Voles

Voles with a “V”, not to be confused with Moles.

Do I have voles or moles in my lawn?  It is a question asked very often.  Since seeing the rodent is usually not likely to happen we need to look to the damage they are causing.

Although similar in the way their destructive to lawns, that’s pretty much where the similarities end between voles and moles.

They both have distinct features and habits that can help identify from each other.  Voles are sometimes called meadow mice.  In North America there are 19 species of voles but only four are of pest significance.  Voles are smaller than mice, mostly brown in color with notes of black on their backs.  Voles are stocky, with small ears, short tails and blunted face.  Younger voles may be darker in color with almost completely black legs.  Voles reproduce very quickly and very often, more so than any other rodent in Connecticut.  There are cases of meadow voles producing 17 liters in a single year which resulted in an offspring count of 83!  This high reproduction rate is balanced by it’s high mortality rate.  Voles play an important role in the food chain.   Predatory birds in particular will feed on voles almost primarily.  The average life span of a vole can be anywhere from 2 to 18 months.

Voles are herbivores and feed mostly on grasses but will also feed on other green vegetation and fruits.

Voles are active both night and day but tend to be most active during dusk and dawn.  Voles are active all year long and during snow-fall they will retreat to their burrows for shelter.  They will make short bursts from their burrows to find food and then quickly return home.  These bursts from their burrows over time will create “runways” and can help to identify a vole infestation oppose to other types of turf pests.  These runways are caused by a combination of feeding on the grasses and the constant traffic back and forth traveling.  These typically start to show up in late March and April.  Voles will make burrows either underground or under the protection of low laying brush and plants such as Junipers.

Control starts with a proper identification of the pest at hand.  Often times voles are confused with moles and vice-versa.  The treatments do vary greatly between the two so an ID is important.  For voles, we tend to use rodenticides, but snap traps when used correctly can work as well to control voles.

If you suspect voles are destroying your lawn then call us today, we can help!

(860) 454-0712  or  (203) 340-0135

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