Think you have a pest problem in your yard or garden? You may have moles and voles. These pests can cause some serious outdoor damage and are especially disruptive if you’re particularly proud of your garden. Let’s talk about how to get rid of moles and voles and examine what kind of problems they can cause on your property. We know how to deal with these creatures at Environmental Pest Management.
What Are Moles?
Moles are mammals. They eat mainly insects, not your plants, so a mole problem often means your soil has a high number of insects. Although they don’t eat your plants, moles love burrowing under your garden, and this is what causes problems for the integrity of your plants.
Moles have potato-shaped bodies, small eyes, and pointy faces. Their front paws are kind of like flippers, feet with webbed toes. Their ears are internal and covered by fur. Their back legs are comparatively small, and their coat looks like velvet. They can handle higher levels of carbon dioxide than humans thanks to features of their blood. These features help them navigate in the underground tunnels they create.
Moles actually do something useful when they eat the grubs that can severely damage your garden, but too many moles are a problem. When they leave, your soil can collapse, leaving weird brown ridges in your lawn.
What Are Voles?
You might think voles look like moles, but don’t let the rhyme scheme fool you. They more closely resemble mice. Unlike mice, however, voles have hairy tails and stouter frames. With over 150 species, voles range from three to nine inches in length. Although they’ll eat most of the stuff in your garden, they also eat fruits and carrion.
What Are Signs of Mole and Vole Presence?
Moles leave large mounds where they burrow. Since they’re larger than voles, they leave more obvious evidence. Their hills look kind of like little volcanoes in your yard, though their tunnels are nearly a foot underground.
These critters are most active in the early morning and again in the evening, usually during spring and fall. They are ground-dwellers but may come above ground to search for a mate.
Voles leave much smaller snake-like tunnels, about two inches wide, on the surface of your yard. Since they eat veggies, it’s likely that the first evidence you will see is missing or damaged garden plants. Voles tend to have a population explosion every three to five years, so it’s likely you won’t have to deal with these pests every year.
Also Read: The Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice this Spring
Why Get Rid of Moles and Voles?
Moles don’t eat your lovely fruits and veggies in the garden, but they do chase insects under the soil and create problems by burrowing under your garden. Those tunnels damage the soil’s integrity and disrupt the distribution of nutrients. Moles also consume earthworms, which are necessary for healthy soil.
In addition, other rodents such as rats use mole tunnels to get access to your garden and other areas. And you don’t want those around. If you spot mice and rats on your property, it may be a sign of a mole problem.
Voles have a lovely habit called girdling. Girdling means they chew rings around a young plant or sapling’s small branches. This can kill the plant quickly. If you’ve just planted a tree in your yard, you really don’t want voles around.
Voles also love succulent roots, the arteries of medium-sized trees and large plants. Chewing away at those can cause significant damage to beloved trees. Although in labs voles have shown an ability to demonstrate empathy, you don’t want them forming a relationship with your garden.
Cruelty-Free Methods for Dealing With Moles and Voles
Whether you are focused on prevention or are dealing with an existing problem, here are some techniques to try:
- Watch the water. Moles and voles adore moist soil. Avoid overwatering your garden so that the earth is less tempting for them.
- Employ cat and dog scents. When your pets mark their territory, moles and voles are less likely to invade the area. Although you don’t want pet waste in your garden, if your animals use the outside perimeter or other areas of the yard, it will help prevent rodents. The power of your pet’s urine and feces will let moles and voles know that this garden belongs to the canine or feline of the house, not to outdoor pests.
- Use common kitchen and garden items. Voles and moles are don’t care for the following substances, which you can sprinkle near their burrowing entrances or around your garden. If you try one of these deterrents, remember to reapply them after it rains:
- Walnut leaves
Moles and voles have sensitive noses, so pungent foods are effective deterrents. Though some sources recommend using rotten dairy or fish, we caution against it because those substances can attract unwanted guests like flies and rats.
They could also harm your pets.
Trap and Release Moles and Voles
One of the most effective ways to rid your lawn and garden of moles and voles is to catch and release them. There are several traps available for purchase at your local home and garden store, like Lowe’s or Home Depot, but the price can add up pretty fast. Depending on the severity of your problem, it may be more time and cost-effective to hire a professional pest control expert like Environmental Pest Management.
Either way, when you trap moles and voles, it’s essential to prevent those unwanted guests from revisiting or bothering your neighbors. Release them at least five miles away in a rural environment, away from other homes and gardens. Make sure you use safety gloves when interacting with trapped or caged wildlife and adequately prepare your vehicle for humane transport.
Need Help? Environmental Pest Management is Ready to Assist
At Environmental Pest Management, we believe the best way to rid your garden and lawn of moles and voles is to trap and release. We’ll assess the situation, set traps, and regularly check them to remove these problem pests from your property. Give us a call so we can start with an assessment and action plan today.