Voles are having one of their periodic population explosions this year – at least at my house. I can look out at almost any time of day and see them scurrying around on the edges of my garden. They look like large, gray mice.
Under the cover of the snow this winter, they girdled some canes of one of my roses; a sorrow which I discovered when everything melted. They are currently nibbling on foliage and grass.
I have investigated the myriad holes and runways they have developed in the bank at the edge of my garden. The holes are small and open, and there is a “runway” right outside each hole that the voles use to travel. Voles like to be protected from predator’s eyes, so the runways usually travel under grass or other vegetation.
I have been using simple wooden snap traps to reduce their populations. I place the business end of the trap into the runway, and they just run right into it, no bait needed. Traps need to be emptied frequently, but the voles can be tossed down the hill for ravens or coyotes. For more information on controlling voles go here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/natres/06507.html.