I live in Minnesota and the only time I have problems with Voles is in the winter. Starting at the edge of my yard by the street and a rock wall at the back of my yard, the voles burrow through the grass above the ground and under the snow, making a maze of tunnel above the ground. In the spring their gone. There is a small pond behind my house and I’ve seen them a couple of time a the back of my property, so I know that they are Voles. I have a dog that has full run of the area that the Voles attack, so I need something that will not harm her or wears off by the time the snow melts in the spring. My house was the last one built in my neighborhood and I am the only one that has a problem with Voles. Never fails, the guy that want to have a nice lawn gets the Voles.
P.S. I cut my grass as short as I can in the fall and they still come.
Thanks for your help, R.M.
If you read through our VOLE CONTROL ARTICLE, you'll learn this animal is highly active in the winter. This is especially true when they're able to find a ready source of food and I suspect that's the case in your yard. A highly fertilized yard typically harbors lots of insects because of all the moisture and overall "ideal" conditions. On top of that any soil that's rich with nutrients is usually very easy to tunnel through making it even more inviting. The bottom line is a lush yard is usually a marked target for moles and voles. It doesn't mean you can't keep a lush yard; it just means you need to take care and apply maintenance products throughout the growing season to stave off unwanted intrusions when food supplies diminish. That's usually every fall to winter.
The good news is you have a lot of choices from a selection of products that can get you fast results. Most of these can be used safely around pets and even with snow you can get an upper hand on the problem. For starters, I'd consider the GIANT DESTROYERS and some TUNNEL TRAPS. The Giant Destroyers are fast acting and easy to deploy. If you hit the right tunnel, you'll get instant results. The Death Clutch traps will require more setup but when employed throughout the yard, can be a lethal way to trap out a surging population. And they don't pose a hazard to people or pets; even if you get your finger caught in one you'd barely feel it.
And once you trap or gas some out, apply the VOLE REPELLENT to keep them away for the rest of the season. WHOLE CONTROL is another great product but I wouldn't apply it over snow; the granules can be applied regardless of the weather so they're easier to use this time of year. This could very well keep them away for the rest of the winter but come next year, don't wait for them to return.
Instead, take a pro active approach and start using these same repellents next summer and fall. Additionally, you'll need to do some GRUB CONTROL whether you think you have grubs or not. The bottom line is applying a granule in the summer and then again in the fall will reduce most any soil nesting pest which by winter will be attracting the voles. If you were farther south I'd recommend applying some now because you can get an effective treatment down here all year long. But being that you're in Minnesota, I'd hold off till next spring and summer to start using anything listed in our grub article. These products are really best when applied during the summer and fall where you're located.
In summary, there are lots of viable options listed on our VOLE PRODUCTS PAGE. Pick a couple to start with to knock out the ones you know are in the yard. Once they're gone, place out some repellents and then next year, be sure to renew the repellents as well as doing some grub control. If you do enough treating, by next fall you should be in a position to have a vole free winter.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Vole Control Article: http://www.bugspray.com/article/voles.html
Giant Destroyers: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page2015.html
Tunnel Traps: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page2025.html
Vole Repellent: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page2034.html
Whole Control: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page2033.html
Grub Control: http://www.bugspray.com/article/grubs.html
Vole Products: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page2013.html