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Voles can cause significant damage in the garden. So it makes sense to tease them. Is the frequently recommended gasoline suitable for this or should better other means be used to drive away voles? We tell.

In a nutshell

  • Deterrence is possible in a number of ways
  • Fragrances are a method that is effective but gentle
  • Gasoline is not lethal to voles
  • the fuel must not get into the ground
  • there are numerous alternatives to defense with fragrances


Using gasoline as an odor deterrent against voles is not new. The fumes scare away the rodents from their burrows. All you need to do is soak a rag in the petrol and place it in the aisles.
For the desired effect, as many outputs as possible should be found and provided with them. The application is quick and easy, the product is cheap and has a long-lasting effect. However, it is not completely unproblematic as long as some precautionary measures are not observed. Because if the fuel penetrates the ground, damage can occur.

Vole Cave, Source: Bernd Sauerwein, Den of unknown animal, Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dangerous or harmless?

Gasoline or petroleum as a strong-smelling deterrent is comparatively gentle on the animals. It does not kill them, but drives the rodents away reliably and gently. The problem, however, is that petrol, when trying to drive away the voles, can also penetrate the surrounding soil if handled incorrectly.
The substrate and the plants in it suffer, can die and are no longer suitable for consumption. Larger amounts of the toxic substances can get into the ground, particularly in the case of extensive buildings or corridors due to the numerous exits.
With three measures, however, this can be prevented or the risk of it reduced. It refers to:

  • Bags with zip lock closure: Fresh storage bags with a zip-lock closure can be partially opened so the liquid is not in contact with the soil, but the fumes can still be detected by the animals and act as a deterrent.
  • bury pots: Pounding holes in the top third of plastic flower pots and digging them in the tunnel exits keeps the fuel-soaked rag separate from the earth, while the petrol fumes can still have a distressing effect. It is ideal to position the vessels at the exits of the tunnels in such a way that they close the tunnels. In this way they constitute a double blockade.
  • Gasoline as limit: Trenches lined with a waterproof tarpaulin can be dug around beds of root vegetables or other popular forages. Pieces of cloth that have been soaked with the fuel are placed on these.

Notice: Only plastic that does not dissolve in direct contact with petrol, diesel or kerosene should be used. Otherwise, the liquids will seep into the ground and can cause significant damage.

alternatives to petrol

The principle of repelling voles with smell is not limited to chemical substances such as gasoline. Plants can also keep the rodents away and are easy on the environment and easy to use. Among other things, the following are suitable:

  • elder
  • imperial crown
  • garlic
  • daffodils
  • sweet clover
  • Vole Spurge

Integrating this plant into mixed cultures can not only keep voles away, but also other pests. In general, planting different plants makes sense because, among other things, diseases are also prevented.
Buttermilk is another effective olfactory agent. However, this must first become sour so that it has a deterrent effect on the animals. The intense, fermented aroma is often enough to keep rodents away.
But that's not the only benefit of buttermilk. Because they:

  • is inexpensive
  • is easy to use
  • is not harmful to the environment
  • does not contain toxins that are deadly

Notice: For buttermilk to go sour, it only needs to be stored at room temperature for two to three days. A rag soaked with the sour milk in each exit of the buildings is sufficient for deterrence.

alternatives to anger

To protect the plants, scaring them is not the only option. Because although the use of smells and plants is comparatively harmless to animals and the environment, mechanical and acoustic measures are also possible in addition to introducing them. These include:

  • buried wire mesh
  • raised beds
  • plant baskets
  • lawn edging stones
  • Ultrasonic deterrent devices
  • root locks

Lights with motion sensors can also be used. However, the sensor must be aligned very close to the ground to produce an effect. In addition, the animals mainly eat roots, i.e. they are active underground. Acoustic signals are often only effective for a short time, as the mice get used to them and quickly no longer perceive them as a danger.

frequently asked Questions

Can predators act as a deterrent?

Dogs and cats that spend more time in the garden also leave behind fur and often excrement. The smells of these can act as a deterrent, as can their activity. Pets or frequent visits from friends with dogs are therefore ideal. Used cat litter and dog excrement can therefore be brought into the aisles as well as combed fur hair. These agents act as a deterrent and can prevent further spread of the rodents.

Are semi-natural gardens more often affected?

That cannot be answered in general. However, more animals are generally present in semi-natural gardens, which also attracts natural predators of the vole such as weasels, foxes, owls and birds of prey and can create a balance between pests and beneficials.

Is the use of poison advisable?

Traps and poison kill the voles. However, poison in particular can also be dangerous for useful animals, children or pets or penetrate the soil. This in turn can lead to plants dying or vegetables no longer being suitable for consumption. The use of poison should therefore be avoided. Deadly traps also affect the natural balance of local wildlife.

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