Nasty Little Voles!

By Kerry Ann Mendez

My blood pressure soared the other day when I noticed one of my Hydrangea 'Incrediball' had suddenly wilted. The adjacent 'Incrediball' seemed fine. As I drew closer to investigate, I noticed a small hole at the base of the shrub. Upon closer inspection, I discovered a tunnel and cavity underneath the shrub, where roots used to be. GRRRR! The Hydrangea had fallen prey to a vole, a hungry field mouse, running its own "demolition derby".

It's time to launch a counter-attack and I'm not wasting any time.

Voles are rampant breeders, producing 5-10 litters per year with 3-6 young per litter. Voles reproduce throughout the entire year, with peak rates in the spring and summer.

I could use poison baits but I worry that an unintended victim (i.e. a cat or hawk) would devour the dead mouse and be poisoned as well. Thankfully, there are more eco-friendly ways to win the war against voles. For example:

VoleX

This bait's active ingredients are corn gluten meal and sodium chloride. It kills by causing dehydration. When used as directed, it is safe around pets and livestock.

Repels-All

This is an organic repellent, it doesn’t kill targeted critters. A combination of putrescent whole egg solids, cloves and garlic oil causes a mild irritation to the animal's nasal passages and sends them seeking alternative living arrangements.

MoleMax Mole & Vole Repellent

The active ingredient is all natural, poison free castor oil. Castor oil-based repellents penetrate the ground and give ground vegetation an odor and taste that voles (and other critters) dislike, driving them to find food elsewhere.

Estabrook's carries a wide assortment of animal repellents. We look forward to helping you find the best solution.

About the Author

KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more.

Kerry Ann Mendez