Snap traps, such as a mousetrap baited with peanut butter, are not effective in catching moles. To protect an area from a vole infestation, a wire fence with a mesh of ¼ inch or smaller will help exclude them. This little mammal hunts for insects above ground and in tunnels made by moles or voles. Signs of Vole Damage. Vole Tunnels. Voles are not strictly herbivorous, however, and also sometimes eat remnants of dead creatures, snails and bugs. Meadow voles look like field mice with short tails.Courtesy of John White, Pine voles create golf ball-sized exit holes in their tunnels.Barbara H. Smith, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension. They dig their own tunnels and also don’t hesitate to co-opt tunnels created by moles or chipmunks. Voles prefer to take bait from under cover.Barbara H. Smith, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension. Shrews hunt for insects above ground and in tunnels made by moles or voles. If you are dealing with a chipmunk, it is very likely you may see the animal go in and out of the hole. Reducing or eliminating food availability for moles has been used as a control technique. The easiest way to fix this problem is to tamp down or rake out the tunnels. Voles prefer to live in low-lying or creeping vegetation, and make trails through the grass or snow. One way to distinguish the difference is by the diet of each animal. Moles have deep below-ground tunnels as well as surface tunnels. The tunnels are dug at a rate of 18 feet per hour and can add 150 feet of new tunnels in the lawn each day. Mole mounds (Photo: Maine.gov) Mole tunnel with dead grassy patch above (Photo: Maine.gov) Mole tunnel in a hiking path (Photo: BioKIDS) Voles dig extensive burrows underground, so people who think they see vole tunnels on the surface of lawns may actually be looking at vole runways. Moles are solitary animals, so ridding the landscape of one or two moles will make a big difference. When mole tunnels are close to the surface the tops of the tunnel are convex and may be pushed down as you walk. Voles and mice often use excavated mole tunnels as passageways and cause damage by eating seeds, roots and tubers. Voles also create tiny holes in the ground, but theirs generally are a little tinier than those made by moles. ); meadow voles, (Microtus pennsylvanicus) and pine voles (Microtus pinetorum), chipmunk (Genus Tamias) and true moles (from … This article will show you the Mothballs also do not work, and it is illegal to use as it is considered a misuse of a pesticide. Poisons are usually the first method that a homeowner thinks of but is not necessarily the most effective or best choice. Holes are another visible sign of vole activity. Remember, however, that it isn't unheard of for voles and moles to occupy the same places at the same times. Because these products are systemic within the turfgrass, they will last the entire growing season. Thankfully, the tunnels they carve out are often easy to tell apart. Cobb County Extension: Facts on Moles and Voles, University of Minnesota Extension: Voles in the Landscape, University of Missouri Extension: Controlling Nuisance Moles, UNL Extension in Platte County: Moles, Voles and Trapping. The tunnels themselves can have dead grassy patches over them, but the grass is not clipped or grazed as in vole tunnels. To an untrained eye, the difference between a vole vs. mole can be subtle and it can also be difficult to distinguish a vole vs. a shrew, which is why any pest in the yard needs a professional assessment. A gopher’s burrow system consists of a main tunnel that is 4–18 inches below the surface with connecting lateral Voles live either above or underground, depending on the type. People are often asking the question, "What do moles eat"? A vole is a small rodent (4 to 6 inches) that resembles a mouse, but with smaller ears and a shorter tail. There are several different types of mole traps, such as harpoon, impaling, choker, pitfall, or scissor-jawed available on the market. They are often lined with bark, clumps of grass and even fecal matter. It digs characteristic volcano-shaped hills in the lawn. Below ground foraging voles such as the pine vole like to make tunnels or runs along house foundations, stone walls, and among perennials and groundcovers. As moles scour for food, they often lead to detriment of plants' roots. Voles can breed many times a year. As both pests carry infectious diseases and parasites, it is important to wear disposable gloves when handling the dead animals. On the surface, deep tunnels look like what most people think of as a molehill: a large mound of pushed Create runways on the surface of the yard through the grass Runways are often less than 2 inches wide Vole Tunnels. Damage Voles - Where voles are present, the grass is usually eaten to the soil line, leaving the crown of the grass plant intact and healthy. