Market Segment Overview - Voles


Voles can be found in every province in Canada. There are over 23 species (Genus - Microtus in North America. Voles are frequently mistaken for shrews, field mice & deer mice. While similar, distinguishing features include longer, coarser hair, and a larger head size.

Commercial Product

Only to be used by certified pest control operators, farmers and persons authorized in government-approved pest control programs.

Vole Taxonomy & Behavior / Ground Force Technical Sheet

Vole Habitat Map

Voles can often be found in wild and landscape environments with rock structures nearby. Vole activity is more frequently visible during winter months and in the spring, immediately after snow melt. Voles cause economic damage in many areas, some of the more important of which include: orchards, commercial nurseries, ornamentals and golf courses.


Vole root feeding in orchards

Vole girdling damage to white pine

Vole runway damage to turf

Voles gnaw on tree trunks and roots (girdling)
causing disruption of the tree’s flow of nutrients and water.

  • Voles can cause extensive damage to orchards, ornamentals and tree plantings by gnawing on roots and on the bark of seedlings and mature trees (called girdling).
  • Voles consume foliage, seeds, stems, bulbs and small roots, and girdle large roots, which disrupts the tree’s flow of nutrients and water. Voles can kill trees and smaller plantings, as well as cause foliage and production loss, and the onset of root disease by exposing vulnerable tissue and creating air pockets.
  • Because it occurs underground, root damage is harder to detect. By the time weak, unhealthy trees are noticed, root damage is often extensive. Trees experiencing root damage from voles exhibit stunting and foliage reduction,resulting in production losses.
  • In a study1 on McIntosh orchards in New York, vole densities of up to 400 per acre led to major production losses. During the second year, the highest vole population reduced fruit yield by 65.5% and increased undersized fruit from 3.1 to 57.5% – reducing income by $2,745 per acre.
  • Pine voles also build extensive runway and tunnel systems. In the Willamette Valley (Oregon, USA), voles inflicted varying degrees of damage on 40-50% of grass seed acreage (a $300 million a year crop),2 leading to stand loss as high as 60%.3
  • Meadow Voles (Microtus pensylvanicus) can cause unsightly runway damage to lawns & golf courses.

1 Effects of Differential Pine Vole Populations on Growth and Yield of McIntosh Apple Trees, Proc.EasternWildlife Damage Control Conference, 1987. Richmond, M.E., C.G. Forshey, L.A. Mahoffy and P.N. Miller.

2 Dave Pehling & Todd Murray (WSU Snohomish Co.)

3 Mark Mellbye Field Crop OSU Ext.Agent, Linn County, and Bruce Coblenz Prof.OSU Dept. of Fisheries &Wildlife, Bob Rost OSU Gardening Expert – OSU News 06-28-05

Alternative Methods of Vole Control

  • Wire mesh guards and plastic bands can be expensive and labor intensive to maintain. They may provide marginal protection against girdling, but do not protect against burrowing access and root damage.
  • Repellents such as Thiram (a fungicide) and Capsaicin (the ingredient that makes chili peppers hot) offer inconsistent data on effectiveness.
  • Fumigants are usually not effective because the complexity and shallow depth of vole burrow systems allow fumigants to escape. They are also very costly.
  • Anticoagulant rodenticides such as chlorophacinone (Ground Force) and diphacinone (Ramik®) are commercial products when used for vole control.
  • Zinc phosphide, an acute toxicant, is a commercial product when used to control voles. Zinc phosphide lacks palatability due to the high concentration (2000 ppm) of the active ingredient. The rapid onset of discomforting symptoms with an acute toxicant like zinc can lead to poor bait acceptance and a sub-lethal dose, resulting in “bait shyness.” Zinc phosphide also quickly loses its effectiveness when it reacts even with a small amount of moisture, such as dew or rain. The volatility of the active ingredient can result in the need to prebait and frequently re-bait to increase effectiveness and adds costly steps by wasting growers’ time and money.

Ramik® is a trademark of Hacco, Inc. Randolph, WI, a subsidiary of Neogen Inc.

Ground Force Usage Guide

Approved in all provinces.

Labeled Rate (voles):

  • 12.5 kg./HA (11.1 lbs./acre) 2 Applications, 20-60 day interval.

Maximum application rate per season, for voles (Microtus spp.) 25 kg./HA (22.3 lbs./acre) late fall until March 31.


VOLES (Microtus spp.) Areas of Use - Voles: For the control of voles in orchards, nursery stock and ornamentals. Voles travel in well defined surface trails or may make a shallow burrow and travel within the burrow system. Bait is to be broadcast or scattered in areas inhabited by voles. DO NOT place the bait in heaps or piles.

Application Directions - Bearing Orchards

Broadcast (mechanical or hand) at a rate of 12.5 kg per hectare (11.1 lbs. per acre). Do not apply until all fruit is harvested and all harvestable fruit is recovered. Bait before snowfall. Do not bait later than March 31. A second application can be made 20 - 60 days after the first application, but do not apply more than a total of 25 kg per hectare, per application season (late fall until March 31). Where possible, recover and bury vole carcasses.

Non-Bearing Orchards, Nursery Stock and Ornamentals

Broadcast (mechanical or hand) at a rate of 12.5 kg per hectare (11.1 lbs. per acre). Bait before snowfall. A second application can be made 20 - 60 days after the first application. Where possible, recover and bury vole carcasses.

Specimen Labels and Safety Data Sheets

Labels (Eng) Labels (French) SDS (Eng) SDS (French)
Labels (Eng) Labels (French) SDS (Eng) SDS (French)


Vole Taxonomy & Behavior / Ground Force Technical Sheet

©2019 Liphatech, Inc all rights reserved
3600 West Elm Street • Milwaukee, WI 53209 • Phone: (414) 351-1476 • Fax: (414) 247-8166
privacy policy | terms of use