The two common species of voles present in the B.C. Interior are stout-bodied, short-tailed rodents often mistakenly called field or meadow mice.

The meadow vole is about 14 to 17.5 cm long with small eyes and ears that barely extend beyond the fur. The tail is about 1/3 the length of the head and body. The tail, body and head are uniformly covered in a grizzled grey to grizzled brown fur.

The montane vole (mountain vole) closely resembles the meadow vole. It measures13.5 to 16.5 cm long; however, unlike the meadow vole, the tail is less than 1/3 the length of the head and body. Another difference is the underside of the body is grey in the summer and white in winter.

Both species prefer a habitat with abundant ground cover. They usually establish a system of surface runways and underground tunnels. Voles begin feeding on fruit trees when cool weather reduces their summer food supply. Injury to trees can begin in late summer and continue through fall and winter. Complete girdling of the trunk or roots will kill the trees. Damage to roots is often worse than visible damage above the ground.

Cultural Control

1.  Mow the cover crop and remove prunings, tall weeds and grasses to discourage mice from breeding within the orchards.

2.  Remove brush piles and other trash adjacent to orchards to discourage mice from migrating into the orchards.

3.  Destroy all vegetation at the base of trees with herbicides or by cultivation to discourage voles from feeding on the bark. However, retain vegetation where snow cover may be inadequate to protect trees from cold temperature change.

4.  Place wire or plastic mouse guards around the base of trees, especially young trees, to exclude mice. Mouse guards should extend to at least 45 cm above soil level and 5 - 10 cm below.

Rodenticides

Recommended commercial vole rodenticides are formulated as solid bait (i.e. meal bait, pellets, ready-to-use place packs, and paraffin blocks) which should only be placed in burrows or in tamper-proof bait stations to prevent access to the products by children. pets, livestock and non-target wildlife. Bait stations will also protect the contents from moisture deterioration. For voles the best time to set out bait stations is just prior to the first snow fall. Check the bait stations regularly to monitor the disappearance of bait which will indicate if voles are still present. Construct bait stations from old fluming, metal or plastic pipe or pieces of wood. Instructions on using ABS pipe are posted at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/docs/Specialized/Vector_Management/plastic_Pipe.pdf. Place bait stations in areas where voles were evident during the summer or are likely to be found during the winter; e.g., near trees, fences and brush piles. It is important to alternate use of rodenticide active ingredients to prevent rodents from developing bait shyness. 

The following active ingredients are registered for control of rodents and examples of product trade names of a few are listed in the table at the end of this chapter. Before selecting a rodenticide, check the label to ensure the target rodent is on the label as many are registered only for mice and rat control. Always dispose of dead rodents in garbage or by burying.

1.  Chlorophacinone N is a multiple-dose anticoagulant rodenticide available as paraffinized pellet baits for control of voles, mice, Norway and roof rats, Northern pocket gopher and ground squirrels. Apply a ready-to-use 0.005% bait product in recommended tamper-proof stations or directly into burrows following label instructions.

2. Diphacinone is an anti-coagulant rodenticide available in paraffinized ready-to-use 0.005% pelletizied baits for control of voles or ground squirrels depending on product. Several products are available for control of rats and mice only. The bait is either scattered amongst ground vegetation, placed in burrows or in bait stations, depending on product.

3.  Zinc phosphide N is an acute-poisoning rodenticide available in 2% cracked corn or pellet bait formulations for control of voles, Northern pocket gopher and ground squirrels. The bait releases toxic phosphine gas in the presence of moisture. Apply using burrow building machines or by hand application using hand probes following label instructions.

4. Strychnine is another acute-poisoning rodenticide available as a ready-to-use 0.4% dry bait for control of Northern pocket gopher and ground squirrels. Apply using burrow building machines, secure bait stations, or by hand application using hand probes following label instructions. It is important to remove and bury any dead rodents because they can pose a poisoning threat to predatory animals.

Voles

Squirrels can be the source of a host of problems, including:

  • Inhabit Homes - Squirrels generally inhabit wooded areas and nest in trees, but will frequently establish themselves in attics or garages, where they’ll store their food and take up shelter.

  • Gnaw on cables, wires, stored items, walls - Similar to other rodents like rats and mice, squirrels can do quite a bit of damage, gnawing on cables and electric wiring, any items in storage, sprinkler heads and on the exterior and interior walls of a structure.

  • Noisy; bite if cornered - Squirrels are also noisy in their activities and will bite if you corner them.

  • Dig up landscaping/gardens - Squirrels have been known to dig up garden beds and damage fruit-bearing trees and vegetable gardens.

  • Strip bark - Squirrels will strip bark from trees and ornamental plants.

Everybody likes squirrels. They’re cute, they’re funny, and they’re always up to something rascally. When that “something rascally” has to do with inconveniencing you in your own home, however, they’ve gotta go. An infestation of squirrels in your home can put your home at risk of damage and cause health concerns for your pets and family.

Anytime you need some help with a rowdy rodential resident in your home, give us a call. We can safely and effectively 

assist you in removing the squirrels and make recommendations so that your property does not become infested again.

If squirrels have become a problem where you are, schedule an appointment with QFI Pest Control. 

Check out our monthly protection program options for year-round pest control.  

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They provide peace of mind - 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

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