Controlling Vole Damage

Published 2011

Voles can cause problems by damaging lawns, gardens, tree plantings and other plants.

The prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), the most common species, occurs statewide. Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are also very common but cover a slightly smaller geographical area. Pine voles, or woodland voles (Microtus pinetorum), are generally confined to the extreme southeastern corner of Nebraska.

Vole damage is costliest during the winter when a shortage of preferable foods forces them to eat the inner green layers of bark of trees and shrubs. The gnawing required to reach this layer can severely damage or kill many young trees and shrubs, including orchard, windbreak, and landscape plantings.

Signs found at the scene will help you identify the species causing damage.

Voles usually damage woody plants from late fall through early spring. Voles tunnel through snow and may gnaw on trees and shrubs up to the height that snow accumulates.

Publication Details


Stephen M Vantassel

Scott E. Hygnstrom

Dennis M Ferraro


Natural Resources

Wildlife Management

Publication Date February 01, 2005
Last Revision Date September 14, 2011
Language English


Series NebGuide