Combatting Voles In Your Yard

combatting voles in your yard

Now that spring has sprung and the snow has melted off your lawn, you’re probably wondering why it looks like a tiny tunneller has ransacked it. Well, as you may have guessed, you have a vole problem. Though prominently abundant in the prairies, they also pose a considerable challenge to Calgary yards.

Nevertheless, if you’re having trouble combatting voles in your yard these varmints can be impeded and stopped when taken care of properly. At Martin’s Pest Control, we know precisely how to get the job done.


Voles are coming out, we offer vole control

Voles are often mistaken for mice as they have a very similar appearance. They are small brown-grey varmints with black beady eyes. Though these creatures may look similar to the house mouse, they are stockier in build with stubby legs, ears, and tail.

Voles are also often confused for moles as well because of their underground nature. In fact, voles are more similarly related to the muskrat.

Knowing the difference can help in catching the culprit that’s causing your yard problems.

The Big Issue

Voles are known for tunneling, which is where the problems start. When they tunnel, they damage the root systems in your yard causing most plant life to die. They also eat the vegetation in your yard, which does significant damage to your landscaping when they dig for bulbs and root vegetables.

These varmints are known for tunneling and leaving haphazard tracks through your yard, since they live, breed, and store their food underground. They will gnaw at the roots of trees and shrubs, eating your gardens, in turn causing you thousands in damages to your yard.

They Are Sneaky
Combatting voles

Voles are quite sneaky though. Many times they are never seen by the homeowner. In fact, most homeowners don’t realize they have a vole problem until spring arrives. This is because voles cause the most damage during the winter months when the ground is too frozen to tunnel deeper down. Voles stay close under the surface of the snow using it as insulation.

Not only is the snow insulation for them to survive the harsh weather but it’s also the perfect cloak to cover up any mischief happening to your landscaping.

Stopping Them In Their Tracks

Stopping voles is not an easy job. They are primarily outdoor pests. They don’t sneak into your house through cracks or live in the shed. This makes it tricky to track them down when there are fewer entry points or core corners to trap them in.

vole trap

The best way to catch a vole is by setting up a live cage vole trap where you can see high activity in your yard. The tunnels, AKA “runways”, are well defined and close to the surface and typically around two inches wide. The larger the runway indicates a spot of constant traffic, which is would be a prime location to set a trap.

Voles typically don’t stray too far from their burrows. Since voles breed so frequently as well, having 5-10 litters per year that yield 3-6 babies. Since those numbers add up quick it’s best to set up between 12-24 traps to even begin making a dent on the population.

Blackhole traps are also very useful in that they go in a pre-existing vole hole in the ground and go undetected by the vole. Upon re-entering their dwelling, they will become trapped.


When setting out traps it is a good idea to bait them. You want to coax the voles into entering. It is best to bait in the trap in and around its perimeter.

The best bait to use on voles is:

  • Peanut butter
  • Oatmeal
  • Small nuts/seeds
vole bait peanut butter
  • Trail mix
  • Bread and butter crumbs
  • Gumdrops
trail mix vole bait
poison control for pests to combat voles
Warning: poison bait and traps are potentially threatening to pets, children, and other wildlife. Use with caution and care. 

You can also poison the vole bait to kill them off at the source. You may want to set up rodenticide bait stations near the tunnel entrances and higher traffic areas. Be sure to continue refilling them for 5-10 days or until you begin to see no more signs of voles, indicating they are dead.

Top 3 most effective vole poisons:

  • Motomco Tomcat All-Weather Bait Chunx
  • JT Eaton Bait Block
  • Sweeny’s Mole and Gopher Poison Peanuts

Vole Prevention & Repellant


The best solution to the problem is to prevent them altogether, no need for traps if they never enter your yard. So, if you hear they have moved into your neighbour’s yard, you’re just being cautious, or have dealt with these pesky critters before you know it’s best to stop it before it happens and get some form of deterrent.


