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Voles tearing up metro Denver yards; wet spring weather to blame

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DENVER — Voles are tearing up backyards across the metro area after this spring’s late snowfall.

If you notice some dead patches of grass in your yard it might not be from the hot, sunny weather. The culprit could be voles.

Experts at Edge Pest Control said late snowfall this past spring caused a population boom among vole colonies. Thousands are now chewing their way through backyards.

“It’s lumpy everywhere,” Englewood homeowner Bernie Martin said. “Just little mounds. I’ve got trails everywhere.”

Vole

Vole

Voles are tiny rodents about the size of a mouse. They have a longer snout and are about 3 to 7 inches long, including their tail. The critters burrow through lawns creating “trails” or “runways” protruding from their nest.

“By the time you see the trails there is already a good size population,” said Wesley Constants of Edge Pest Control.

Up to 100 voles can camp out in a yard at a time. They can have litters 12 times per year and will spread to other yards.

Voles eat grass, flowers and trees. They can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to landscaping.

“I’m getting concerned about having to replace all the grass and who knows what damage they’re doing to the bushes right now,” Martin said.

Experts said there is no way to prevent voles from picking your yard to nest. If they do, pest control specialists can set traps to slowly remove the problem.

The poison used has a very low risk of harming pets but will get your yard back on the road to recovery.

“They are still poison but at the same time it’s something that’s very low toxic,” Constants said.

Voles can surface in your yard any time of year. They are most active in the early spring and winter.

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