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Voles in Madison Wisconsin

Voles are small rodents that can cause damage to lawns, gardens, and crops. They are often confused with mice, but they have some distinctive features that can help you identify them.

How to Identify Voles

Voles are brown in color and have large stocky bodies, short noses and ears that are usually tucked away. They measure about 6 inches in length from tip of nose to end of tail and weigh approximately 1 oz. Their droppings are around 1/6” in length, tapered on one end, and contain grass and other clippings.

Voles have four toes on their front feet and five toes on their hind feet. They have long incisors that grow continuously and are used for gnawing on plant material. They have poor eyesight and rely on their sense of smell and touch to navigate.

Voles Lifecycle

Voles have a short lifespan and a high reproductive rate. Their gestation lasts 20 to 23 days and they can produce up to 10 litters per year, with an average of 4-6 pups each. Voles are born pink and hairless, with closed eyes and ears. Fur begins to appear by three days, and young are completely furred except for the belly by seven days.

The average meadow vole lifespan is less than one month due to high mortality of young. The maximum lifespan in the wild is 16 months. Breeding often ceases in January and starts again in March. The population increases rapidly through summer and fall.

Voles Habits

Voles are active year-round and mostly nocturnal. They live in moist dense grassland with substantial amounts of plant litter. They create extensive tunnel systems under the ground or under the snow, with multiple entrances and exits. They also make surface runways that connect their burrows with food sources.

Voles feed on seeds, tree needles, bark, green vegetation (grass, clover, etc.), and insects. Voles do not feed out in the open but prefer to stay close to cover. They store food in their burrows for winter use.

Voles rarely inhabit structures. When they do, it is usually due to finding an area to warm up in. Voles can be found on any level of a structure, including in attics and walls.

How to Control Voles

Voles can cause significant damage to lawns, gardens, and crops by feeding on roots, bulbs, tubers, stems, leaves, fruits, nuts, and bark. They can also girdle trees and shrubs by chewing off the bark around the base. Voles can also transmit diseases such as tularemia, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, and hantavirus.

To prevent or reduce vole damage, you can use a combination of methods such as habitat modification, exclusion, repellents, trapping, and poisoning. Some of these methods are:

  • Habitat modification: Remove or reduce the amount of plant litter, mulch, weeds, grasses, and other cover that voles use for shelter and food. Mow your lawn regularly and keep it short. Trim or remove low-hanging branches that touch the ground. Remove any debris or objects that provide harborage for voles such as under boards, rocks, logs, brush piles, hay bales, fence posts, or in grassy tussocks.
  • Exclusion: Install hardware cloth or metal flashing around the base of trees and shrubs to prevent voles from girdling them. The barrier should extend at least 6 inches above the ground and 6 inches below the ground. You can also use wire mesh or plastic cylinders to protect individual plants or bulbs from vole feeding.

The most effective method of control would come from a professional pest control company like Kwik Kill Pest Control. We have years of experience in controlling rodents such as voles and would gladly put our know how to work to eliminate your vole problems.

Kwik Kill Services to Control Voles

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Control Voles

There are many types of common pests that routinely invade homes in the Madison area. At Kwik Kill, we are experts in solving each one of these unique pest control problems.

As the season’s change, so do the types of pests that can invade your home. We have pest control solutions for any time of year, whether it’s raining, snowing or sunny outside.

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