April 23, 2014 2:32 pm

Vole patrol: Tiny rodents wreak havoc on Calgary yards

CALGARY- Now that the snow from a long, cold winter has melted, it’s revealed an unsightly problem: an infestation of mice and voles.

Kortnee Huot and her fiancé spent a lot of time and money landscaping their backyard last summer, but those efforts have gone to waste. Unbeknownst to them, their yard was infested with voles, and they didn’t notice until the snow melted.

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“At first it looked like something had completely overturned all of our grass, and then when we came and looked closer you notice that there are just tunnels everywhere,” Huot explains. “There are little tunnels and nests everywhere.

“The grass is gone and the voles have taken over.”

The tiny rodents eat the root systems and stems of grass, trees, plants and shrubs, and the conditions this winter were perfect for them.

“We’ve have snow covered ground now for a long time, and what’s happened is they’ve just flourished underneath there,” says Don Faulds from Poulins Pest Control. “We see this all the time, but not in the numbers we’re seeing this year.”

Exterminators have been swamped with calls from homeowners to trap and remove voles and mice.

Some homeowners like Huot have been pouring pesticide down burrows in the yard and setting mouse traps, but are concerned about the side effects.

“Do you put a bunch of poison on the ground and let it get into our system? Do you trap them and leave these traps out for dogs and cats and kids?” she wonders.

Faulds says once there is a vole problem, the rodents will keep coming back unless changes are made.

“To get rid of the problem right now you’re going to look at putting bait stations out on the lawn. They can be baited or set up with traps inside, and the creature will make its way inside and they’ll either get set off by the snap or they’ll eat the poison.”

Homeowners should set up bait stations in the fall, and when mowing the lawn before winter make the grass as short as possible.


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