Park City’s record vole season is coming to a close

It’s likely that this summer you’ve see thousands of voles running around your yard or dashing across the street. While some view the furry creatures as cute, others see them as a nuisance. Silver Creek resident Jamie Carnes has been battling them since April. “I first started noticing them around Easter. They’ve destroyed my lawn and have annoyed my dog. I started by calling Summit County Animal Control, but they didn’t do a thing,” said Carnes.

That’s when Carnes took matters into his own hands. “Under advice of a neighborhood blog, I put out lots of poison to get rid of the critters. That ended up killed 3 neighbors cats and a dog. I never saw any voles killed, though,” commented Carnes.

University of Southern Utah wildlife specialist, Joe Moser, agrees. “Voles are hands down the world’s most prolific mammals. Females can breed when they are a month old and produce litters of three to ten pups every three weeks for the rest of their lives. They are also known for their boom-bust population cycles, with population levels generally peaking every two to five years, but these cycles are not predictable.” During a recent public meeting on the subject Moser said that a lot of people try poisons, which have similar chemicals to what are found in rat killers. However, he did not recommend them because “it usually kills your neighbors cats and dogs,” in addition to the voles. During the meeting local resident Sally Meyer spoke, tears welling in her eyes, and said, “I have to do something. My house is going to be in the Park City Parade of Homes. I can’t have these bumps in my yard. I don’t want to use poison. I’ve tried cutting my grass low. What am I supposed to do?”

Moser said he sympathized with her problem — that he had suffered from this as well. Then Moser offered an unlikely solution. “There’s a shop on Main Street called F’n Hot. They sell hot sauce. Go around back and knock on the door. Tell them that Joe sent you and you want Dave’s Burn Your Balls Off Carolina Reaper sauce. That stuff is so hot, they don’t put it out.  It’s got 3 million scoville heat units. Buy a couple of bottles and pour it down your vole holes. Voles will be drawn to it like a Louisianan to jumbalaya. When they taste it, though, they are going to high-tail it out of there and won’t stop until they get to Wasatch County.”

While it’s likely too late to take Moser’s advice this season , Moser says it’s never too early to plan for next hyear. “Stock up on birthdays and at Christmas. Then next May give those critters a little hot sauce. You’ll both be glad you did.”