Voles and gophers are often the nemesis of gardeners and homeowners. Their subterranean habits can cause considerable damage to lawns, gardens, and even some structures. If you have noticed irregular pathways or mounds of dirt on your property, chances are you are dealing with one of these pesky rodents. A Five Star Termite & Pest Control would like to bring some understanding to their behavior and, more importantly, how to control these pests more effectively.
How Do You Tell if You have Voles or Gophers?
Voles: Also known as meadow mice or field mice, voles are small, stocky rodents with short tails. They create surface runways through grasses, feeding on plants, bulbs, and even tree bark.
Gophers: These burrowing rodents are larger, with strong legs and big front teeth. They create a series of tunnels and mounds, feeding primarily on your plant’s roots.
How Do You Get Rid of Voles & Gophers?
• Landscape Management: Both voles and gophers prefer areas with plenty of vegetation for food and cover. By keeping grass mowed, reducing weeds, and cleaning up plant debris, you can make your yard less inviting.
• Plant Selection: There are certain plants and bulbs that gophers and voles dislike. Planting these types of plants can help deter them from settling in. Examples include daffodils, crown imperials, and gopher spurge.
• Barriers: For prized plants or garden beds, consider installing a hardware cloth or wire mesh barrier beneath the soil. This will prevent gophers and voles from accessing the roots from below.
• Repellents: There are various repellents available in the market designed for voles and gophers. While their effectiveness can vary, they can be a part of other control strategy. Some people even claim using castor oil-based solutions work great as a natural deterrent.
• Trapping: This is one of the most effective methods if done correctly. For voles, use mouse traps placed along their runways. For gophers, there are specific gopher traps that you place inside their tunnels. Always use gloves when handling and setting traps to prevent your scent from alarming the rodents.
• Predators: Natural predators, like owls, hawks, and cats, can help keep vole and gopher populations in check. Installing owl boxes can encourage these natural predators to make a home in your yard.
• Ultrasonic Devices: These devices emit sound waves that help to repel various pests, including voles and gophers. Their effectiveness is still a topic of debate, but some homeowners find them beneficial.
• Flooding & Smoking: Gophers, in particular, can be driven out by flooding their tunnels with water. Another method is using smoke bombs, which, when ignited and placed in tunnels, produce smoke that drives them out.
• Professional Pest Control Assistance: If the infestation is large or the damage is extensive, it might be time to call in professional pest control. They have the experience, knowledge and tools to deal with these rodents efficiently.
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Voles and gophers can be challenging pests to deal with due to their burrowing habits. However, with a mix of preventive measures, direct interventions, and perhaps a bit of patience, homeowners can reclaim their yards and gardens from these tunneling terrors. If you find you need help getting rid of voles and gophers, contact A Five Star Termite & Pest Control today.