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Vole holes can be right out in the open, or cleverly hidden under foliage or debris in the garden. If it rains during that time, the product will have to be reapplied. Pine voles will destroy the root systems of plants and trees. Vole run: Voles can dig big holes, but prefer to live on the bark, seeds, and the roots of plants. Finding the best mole killer or poison to be clear is tricky. Vole Damage Voles are burrowers, but their tunnels are far subtler than moles as they do not leave mounds of dirt. Snap traps baited with apples or peanut butter and oatmeal are an excellent way to catch voles. However, many homeowners are unaware that certain insects, like the mole cricket, can be just as frustrating to homeowners. Mole tunnel "entry points" are usually obscured by piles of dirt, while those of voles usually are not -- a key differentiating component. Because of their respective diets, you might notice that the problems they cause in your lawn are markedly different. Moles, voles and shrews can easily be distinguished from one another by looking at some of the primary physical characteristics of each. Voles, typically around half a foot long, lack the unmistakable pointed snout and enlarged feet of a mole and instead look comparable to a common mouse or shrew. Why Do the Mole Crickets Live Underground? How To Identify If You Have Gophers, Moles, Or Voles Digging Up Your Yard. Field Rodents: Mice, Voles, Chipmunks, and Moles Printable PDF In Connecticut mice, voles, chipmunks and moles cause damage to gardens, fruit and other plantings. Mole tunnels are usually over 2-inches wide, while vole tunnels are 1-2-inches in diameter. Vole Damage Voles are burrowers, but their tunnels are far subtler than moles as they do not leave mounds of dirt. Identifying Voles and Vole Damage. Using a grub treatment for a lawn is a common practice but is not environmentally sound as it affects the food supply for other wildlife. These critters can transform a perfectly manicured lawn into a maze of mounds and tunnels that can cause even the most relaxed homeowner an abundance of … At this time, the grubs are small and close to the surface, so the contact insecticide will be very effective in eradicating the young grubs. There may be multiple residents in a vole colony, so habitat modification is important in controlling them. Here we will discuss 10 distinctions between a vole vs mole. Systemic grub treatments that contain imidacloprid as an active ingredient can be applied to the lawn area in May. As the vole pathway can be thought of as a rut, the mole pathways can be thought of as tunnels. Set the traps along runways or near the exit holes, making sure that the trap is placed with the trigger end toward the runway. Trapping is one of the most successful ways to get rid of moles. They are often near a tree base, building foundation or fence. A castor oil treatment to the lawn will also repel moles and voles for about two weeks. A mystery pest in your yard wreaking havoc can be a pretty frustrating issue. Mole entrance holes are usually covered with a large pile of dirt, while vole tunnels aren’t. Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates from HGIC. Voles look like mice; some are commonly called meadow mice or pine mice. While there is some superficial similarity between the damage caused by moles, gophers, and voles (they all live in underground tunnels), there are clear differences between the damage they cause, making correct identification easy. A mole is 4 to 7 inches in length with paddle-shaped feet and prominent digging claws. They consume that grass and also use it to build nests. Prevent mole tunnels and repair the damage with Critter Control! Neither of these methods is completely successful, as the moles will switch to other prey. They frequently "label" them by placing conspicuous, cone-shaped heaps of dirt over them. This will also protect children, pets, or other animals from encountering the trap. Removing weeds, heavy mulch, or dense vegetation will aid in eliminating their food source along with protection from predators. Voles destroy gardens largely by … A vole will gnaw at the base of a tree or shrub, especially in winter. Mole, gopher, and vole damage are identified based on mounds, runways, holes, and runways. Other than names that rhyme, voles and moles are entirely different pests with little in common. Voles leave smaller runways and an entrance to their burrow. Mole tunnels are usually over 2-inches wide, while vole tunnels are 1-2-inches in diameter. Gophers, moles, and voles can dig intricate tunnel systems through your yard, effectively killing your plants and creating unsightly holes in your lawn. Unlike GOPHERS who are strictly herbivores, on occasion, VOLES are cannibalistic. Empower Her. The