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What Is the Difference Between Moles & Voles?

What do moles look like?

Moles are about 4 to 7 inches long with paddle-shaped feet and prominent digging claws. They have an elongated head and snout, small eyes, and no external ears. The short black-to-brownish-gray fur has no grain, which allows the mole to move easily forward and backward in their tunnels.

What do voles look like?

Voles look like field mice with short tails. They also have compact heavy bodies, small eyes, and partially hidden ears. Voles are 5 to 8 inches long with prominent orangish teeth that are used for gnawing plant roots and stems.

Mole Tunnels

Moles are expert diggers. Moles dig volcano-shaped mounds in the lawn that function as the entrance into their tunnel. Additionally, they dig golf ball-sized exit holes in previously established mole tunnels.

Vole Tunnels

Vole tunnels usually look like thin, dirt-colored trails that snake across the yard. Holes are another visible sign of vole activity. The animals dig dime-sized entrances to their burrows around the roots of plants. Following surface runways often leads to a vole hole.

How to Get Rid of Moles and Voles

Mole Control

Poisons are usually the first method that a homeowner thinks to try, but toxins are not necessarily the most effective or best choice for control. Poisoned gummy worms or pellets with the rodenticide bromethalin in them may be inserted in an active tunnel, but they pose a hazard to humans and pets. If the poison baits are left in place, they have the potential to be washed into water sources. When using any type of poison or chemical, carefully read and follow the label instructions.

Trapping is one of the most successful ways to get rid of moles. Several different types of mole traps, such as a harpoon, impaling, choker, pitfall, or scissor-jawed traps are available at hardware, farm stores, and from pest control equipment manufacturers. Traps should be placed over an active tunnel and are the most effective in the fall and winter. Moles are solitary animals, so ridding the landscape of one or two moles will make a big difference. Mouse-type snap traps may work but are generally not very effective for trapping moles.

Reducing or eliminating food availability for moles is another method used for pest control. Using a grub treatment for a lawn is a common practice but is not recommended because it can attract other wildlife. Additionally, moles will change their feeding to another food source - insects and earthworms for example, if there are few or no grubs to feed on. Castor oil products are advertised and marketed to repel moles and voles. However, they’re not repellent for very long which decreases their effectiveness for mole or vole control.

Vole Control

Habitat modification is the most effective way to control voles since they require cover and do not like to feed in the open. Removing weeds, heavy mulch, or dense vegetation will aid in eliminating their food source along with removing protection from predators. Keep turfgrass mowed and dethatched regularly, and mulch cleared from around tree bases. Wire fences with a mesh of ¼ inch or smaller work as a method of exclusion for voles. They will need to be 12 inches above ground with 6 to 10 inches buried into the ground to prevent the vole from burrowing under the fence.

Snap traps baited with apples or peanut butter and oatmeal are an excellent way to catch voles. First, set the traps along runways or near the exit holes, ensuring the trap is placed with the trigger end toward the runway. Then, place a box or bucket over the trap as voles prefer to take the bait from undercover. This will also protect children, pets, or other animals from encountering the trap. Fall and late winter are the best times to trap voles.

Professional Pest Control for Moles & Voles

Self-help methods can be somewhat successful when it comes to control. However, it is usually necessary to contact an experienced, well-trained, pest management professional who is state-certified to provide residential or commercial rodent control.

More Information On Moles & Voles

Is it a mole or a mouse?

Exterminate For Moles

Diseases Moles Carry

Get Rid Of Moles

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