No one likes to see their beautiful lawn or landscaping ruined by annoying rodents: the moles and voles burrowing tunnels underneath it. Knowing what type of pest you have can help the exterminators know what removal method will be best.
Moles, for example, are territorial and usually only one or two will be present. Voles live in colonies and can do lots more damage much faster.
Moles are almost completely subterranean animals, so seeing one is rare. Usually, they are between six and seven inches long, with long pointed noses and webbed feet. If you see one, you might be able to recognize him by his lack of external ears.
The primary damage from moles comes from their tunneling. An industrious mole can tunnel up to 100 feet in a day, searching for earthworms, grubs, and other insects to make into his dinner.
Those tunnels can cause portions of your lawn to collapse and give you a perfect place for twisting or breaking an ankle.
Moles will occasionally break through to the surface of your lawn, leaving behind a mound of dirt with a hole in the center that looks like a mini volcano.
In many ways, voles are a much bigger danger to your landscaping, though both moles and voles are pests. Unlike moles which eat insects, voles eat vegetation, roots, bark and whatever else you might have planted in your yard that looks tasty.
Voles are smaller than moles, usually only about five inches long. You can also see their ears and eyes. But more importantly, they live in colonies.
Worse yet, they have a reproduction cycle of less than one month — about 21 days from knocked up to having babies — and they can have several litters of babies in a year. One pair of voles might create 30 in a year’s time.
In their incessant eating, they will strip the bark off trees, eat the deep roots of your plants and basically destroy your landscaping.
Call a professional, especially if you think you might be dealing with voles. Humane traps for trap and release are available, but do you really want to inflict these little buggers on someone else?
Less humane traps kill the animals in a manner similar to a mousetrap, usually places in the tunnels. Poison can be used, but it might present a problem for pets or even other wildlife.
After all, use an anticoagulant poison on a vole and the bird that eats the vole gets poisoned too.
Poisons can also be problematic as some of them may wash away with rain or when you water the lawn, contaminating the local groundwater.
Instead, call professional exterminators who can evaluate the problem and come up with a solution that doesn’t endanger your family or your pets and doesn’t leave you hauling off dead voles.