tunnels are dug at a rate of 18 feet per hour and can add 150 feet of new tunnels in law… There are many differences exhibited between moles and voles. The tunnels they dig can cause problems to Though their name rhymes with a fellow ground pest, the mole, these creatures share only a few characteristics. Mole tunnels can cause harm to your yard or garden that can be hard to see right away. A good way of spotting a vole infestation is by looking for tiny three-inch holes. This picture shows signs of mole activity. Mole Behavior. Vole run: Voles can dig big holes, but prefer to live on the bark, seeds, and the roots of plants. Rutgers University Extension: How Can You Tell the Difference Between Mole and Vole Damage in the Yard? Step 5 Observe the hole during daytime. Moles are most active in the early morning and late evening on cloudy days during the spring and fall. But having a mole in the yard or garden is another problem to tolerate. Shrews are much smaller than moles (3 to 4 inches in body length) and are mouse-like in appearance with a long, pointed snout, a short dense coat of fur, and small eyes. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The short black-to-brownish-gray fur has no grain, which allows the mole to move easily forward and backwards in the tunnels. Deep tunnels are located at least 3 feet underground and are used to house the mole’s living, food storage, and latrine areas. It is important to know the difference between mole and vole damage to the landscape. Mole vs Vole Although mole and vole do sound informally similar, they are different animals of two taxonomic orders. If so, you may be dealing with a mole, because moles dig their tunnels close to the surface when they search for food. Mole signs may include mounds, raised ridges, or both, depending upon soil conditions. The short black-to-brownish-gray fur has no grain, which allows the mole to move easily forward and backward in the tunnels. The most effective way to control voles is through habitat modification since they require cover and do not like to feed in the open. While voles may create or utilize existing tunnels to reach food or hide underground, the damage they cause and methods for catching them differ. Place a box or bucket over the trap as voles prefer to take the bait from under cover. Vole holes are often between 1 and 2 inches in diameter, while mole burrows are often a tad over 2 inches in diameter. The only visible evidence of a vole burrow is the neat exit holes an inch or two across. They may damage plant roots as they dig tunnels. Now: Moles (with an M) make raised tunnels in lawns that you can collapse by pushing hard on them, but don’t otherwise harm plants. Voles vs Moles So, you see a small animal digging around in your yard. But rodents do exploit mole tunnels to get underneath your plants and gnaw at their roots, so moles can play a role in plant damage, even though they do not eat plants. Nothing is more frustrating to a homeowner with a beautiful lawn than to see molehills all over the yard. Voles may travel through mole tunnels, but also dig their own burrows. Voles may travel through mole tunnels, but also dig their own burrows. They are usually between 1 and 2 inches in width. Step 5 Observe the hole during daytime. If poison baits are left in place, they have the potential of being washed into water sources. The only visible evidence of a vole burrow is the neat exit holes an inch or two across. Granular grub killers that contain trichlorfon or carbaryl are contact insecticides that should be applied in early July and are spread over the lawn and watered in well. These species include house mice, (Mus musculus); white-footed mice and deer mice, (Peromyscus sp. Many mole killers (poison) are advertised and sold. Mole entrance holes are usually covered with a large pile of dirt, while vole tunnels aren’t. If you have no experience with identifying these kinds of creatures, you might think that a vole and a mole are one and the same. ESF Adirondack Ecological Center: Star-nosed Mole, University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program: Meadows and Pine Voles, The Natural History of Moles; Martyn L. Gorman and R. David Stone. