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Pest control experts detail epic wave of vole problems from Saratoga Springs to Draper

Jul 11, 2024, 7:59 AM | Updated: 8:02 am

SARATOGA SPRINGS — At a time of year when spiders, wasps, moths and other creepy crawlies are overwhelming properties and sneaking their way uninvited into houses, some pest control guys had a different answer Wednesday for what the biggest pest problem is right now: voles.

“The ecosystem has just said, ‘Hey, this year, we give you voles,’” quipped Jitterbug Pest Control co-owner Joe Clements as he visited yet another home with a vole issue Wednesday evening. “This is the worst year I’ve ever experienced.”

Clements told KSL TV his mom-and-pop pest control business has been fielding about 20 calls per day about voles, also known as meadow mice, carving “runways” and digging golf ball-sized burrows into unsuspecting yards.

That’s what prompted Bob Hyte to contact the company — watching the creatures wreak havoc on his front yard in two days.

“I mowed the lawn Monday night and there was nothing there,” Hyte said.

By Tuesday, it was a much different picture.

“I went, ‘What are all these tracks?’ and then I saw all these holes,” Hyte said. “If that’s two days, I can imagine what a week’s going to be, so it was an emergency. It was 911 for us.”

Clements and his son, Jake, scrambled out to address the problem, knowing just how destructive the voles can be.

“They will nibble on the roots of your grass, of your flowers, of your plants,” Jake Clements said. “If you have to tear up a whole front yard or back yard because you’ve got all these runways and burrows, you know, that can be expensive obviously.”

He said voles are capable of producing multiple litters in a given year and each litter can have up to 10 babies.

Joe Clements said the issues have been so challenging in Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain and Draper that sometimes new voles will arrive where the others were exterminated just a day or two earlier.

The father and son weren’t sure why there seemed to be so many vole problems this summer.

Biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources suggested the reasons could include favorable conditions for the creatures, construction and development in the area and cycles in vole populations that tend to peak every three to six years.

Joe Clements said the only season he could remember that even came close to rivaling this one was roughly eight years ago, but that one didn’t really hold a candle.

“My theory is it’s related to the real estate out here, actually,” Jake Clements suggested. “A lot of that construction can stir up pests in the area.”

Joe Clements said he was certain he wasn’t the only pest control company receiving so many vole complaints.

“We’ve been in business since ’09 here in Utah,” Joe Clements said. “It’s never been this bad.”

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Pest control experts detail epic wave of vole problems from Saratoga Springs to Draper