the fumigants have little or no effect
- Important!! The gases are not without. It is therefore important to read the instructions for use carefully and to follow them!!!
Combating voles with natural enemies is ideal. Unfortunately there are only a limited number of birds of prey such as buzzards, barn owls or kestrels in the garden. Foxes, badgers, stoats and weasels are also rarely guests. Therefore, this option is ruled out in most gardens.
Feeding bait for voles
Feeding baits can help decimate the mice. However, they are not always reliable. On the one hand, the pests often simply do not eat enough of the poison and, on the other hand, they often only drag the prey into the pantry. If it lies there for a long time, the active ingredient is usually broken down and the poison does not cause any damage. That’s why these traps work best at times when food is scarce.
Feeding baits are ready-made baits, usually based on zinc phosphide. The bait must not be touched with the hands! They are laid out in the aisles. Laying it out in the open endangers other animals such as birds or pets.
- DETIA Wühlmausköder
- CELAFLOR Wühlmausköder Arrex
- Poisonous wheat – eg Ratron poisonous wheat (1 kg about 10 €), agent is poisonous for birds, game and fish, dangerous for the environment, very poisonous for aquatic organisms, must not get into the ground water
Although one reads again and again that ultrasound should have helped against voles, but I don’t know anyone who was successful with it. On the contrary, everyone was annoyed that they had spent money for nothing. Even scientific experiments could not find any connection between the use of the devices and the success of the expulsion.
If you still want to try it, you have to know that the devices only have a limited range. Several devices are required even for an area of 150 square meters. If you place the sound devices very close together, they will also work, but then you no longer have a garden, but a field of ultrasound devices.
fighting large areas
- The WÜMA (vole control device) uses a two-stroke petrol engine with a fan. Carbon monoxide is introduced for about 5 minutes with a gas injection lance, which is inserted into the mouse passage. The blower ensures that the gas is distributed at high speed. The mice have no chance to seal off the corridors or to leave.
- A more modern device is the MAUKI – a four-stroke engine works here. The device has an additional tank for a petrol-diesel mixture (1:50). With the help of the petrol pump, the mixture is sucked in, dosed precisely and injected into the special silencer, where it evaporates. The smoke that is produced has a very high CO content. It is initiated into the aisles and quickly distributed. The respiratory system becomes paralyzed. Death comes quickly.
- Initiation every 10 to 20 meters is recommended.
- Do not use in water protection areas!
- The application is certainly not ideal in terms of the environment. Pollutants are discharged into the soil. The purchase of such equipment is not worthwhile for most home gardens, but it is for fruit growers or hobby gardeners with orchards, for example.
sounds and smells
Repelling moles with sounds and smells still works quite well. Voles are probably a little tougher. They rarely bother you. You can try a lot, but nothing will bring success in the long term. Anything can help, but usually only for a limited period of time.
- You can’t prevent voles, but you can prevent them from doing too much damage. For example, wire mesh baskets are used to protect plants and trees in them. This is ideal for fruit trees in particular. The trees are planted in the baskets. This protects the roots. You can do the same with all other plants in the garden, especially bulbs and tubers. The mice can’t get to them that way.
- Before buying traps or bait, get a consensus in the neighborhood. Tending to your own garden is not enough. In no time at all, the next generation immigrates from the neighbors. Only a collective approach helps here and you have to be in agreement!