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What Diseases Do Voles Carry | Temecula, CA

Have you noticed unusual pathways or damaged vegetation in your yard lately? It might be more than just an aesthetic nuisance. It could be voles—small rodents that can carry surprising health risks to your home and family. 


In Temecula and the surrounding areas, these rodent species are both a threat to your beautiful landscape as well as carriers of many diseases. But what diseases do voles carry, and how serious are the health risks they pose?


Voles, often confused with their distant cousins, mice, and moles, are unique in their habits and the dangers they present. As we dig deep into the world of voles, understanding their behavior and the risks associated with these small but harmful creatures, you can take informed steps to protect your property and health from their potential threats.


Key Takeaways


  • Voles are small rodents that can carry diseases and serve as hosts for parasites like fleas and ticks, posing health risks to humans and pets.

  • Look out for signs like gnawed plants, visible paths in the grass, and burrows in your yard to detect and prevent extensive damage caused by vole activity.

  • Safeguard your property and loved ones by seeking expert pest control services, ensuring effective management of vole infestations and protection against diseases they may carry.


What Are Voles?


An image of a vole munching on dried plants.

Voles, also known as meadow or field mice, may look cute with their short legs and small eyes, but they're skilled at making themselves right at home in your yard. 


These small rodents are experts at navigating through dense grassy or wooded areas, creating tunnel systems that, while impressive, can lead to quite the headache for any homeowner. Their active lifestyles help maintain the balance in our local ecosystems around Temecula, yet their burrowing habits often disrupt our beautiful landscapes.


Here in our community, you're most likely to come across the meadow vole near water sources or the prairie vole in drier, grass-covered fields. Both types thrive under the cover of thick vegetation, which unfortunately means they might be closer than you think. 


Familiarizing yourself with their preferred environments and behaviors is key to effective pest control, ensuring your property remains a vibrant and healthy environment free from the worry of unwanted furry guests.


Are Voles Dangerous?


Though small in size, voles can be quite hazardous. 


They do not typically bite humans, but they are significant carriers of ticks, fleas, and other parasites that can transmit zoonotic diseases to both pets and people. These diseases can jump from animals to humans, posing health risks within our communities. 


What Diseases Do Voles Carry?


A sick person lying in bed

The vole's role as an intermediate host can lead to serious health concerns for humans and animals. 


These small rodents harbor a range of pathogens, acting as carriers rather than direct transmitters of disease. This makes understanding the diseases associated with voles critical, particularly in regions where they are commonly found. 


Here, we delve into some of the specific diseases linked to voles, highlighting the risks these infected animals pose to public health.


Lyme disease


Voles play a key role in the spread of Lyme disease, though not by infecting humans directly. Instead, these small rodents serve as reservoir hosts for Borrelia afzelii, part of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group that causes Lyme disease. 


Larval ticks that feed on infected voles pick up this bacteria, and as they mature into nymphs and adults, they can transmit it to humans through bites. When someone is bitten by an infected tick, they might experience symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, and a distinctive skin rash known as erythema migrans. 


Early recognition and treatment are crucial, particularly in areas with a dense population of voles, to prevent more severe complications. 


Hantavirus


Hantavirus is a serious health concern associated with voles, especially transmitted through direct contact with contaminated dust from their nests or droppings. 


This virus causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a severe respiratory disease with symptoms that can rapidly become life-threatening. People exposed to environments where voles have been active, such as gardens or sheds, are at risk, particularly in areas with dense vole populations. 


The disease initially presents with flu-like symptoms, including fever, fatigue, and muscle aches, which can escalate quickly to respiratory distress. 


Leptospirosis


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease often lurking in places where voles and other rodents are active. This infection spreads through direct or indirect contact with contaminated water and soil, especially where infected animal urine is present. 


For those living near or around areas frequented by voles, such as gardens, fields, or yards, the risk is heightened. Humans exposed to these environments might experience symptoms including high fever, severe headaches, muscle pain, chills, and, in some cases, bleeding. 


Plague (Yersinia pestis)


Although less common today, the risk of plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, still poses a risk where rodent populations aren't kept in check. 


This disease, historically known for causing devastating pandemics, is primarily transmitted to humans by fleas. Fleas that have feasted on infected voles can transmit the disease to humans, potentially causing symptoms like high fever, chills, muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes. 


Signs of Vole Infestation


An image of a pumpkin with noticeable bite marks.

Detecting a vole infestation early is crucial to prevent significant damage to your property. Voles can be discreet, but they leave behind telltale signs that can alert you to their presence. 


Here’s what you should look out for:


  • Visible paths in the grass. One of the most noticeable signs of a vole infestation is the appearance of distinct trails or worn-down areas on your lawn. These pathways are created as voles travel back and forth through the grass, eating and burrowing. These trails often look like narrow, flattened strips across your yard, leading from one vole burrow to another.

