Voles (Meadow Mice)

California Vole (Meadow Mouse) – Microtus californicus

The California Vole (Microtus californicus), is one of six species of voles in California also referred to as Meadow mouse, Field mouse or Meadow vole. Voles have short legs and short furry tails, small eyes and a thick body. Fur is usually blackish/grayish brown; adults are 5 to 8 inches long, including the tail. Voles form the subfamily Arvicolinae with Lemmings and muskrats. There are approximately 155 different species of voles. They have a gopher-type body but the face of a mouse. Voles eat a variety of grasses, plants, bulbs, tree bark and roots and store seeds and other plant food in their underground burrows. Their numbers fluctuate from year to year; most problems around the home, garden, and landscape occur during years when there has been an increase in population.

How to Identify Vole Damage

Vole trails are referred to as “runways.” Inset is a close-up of an entrance point.

The California vole is more like a pocket gopher, creating a system of tunnels underground but closer to the surface. These tunnels are often referred to as “vole runways.” You can also tell a vole from gopher damage to your grass because the vole holes, or “entrance points” near the runways, are devoid of mounds.

Reproduction and Behavior

Voles make their burrows underground. They do like tall, grassy areas where they can hide from predators. Active by day and night, voles scurry through their tunnels to shallow underground burrows where they make their nests of grass, leaves, and stems. Females mature within 5 weeks and can have 5 to 10 litters per year, with 3 to 6 babies each. If they are able to avoid predators like hawks and other wildlife, voles may live up to a year.
Drawing of a California Vole (Meadow Mouse)

Voles travel through tunnels just under the surface of the ground or in heavy grass.

Voles as Pest

Since voles spend most of the time underground and eat various grasses, plants, and bulbs, they rarely are seen in the home. Any damage they cause is most likely to vegetable gardens and some flowering plants. Voles will also chew the bark of fruit trees near and under the ground. Treating voles with bait is difficult because their burrows and tunnels are so close to the surface where domestic animals and birds might also have access to the poison. Clearly, if children are playing in grassy areas infested with voles, it can be very dangerous for them should they step into a vole entrance.  This also applies to horses and other large animals. If voles have become a pest in your landscape and/or garden, it is best to have a professional pest service properly identify and treat them accordingly.

Voles prefer tall grass, that’s why it’s a good idea to mow often.

Prevention and Habitat Modification

Voles often create havoc in the landscape and/or garden but there are ways to prevent voles from damaging a landscape by creating an environment much less suitable for habitation. Since voles like heavy areas of vegetation and prefer not to eat out in the open where there could be predators, mowing the lawn frequently and reducing dense vegetation, weeds, and heavy mulch, will keep them from creating burrows.

Vole Runways

Another deterrent is tilling grassy areas along banks and field edges. For gardens, keeping a wide, weed-free strip around the garden works as a buffer against voles crossing over into it. You can also protect fruit trees with a vegetation-free, 4-foot circle around the base of your trees or use wire meshing. For information on other types of rodents as pests, please visit our pages on Gophers and Squirrels, Rat and Mice Control, and Moles.

Call today for help with voles! Ask us about our free inspections!

