Voles and Moles, Oh My!
Have you ever been curious about what type of rodent has been eating your perennials and created the tunnels in your yard- well those critters are Voles and Moles. Fortunately there are ways of telling them apart and ways to get rid of them.
First off, Moles are blind and funky looking, although humans rarely see them. Moles live underground and are 100% carnivorous: eating only beetle grubs, earthworms and cicada larvae. Moles don’t eat plants, but they still can kill them. They 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. Also, their extensive tunnels and mounds can ruin a lawn.
Voles on the other hand are opposite when it comes to their eating patterns- they are vegetarians and these critters enjoy spring bulbs like tulips and the roots of perennials. Voles are mouse-sized, shrew-like creatures with dark fur. They breed with great fecundity and are sometimes are seen above ground. Those afflicted with them often see their frequently-travelled, trampled-down pathways in lawns. Like moles, their eating is also all underground.
When differentiating between Voles and Moles, there are several ways to tell them apart, who knows you may have both of them! Moles leave the big volcano-like mounds, where as voles leave 2 inch wide paths, but no mounds. Moles are seldom seen because they live underground, but you can catch a glimpse of a vole scurrying around your garden. Moles tend to be loners- you’re typically only going to have 1 or 2 moles per yard. Voles are social and are prolific reproducers and can have up to 30 offspring per year!
When it comes to getting rid of these critters, you can try home remedies like castor oil or garlic. You can also install barriers to block out these pests from your garden- hardware cloth or any similar kind of wire mesh can be installed vertically, like a short fence, to a depth of 30 inches and a height above ground of 6 inches for moles. The best way to stop a mole or vole infestation is to give Chilton’s a call! You and your family can get back to summer backyard activities and have peace of mind about your garden and lawn once again!