You've heard of moles and have seen your fair share of mice, but have you ever heard of a vole? These small rodents resemble mice, but in some cases, they can be far more destructive, especially to your lawn and garden. Even though they are a lesser known member of the rodent species, voles are still very common throughout the United States and Canada. Here is some valuable information about voles – including how to identify them and if you suspect you are suffering from an infestation, a few tips to help you get rid of them:

Is It a Vole?

According to the Cornell University Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, there are over 23 different species of voles that reside throughout the United States and Canada. There are subtle differences between the species, but in general, if you see a rodent with the following characteristics, it is a vole:

  • A short, stocky frame

  • According to the Pennsylvania State Extension, mature voles are generally anywhere between five and seven inches in length

  • A short tail and short nose

  • Brown or gray in color

Unfortunately, you might notice the damage caused by a vole before you ever lay eyes on this destructive rodent. One of the most distinctive signs of a vole infestation can be found in your yard. Unlike moles, which create raised tunnels throughout your lawn and garden and consume insects, voles enjoy a diet of leaves, grass and the vegetables.

If you've noticed several small holes throughout your lawn and garden and an animal has been feasting on your grass and root vegetables, chances are a vole is the culprit. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the best way to determine if your vegetables are being consumed by a vole is to take a look at the bite marks.

Voles will leave behind bite marks that are approximately one-eighth inch deep, which are much smaller than a rabbit.

Getting Rid of Voles

If you suspect voles are wreaking havoc in your lawn and garden, there are several ways to get rid of these destructive rodents. Here are a few tips to help you get rid of the voles that have made a home in your lawn and garden:

  • Bait mouse traps with peanut butter, soft cheese or wet pet food and scatter them around areas in your lawn and garden that the voles frequent. For example, if the voles seem to favor your beets, concentrate the traps there. Check the traps daily and dispose of the deceased voles in your outdoor trash can.

  • Make your garden and lawn less attractive by keeping the grass short and eliminating any mulch.

  • Capsaicin and thiram are two repellents often used to control vole infestations. Capsaicin is found in chili peppers and thiram is a main ingredient in several fungicides. Spread either of these repellents around the perimeter of your lawn and garden to help keep voles at bay.

  • Contact an exterminator before using any pesticides. According to the Penn State Extension, the main two types of pesticides that are effective in controlling voles are: anticoagulant baits and zinc phosphide. These are both potentially-dangerous and should only be handled and applied by a professional. The use of pesticides is a great option if the vole infestation is extensive or you have a large lawn or garden to treat.

If you believe you are suffering from a vole infestation, don't wait until these little invaders destroy more of your lawn and garden and instead, contact a professional. A professional exterminator can help you determine if voles are the culprit, and create a plan to get rid of these rodents once and for all. Visit a site like for more information.