  • Gnawed plants. Voles have quite the appetite for garden plants, and their snacking can leave noticeable marks. Be on the lookout for signs of chewing at the base of your plants and along stem surfaces. This kind of activity can really impact the look of your beautiful landscape and may even stunt the growth of your plants or cause younger ones to perish. 

  • Burrows. Look for small holes in the ground with surrounding disturbed soil, which are clear indicators of vole tunnels. These burrows are typically about the size of a golf ball and are often found near the plant roots or hidden under foliage. The presence of these burrows can lead to more extensive root damage and disrupt the health of your lawn and garden.


6 Tips for Preventing and Controlling Vole Infestations


Now that you understand the dangers voles pose through spreading zoonotic diseases and the significant damage they can inflict on your garden and lawn, it's crucial to take proactive steps to manage and prevent these infestations. 


Keeping your property pest-free safeguards your beautiful landscape and helps prevent the spread of diseases carried by infected rodents. 


Here are some practical tips to help you keep voles under control:


1. Monitor regularly


Stay vigilant by routinely inspecting your yard to spot any signs of vole activity. Key indicators include burrows, gnawed plants, and visible paths in the grass—these disruptions can signal a growing vole presence that might lead to extensive damage if not addressed. 


Regular monitoring is essential as it allows for early detection, significantly reducing the potential impact on your lawn and garden.


2. Manage food sources


Voles prefer areas with abundant food sources, making it essential to manage these attractants effectively. 


Promptly remove fallen fruits and seeds from your yard to discourage voles and prevent them from settling in, which can lead to them trying to invade homes. Keeping your garden clean minimizes vole presence as well as helps maintain a beautiful landscape. 


3. Maintain your lawn


Keeping your grass mowed and your garden beds well-tended is crucial for minimizing vole habitats around your property. Regular maintenance of your lawn, including the areas around trees, reduces overgrown vegetation that provides cover for voles to hide and nest. 


A tidy yard discourages voles and enhances the overall health and appearance of your property. By cutting back on places where voles can easily hide and nest, you also reduce the risk of these pests trying to invade homes. 


4. Use natural barriers


Incorporating vole-resistant vegetation around the perimeter of your garden is an effective natural strategy to get rid of voles. Plants such as daffodils and crown imperials are beautiful additions to your landscape and can also serve as natural repellents against these pests. 


By establishing these barriers, you minimize the risk of voles invading your garden and potentially your home. This method enhances the overall health of your yard, helping to maintain a pest-free environment while also supporting the biodiversity of plant species.


5. Employ physical barriers


To further protect your garden from vole infestations, consider installing underground fencing around key areas. 


Burying a hardware cloth or mesh a few inches into the ground effectively prevents voles from burrowing into sensitive areas such as vegetable gardens or young tree roots. This physical barrier can be a critical defense against voles, ensuring they do not damage your plants or compromise the health of your property. 


6. Professional pest control


If vole infestations become too overwhelming to handle alone, don't hesitate to bring in professional pest control services. These experts offer free inspections to assess the severity of your situation and can craft customized solutions to ensure your property remains pest-free. 


Turning to professional pest control not only resolves your current problems but also helps prevent future infestations, protecting the health of your lawn, garden, and the overall environment of your outdoor spaces. 


Keep Your Home Safe from Voles with Local Bug Guy


An image of a pest-free backyard

Are voles and other pests turning your backyard into a battleground? 


At Local Bug Guy, we understand the challenges homeowners face with local pests, especially rodents like voles that threaten the beauty and safety of your property. 


Our team brings specialized expertise in handling these nuisances, ensuring your lawn and garden are protected from damage and disease. We pride ourselves on delivering friendly, trustworthy service that focuses on effectively managing your rodent problems


To start, we offer a free inspection to assess any vole-related risks, helping to identify and address problems before they escalate. Connecting with Local Bug Guy means ensuring your property remains pest-free and healthy. 


Let us help you maintain a beautiful, safe environment for your family and the local wildlife. Trust in our expertise to keep your home secure and serene. Call us today to schedule your free inspection and take the first step towards a pest-free property.


Conclusion


Voles, while small and seemingly harmless, can carry diseases like Lyme disease, which they may spread through direct contact or contaminated habitats. These critters, along with other pests like ticks and fleas, can invade our homes, posing a threat to both our health and the integrity of our property.


With the help of professional pest control, you can bid farewell to worries about voles nibbling at your lawn or rodents seeking refuge in your attic. Instead, you can rest easy, knowing that your living space is free from the potential dangers of pests and the diseases they carry.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do voles carry disease to humans?


Yes, voles can carry diseases such as tularemia, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated soil or direct contact with infected animals.


Are voles safe to touch?


While voles are generally not aggressive towards humans, it's best to avoid touching them. Voles can carry parasites like fleas and ticks, which can transmit diseases to humans through bites or direct contact.


What parasites do voles carry?


Voles can carry a variety of parasites, including fleas and ticks. These parasites can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and tularemia to humans and pets. Additionally, voles can harbor mites, which can also pose health risks to humans and animals.


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