Q How do I deal with voles?
Margaret Crossland, by email
AVoles differ from mice in having short tails and more rounded heads compared with the obvious snout of mice. Two species of voles commonly cause damage in gardens – the short-tailed vole and the bank vole. They can breed rapidly and have benefited from mild winters. Voles attack a wide range of seedlings, in particular peas and beans, fruit and crocus corms. They also make networks of shallow tunnels in soil, particularly inconvenient on lawns.
Voles are not as easy to trap as mice, but non-lethal traps can be useful. Bait with carrot or dessert apple. Poison baits are not very effective from spring to autumn when there’s plenty of food. Only baits approved for outdoors can be used in gardens. Follow product instructions to avoid non-target species. Accidental poisoning of non-target animals is illegal. When used outdoors, traps and baits should be placed under covers to reduce risk to other wildlife. Non-lethal traps must be inspected at least twice a day and the rodent released several miles away. Failing all else, get a cat!
The bank vole can cause damage in the garden