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed. Plus, you can see the eyes in most species. Look for their presence by locating their circular burrow entrances not more than 1" -1 ½" in size and by lifting mulch to reveal long narrow trenches or runways that are serpentine and wind around obstructions. In time, new leaves will emerge from the crown and fill in the bare areas. Do not use if irrigation is frequently run in the area as watering will quickly dilute the castor oil. By the time the mole gives up and leaves, it has already wrecked your lawn. How to Tell the Difference Between Moles, Voles and Gophers. Create underground tunnels and burrows Tunnels are usually very deep below ground as moles are searching for insects to eat May see exit holes and mounds of dirt in yard, mounds are round May also see tunnels in yard Voles. These shallow surface tunnels often follow along a house foundation Moles live underground in tunnels, and are predatory in nature. There are a number of available poison baits, but these pose a hazard to humans, pets, and other wildlife and may enter the water supply. However, these are lethal poison and could be dangerous to apply to the garden. Voles are vegetarians, their diet consists of a wide range of garden and ornamental plants. It has an elongated head and snout, small eyes, and no external ears. A vole is similar to a field mouse in appearance and burrows underground. Vole Holes. (Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden ) Mole Run: Moles prefer to dig and then live in underground tunnels; see this example of a mole run on a lawn. Voles, on the other hand, munch away on roots directly. Voles are 5 to 8 inches long and have prominent orange teeth for gnawing plant roots and stems. How can I spot a vole? This adaptation allows moles to travel both forward and backward through the soil. I have pulled MOLES and GOPHERS from my traps and found the carcass eaten from the tail forward by a group of VOLES. Mole mounds are volcano-like in appearance, while voles leave behind no mounds at all. Voles, unlike moles, do not leave soil heaps behind for you to find. The vole, by contrast, is a rodent. If a live trap is used, remember that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources does not allow relocation of trapped animals to another location due to animal and human disease exposure; therefore, the captured animals will have to be euthanized. One reason moles are often mistaken for rodents is that rodents like pocket gophers and voles often take safe passage in abandoned mole tunnels. Voles typically tunnel on the surface and eat their way through the grass to get to their burrows. Vole runways are on the top of … Identifying which of these three aggravating creatures has invaded your yard may seem daunting, but it can be done in a single afternoon. They dig their own tunnels and also don’t hesitate to co-opt PART OF WILD SKY MEDIA | FAMILY & PARENTING, Washington State University Extension: Voles. When using any type of poison or chemical, carefully read and follow the label instructions. If fruits are available in yards, voles eagerly dine on them, too, and they also extract bark straight from trees, leading to noticeable bare rings around them. Aside from their names, moles and voles do not share many characteristics. If so, you may be dealing with a mole, because moles dig their tunnels close to the surface when they search for food. Using a castor oil product is not the most effective way to control moles and voles as it does not have a long residual life in the soil. This is because the soils there may have many worms because of • • Mole droppings are larger than There are a number of castor oil products sold that are advertised to repel moles and voles. During the winter, the pests feed on grass under a blanket of snow. Voles leave smaller runways and an entrance to their burrow. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Again, read and follow the label instructions carefully. Once you understand their differences, it becomes rather easy to tell them apart and to develop a control strategy. Voles create tunnels on the surface and eat their way through grassy areas to where they burrow. Moles are expert diggers that will consume up to 60 to 100% of their body weight in insects, grubs, and earthworms each day. The runways they create look like thin, dirt-colored trails that snake across the yard. Nature has not equipment VOLES to be diggers, so generally, VOLES take over abandoned MOLE and GOPHER tunnels. Voles like to keep these often used runways clear, and will keep the grass or other vegetation clipped close to the ground. Cone baits are also ideal for small applications where only 1 or 2 voles may be plaguing a small garden or home. Mice, voles, and chipmunks are more common than moles (burrowing, insectivorous, nearly blind and furry mammals), shrews (related to the moles and distinguished from them and the mice by a long pointed snout and very small eyes) and rats (larger than mice, with total body length from 15 … Moles generally consume soil bugs, grubs and earthworms, while voles largely favor parts of plants, whether bark, grass or seeds. Mole Tunnels. Traps should be placed over an active tunnel and are the most effective in the fall and winter months. Is it a vole or is it a mole? Lastly, voles also have the habit of taking over holes that were made previously by moles -- occasionally adding to the confusion. Pests like gophers, moles, voles, and