Which Do You Have?

Moles and voles are both small pests that burrow in underground tunnels that are damaging to your yard. While moles and voles aerate and blend the soil, most people view them as pests. There are distinctive differences between the two that can help you identify and prevent them in your yard.

Moles are larger and are primarily carnivorous. They eat grubs, worms, beetles and other insects. Voles are mostly herbivores. If you’ve pulled up nibbled carrots or potato from your garden, chances are you’ve got voles on the other end.

We’ll help you further identify what are the signs of moles or voles in your yard and give you advice on what you can do to get rid of voles and moles. When the problem becomes too big, Griffin Pest Solutions is always on hand for mole removal and vole treatment in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

vole hill

What Does Vole vs Mole Damage Look Like?

Moles leave volcano shaped piles at the entrances to their tunnels. They also create raised ridges of earth along their trail routes. You may notice areas where your lawn feels “squishy” underfoot and see dead patches of grass.

mole trail

Voles are more subtle. They create “runways” or strips of lawn where they eat away grass to make walking trails. You might notice these 1-inch trails crisscrossing your lawn. Vole tunnels look more like cracks along your yard than raised ridges or mounds. Vegetable garden damage is also a tell tale sign of voles.

How Do You Get Rid of Moles in Your Yard?

Appearance – Moles are cylinder shaped and measure 4-9 inches long from nose to tail. Moles have soft fur that is dark gray or grayish brown. Some species of moles have a cone-shaped nose. Their paws are pink with small black legs. Their front paws are short and have long claws used for digging. Moles have poor vision due to their exceedingly small eyes.

Biology – Moles are mammals but not rodents. They’re relatives of insect eaters like hedgehogs and shrews and primarily eat earthworms and white grubs. They don’t usually eat plants but may damage them while burrowing.  Moles spend most of their time underground. They prefer loose, moist soil to make their burrows in.

Prevention – Because moles mainly eat earthworms and insects, compacting the soil or reducing soil moisture can make an area less desirable for moles. If your soil is grub-heavy, an insecticide can reduce the grub population and, in turn, the mole food supply. You can also plant flowers like daffodils and marigolds that act as natural mole repellents. If moles need to be controlled, trapping works best, but does take time. Poison baits typically don’t work well. Talk to your professional pest manager for advice and recommendations.

How Do You Get Rid of Voles in Your Yard?

Appearance – Voles are small rodents that measure 3-9 inches. They are often confused for field mice but have shorter, more hairy tails and a slightly rounder heads with small ears. They also have large feet for digging.

Biology – Voles are relatives of hamsters and lemmings. They burrow in tunnels close to the surface where they eat the roots of plants above. Voles reach sexual maturity quickly and can produce many litters in a short time. Because of this, it’s crucial to act fast if you see signs of voles in your yard.

Prevention – Make sure your yard is free from extra leaf litter, dense vegetation and other cover that voles can hide under. Regularly mow your lawn to help make sure voles don’t make it a habitat. Many chemicals and repellents are commercially available to prevent and treat voles (follow package instructions). You can also bury a perimeter fence 10-12 inches underground to prevent voles from entering your garden. To protect trees, surround them with 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth.

What Time of Year are Voles and Moles Most Active?

Voles and moles tend to be most active in the springtime. As the weather and soil warm, you’re likely to see the increased signs of mole and vole activity. During the winter they spend more time underground.

Mating season tends to be towards the end of winter, so spring is when you’ll see baby voles and moles emerge. They favor the quieter times of day like dawn and dusk.

Spring is a good time to mole-proof your yard with raised garden beds, fencing and pest control measures.

What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Moles or Voles in Your Yard?

A professional pest control tech can give you the fastest results. At Griffin Pest Solutions we first identify the “runs” that moles or voles are using. From there we can bait these active runs repeatedly until the problem is solved. No traps to clean or dead animals to dispose of.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch today. We’re here for all your Michigan wildlife solutions.