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Elimination

There are many ways to help limit meadow vole damage as the cold season draws near. You can mow the lawn short at the end of fall, making it hard for voles to hide in the grass. You can also protect your trees and shrubs by encircling them with specially designed cylinders, wire meshes, or plastic guards . After the first snowfall, you can pack some snow around the base of your trees to protect their bark as voles dislike moving about in packed snow.

Furthermore, you can use rodenticide in the form of paraffin blocks . Any meadow vole gnawing on them will die within a few days. We recommend using bait stations to keep pets and children from coming into contact with the blocks.

Finally, there are also multiple catch traps, like the Pro-Ketch, that can catch more than a dozen of the small mammals at a time.

Actions

  • Set multiple-catch traps outside
  • Set up bait stations with rodenticide outside

Prevention

  • Cut grass short in the fall
  • Wrap tree trunks and the bases of bushes.
  • Compact the snow around trees and bushes after the first few snowfalls

Description and development

Meadow voles, also known as field mice or meadow mice, are very common small mammals. Most people mistake them for other small creatures such as shrews, deer mice, or white-footed mice. They differ from mice in particular in that their ears are hidden under their fur and that their tail is short. They weigh 20 to 68 g and can reach lengths of 12 to 20 cm (tail included). Their coat is usually brown with gray highlights on the back. Females typically have litters of 4 to 6 young. During the breeding season, from April to October (sometimes all the way into February), females can have up to six litters. Meadow voles can live up to 16 months in the wild.

Habits

Meadow voles are usually found in wet meadows, swamps, and fields. Their ball-shaped nests, which are made of grass, can be found in burrows, under rocks, or under dense vegetation in the summer and just beneath the snow—which provides insulation—in the winter. Their diet generally consists of leaf stems, the fruits of most plants, seeds, nuts, and at times even insects. Meadow voles live in colonies and are active all year round both in the day and at night. They favor the night in the summer but prefer to go about their business when the sun is out in the winter.

These rodents pose the greatest threat near homes in the winter time. They gnaw away at the bark of trees and ornamental shrubs, resulting in major damage—they can easily kill trees 15 cm in diameter. They can also feed on bulbs, grass, and plant roots while moving under the snow.

Tips

For more information on Vole, please consult issue 24 of our technical newsletter The Gatekeeper

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