ground squirrels can sabotage lawns and leave unsightly tunnels and holes across the surface. A mole tunnels underground, lifting the soil upwards and making your yard “squishy” when you walk on it. Moles “M” are meat-eaters, and their diet consists of insects, grubs, and earthworms. Different traps and trapping methods are used for moles, gophers, and voles, so learning correct pest identification is critical. Voles tunnel under the snow pack in winter, but remain above ground and create those “highways” in the grass you see when it melts. The tunnels they dig are more organized than they Voles have rounded ears. Entrances to their burrows are round holes about 1.5 inches across. Moles primarily feed on earthworms, grubs, beetles and other animals or arthropods found in the soil. The main opening of a groundhog burrow is 10 to 12 inches with a mound of dirt in front. Voles have coarse hair that can … One telltale sign of rodents versus moles is this: Rodents make clearly visible entry and exit holes to the tunnels. Facts on White-Tailed Antelope Squirrels in the Desert. It’s important to know which pest you’ve got because effective mole control and vole control depends on targeting the right action to the right animal. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. Moles are strictly insectivores with a diet consisting primary of earthworms. It digs characteristic volcano-shaped hills in the lawn. In the past we've always explained that moles create raised tunnels and voles don't. Either bury them or place them in plastic bags in the trash. That's still the case, but I've been doing more research, and it turns out that there are many different types of voles—and some of their behaviors can be radically different than the ones we've discussed in the past, including a type that does damage lawns. Voles “V”, on the other hand, are vegetarians and eat the roots and stems of plants. Application in the late summer or fall is not as effective, as the older grubs will go deeper in the soil and are harder to kill. Voles frequently establish direct and obvious above-ground pathways that lead from one hole to another. Learn the … These paths are, at times, particularly prominent -- think immediately following the elimination of mulch, or perhaps once snow has diminished. Damage by meadow voles is usually to the base of plants and fruit trees. A harpoon style mole trap may be used in an active mole tunnel.Barbara H. Smith, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension. Copyright © 2020 Clemson UniversityClemson Cooperative Extension | 103 Barre Hall Clemson, SC 29634864-986-4310 | Contact UsHGIC@clemson.edu, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Centipedegrass Yearly Maintenance Program. Mole activity often looks more serious and damaging than it truly is. Making Sense of the Tunnels Moles live their lives below ground and will rarely travel on the surface. These pests live their lives primarily hidden or underground, making themselves scarcely seen in … A shrew has a pointed snout and, contrary to a mole, its front feet are not enlarged. Due to the temporary residual nature of castor oil products for repelling moles and voles, they are not very effective. Be Her Village. Moles, voles, and gophers are all similarly-sized mammals. It has an elongated head and snout, small eyes, and no external ears. Mole tunnels, however, may raise the surface when they are not deep but are still entirely covered. These opportunists will dig characteristic golf ball-sized exit holes in previously established mole tunnels. © 2020 WILD SKY MEDIA. By obstructing the voles tunnels, the cone bait not only prevents the vole from entering your home and garden but eliminates them shortly after contact with the bait. Our animal professionals have provided some key differences between these two animals. New Mouse/Rat Trap Videos Every Sunday & Monday. … Moles. Moles prefer moist areas where the grubs and worms are plentiful. The mole tunnels can be identified by ridged-up surfaces of soil that can be followed. According to Ohio State University, a five-ounce mole will consume 45-50 pounds of worms and insects each year. Shape The World. A vole is a small rodent (4 to 6 inches) that resembles a mouse, but with smaller ears and a shorter tail. Moles eat harmful lawn pests such as white grubs, but many people do not like the unsightly raised tunnels and molehills they create in manicured landscapes. The two types of voles found in South Carolina are meadow voles and pine voles. Poisoned gummy worms or pellets with an active ingredient of bromethalin may be inserted in an active tunnel, but they may pose a hazard to humans and pets and may possibly enter the wildlife food chain. Meadow voles are much larger and live most of their lives above ground, whereas pine voles are much smaller and live almost all their