Voles in the Garden...

An ever-present challenge in gardens around here is voles.  I'd never heard of voles before gardening here in New Hampshire.  When I first heard someone say vole, I thought they were mispronouncing mole.  But voles are real, and they can be a real nuisance.  They range mostly across the northern and eastern part of North America.  They reproduce rapidly and are vegetarians, bad for gardeners.  However, they are the Forrest Gump of the rodent world, and so they can be dealt with.

I've had several requests for information recently on the traps we use here to catch voles.  I copied the design from Eliot Coleman's great book The Winter Harvest Handbook.  I find the biggest problem is that they work so well, it is easy to become complacent and not check them every day to empty and reset them.


They are basically a wooden box with a removable top, and a "mouse hole" on one side, and a mousetrap or two placed inside.  The mousetrap can be an old-fashioned wood and wire trap, or a modern plastic type with jaws, which I find easier to set.  In either case, don't bother with bait; it's not necessary.  The voles will enter the box and find the trap(s) without bait, unlike their smarter cousins, like mice and rats.  Recently we had some voles move into our carrot bed, so I placed two boxes on the bed, with two traps in each box.  The next morning, three of the four traps had caught voles.  The following night we caught two more.  And that was it.  The good news is that they seem to always work.  But the bad news is there seems to be a never-ending supply of voles.          ---Steve



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