Organic Pest Control Pest control Trapping voles Voles, Moles, Mice & Shrews

Voles – Trapping Tip

Happily, I’ve not had much trouble with voles wreaking havoc in my five winter lettuce beds.

But I wasn’t surprised when I noticed some damage a week or so ago when I removed the covers after several days of cold temperatures.

I set a trap right away. (Regular mouse trap with peanut butter for bait and a pot on top to cover.) Caught a large vole immediately. Reset the trap.

Found another vole hole. Set another trap within less than a foot of the other.

No activity for a while.

When next I checked, the traps were sprung and the bait was gone.

For some reason I was short on time that evening and I didn’t have time to go back to the house, get bait, and then come back again.

I learned several years ago to never let that stop me from resetting traps. And yes, you’re understanding correctly. I reset empty (unbaited) traps.

Next day when I checked, I’d caught one.

Wouldn’t you know, I had forgotten to bring the peanut butter bait with me to the garden again. I reset the traps anyway.

Bingo! Caught two more!

Final Thought

If you get caught in the garden without bait for your traps, don’t let that stop you from resetting them.

If you don’t reset, you know for sure you won’t catch anything. If you do reset, you’ve got a chance.


Related Posts:

Voles – Shrews – More About the Truth in Controlling Them in the Garden

Voles – Moles Mice – Shrews – How to Control them in the Garden

Lettuce, Cold Frames, and Voles

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  • Theresa,
    I use traps nearly year round…the critters are ever present! Last year (late fall) I had a small area approx 5’X10′ that I had prepared for garlic planting for next season. I had also just added a heavy layer of compost that contained mini pieces of mostly decomposed carrot tops and broccoli stalks and such. I covered this area with a piece of heavy plastic to keep the rain off until I was ready to plant several days later. Upon checking this area the very next morning, I could easily see evidence of an array of long “tunnels” under the plastic. Condensation had formed on the inside of the plastic and everywhere the mole/shrew/mouse burrowed in search of food, you could easily see the pattern of where it had wiped away the moisture. Once I removed the plastic there were many U-shaped tunnels in plain sight. Obviously the top of the tunnel was the plastic…interesting to see, and all the mini particles of vegetation were gone!

  • You are a disgrace to organic gardening.
    Instead of killing and maining creatures who have more right than you to be where they are,why dont you use organic deterents, like certain plants?

  • Thanks, Theresa. I’m going to set some traps today. no tunnels in the main garden, but lots of tunnels in the yard! Hoping to catch them before they find my spring veggies!

  • How do you set them? You put them by the entrance and cover both with a pot or am I not reading this right? Sometimes I get tunnels and holes and they like to chew on my shrubs when they are protected in the snow!

  • I have lost an amazing amount of produce including whole blueberry bushes and fruit trees to voles and Gophers. I think you may have just solved my problem for me! I have been setting traps all over but I DID NOT place a bucket or pot over it. I think that may very well be the missing link. Oh how I hope so!
    The comment above regarding shaming you. Please know that person just has no real experience. I too in the beginning gardening phase of my life thought we could all live together peaceably. I planted extra for all the wildlife.
    My husband shook his head at me. He knew all I was doing was creating an environment for them to prosper and become many more. Now I sure realize that. Another way I look at it now is the creatures that survive around my place are the ones that use the many acres of land around me that isn’t part of my garden

  • Interesting input Jim. Thanks for taking the time to share.
    As you know, my beds are mulched mostly with straw. If I lift the straw in some of the beds you can see just about what you saw under the plastic — evidence of an array of long tunnels.

    Iceni, Toni indirectly supplied an answer to your comment with hers.

    Pam, many times easy is the way to go. 🙂

    Betty, I too have lots of tunnels in the yard but don’t bother with trapping there unless there is some unusual problem. The hawks sometimes help me out by hunting voles outside the garden. Balance is the key as you know. If you can get the numbers down, things stay manageable.

    Anna, check out the post and scroll until you get to How to Trap Voles. It tells exactly how to do it. If you have questions after you read that, just let me know.

    Hey Patricia. Glad you loved it!

    Toni, you too may want to review the post I mentioned above. Also on pages 229 and 230 in my book Organic Gardening — I tell how to set the traps.

    Thank you for the kind explanation about where Iceni may be “coming from”.


  • Theresa

    When you reset the trap, it probably still had peanut butter oil on it and had the smell of peanut butter, which attracted the pest.

  • thanks for this article, I got 3 traps and put them out today after trying to live with them and getting a cat. Turns out he doesn’t hunt that much. We had 2 cats in the past that kept critters in control catching one or more per day but age took them. I have wanted to ask you about organizing seeds for planting, I have tried shoe boxes and notes attached for seasons, but I would like some tips if you have some to share. I end up with lots of seeds not planted at the right time.
    Love your emails,,,,,,sincerely Margo

  • Hey Margo. Good to hear from you.
    I think most folks think all cats are good vole catchers (mice catchers, etc.) but that’s just not true.
    As you already know from your older cats, you have a very valuable animal if they’ll hunt and kill rodents on a regular basis.

    I might not be much help to you with organizing seed. I basically keep things together — for examples:
    All lettuces in one box.
    Various greens in another.
    Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant together.
    Various squash, melons and pumpkins together.

    I find myself having to go through all my seed to determine what I want to plant this year.
    Then I take what I’ll planting first.
    Then I have to look again in a month or so.

    It’s not the best plan, but the main thing for me is to make a note of what I want to plant so I’ll know when to look for it. (I already know of course when I should plant — so I don’t usually miss planting at the correct time.)

    Sorry not to be of more help. Maybe other readers will have some good ideas they can pass along to both of us.


  • If you organize your seeds properly, you won’t have any reason to constantly paw through all your seeds throughout the seasons. And that would be such a shame, ha ha ha!

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