In states with continuous winter snow coverage, the spring melt reveals pathways or clipped runways in lawns and gnaw marks along the base of trees– a sign of above ground foraging voles that have enjoyed the “security blanket” that snow offers. Another spring occurrence is beloved perennials failing to make their usual appearance – a sign of the below ground foraging voles that have been feasting unbeknownst to the gardener until the lovely spring flowers are missed.
Voles do not hibernate so their destructive activity is year round. Snow coverage offers a free reign of activity without fear of predators. In fact, the inspiration behind the design of the Vole Control Bait Station System was the tunnels I found underneath landscape fabric to control weeds - it is basically another "security blanket" for voles. Essential to the Vole Control System is the included ground cover mat. It helps the voles feel more secure in entering the bait station to retrieve the bait. The mat can also be used as a tent in the set-up method for the above ground foraging vole.
Here's a tip: As a landscaper, I do not recommend landscape fabric to protect against weeds as usually, over time, weeds are going to find a way to germinate on top of the fabric thereby defeating the intended purpose and all the while voles are quite likely to enjoy the security they find below. I have talked with numerous customers with extreme vole issues and in quizzing them about their gardens, I often ask if they have landscape fabric somewhere in their yard. If they say yes, I tell them to go take a look underneath, telling them they will most likely find a maze of tunnels. They always call back amazed at what they found and asking how did I know?
It is simply the behavior of voles and their love of hidden places. It is the same with habitat modification. Think about what you can do to make your yard less inviting to voles and access to your prized plants more difficult. Click the link for more tips on Habitat Modification.