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Strategies for Identifying and Controlling Voles and Moles

Strategies for Identifying and Controlling Voles and Moles

Other than having similar sounding names and both causing havoc to yards, voles and moles have little in common. These are two entirely different pests, yet they’re often confused. Moles seem to be much better known, but it’s really voles causing much of the damage chalked up to moles. It’s important to know which pest you’ve got because effective mole control and vole control depends on targeting the right action to the right animal.

 

Moles are completely subterranean critters who spend their entire lives below ground, they create tunnel-like rises, mounds, soft spots in the lawn, ridges everywhere, and mysterious piles of dirt. Moles are carnivorous and feed mostly on worms. The bump you see in your lawn are feeding tunnels.

 

Voles on the other hand spend part of their lives above the surface. They live in ground-cover, beneath the front stoop or walkway, and tunnel through mulch beds. Voles are vegetarian and feed on the roots of plants and shrubs and are responsible for mysterious die-offs of your plants. The dime size holes in your garden are a sign of voles.

 

Controls for Moles and Voles: 

 

For moles, you’ll see raised ridges of turf from shallow tunneling. Use:

  • Moletox Gel: Newly developed bait and delivery system finally provides guaranteed Mole control. The bait mimics natural food in taste, smell and texture. The syringe injector system delivers pre-measured doses directly into tunnels. One syringe treats an entire burrow system and covers up to 10,000 sq ft.
  • MoleMax: Bonide's MoleMax is a specially formulated repellent that will rid your lawn of damaging moles and voles quickly and effectively.
  • Moletox II: Mole and gopher killer. Economical - one teaspoon treats an active burrow or tunnel. Cracked corn. Excellent bait acceptance. Restricted in NH.

 

For voles, after the winter-time snow melts, you’ll see obvious paths of dead grass. Use:

  • MoleMax: Bonide's MoleMax is a specially formulated repellent that will rid your lawn of damaging moles and voles quickly and effectively.
  • Moletox II: Mole and gopher killer. Economical - one teaspoon treats an active burrow or tunnel. Cracked corn. Excellent bait acceptance. Restricted in NH.
  • Control thatch in the lawn

 

After you have controlled the moles, your lawn has the following issues:

 

  • Air pockets in the soil from the tunneling. This will cause the roots to dry-out and also prevent expanded root growth.
  • The ground will settle and those areas will not be level.
  • Earthworms population will be down. Earthworms are very important to the soil ecosystem.

 

How to fix it:

  • If more than 50% of your lawn is damage I recommend starting a new lawn from scratch. See our New Lawn Construction page for more information.
  • If a small area needs repair then go trough the yard pushing down the soil where the tunneling was made.
    • In areas where soil needs to be added to bring grade back use super loam or a 50/50 blend of organic matter and loam.
    • Mix it with the existing soil and compact area lightly.
    • Install grass seed per our instructions.

 

After you have controlled the voles, your lawn has the following issues:

 

  • Lots of small canals where they resided during the winter.
  • Dead grass and thatch throughout the lawn
  • Some low areas that may need amendments

 

How to fix it:

  • Rake all of the thatch and dead grass from the area. 
  • If large areas are naked you may want to re-do the entire area from scratch. See our New Lawn Construction page for more information.
  • In areas we soil has eroded add organic matter, like compost into the soil and gently pat the area down.
  • Add seed per our instructions

 

Preventative for next winter:

 

  • In the fall remove as much thatch as you can from the lawn.
  • Remember where the areas were the worst and add baits before the snow comes.

 

This year we saw more of a problem then in past years because the natural predators of voles (hawks) could not get at the voles with all the snow on lawns and fields. Typically there is a time in the winter when snow cover is not as much and they help to minimize the population.

 

 

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