Q: Do moles go into houses?

A: Moles rarely surface, and almost never travel above ground. It is then highly unusual for a mole to scurry around in a house since such a journey would be particularly perilous for an animal that is not equipped to travel on open flat surfaces. The exception would be for those homeowners with a shallow or no house foundation. In such situations, moles can be heard scratching underneath the shallow floor as they navigate in their tunnels.

Q: How many moles do I have in my yard?

A: Most mole problems consist of one or two moles doing a considerable amount of damage. A good indication of how many moles you may have is to clear all the hills away with a rake. You can then determine how many areas are active concurrently by observing where the new mole hills are being created. If you have two different areas of fresh mole activity in one night, there is a possibility you have more than one mole. If you have only one area active at a time, you may have only one mole. There is no concrete way of determining exactly how many moles there are until moles are trapped and there is no more activity.

Q: If moles are carnivorous, why are my plants dying?

A: Moles often scrape away dirt from the root system of plants in search of grubs and worms. In doing this, moles scrape away the plants’ source of nourishment and the plant dies. Many times, voles will also travel in mole tunnels and will eat roots and bulbs along the way.

Q: Why do moles create tunnels and hills?

A: Moles create tunnels for two purposes, traveling and feeding. Traveling tunnels are pathways between feeding areas and the den. Feeding areas are usually marked by clusters of hills and shallow tunnels. Their purpose is allow the mole to hunt for its main diet, worms. The mounds or “mole hills” are excess dirt that has been mined away by the mole to create these tunnels.

Q: What do moles eat?

A: Earthworms are not native to North America; they were introduced from Europe. North American moles ate insect larvae and other invertebrates before worms were available. When the plentiful supply of worms became available, the North American mole population exploded rapidly.
While moles are almost entirely carnivorous, soft vegetation such as seeds and soft root systems can comprise a small portion of the diet. The aquatic Star-nosed mole, however, has been known to eat small fish.
Moles are not simply nomadic creatures that eat whatever they can find. Similar to chipmunks, European moles often “store” worms. They do this by biting the worm on the area that controls motor activity. Once neutralized, the worms are dragged to a den or storehouse where up to 20 – 30 worms may be found at any one time.

Q: Does using gum or moth balls work? And does getting rid of grubs work?

A: Despite what you may have heard or read, baits, Juicy Fruit gum, smoke bombs, etc., won’t get rid of moles. Neither will applying grub control products because moles, as mentioned above, dine on a wide range of soil-inhabiting creatures.

Q: What are voles anyhow?

A: Voles – also known as meadow mice, are small, stocky short-tailed rodents that can cause severe damage in landscape, orchard, windbreak or timber plantings. They measure from 4 to 8.5 inches long and vary in color from brown to gray. They are pudgy, with blunt faces and small eyes, small and sometimes inconspicuous ears, short legs, and a short and scantily haired tail (the long-tailed vole is an exception).

Q: When are voles most active?

A: Voles are active day and night throughout the year. They usually live 2 to 16 months depending on food sources and living conditions. Voles construct many surface runways and underground tunnels with many burrow entrances. Voles are extremely prolific, having three to six young per litter and three to 12 litters per year. Females may become pregnant at three weeks of age and voles breed almost year round. Large population fluctuations numbering up to 500 voles per acre are common.

Most vole damage occurs in the winter when voles move through their grass runways under protection of snow or where there are thick, tall grasses and weeds. Heaviest vole damage seems to coincide with years of heavy snowfall.

Q: How do I know if I have voles?

A: You know a vole has eaten your plant when there’s no root system to support the plant and it topples over if you merely touch it. You will also see small holes with pushed-up soil near the base of the plant.

Q: What do voles eat?

A: Primarily, voles eat grass roots, grass blades and seeds but will eat bark, leaves, seeds, and insects. Voles can eat their weight daily, and do not hibernate, and though they sometimes store food such as seeds and other plant matter in underground chambers, they eat constantly.

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