Call Now 1-800-986-1006 or complete the form below

Where Captcha Goes if Used code in footer
City Services for Pest Control in Los Angeles
Agoura Hills Northridge
Alhambra Pacific Palisades
Arcadia Palos Verdes Estates
Beverly Hills Pasadena
Burbank Pomona
Calabasas Rancho Palos Verdes
Cerritos Redondo Beach
City of Industry Reseda
City of Los Angeles Rolling Hills Estates
Claremont San Marino
Culver City Santa Fe Springs
Cypress Santa Monica
Diamond Bar Sherman Oaks
El Monte Sylmar
El Segundo Tarzana
Encino Temple City
Glendale Toluca Lake
Granada Hills Torrance
Hacienda Heights Venice
Hidden Hills Walnut
Hollywood West Covina
La Verne West Hollywood
Long Beach West Los Angeles
Malibu Westlake Village
Manhattan Beach Whittier
Marina Del Rey Woodland Hills
North Hollywood
City Services for Pest Control in Orange County
Aliso Viejo Laguna Hills
Anaheim Laguna Niguel
Brea Lake Forest
Buena Park Los Alamitos
Capistrano Beach Mission Viejo
City of Orange Newport Beach
Corona Del Mar Orange
Costa Mesa Rancho Santa Margarita
Dana Point Rossmoor
Fountain Valley San Clemente
Fullerton San Juan Capistrano
Garden Grove Santa Ana
Huntington Beach Tustin
Irvine Villa Park
La Habra Westminster
Laguna Beach Yorba Linda
City Services for Pest Control in San Diego
4S Ranch Rancho Penasquitos
Poway Scripps Ranch
Rancho Bernardo
Descanso Ramona
Julian Santa Ysabel
Pine Valley
Bonsall Hidden Meadows
Escondido Pauma Valley
Fallbrook Valley Center
Carlsbad Pacific Beach
Coronado Point Loma
La Costa San Ysidro
Mira Mesa The City of San Diego
Otay Mesa
Cardiff by the Sea Oceanside
Carmel Valley Rancho Santa Fe
Del Mar San Marcos
Encinitas Solana Beach
La Jolla Vista
Alpine Imperial Beach
Bonita Jamul
Chula Vista La Mesa
East Lake Chula Vista Lakeside
El Cajon Santee

HP Banner



Review our amazing pest
service options

You can add other problem pests to your “general pest
control” service.

Why Choose Hearts Pest Management:
Health Conscious First do no harm! Custom Built Plans Flexible Scheduling Technicians Communicative & Trustworthy Budget Sensitivity
We customize the service to your needs & pest situation.


What Our Customers Say
“Able, honest and extremely knowledgeable and polite. They come bi-monthly and use an organic solution to spray outside. It’s a pleasure and relief to do business with them.”
~ Carri B.
View more
“The technician Austin was on time. Very personable and explained products in detail and is very knowledgeable. Very thorough and the organic and eco friendly products were our first choice. We signed for the every other month especially for spiders and ants.”
~ Mark
View more

Pest Behavior & Solutions

Pest Behavior & Solutions

We Know About Pests, You Can Too. Visit our Pest Library for information
on the habits and habitats of some of the most common pests.

See Full List of Pest
  • General pest control and certified green pest control options:

Carpenters ants, bedbugs - separate esimate

Choose the service schedule you need:

Weekly, Monthly, Bi-Monthly, Quarterly, Reduced winter service.

See More General Pest Services

Free Inspections

Free Inspections
for Prevention & Extermination

We provide free inspections for
various complex pest control
situations. Our pest control services
are tailored to each community and
their unique micro-climates that
impact your pest control plan.

We are the first pest control company in Southern California to achieve the California EPA Integrated Pest Management Award.

  • In-door trapping
  • Out-door baiting or trapping
  • Full exclusion to keep them out!
  • Decontamination (see mites and parasites)
  • Clean-up
  • Maintenance monthly
View Our Plan for Rats and Mice
  • Indoor / outdoor eradication
  • Bee removal – hive and honeycomb
View Our Plan for Bees and Wasps
  • Monitoring
  • Commercial reporting
  • Clean-outs and maintenance
View Our Plan for Roaches
  • Comprehensive inspection
  • Written bedbug plan for owner – pest company
View Our Plan for Bed Bugs
  • Remediation / maintenance
  • Ground fumigation
  • Baiting
View Our Plan for Gophers and Squirrels
  • Single story eaves only (we do not service roofs or second story homes).
  • Full exclusion for nesting and perching
  • Decontamination (see mites and parasites)
  • Bird birth control
  • Pigeons
  • Starlings
  • Sparrows
  • Swallows
View Our Plan for Birds
  • Attic vacuuming
  • Power washing
  • Insulation removal – replacement
  • Full space area chemical fogging
  • Off-site disposal
View Our Plan for Mites and Parasites
Pest Control Product Labels & MSDS We welcome you to view pest control labels and MSDS information.