Getting rid of voles quickly and efficiently is extremely important for any gardener, homeowner or farmer. These little fields mice may not look too threatening, but they carry as many diseases are house mice and rats, they reproduce faster than a lot of other rodents do, and they can lay waste to any vegetation on your property before you’ve even found out you have a problem.
There are several main reasons why voles are so devastating. We mentioned their fast reproduction, but another big factor is that they are mostly subterranean mice, which makes them harder to spot, as well as that they prefer to eat the roots and tubers of plants and leave the rest untouched.
So, it’s pretty clear that voles need to be dealt with as fast as possible. That means using rodenticides, right? Unfortunately, while poisons can be extremely effective at killing all kinds of rodents, there are quite a few problems to consider when dealing with voles. In fact, these problems are so numerous and significant, that the question of whether you should use poison for voles at all quickly becomes rather important.
How effective are rodenticides on voles?
In terms of sheer effectiveness, rodenticides are, of course, an effective way to kill moles and voles, as well as all other rodents you may encounter. For all intents and purposes, voles are essentially field mice, so mouse poisons can kill them as easily as they can kill house mice.
The problem, however, is that voles are not house mice, exactly. They have a completely different habitat, different eating habits, and different reproduction speed. All this means that while you can dump a ton of rat poison in your yard or garden, it will have different effects and side-effects than it would if you were using it in your home against house rodents.
So, should you use general rodenticides on voles or are there any specific vole poisons for the job? Technically, you can use some poisons for the voles in your yard and they can be effective enough to do the job. However, the numerous side effects that it will cause – and that we’ll go over below – should not be ignored.
Additionally – and this is important – a lot of rodenticides are restricted for indoor use only, especially depending on which country and state you live in. For example, take a look at this article which lists brodifacoum, flocoumafen, and difethialone as restricted to indoor use only. This is done because of the negative impact rodenticides can have on the nearby wildlife when used outdoors. Naturally, just crafting some homemade vole poison concoction is very tricky to do because you’ll need to know exactly what you can and can’t use in your area, and usually get a permit too.
There are specialized vole poisons too, sure. They are designed in such ways as to minimize the side-effects and maximize their effectiveness against voles. Unfortunately, a lot of them are restricted for professional use only and are not sold to homeowners. Plus, even the ones that can be bought have their drawbacks.
Is there a difference between standard rodenticides and vole poison?
There are an awful lot of rodenticides out there. One quick look at the National Pesticide Information Center’s page on rodenticides easily demonstrates why we can’t go over all of them in detail in just one small article. Generally speaking, most rodenticides can be described as anticoagulants (i.e. poisons that cause blood clotting in the victim) and non-anticoagulants which can work in various other ways. Some of the former include chlorophacinone, difethialone, bromadiolone, brodifacoum, warfarin, and others. Some of the non-anticoagulant rodenticides include zinc phosphide, cholecalciferol, bromethalin, and strychnine.
Vole poisons are not restricted to any of these types, however. What differentiates vole poisons from most general rodenticides is mostly in their design. Vole poisons are made to bait out voles and moles rather than mice and rats because there are differences in the diets of indoor and outdoor rodents. Additionally, vole poison is made to be waterproof because it needs to remain intact in the frequently changing weather conditions. Last but not least, vole poison is made to be as safe for the soil, vegetation, and wildlife in and around your property as possible.
Even the best vole killers will still have side-effects and drawbacks, however, so let’s go over all of them.
What are the pros and cons of using vole poison?
First, let’s go over the few positives:
- Poison allows for quick and efficient kills without the need to laying traps and emptying them every day.
- With one extensive poison treatment you can – potentially – solve the entire infestation problem.
- Vole bait stations can prevent other animals from consuming the bait.
Now, about the negatives:
- Voles reproduce very rapidly and their infestations get very numerous quickly. This means that you’ll need a great deal of poison to deal with them.
- A lot of rodenticides are forbidden for outdoor use.
- Using vole poison outdoor can damage the soil.
- The poison will also likely contaminate the vegetation on your property.
- There is a significant risk of poisoning random wildlife such as birds, harmless mammals, or even your own pets.
- The dead and poisoned voles will still need to be disposed of even after the poison has killed them. Even if you’ve used bait stations to keep the poison away from other animals, the dead voles will still be there.
- The vole corpses can be hazardous on their own.
As you can see, using rodenticides against voles is a rather complicated matter. All in all, for us, the cons outweigh the pros. At the very least, even just finding a proper rodenticide to use outdoors can be a challenge for a lot of people, depending on the state or country they live in. Even if you find the right rodenticide, however, managing to use it in such a way that it’s both effective and safe for your property and the wildlife around it is not an easy task.