Get to Know Those Moles & Voles (to eliminate & prevent!)

Tired of dealing with moles and voles burrowing all over your yard? They may be cute, but these little critters can do some serious damage to lawns. Read on to learn more about identifying moles and voles, how to eliminate them, and how to prevent them for the future ahead.

Moles: What to Look for

Moles are chubby little animals with pointed noses and tiny, nearly invisible eyes. Moles are typically gray or brown in color, and have wide, clawed front feet that look more like flippers. These underground animals use their paddle-like appendages to “swim” through the soil, often leaving behind their telltale molehills - cracked ridges and mounds along the surface of your yard. Vole damage can also appear like a garden hose was left out in the lawn too long. Despite the disruption to lawns, moles are actually pretty beneficial animals to have around. They eat insects and especially love plant-killing grubs. Also, contrary to popular myth, moles do not eat plants. These natural aerators can burrow up to 20 feet an hour, and help improve soil by mixing and loosening it along their way. Still, Lawn Pride wouldn’t want to hire them for a job, as the damage they can do usually outweighs any benefits they offer.

Voles: What to Look for

We may have a bit of a soft spot for moles, but that doesn’t extend to voles. Voles prefer plants and therefore, pose a much larger problem for your lawn. Related to but often mistaken for mice, these little rodents (fun fact, unlike voles, moles are not rodents) are about the same size as mice and have thick fur that’s often gray or light brown. They have beady little black eyes, small round ears, and short tails. Voles feast on grass blades and roots, and leave behind thin tunnels about two inches wide which are sometimes mistaken for snake paths. Despite their love for grass, voles aren’t picky - they’ll munch on flower bulbs, root vegetables, even bark. They are small but surely enemies of any lawn lover.

Controlling Moles & Voles

Although they have distinct diets and habits, control treatments are pretty much the same for moles and voles. These range from do-it-yourself home remedies such as cayenne pepper (which works well for a long list of other pests, too), garlic or onion powder, and even dried tobacco; electronic gadgets that emit sounds and vibrations designed to scare them away; and good old-fashioned traps that catch and/or kill the critters. While these methods are an option, the optimal way to control moles and voles is to call the Lawn Pride team.

Preventing Moles & Voles

If the thought of killing these little creatures makes you queasy, or you’re just tired of dealing with lawn damage, there are plenty of steps you can take to prevent moles and voles from entering your yard in the first place. Because moles and voles are prey animals, they like a lot of natural cover. Heavy vegetation, tall grass, woodpiles - all of these spots provide shelter from predators. Keep your grass mowed, your shrubs and bushes trimmed, your garden tilled, and remember to eliminate weeds and avoid overwatering. When mulching, don’t simply tear open the bags and dump them out; instead, follow directions and spread evenly with a rake. Don’t allow spilled bird seed to build up underneath feeders, as voles enjoy this stuff as much as the birds do. For gardens, build raised beds and line them plastic sheeting, wire mesh, or hardware cloth to create a barrier for moles and voles. Also, you can sink wire mesh or sheet metal two to three feet into the ground along your fence lines (remember to call 811 before you dig). You can also wrap flower bulbs in mesh “cages” and plant them at the same time. The mesh prevents voles from chewing on the bulbs, while allowing roots to grow out and absorb water. These are just a few tips and tricks for getting rid of, controlling, and preventing moles and voles. The best way to handle these critters is to leave it to the pros. Give us a call at 317-251-6800 to learn more about our mole and vole control services today!