How to Get Rid of Voles That Are Eating Roots

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Voles are little mouselike creatures that burrow underground and create intricate tunnels in your yard and garden. They eat plants, kill trees and generally tear up the ground under your feet. Voles can also carry rabies and may pose a hazard to your pets. Getting rid of these pint-sized pests can be a little frustrating, but taking care of the problem as soon as possible will save you major problems later on.

A vole above ground amidst grass and leaves.
(Rudmer Zwerver/iStock/Getty Images)

Things You'll Need

  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Stick, about 4 feet long
  • Pots
  • Apples
Step 1

Draw a map of your yard and mark areas with obvious vole activity. Find activity by starting at one end of your yard and slowly moving to the other end, searching for holes and probing the ground with a stick to locate burrows and tunnels just below the surface. Move any yard equipment, furniture and branches from bushes or plants that may be covering signs of voles.

Vole hills and tunnels in the grass.
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Step 2

Slice up a few apples. Place a slice everywhere in the yard with obvious vole activity. Place a pot over each apple slice. Check under the pots after two to three days. Mark on your map where the apple slices were eaten, because that will confirm vole activity in that specific area. Leave apples under pots if they have not been touched and check again in two more days. If the apple still has not been touched, mark on your map that there is no vole activity in that spot.

Green apple slices on a wooden cutting board.
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Step 3

Buy traps or bait stations specific to vole populations. Traps can be purchased over the Internet or at local hardware and gardening stores like ACE or Home Depot. Toxic bait containing zinc phosphide is effective. Set your traps or bait directly over the areas where apples were eaten. This will ensure maximum effect on vole activity.

An empty pot lies on the grass.
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Step 4

Call a professional pest control company to assist with a stubborn vole population and when voles have died on the property, leaving a strong odor.

A woman uses her smart phone in the backyard.
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Tips & Warnings

  • Shooting voles and using do-it-yourself vole traps are not effective control methods. If you do not want to use toxic bait, call a professional vole removal service such as United Wildlife to remove the colony from your property.

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