Moles and Voles: What You Should Know as a Homeowner

Making up one-fifth of all living mammal species and found on six continents, bats range from the insect-loving greater mouse-eared bat to fruit bats.

Moles and Voles: What You Should Know as a Homeowner

Moles and voles can be difficult to spot thanks to their preference for staying underground. Because it’s when they surface and begin their breeding cycles, springtime is the best time to remove existing moles or voles.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MOLE AND A VOLE?

Moles and Voles: What You Should Know as a Homeowner

It’s important to know the difference between a mole and a vole because the damage they can cause to your home or business may differ. Voles look very similar to mice; in fact, people often mistake voles for mice. The key difference is that whereas mice prefer being cozy indoors, voles are burrowing creatures that prefer to stay outside.

A mole’s face looks a bit different than a typical mouse and is easier to spot. It’s a little more squished and it has an elongated nose. Also, watch out for its big claws. This is what helps it dig.

WHAT DO THEY EAT?

Moles are carnivorous, they prefer eating meat like worms, grubs, and other insects. The first thing to understand is that rodents eat plants. Moles are not rodents, so if you see it take a bite out of a plant in your garden, you can pretty much rule out the idea of a mole infestation.

Voles, on the other hand, are rodents. Left to their own devices, they’ll take out gardens, shrubs, and trees in a short time.

WHAT ATTRACTS MOLES AND VOLES?

We mentioned earlier that moles eat worms, grubs, and insects. Compost piles are mole heavens; often they use worms to break down the materials. In fact, your compost pile may literally just be a mole buffet. Mulch plays a similar role in flower beds. If you lay down mulch near your house or around your flower bed, be careful that you don’t unintentionally attract moles or voles.

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE CAN THEY CAUSE?

Although these creatures seem harmless, they can often cause absurd amounts of damage. A big part of that damage is passively done to buildings and structures. Moles tunnel underground, creating large air pockets of dirt near your foundations. When it rains, the water floods those tunnels and doesn’t drain away like it normally would, resulting in water getting under the foundation and leading to expensive water damage.

In the colder months, snow can turn into water and flood those tunnels, then freeze. This freeze-thaw cycle under your foundations can also cause structural damage and become a big problem.

GETTING RID OF MOLES AND VOLES

Unfortunately, many of the currently prescribed home remedies simply do not work when trying to get rid of these pests.

  • Ultrasonic transmitters are supposed to send out waves of sound that drive away moles and voles. They don’t work at all.
  • Mothballs are supposed to eliminate pests, but here’s what you should know about them. First, the active ingredients evaporate in minutes, making them useless. Second, they’re actually a form of insecticide and are regulated by the EPA. They may even be illegal where you live.
  • Chewing gum is another common “solution.” You’re supposed to chew the gum then stick it in the mole’s tunnels. The mole would then eat the gum, get constipated and die. Other than the fact that this is ridiculous, chewing gum isn’t even in the same realm as what their normal diet consists of. Moles won’t touch it, and you’ll have wasted some good gum.

The best solution for moles and voles is trapping them and relocating. Unless you’re comfortable doing this yourself, we recommend contacting your local pest control professionals. Summit Environmental Solutions has years of experience in humanely capturing and relocating moles and voles. Avoid damage to your home and business; if you think you have a mole or vole problem, give us a call!

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