lives underground. A mole mound, sometimes known as a mole hill, can be more than a foot in diameter. These are available in ready-to-spray, hose-end sprayers, or granular formulations. Moles feed on earthworms and grubs in the lawn and their tunneling activity raises the soil into ridges. You have to pinpoint the location of your voles to be most effective with your repellent methods. One day a plant will be beautiful, and a few days later, it will have fallen over with the roots gnawed off. Voles. Voles look like field mice with short tails, compact heavy bodies, small eyes, and partially hidden ears. There are many methods advertised for removing moles, such as chewing gum and vibration and ultrasonic devices that are advertised to deter them. Granular products are easier to apply but be sure to irrigate with at least ½ inch of water immediately after application. Vole holes are often between 1 and 2 inches in diameter, while mole burrows are often a tad over 2 inches in diameter. Moles also sometimes dig deeper holes that are intended for breeding and relaxing rather than sustenance. They can also make small runways underneath the surface that are about two inches in diameter. Voles live either above or underground, depending on the type. Fall and late winter are the best times to trap voles. Like moles, voles also tunnel and create runways through your lawn. If the moles continue … There are so many different creatures that can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden but none as infamous as the mole, vole, and gopher. If you know which type of pest is in your yard, you might be able to handle the dilemma more efficiently. A mole is 4 to 7 inches in length with paddle-shaped feet and prominent digging claws. Vole vs Mole – Appearance Voles are often confused by most people as moles and vice versa. Vole runways are on the top of the soil, created in the grass. Vole When voles make their tunnels searching for roots to eat, they do not create raised ridges. A good way of spotting a vole infestation is by Keep turfgrass mowed and dethatched regularly, and keep mulch cleared from around tree bases. Correct identification of your burrowing pest is the first step towards effective control. Mole tunnel "entry points" are usually obscured by piles of dirt, while those of voles usually are not -- a key differentiating component. Vole runways result from the voles eating the grass blades, as well as from the constant traffic of numerous little feet over the same path. Entrances to mole tunnels may have mounds of excavated soil, often called molehills, near them. Instead, voles construct well-defined, visible runways at or near the surface, about 2 inches wide. voles vs moles Appearance of Voles vs Moles and shrews. Moles have 2 types of tunnels and the vole only has one kind. How to Check For Vole Damage, Tunnels, & Other Signs of Voles. Vole holes can be right out in the open, or cleverly hidden under foliage Believe it or not, voles are known to travel through the tunnels that moles create and feed on exposed bulbs and roots. Moles seem to be much better known, but it’s really voles causing much of the damage chalked up to moles. Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer. Many people say that a vole looks like a mouse. For more information on grub control, please see HGIC 2156, White Grub Management in Turfgrass. But keep in mind that moles are also found at the fringes of woods that are mostly hardwood trees. These tunnels are where moles search for food. Tunnels created by moles are usually close to the top of the dirt, and when people walk directly over them, the soil usually feels fragile rather than sturdy. Barbara H. Smith, HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University. * Importantly, voles are rodents and their diet is vegetarian. [Mole] tunnels are dug at a rate of 18 feet per hour. The Tell-Tale Signs of Voles Recognizing the surface runways created by voles will be the best indication of vole presence in your yard. Voles are roughly a third larger than a field mouse, but are no longer than 6 inches. This equates to a 5-ounce mole eating 50 pounds of its prey in a year. The difference between mole vs vole tunnels is that mole tunnels are much wider and bigger, while vole tunnels get much more numerous, especially once the vole population grows out of proportion. Moles can add 150 feet of new tunnels in the lawn each day. Voles will often use abandoned tunnels left behind by moles. By DoMyOwn staff Print Article Overview. Clay County Extension Service: Is it a Vole or a Mole? However, this is where the similarities end. tunnels may be seen as the mole or moles search them out. The longer vegetation or grass surrounding the tunnels that is left unclipped forms shelter over the runways. This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named.