A mole is an insect eating, underground dwelling, dirt digging machine. So, what exactly are the types of vole damage you should look out for? Voles eat aboveground and munch on vegetation, nuts and seeds – often leaving gardens bare and creating scratch marks along trees and branches. Accordingly, voles are also known as field mice. Cut a section of pipe or form a plastic cylinder, making sure there are no gaps. Vole and mole damage look quite different from one another, so they should be easy to identify and then manage appropriately. To make matters worse, vole damage seems to appear that much more dramatic when it’s combined with all the other conditions affecting the lawn that go along with winter including snow mold disease and winter kill. Aside from setting eyes on the animals, those runway systems are how you know you’ve got voles. Grass Spiders: Should You get Rid of Them? Because of this, if you have voles invading your property, you will soon notice damage forming on trees. One species, pine voles, burrow entirely underground. You definitely don’t want to get rid of the lawn, but other grassy plants can go. Vole and mole damage look quite different from one another, so they should be easy to identify and then manage appropriately. Apply the baits during the late fall and winter when voles have a diminished food source. For very small garden beds or other areas, Sanchez says, exclusion like this can be effective to keep voles from burrowing into them. . It means the critters have moved on. When mole tunnels are close to the surface the tops of the tunnel are convex and may be pushed down as you walk. It works well if the vole is causing issues in your lawn and garden. Mole tunnels, however, may raise the surface when they are not deep but are still entirely covered. These tiny little yard destroyers will cause dead patches in your grass, chewed spots on trees, and unsightly damage to plants. Mole Damage Versus Vole (Field Mouse) Damage, Recipe for Squirrels: Water & Shoddy Work. Ornamental Damage: If you have these fast-multiplying, lawn-destroying creatures eating away at your lawn, chances are you are also seeing significant damage to your plants and ornamentals. An extensive vole tunnels system can often become visible from above by simply noticing where the ground is crumbling and falling. That is, as long as it was actually a vole and not another rodent species. Simply rake, fertilize and water the affected area. Finding a vole in your house is a rare thing, however. Lawn Damage: A vole may be tiny, but at the rate they multiply and chew everything in sight, they have the power to destroy the most beautiful landscape in no time at all. Sanchez notes that vole populations are cyclical. Technically, voles can be seen indoors too, but that’s rare and it’s even rarer that the vole got their intentionally. You are looking at your lawn or mulch bed and it is disturbed. “Are voles mice? Bushes will begin to have dry, brown patches and flowers will die as these rodents chew away at root systems or bulbs. Most problems in home lawns can be mitigated with a mix of habitat changes like fencing or exclusion, trapping and repellents. most likely unseen because they are obscured by fur and 2) no external ears. This damage, called girdling, stops the flow of water and nutrients to and from a tree's root system. Place the snap traps perpendicular to the surface runways. By contrast, moles are looking primarily for earthworms below the lawn surface, creating an occasional volcano by pushing up large amounts of soil. The one on the right is either an Eastern mole or a Hairy Tailed Mole. With a relatively small lawn, a quarter-acre to a half-acre or so, trapping can be effective. As an article from the Penn State Extension explains, voles don’t hibernate. “Do those pathways seem more like surface ruts or true tunnels”? When talking about rodent pests, the first question that arises is usually about diseases, and the second – about property damage. “It would be a really rich area for a vole to discover,” says Dana Sanchez, a wildlife specialist with the Oregon State University Extension. The frustrating thing about voles is that they won’t even eat the whole grass blades – they’ll eat off the roots and bases of the grass and leave the rest to rot. Without seeing the tail it’s hard to tell the difference. They allow you to catch more than one vole at a time and are especially effective for meadow voles and prairie voles. They’ll move in, cut tunnels through your lawn and snack on your grass until they’ve cut roads through that perfect lawn. Here is a good example of some holes that lead to burrows. Set the mouse traps around surface feeding tunnels and in mulch beds where recent activity has been seen. These tiny creatures do significant damage as they remove strips of bark from around the bases of trees. Termites are native to every state except Alaska. – Granules. If you have other animals in your yard, such as mice or rats, they may pick up the parasites and get into your home with them as well. Sanchez doubted the effectiveness of repellents, saying the first concern with using them is where the voles would end up. It has a stocky rounded body, tiny ears and eyes, and a blunt nose. The mole on the left with the funky nose is a Star-nosed mole. The one letter difference in what they’re called often proves to be a stumbling block in communication about the animals. Those vole runways should disappear beneath green turf in no time. (The scientific name of the North American genus of mole, Microtus, refers to their small ears). Common signs of vole damage include: Surface Signs: Look for irregular paths of clipped and trampled grass or soil. They also girdle young trees and other woody vegetation by gnawing around the plants’ bases, says the University of Nebraska Extension. “It’s a matter of people recognizing the signs of voles if not seeing voles themselves,” Sanchez says. Bury the bottom of the fence two to three inches beneath the surface. These little critters don’t really look to get inside our homes because they have other targets – our yards and gardens. There are several ways to keep the little varmints out, especially closing down the buffet table. The University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources says that vole damage to lawns usually repairs itself when spring growth ramps back up, and is not permanent. About Wikilawn. That, in turn, makes you disturbed because you know some creature has been crawling around making this damage but you’re not sure which animal. And one “excellent avenue of free vole control,” says the UMass extension office, is an open winter without snow. Despite the downside, the Nebraska Extension says that toxic chemical baits are the most-effective way to reduce large vole populations. The University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources says that vole damage to lawns usually repairs itself when spring growth ramps back up, and is not permanent. Spongy ground from their tunnels will give them away, and trees that seem to be suffering from other problems may be getting girdled underground by pine voles. But the extension caveats that not much data exists on the effectiveness of these repellents, and they shouldn’t be your only tactic in controlling voles. Regardless of their names, voles do lunch on home lawns causing vast areas of hard-to-fix damage. Wildlife seeks shelter for the winter in the fall. They have thin tails. Cover the tops of the tubes to keep from trapping small birds. Apply the repellents around trees or shrubs you hope to keep free of voles, but make sure not to apply them to any portion of a plant that may be consumed by a person or pet. Couple that with the normally short-lived damage that voles cause to turf, and the UMass Extension says such methods are rarely recommended for residential lawns. 21 Deer-Resistant Plants and Trees to Grow in Philadelphia, 14 Deer-Resistant Plants and Trees to Grow in Boston, Be sure to read all product labels. Chemical baits are an option, but they must be used with caution. Continue to monitor the yard, she says, walking around the perimeter to look for signs of voles. Learn more about the warning signs and treatment options. Even if your yard or lawn doesn’t have any specific vegetation on it other than the grass, it can still be an attractive target to a vole colony. Keeping your yard and property well-protected with subterranean fences and vole repellents is often a great idea. In the event these pests persist, contact your lawn care professional for more information. This, as well as tree wrap, hardware cloth or other wire mesh will protect from vole damage. Because knowing what animal is causing the damage informs the actions you should take to manage the problem. But you can fix it with a bit of effort and time. Speaking from her experience with excluding deer from yards, Sanchez recommended mixing up the repellents, especially if they base their vole-appeal on taste or scent. The voles’ list of main predators includes snakes, coyotes, weasels, cats, and others.