Choose a repellent that has the active ingredient capsaicin in it, the intense heat will draw the voles far away from your yard. You can use granular repellent and sprinkle it around the perimeter of your yard. But, if you have ample space to cover, the liquid works better.

Thiram is another useful deterrent, though it is typically a fungicide for your plants and crops it will also rid the voles. The sulfur smell deters them, and if ingested, can cause issues over time, eradicating them.

The Harm Free Method

Home Remedies
combatting voles

If you prefer not to harm the animal or use harsh chemicals, or poisons you can instead make your own repellant. Using ingredients such as eggs, red pepper sauce or any hot sauce, garlic, and other pungent ingredients to spray around your yard can work.

Another non-toxic repellant to use is a predator’s urine. The voles are very off put by the scent and won’t approach for fear of being low on the food chain. Fox, wolf, or coyote urine can be purchased at trapper supply stores, online, or even yard stores like Home Depot.

combatting voles

Another thing that will stop voles from entering your property is by weeding, keeping the lawn mowed, and having little to no dense ground coverage. It also may be useful to consider fencing off your gardens.

You can even use fence wiring 6 inches underground to wrap around plants such as seedlings and bushes or shrubs. This ensures the voles can’t gnaw at their root systems. If the Voles have no food sources, they will be ready to leave you alone.

Getting rid of these varmints, voles especially can be a hassle, but if you find yourself struggling to do it yourself, we can help.

Contact Martin’s Pest Control. We specialize in pest management; including vole control, deterrent, and vole infestations. Our professionals can inspect your property to know where the voles are living to get to the source of the issue so they can be removed safely and stay gone.

Martin’s Pest Control is a family owned and locally operated Calgary business. We believe in providing exceptional customer service while building trust and offering peace of mind. Our professional Calgary exterminators are Alberta licensed and receive on-going training.

Airdrie Pest Control Services

Pest Control In Airdrie, mice

Are you are having issues with pests in your home or business? We get the struggle and can help rid you of those pesky critters. Martin’s Pest Control is one of the leading extermination and pest control companies in Calgary, but did you know we also have a location in Airdrie?

Our Airdrie location provides the same quality service as our Calgary location. Day or night, we can get you the help you need to get rid of unwanted pests fast. You can reach our team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

gopher on rock, Airdrie pest control

Why Choose Martin's For Quality Pest Control?

Our pest control technicians offer a range of services so your pest problem can become a thing of the past. Whether you are dealing with bed bugs, mice, roaches, or anything in between, our licensed and certified technicians can help you fix the problem.

Each of our Airdrie pest control technicians has the skills to identify the pest and get to the root of the issue. Not every pest is the same. They need to be dealt with differently to make sure they stay gone and you can go on with your day worry-free. Not sure what kind of critter is taking over your home or business? We developed our own pest guide to help you correctly identify your pest.

We take the same approach when first attending a home or business. This allows us to quickly assess the problem and from there create a customizable plan specific to your home or business.

Our ‘Personalized Protective Program’, aka P3 approach, acts as a guide for our technicians. We base it on numerous factors including pest type and entry points. The following two factors allow us to decipher how to treat the problem and give you a pest-free environment once more.

First Factor: Knowing What Pest You Have

bees, Airdrie pest control options

We Offer A Range Of Services To Deal With Every Type Of Airdrie Pest:

  • Mouse Control —  To Rid You Of Alberta’s Two Most Common Critters, The Deer Mouse & The House Mouse.
  • Insect Control — To Rid You Of Spiders, Bees, Ants, Centipedes, Moths, Roaches, Beetles, Fleas, Flies, Hornets, & More.
  • Bird Control — For Pigeons & Other Winged Wildlife That Are Messing With Your Home Or Business.
  • Rodent Control — To Make Sure No Bats, Rats, Gophers, & Bigger Rodents & Vermin Such As Skunks & Raccoons Stop Coming Around Your Door.

