Moles and voles are pests that many Omaha area homeowners would just as soon see take up residence elsewhere. By the time you see the characteristic tunneling across your lawn caused by voles, or the more substantial mounds of earth piled throughout and undermining your lawn, you can be certain you already have a vole or mole problem.
Many who call Genie Pest Control for advice about these underground dwelling nuisances often aren’t sure exactly which of these destructive rodents they are dealing with. They just know their lawns and landscapes are taking a beating, and appear more like a minefield than the lush, green and healthy space they had hoped for.
Voles are actually field mice that eat the roots and bulbs planted in and around your property. They are about the size of a mouse and have dark fur and shrew-like features. They are seen more often than moles merely because they come to the surface more often and although they are somewhat “cute” in appearance, there is nothing cute about the destruction they can do to the root systems of your plants and vegetation.
They can cause extensive damage to plants and landscape as they dig and tunnel across your property. Voles also leave a tell-tale path of tunnels that appear on the surface of your lawn or landscape as they travel along their destructive path.
If your outdoor plants suddenly start dying, if the bulbs that come back every year are failing to make a reappearance in spring or if you see trails of tunnels throughout your yard, it is wise to suspect that you may have voles. Sometimes voles even are found inside of a home; after all, they are mice and have the same tendencies to find small openings by which they can find their next meal. If you capture a rodent that has facial characteristics that are different from the typical mice you may be used to seeing, it may be a vole that has ventured inside.
Moles, on the other hand, feast on grubs and worms underneath the ground. In our many years of helping Omaha area homeowners rid themselves of moles, we’ve never heard them described as cute. They are blind and rather strange looking creatures that live entirely underground.
Moles have no interest in the roots and bulbs you’ve planted. They are totally carnivorous and eat beetle grubs, earthworms and the larvae of cicadas. Moles tunnel extensively underground and can completely ruin a lawn by leaving mounds of earth piled where your beautiful lawn should be. The tunnels they dig are extensive and can leave a lawn with dangerous soft spots that can result in holes just waiting for an unsuspecting ankle to sink in and become painfully twisted.
Getting rid of either voles or moles can drive a homeowner to distraction. There are several remedies that are available – from traps, to vibrating, solar-powered stakes, to poison gummy worms. There are also old “wives tales” about using Juicy Fruit gum to poison moles, but in our years of experience helping homeowners battle vole and mole infestations, we’ve never seen one chewing gum, blowing a bubble, or keeling over from consuming a fruity stick of gum. And, there is always Genie Pest Control’s all-time favorite approach, flushing out voles and moles with a garden hose.
In fact, none of these approaches to solving a vole or mole problem is very effective and in the case of the poison gummy worms, can be potentially dangerous to homes with small children. Moles only eat live worms or grubs and have no interest in the gummy variety. Children, on the other hand, are not as discerning with their worm-eating habits and can suffer unintentional poisoning from a well-intentioned attempt to use over-the-counter poisons to eliminate mole activity.
Homeowners can make sure to keep their lawn grass cut and landscapes neatly trimmed. Voles can hide in lawns that are overgrown and do a lot of damage before it is uncovered. It is also somewhat effective to try a castor-oil based mole and vole repellent to the areas affected. These are available in both granular and liquid form at most stores that sell home gardening products.
The castor-oil based repellent doesn’t do anything to harm the creatures, but it can make treated areas less attractive because of the odor it leaves in the soil. And, just another note: if you have castor oil left in your medicine cabinet from some other home remedy (the horror!) don’t bother trying to use that for the purpose of mole or vole relocation. Medical-grade castor oil designed for human consumption is actually odorless. You’ll need the garden strength version to create the strong odor underground needed to turn away voles or moles.
For most homeowners with a vole or mole problem, simply driving these pests next door to your neighbor’s house isn’t a great long-term solution. To rid your lawn and landscape of these underground destructive rodents once and for all, professional extermination services are required.
Homeowners should never attempt to apply poisons to eradicate voles or moles. The poisons themselves are dangerous to humans but can also wreak havoc on other wildlife and prey animals. Owls are the primary predators of voles, for example, and can be secondarily poisoned when they hunt and catch their next meal.
Genie Pest Control has professional solutions and the experience necessary to apply them safely and effectively to help eliminate a pesky vole or mole problem. We offer control methods such as baiting, habitat modification, trapping and burrow fumigants.
Got Moles or Voles? For Omaha call Genie Pest Control (402) 346-7810. Located in Iowa? Give us a buzz at (712) 325-0808.