Optimizing vole trapping strategies in annual and perennial cropping systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2021: $74,364.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2024
Host Institution Award ID: G341-21-W8614
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Nick Andrews
Oregon State University
Dr. Dana Sanchez
Oregon State University


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial)
  • Nuts: hazelnuts
  • Vegetables: carrots


  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management, traps

    Proposal abstract:

    Farmers managing different cropping systems lack detailed research-based information about vole management strategies other than rodenticides. For the educational component, we will provide current information about integrated vole management strategies including predators, habitat management and trapping. Research will focus on innovative trapping strategies early in the season to interrupt spring reproduction and exponential population growth. Specifically, we will investigate trap types (single- and multi-catch traps) and trap placement methods (canine scent detection and human visual cue detection). We hypothesize that canine scent detection can increase trapping efficiency and efficacy, strengthening vole management. We will also investigate burrow architecture and underground vole activity using infrared imaging and other techniques.

    Synthetic rodenticides are hazardous to non-target wildlife and threatened or endangered species. They can be effective tools, but like other pesticides are best used as part of an integrated management approach. This project will provide new insight into vole behavior, tunnel architecture, and trapping strategies that will enhance vole management on organic and conventional farms.

    We will publish research findings in a peer-refereed journal article, write a new Extension Publication on ecological vole management, and establish canine vole scent detection training guidelines. We will host on-farm field days, and present our findings at farmer conferences. We will maintain a project blog and write newsletter articles to engage a wider audience.

    Current research-based information about ecological vole management is lacking for Oregon farmers. We hope this project will be the first of many to fill this gap.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Investigate canine vole scent detection and trapping strategies
    2. Study vole burrow architecture and behavior
    3. Disseminate results and evaluate adoption and impact
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.