Second Factor: The Point Of Entry

cracks in foundation, Airdrie pest control options

How these pests are getting in will determine what action needs to be taken to stop them from entering again. Homes and businesses often have many vulnerable cracks that can form over time. This is why our Airdrie pest control technicians will need to complete a full inspection to make sure you are being protected.

The Next Step: Getting The Proper Treatment To Eradicate The Pest Problem

Whether you need structural pest control, exterior rodent control, landscape pest control which includes trees & shrubs, fumigation structure, or grain exterior rodent control we can assess the situation and decide how to direct our team. We use the best technology and equipment for the task at hand to ensure our clients only receive the best and friendliest service.

Once the job is done, we clean up so you can almost forget those troublesome pests were ever there to begin with. We believe in giving you full professional service in a world where so many are cutting corners. At Martin’s Pest Control we have built a loyal following based on our integrity and relationships!

ants, Airdrie pest control options

Whether these pests are bugging you at home or work, Martin’s can get the job done. We offer quick, efficient and friendly pest control services in Alberta. We deal with residential pest control, commercial pest control, and fumigation. Including everything from urgent emergency pest control services, to inspection, and reliable maintenance packages.

Not only do we service Calgary alongside our Airdrie office, we also provide pest control services to Balzac, Okotoks, Chestermere, Strathmore, Cochrane, and more!

Call us today to talk to a specialist about getting rid of your pest problem!

(403) 460 – 7213

Martin's Pest Control logo

How To Buy & Store Pesticides At Home

storing pesticide

The best way homeowners can control pests around their homes is to be knowledgeable about the various insects and animals who like to invite themselves in. Once you know the commons pests in your area, remove the things that might tempt them to move in.

Benjamin Franklin said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ This axiom is especially true for pests around your home.

Tips For Pest Prevention:

  • Keep Plants & Lawns Healthy & Watered To Prevent Pest Infestations.
  • Eliminate Debris From Areas Inside & Outside The Home.
  • Keep Things Clean Inside The Home.
  • Remember To Store Food In Sealed Containers.
  • Check Pets Weekly & Take Care Of Their Coat.

But What Happens When Prevention Methods Don't Work?

pest, pesticide research

The immediate response is to go to the hardware store and purchase something that will catch or kill pests. Homeowners need to take a second to do some research before grabbing those keys.

Gather some information about pesticide products for home use and the pest you are looking to control. You can use that information to purchase the right product.

Here Are A Few Things To Consider:

Pest Description

Many species of insects look alike, and some are beneficial and not a pest. If you capture one and take it with you, the employee certified for pesticide sales will help you with identification, or you can snap a picture and send it to a knowledgeable pest removal company for identification.

Where Is It Located?

Is the pest in outside areas where pets and children play? Do you need special equipment to reach and apply the product? Does it prefer a particular plant or food source?

pests on food
What Are Its Life Stages & Breeding Time?

The life stage is important as sometimes the product has to be applied to the larvae instead of the mature insect. The breeding turn around time will tell you the frequency of the application needed to eliminate the evil spawn.

What Are The Season & Weather Considerations Involved?

Some pests like moist conditions and others have a particular season where pesticide application is most effective. Knowing this information will help you find the right treatment for your problem.

Should I Be Worried About Using Pesticides?

There are regulations in place to protect consumers using pesticides, provided they follow the proper application and storage methods for pesticide use.

Health Canada certifies what pesticides are healthy and safe for use in Canada. They give the product an EPA number that confirms approval for use in Canada. The EPA number should be on the label of the products you buy.

Grey Areas

Some people may purchase products over the internet, and not all products used in the USA are allowed here. There are about 250 products restricted from use in Canada. One common product is neem oil. Some gardeners feel that neem oil is effective in repelling garden pests.

Province to Province

Each province has the authority to regulate and prohibit the use of pesticides in their areas.

