You have voles in your garden, which not only dig many tunnels and small mounds, but also eat your vegetables and the roots of your plants?
Then look here at what options there are to drive away voles!
Voles can be driven away with pungent or caustic odors, such as butyric acid or garlic; low-frequency sounds, such as ultrasonic waves; or regular vibrations, such as frequent soccer games on grass.
How to drive away voles?
Voles can generally be driven away in two different ways:
On the one hand, voles can be driven away with natural home remedies, completely without poison, such as with scents or special plants
voles can also be driven away with commercially available devices, for example with ultrasonic sensors or vole deterrents.
In this article, I will describe all the ways you can use to drive away voles in the garden, their use and effect.
However, I will not go into how to fight voles, that is, catch them or even poison them. This is because I categorically reject the use of poison baits, because they can cause not only voles but also other small animals (e.g. hedgehogs or cats) to die an agonizing death.
The best tips to drive away voles
In the following, I describe the best tips to drive away voles in the garden – and all without poison.
For each method, I first describe what exactly is meant by it, how to proceed or what exactly to do to drive away the mice, and finally, how effective the method is or what effect it has on the voles.
Chasing away voles with water
Probably the simplest method of driving voles out of the garden is flooding the underground passages of the vole with water.
To do this, you must first find one or more of the few passage openings, after which the passage can be flooded with the water hose. Of course, rainwater can also be used, but this is not very practical with a watering can, since you have to refill frequently and thus there is no continuous flow of water.
Especially when the burrow and the tunnels of the vole are still in the initial or construction stage, and are only a few meters long, it can work to expel voles with water.
However, in the finished state, vole tunnels are about 40 meters long, and because of the many branches, water often seeps away faster than it can flood all the tunnels.
In addition, the vole is a good swimmer and can dive down to 1.5 meters in water for about 90 seconds. So water can not harm it much in small quantities.
Overall, you can certainly try to drive away voles with water, but the chances of success are rather low.
Chasing away voles with vinegar
Voles can be driven away with vinegar or even better with vinegar essence. Because vinegar is an acid smells therefore very sharp or corrosive and can thus drive away voles by the smell.
In order to drive away voles with vinegar, it is only necessary to pour a little vinegar or vinegar essence into each passage opening that is found. This process can be repeated every week.
Since voles normally do not like strong odors or stench, they should be driven out of the garden by sharp-smelling vinegar. You can see this by the fact that over time there are fewer and fewer vole mounds.
Vinegar essence is also safe for your soil because vinegar is made from natural, biodegradable liquids such as wine, apple cider or rice wine.
Drive away voles with butyric acid
Similar to vinegar, you can also drive away voles with butyric acid or with sour buttermilk or sour curd or yogurt. This is because spoiled dairy products contain lactic acid, which is a precursor of butyric acid and whose odor and fumes can irritate the respiratory tract and eyes.
To drive away voles with sour dairy products, you should pour butyric acid*, sour buttermilk or sour curd or yogurt into all aisle openings about 1 time per week.
Either you buy the stronger butyric acid online (e.g. here at Amazon*) or you use spoiled milk products, which you simply have to leave open long enough or beyond the best-before date at home.
- Drive away voles
- Liquid manure against voles
Different types of liquid manure can drive away voles very effectively, because liquid manure usually has a very pungent smell or can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract, and on the other hand, it is very easy to make and use a lot of liquid manure.
Two types of liquid manure are particularly suitable for driving away voles: Elderberry liquid manure or liquid manure from thuja or spruce, which can be poured into all vole holes 1-2 times a week.
These plants or trees are particularly suitable because they contain mainly essential oils that make the liquid manure stink and thus can drive away voles.
For elderberry liquid manure, 1kg of leaves should be left with 10-20 liters of water for one to two weeks. For thuja or spruce liquid manure, you can leave 1kg of twigs with 10-20 liters of water for one to two weeks. If you want, you can scald the leaves or twigs with 1-2 liters of hot water at the beginning, so as to better extract the oils and bitter substances from the plants.
What smell drives away voles?
Since voles do not like strong, bitter, corrosive or pungent odors, they can be driven away with anything that smells like this. So, voles can be driven away with these smells:
- Various essential oils, such as castor oil or eucalyptus oil.
- Twigs or plant parts of elder, spruce or thuja (in addition to slurry, twigs or chopped can also be stuffed into the tunnels)
- walnut or camphor leaves
- All these materials should be evenly distributed in each passage opening and then the passage should be closed again.
Certain plants against voles
Some strong-smelling or odor-intensive plants, such as garlic, imperial crown or spurge, are also excellent for driving away voles.
All you have to do is plant or sow a few of these plants around the garden and surround vulnerable plants or vegetables with these repellent plants.
Plants that come into question for vole defense are hound’s tongue, cross-leaved spurge, emperor’s corms, garden gloxinia tuber, sweet clover or daffodils.
In addition, garlic and onions are very suitable for replanting or providing vegetable beds with them.
Acoustically driving away voles
In addition to odors, voles also dislike loud noises, which is why you can drive them away with various acoustic means*.
These include pinwheels, wind chimes or windmills (such as this example from Beckmann*), all of which are ideally fixed to the ground with a deep metal rod. This is because, in theory, the metal rod should direct the sound generated by the wind into the soil, thereby acoustically driving away voles.
Alternatively, you can bury glass bottles halfway into the ground so that the opening peeks out at an angle at the top. Wind blowing past the opening can create sounds in the bottle, which are in turn emitted into the soil through the body of the bottle.
However, all acoustic attempts to drive voles out of the garden often come to nothing, i.e. without actual success because the sounds caused by the installations are far too weak and hardly propagate in the soil.
Drive away voles with commercially available means
In the following I describe all the tools that you can buy and with which you can drive away voles.
Drive away voles with ultrasound
Voles can also be driven away with ultrasound* by inserting or burying battery- or solar-powered plugs, also known as vole deterrents or vole shockers, into the ground and producing low-frequency sound waves designed to drive voles away.
Different types and varieties of such plugs or shockers can be purchased both online (e.g., here at Amazon*) or at garden supply stores. The plugs are either battery- or solar-powered and emit ultrasonic waves that are supposed to drive the voles away.
This is because, unlike moles, voles can hear ultrasound. The ultrasonic waves, which are generated in a regular rhythm, are designed to disturb voles enough to drive them out of the garden.
The effect of ultrasound against voles is generally controversial and depends entirely on the individual case or even the soil conditions.
Ultrasonic waves can be spread far better in heavy, solid soils, such as clay or loam, than in sandy soils. Thus, ultrasound is more likely to be effective against voles in somewhat heavier soils than in lighter soils.
When you put an ultrasonic sensor in the ground, you should also always make sure that
Nevertheless, the effect of ultrasound against voles is not guaranteed and must be tested individually in your own garden.
What do voles not like?
Voles do not like corrosive or pungent odors such as butyric acid, vinegar, liquid manure or garlic, nor do they like low-frequency sound waves or strong vibrations in the soil.
You can take advantage of these three factors to drive away voles in your garden.
To do this, you can use one of the following methods:
- Drive away voles with smell, e.g. with butyric or lactic acid (butyric acid is available e.g. here), vinegar, garlic, onions or elderberry liquid manure, which you dump into the tunnels. Drive away voles with sounds, e.g. with wind chimes or wind wheels like this one from Beckmann.
- Drive away voles with vibrations, e.g. by playing a lot of soccer or badminton on the lawn.