Debunking WikiHow’s advice on how to kill voles

In the age of Google, anyone can dispense advice – and when you’re in a panic due to a rodent infestation, you might just fall for some of it. We have talked to a few clients who did just this, with disastrous consequences.

If you are looking to kill voles and moles without killing yourself, it might be best to skip the WikiHow articles. In fact, we feel so strongly about this, that we have dissected WikiHow’s article on How to Kill Voles to give you the truth about proper vole removal tactics.

Step 1: Identify your pest

WikiHow says: “Moles leave plants alone because they are insectivores, but voles, on the other hand, eat plants and can destroy your yard, landscaping or garden.”

Verdict: Right

You’ll want to know what kind of pest you have before you take action. Our article on the different types of moles and gophers indigenous to the Pacific Northwest will help you diagnose exactly what kind of rodent, or lack thereof, you may have. While this WikiHow step was correct, the next few suggestions may leave you in a bit of danger.

Step 2: Place poison around the problem areas in early fall or late winter

WikiHow says: “This timing works well because food is scarce, and the animals are less selective about what they eat.

  • Choose a poison that contains an anticoagulant with Warfarin.
  • Purchase a bait station that is designed specifically for voles so that other animals that you are not targeting, such as birds, won’t enter it.
  • Alternately, you can bait an open-ended box. Note that this is not recommended if you have children or pets, nor is it recommended if you have other wildlife that you would like to protect such as deer, rabbits, birds, etc.”

Verdict: Wrong!

There are many poisons made specifically for the removal of voles, but unless you’re a licensed pest removal specialist you won’t have much luck purchasing it. If you opt to use a rat poison or something similar, chances are you won’t have the result you were looking for as they are made. We do not recommend this as an effective means of rodent control.

Step 3: Use mouse traps around the area that you are trying to protect

WikiHow says: “You can purchase one-time traps, or reusable traps, if you are comfortable removing the dead animal from the trap.”

Verdict: Wrong!

Voles often resemble mice but with more stout bodies, so we understand you might have a natural urge to try using a classic mouse trap. However, a few bad outcomes can come from this. The traps can be placed incorrectly or the voles can learn to avoid them, defeating the purpose. Voles also reproduce quickly, sometimes breeding as early as two weeks old. The fast reproduction cycle would make it nearly impossible to catch them all.

Step 4: Bring in natural enemies of the vole

WikiHow says: You can…“

  • Build an owl habitat to attract these large predators. They feed on voles and can help you keep your population down.
  • Build a bird perch or multiple. You can do this to encourage both owls and hawks.
  • Release an outdoor cat in your area. While you may receive the gift of a dead rodent at your door, this is an appropriate natural method because the cat is attracted to the hunt and kill of this vermin.

Verdict: Wrong!

WikiHow suggests building a natural owl habitat or getting an outdoor cat, as these are a natural predators of the vole. This could help, but is a decidedly unrealistic solution. Unless you live on a large farm, creating an owl sanctuary filled with feral cats may not be the optimal solution.

Step 5: Continue with prevention methods even after you have diminished or completely removed your population

WikiHow says: “This helps ensure that you do not experience a reinfestation.

  • Reduce the voles’ food source by limiting access to your plants. Fence around your garden and your trees.
  • Remove the voles’ habitats by clearing away brush piles.
  • Prune low-lying branches.
  • Pick up any dropped fruit from fruit-bearing trees in your yard.”

Verdict: Wrong!

Another suggestion is to reduce the voles’ food source by limiting their access to your plants. You can build a fence around your garden, clean out brush pipes, and prune low-lying bushes, but we don’t think this is likely to do the trick. Voles can burrow and create tunnels that allow them to get right back to their food source and your beautiful garden.

Step 6: Hire a professional if the infestation is too much for you to handle by yourself

WikiHow says: “A professional can walk you through his removal method and give you advice applicable to your situation to help you avoid reinfestation.”

Verdict: Right

The most effective way of dealing with a vole infestation is to hire a trusted professional to get rid of the full problem and ensure your lawn and garden are rodent-free. LandCare Mole and Gopher will make sure that the health of your yard is restored and no more pests remain with custom-trapping for complete removal. If you have a vole infestation, call LandCare today for an assessment.
Image courtesy of WikiHow