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What's tunneling through my lawn? The difference between moles and voles!

mole-coming-out-of-ground

Moles and voles can ruin a homeowner’s peace of mind. They take over a lawn, dig tunnels, and destroy all the hard work you’ve invested in making your lawn look healthy and vibrant. Even though these two pests are commonly associated with one another, they are actually very different critters. Knowing the differences between these two animals will not only let you know which has invaded your lawn, but how they’ll affect your property, and how to stop them.

You Can Judge This Book By It’s Cover

[vole in Maryland] Though they often get confused for one another, moles and voles look very different. Moles, because they rarely come up to the surface, are mostly blind. Their eyes and ears are so small that they’re hardly visible, and their front feet are large, webbed claws that can dig up to 100 feet in one day. While a mole will grow to be about seven inches long, a vole will only grow to be about four to five inches. A vole looks a lot like a mouse, only with a shorter tail. Voles use their big eyes and ears to find food and a place to live while a mole has no use for either of these senses.

You Are What You Eat

Other than appearances, the major differences between moles and voles are what they eat for dinner. Moles are insectivores, so they eat primarily earthworms and grubs, and the occasional beetle for dessert. Voles enjoy snacking on roots, bulbs, and even the bark of trees. But since voles prefer having their meals below ground, you won’t know you have a vole problem until it’s too late. Unfortunately, you can’t know if a vole has been eating the roots of your garden until some of the plants have begun to die. If you have plants dying for no apparent reason, pull it out of the ground. If there are hardly any roots left, you have a vole problem.

Home Is Where the Tunnel Is

And finally, the homeowner’s nightmare: tunnels. Mole and vole tunnels are very different, and while a vole will use a mole’s tunnel if convenient, only a very lazy mole will use a vole’s tunnel. As they search for food a foot below your lawn, a mole’s tunnel will be evident by the long line of raised grass that stretches across your property. On the rare occasion that the mole pops its head up above ground, which is usually done by accident, you may see a small hill of dirt. But chances are, if you see that hill and don’t see the mole, the mole has left the area. 

Voles, on the other hand, do a lot of their traveling above ground even though they live underground. A vole hole is the size of a golf ball and is usually found in gardens or at the foot of a tree. Their tunnels are therefore above the soil, through the grass. They leave in their wake long, thin lines of dead grass that look as if a snake had just slithered over your lawn. 

How to Get Rid of Moles/Voles

Repellents and traps are the best way to control a mole or vole infestation, but they can be tough critters to regulate! Here at B.O.G. Pest Control, we don’t recommend that homeowners try to tackle these problems alone. By the time you’ve noticed tunnels, whether they’re from moles or voles, the problem could be incredibly severe, and will only get worse. Fall is a critical time for mole and vole control because they’re both active during the winter. 

Often people don’t know if these critters are taking up residence in their lawn until the snow melts, and tunnels are seen all across their property. If you want your lawn to stay beautiful and vibrant, let us know. Our trained team uses some of the safest products on the market to get rid of your infestation fast. Give us a call at 410-376-5312 and we can provide you with a free estimate for our mole and vole services today. 

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