Many homeowners have run into problems with gophers, moles and voles. If you have a lush lawn, chances are you run the risk of having it destroyed by the mostly unseen critters. Often times, homeowners aren’t even aware of the destruction that’s happening or what’s even causing it.

The Difference Between Gophers, Moles, and Voles

Burrowing animals such as gophers, voles and moles are animals that can cause extensive damage to a yard by digging complex networks of tunnels below ground. The telltale sign of a gopher, vole or mole invasion can be seen in various ways, depending on the animal.

Moles and voles are destructive to lawns, leaving shallow tunnels and “runways” across the lawn where they eat grass and roots.

Gopher, Mole and Vole Damage

Voles cause a lot of lawn damage with their dirt “runways”. For many homeowners, it’s hard to tell these pests apart. Identifying each animal and the damage they cause will help you perform the best methods for gopher, mole and vole control.

While these pests are most likely to be active in the spring and summer when the soil is soft, they still remain active in the winter, but burrow even deeper into the ground for warmth.

The main differences between moles, voles, and gophers is the damage these pests cause. While voles leave behind a series of runways across a lawn’s surface, both moles and gophers dig tunnels that result in dirt mounds popping up across a lawn. Visible dirt mounds made by gophers tend to be much larger than those made by moles.

Identifying Vole Damage

Voles spend a great deal of time eating grass and roots and making trails. These surface runways are one of the easiest ways to identify voles.

Usually seen in early spring just after snowmelt, a series of criss-crossing trails can be viewed on the surface.

There may be larger patches of dried grass that serve as storage areas for extra food and nesting materials. Voles will also make small holes about 1 inch across to get to tubers and bulbs.

Voles sometimes use mole tunnels, which causes moles to be blamed for eating roots instead of the white grubs they actually eat.

Vole damage may also be noticed on trees and shrubs where they have chewed through the bark near the ground. The vole’s front teeth will leave ¼ inch side-by-side grooves in the wood.

Gopher Control

A gopher’s trail and burrowing systems can span over 2,000 feet and destroy a yard’s grass, trees and flower bulbs. If you see large mounds of fresh soil popping up around your yard, it’s likely a sign that gopher control is needed.

While some homeowners may be tempted to run to the nearest Tractor Supply store for rodent pesticides, it’s recommended not to do for the safety of other critical wildlife such as owls and predator birds, as well as dogs and cats.

The safest method for gopher control through trapping. Both live traps and snap traps can be used to capture gophers, but because of the nature of these traps, homeowners with pets and small children should exercise caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Keep in mind that every state has their own rules and regulations regarding trapping and removing wild animals from residential properties. Homeowners who are interested in trapping gophers should contact their local wildlife removal company for assistance.

Mole Control

The good thing about moles is they are carnivorous. The feed on grubworms and other harmful insects that can negatively affect your lawn or garden. But the bad news is, while they eliminate annoying insects, they are also causing a lot of damage.

Similar to gophers, the best control methods for moles is trapping.

Another great way to help get rid of moles is by repelling these pests. While it may not be as effective as setting traps, using castor oil on your lawn can help repel both moles and gophers. Using DIY home remedies will be limited, however, as most repellants have to be reapplied often, or after it rains. In the spring and fall seasons where rainfall can be daily, this is just not a viable method.

Vole Control

Voles love to build their nests among tall, dense vegetation and overgrown shrubs. If you want to eliminate your vole problems, the first step is to eliminate your overgrown shrubs and areas they can hide in, or under.

If you’re seeing a lot of damage caused by these rodents, the best course of action is to use traps for. Because voles often travel above ground, their movements create “trails” over grass and in flower beds. Place vole traps along these paths.

If you have a problem with gophers, voles or moles, contact us!

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