Alberta is one of two provinces in Canada that does not legislate or ban pesticides. It does have rules about the sales, handling, and use of pesticides in the province. Pesticide application courses are leading to certifications for anyone providing a service or selling pesticides in Alberta.

Certified To Do The Job

It is good to check if the technician applying pesticides in your area is certified. Multi-family dwellings, daycares, nursing homes, and hospitals require a certified pesticide operator to use pesticides in those locations. The hardware stores are also required to have one employee with pesticide certification, and they may be a resource if you have questions about the products they carry.
Talking to a professional technician from a reputable company like Martin’s Pest Control can also guide you to some safe products to buy.

Read The Label

In the store, pay attention to the labeling because warnings are there for a purpose.

Many of the products have ingredients that, if not used and stored correctly, can be a danger to yourself, family, pets, and neighbours. For example, some rodenticides have ingredients that cause copious bleeding because they stop blood from clotting. Oddly enough, one product used to kill mice and rats developed into a substance used to treat human illnesses.
This development does not mean all products are safe!

When looking at the product label, pay special attention to words like danger, warning, and caution. Caution is less harmful than those items labeled with a warning. Danger means they are poisonous and harmful to contact. If these words are on the label, it signifies some ingredients need special application procedures and storage considerations.

poison bottle, storing pesticides

Types Of Pesticides

There are many types of products to buy, so your research comes in handy to identify the right product for your situation.

spraying pesticide
  • Disinfectants & Germicides-Used To Clean Areas & Eliminate Bacteria Left Behind By The Pests.
  • Fungicides-Used Remove Mildew & Fungal Spores.
  • Herbicides-Used On Invasive Plants To Remove Diseased Stumps & Plant Diseases.
  • Insecticides-Kill Or Repel Insects, Mites & Ticks.
  • Rodenticides-To Repel, Trap & Kill Rodents.
  • Wood Treatments & Preservatives. These Deal With Insects & Fungi In Wood.

Information Breakdown

There are thick manuals and websites with a breakdown of what is in the different types of pesticides.

It is the smart homeowner that takes precautions. There are about 6,000 cases of pesticide poisonings in Canada each year. It is wise to be careful and take the time to read the instructions before applying. Using the suggested breathing mask, application tank, gloves, disposable overalls will help protect you during application.

Know The Dangers
Educate your family about any dangers associated with the use of the pesticide. Keep pets inside or place them in their carry cage until it is safe to let them out. Place protective barriers so they cannot get into toxic traps.

If someone needs help after exposure to pesticides, call the Alberta poison control centre at 1-800-332-1414. They will ask you the patient’s name, gender, weight, if they have eaten anything, the amount swallowed, exposure time, and details from the container or label.

Educate your family about any dangers associated with the use of the pesticide. Keep pets inside or place them in their carry cage until it is safe to let them out. Place protective barriers so they cannot get into toxic traps.

If someone needs help after exposure to pesticides, call the Alberta poison control centre at 1-800-332-1414. They will ask you the patient’s name, gender, weight, if they have eaten anything, the amount swallowed, exposure time, and details from the container or label.

Storage Of Pesticides

locked shed, storing pecticides

The safe storage of pesticide products is one area where homeowners are often negligent. Try to buy only as much as you need and use it up—secure pesticides out of the reach of children. Lock them in a cabinet or shed. Some of the pesticides can be flammable, so don’t store them close to furnaces, or BBQs.

Do not pour remnants down the drain or store where they might contaminate water supplies. Don’t store near food or animal feed. Place used containers in the hazardous waste bin, not in your household garbage.

Here are a couple of free downloads on homeowners pesticide use:
The EPA Citizens Guide To Pest Control and Pesticide Safety &
What Gardeners Should Know About Pesticides

If you want more information, or to have someone to come to your home and handle the pest problems, give Martins Pest Control a call. We’re here to take care of what bugs you.