Michigan Voles

Biology and Habits

Voles (Microtus spp.), which are commonly known as meadow or field mice, belong to the rodent family. There are 23 vole species found in different regions of the U.S. The range for each species is limited by specific habitat conditions. The most widely distributed vole species is the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus). Voles occupy areas with heavy ground cover, grasses, grass-like plants or litter. Man-made dwellings such as orchards, cultivated fields and windbreaks are favored. The vole is a compact rodent with a stocky body, short legs, and a short tail.  They are brown or gray in color, but many color variations exist. Voles are mouse-like in appearance (6" to 8" in length) with dense fur,  and their tail is less than 3" long.  

Voles are rarely ever seen because they live primarily in tunnels and runways under the lawn surface.  They construct numerous surface or subsurface burrows and tunnels (1" to 2" wide) in a relatively small area, which contain numerous adults and young. Voles are primarily herbivores and forage on grasses, flowers, vegetables, fruits, bulbs and roots (on occasion they will eat insects and snails).  During the winter months voles do not hibernate, but instead make tunnels beneath the snow, in which they gnaw on shrubs and tree bark for nutrition. The life span of an average vole is short-lived, ranging from 2 to 16 months.  They breed continuously throughout the year and can have 1 to 5 litters per year, with each
litter producing 3 to 6 young.  

Voles are an important part of the ecosystem. Predators such as coyotes, skunks, fox, snakes, hawks and owls, all use voles as an essential component of their diet. Range of the Meadow Vole in North America

Damage and Concerns

Accumulated vole damage is apparent when vole populations are high. Vole damage includes girdling and gnawing of trees, vegetable gardens destroyed by eating of highly nutritious roots, damage to lawns by extensive tunnel and runway systems, along with tearing up mulch in flowerbeds. There are some health concerns with voles. Voles are occasional carriers of tularemia, bubonic plague, and are hosts to numerous internal and external parasites, yet voles pose no major threat because of their infrequent contact with humans.
 

Control and Management

To successfully control vole populations one must use an integrated pest management (IPM) plan. Critter Control uses more than one approach to eradicate and exclude these nuisance voles from your home and lawn areas. The following are avenues in obtaining a successful IPM plan: Habitat modification is an integral aspect of effectively vole control and vole removal.  Altering the vole habitat includes soil cultivation, close mowing of lawn, clearing vegetation, and reducing layers of mulch to 1-3 inches in flowerbeds. You can also plant flowers that naturally repel voles (such as daffodil and crown imperial).

Vole exclusion is another effective technique in controlling voles. Creating subterranean barriers or
gravel barriers in lawns, vegetable gardens, or flowerbeds will reduce vole runway systems and aid in the dispersal of populations. Repellents (such as Ropel and Mole-Med) can be used to prevent feeding on plants and woody structures, as well as reducing tunnels. Toxicants, fumigants, and trapping can also be used for effective vole management.  
 
Call your local Critter Control office for all of your nuisance wildlife management needs.

Our local Michigan offices offer Voles services in the following cities: Acme, Ada, Akron, Alger, Allen Park, Allendale, Alma, Ann Arbor, Armada, Auburn Hills, Bad Axe, Barton Hills, Battle Creek, Bay City, Bellaire, Belleville, Bellevue, Benzonia, Berkley, Beulah, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Twp., Brighton, Brighton, Brooklyn, Caledonia, Canadian Lakes, Canton, Carleton, Caro, Carrollton, Cascade, Casnovia, Cedar, Cedar Springs, Center Line, Central Lake, Charlotte, Chelsea, Clare, Clarkston, Clawson, Commerce Twp., Comstock Park, Concord, Coopersville, Dansville, Davison, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Detroit, Dewitt, Dexter, Dimondale, Drayton Plains, Dundee, East Grand Rapids, East Lansing, East Tawas, Eastpointe, Eaton Rapids, Ecorse, Edenville, Edmore, Elberta, Elk Rapids, Elkton, Ellsworth, Empire, Erie, Estral Beach, Evart, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Farwell, Ferndale, Ferrysburg, Fife Lake, Flat Rock, Flint, Fowler, Fowlerville, Frankenmuth, Frankfort, Franklin, Fraser, Galesburg, Garden City, Genesee, Gibraltar, Gladwin, Grand Haven, Grand Ledge, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Grass Lake, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Hamtramck, Hanover, Harbor Beach, Harper Woods, Harrison, Harrison Township, Haslett, Hazel Park, Higgins Lake, Highland Park, Holland, Holly, Holt, Honor, Howell, Howell, Hudsonville, Huntington Woods, Ida, Inkster, Interlochen, Jackson, Jamestown, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kawkawlin, Keego Harbor, Kent City, Kentwood, Kinde, Kingsley, La Salle, Laingsburg, Lake Ann, Lake Orion, Lansing, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Leslie, Lincoln Park, Linwood, Livonia, Lowell, Luna Pier, Macomb, Madison Heights, Mancelona, Manchester, Marlette, Mason, Mattawan, Maybee, Melvindale, Memphis, Midland, Milan, Milford, Monroe, Mount Clemens, Mt. Pleasant, National City, New Baltimore, New Boston, New Haven, New Lothrop, Northport, Northville, Novi, Oak Park, Oakland, Okemos, Old Mission, Olivet, Onondaga, Orchard Lake, Ortonville, Oscoda, Otsego, Ottawa Lake, Ovid, Owosso, Oxford, Parma, Paw Paw, Perry, Petersburg, Pinckney, Pinconning, Plainwell, Pleasant Ridge, Plymouth, Plymouth Township, Pontiac, Portage, Potterville, Rapid City, Redford, Reese, Remus, Richland, Richmond, River Rouge, River Rouge, Riverview, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Rockford, Rockwood, Romeo, Romulus, Roscommon, Rosebush, Roseville, Royal Oak, Saginaw, Saint Clair Shores, Saint Johns, Saint Louis, Saline, Samaria, Sand Lake, Schoolcraft, Shepherd, South Boardman, South Branch, South Lyon, South Rockwood, Southfield, Southgate, Sparta, Spring Lake, Springport, Stanwood, Sterling Heights, Stockbridge, Suttons Bay, Swartz Creek, Sylvan Lake, Tawas City, Taylor, Thompsonville, Traverse City, Trenton, Troy, Tuscola, Ubly, Union Lake, University Center, Utica, Vassar, Vicksburg, Walker, Walled Lake, Warren, Waterford, Wayne, Weidman, West Bloomfield, West Branch, West Olive, Westland, White Lake, Whitmore Lake, Williamsburg, Williamston, Wixom, Wolverine Lake, Woodhaven, Wyandotte, Wyoming, Ypsilanti, Zeeland

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Michigan Wildlife Services

For your local Wildlife Control Expert, call 1-800-CRITTER.