What’s The Difference Between Ground Moles And Ground Voles?
Since our New Jersey moles are not the only animal pests responsible for runways and damage in lawn and garden areas, they are often confused with other pests – like their counterpart, the voles. Because these lawn and garden pests are rarely seen, it makes more sense to base identification on the signs they leave behind, rather than on how the animals look. After all, you may never come face to face with these subterranean foes! And proper pest identification is the first step in effective mole and vole control.
Mole hills or mole mounds are volcano-like in appearance whereas voles construct well-defined, visible runways at or near the surface. Vole runways are usually about two inches wide and result from the voles eating the grass blades, as well as from the constant traffic of numerous little feet over the same path. And if any of these lawn and garden pests can literally “beat a path” through the grass, it’s the voles. Rabbits don’t have anything over this prolific rodent!
Moles produce two types of tunnels, or “runways” in your yard. One runway runs just beneath the surface. These are feeding tunnels and appear as raised ridges running across your lawn. The second type of runway runs deeper and enables the moles to unite the feeding tunnels in a network. It is the soil excavated from the deep tunnels that homeowners find on their lawns, piled up in mounds that resemble little volcanoes.
The mole’s preferred diet is a carnivorous one: earthworms, grubs and various other insects. Neither the eastern mole nor the star-nosed mole is a rodent, and therefore any gnawing damage you detect on plants is unlikely to have been caused by moles. Voles do, however, make use of mole tunnels to attack plants underground – making moles accessories to the crime!
The poor New Jersey vole gets no recognition. Even those who are not landscaping enthusiasts know about moles. But most people go their whole lives without ever hearing about “voles.” To make matters worse, voles are sometimes referred to as “meadow mice” or “field mice.” But when you discover vole damage in the lawn or garden around your home, you’ll quickly learn that this is no “Mickey Mouse” pest control problem.
Voles can burrow into the root systems of landscaping shrubs and trees, causing young specimens to experience dieback or to begin to lean. These rodent pests will also gnaw on a tree trunk and at the base of a shrub. In addition, voles damage flower bulbs and potatoes in the garden. Mainly, however, voles eat the stems and blades of grass. And the runways they leave behind in the process make for an unsightly and often dangerous lawn.
So which do you have, moles or voles? In a nutshell, the answer is usually both. Treating the right pest in the right areas with the right techniques is where a professional mole and vole control company steps in.
Click here to find out how the MoleGuard Mole and Vole Control Program can help you.