NSL neighborhood invaded by voles

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jun 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-21 18:59:48-04

NORTH SALT LAKE -- Nature is getting a little too close for comfort for people in the Foxboro neighborhood here.

Residents  are grappling with a massive rodent infestation and frustrated at city officials' response to the problem.

"It's a full-blown infestation," said Aaron Rennaker, who has the Legacy Parkway trail behind his house. That's where voles are invading from.

The mouse-like rodents are everywhere along this portion of the Legacy Parkway. They scatter through the brush and grasses as you walk down the trail. In Debby Piquet's backyard, they advance on her house.

"My kids like to play back here but they can't," she said as she trapped voles by the dozen. "I won't let them."

Residents have hired exterminators to try to get rid of them. But Renneker said North Salt Lake and UDOT, which maintain the Legacy Parkway and the trail, won't put pesticides down on their side of the fences.

"I can't kill them fast enough!" Piquet said. "They just keep coming and it's frustrating because we don't want to be inside."

Residents complained to North Salt Lake city leaders at a recent council meeting, but so far there has been no action, they said.

"The feeling I get, it's everyone for themselves," said Tom Burton, who works at a nearby youth treatment center that is also dealing with the field mice problem. "Do what you can to get rid of them."

North Salt Lake Mayor Len Arave said he understands the frustration of Foxboro residents, but was hesitant to just lay down pesticide. He cited the 2010 deaths of two Layton girls from pesticide poisoning as a reason to wait and formulate a better strategy.

Arave told FOX 13 the spike in vole populations appears to be cyclical, occurring about every five years. He said animal control is also unable to help.

"We don't have, really, the ability or the manpower or the expertise to come in and treat voles in citizens' houses," he said, urging residents to hire exterminators.

Arave said he plans to meet with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to discuss solutions. Rennaker said they want something done about it.

"We're setting up traps here but the problem's not resolved on the city property where these animals feed on grass and grass seeds," he said. "Snd so if they're not taking care of it then it'll still continue to be our problem."