Snow allows vole populations to thrive, and damage lawns in Cache Valley

Apr 18, 2023, 7:57 AM | Updated: Oct 19, 2023, 11:41 am

CACHE VALLEY, Utah — Voles are tearing up yards, and in some cases, wreaking havoc on lawns in Cache Valley.

Every several years, the populations explode, and some of the experts say the cover from the snow this year is helping keep them hidden from predators.

It’s not exactly what Austell Cowley expected to catch on his wildlife camera.

“I thought I’d show her all the birds that feed in her feeder,” he said.

Cowley placed the camera while his daughter was out of town, and later showed her what he found.

“Gave me the heebeegeebees, like, it made my stomach turn,” said Rachel Cain.

Cain said she did know there was at least one of what she thought was a field mouse.

“So, I named him Steve, and I was going to keep him, but when the snow melted.”

That’s when Cain saw the tracks and pathways just tearing up the lawn.

(Mike Anderson, KSL TV) (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“We’ve never had this big of a problem.”

Sadly, Cain is not alone, not by a long shot this year.

“Basically what we’re looking at is if you’ve got a vole infestation in your yard, what you want to do is you want to get on it, take care of it, because if you don’t, it will continue to get worse,” said Terry Messmer, a Utah State University extension wildlife specialist and professor.

Messmer said the simple traps are typically the safest way to take back your lawn.

“You can bait it with peanut butter or something like that.”

He said the poison traps can be dangerous for kids and pets, but some professionals may be better equipped to use them.

Please see Mike Anderson’s complete story at KSLTV.com.


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Snow allows vole populations to thrive, and damage lawns in Cache Valley