Key Differences Between Moles & Voles In The San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area's Gopher & Pest Control Specialists

The Pests Stop Here!

(408) 871-6988

Do you have a lawn pest digging holes in your yard? If so, you could have an infestation of moles or voles. These two animals have some similarities. They’re about the same size. They have poor eyesight. They prefer to live predominantly underground. And they both can create holes in your yard. But this is pretty much where the similarities end. Let’s take a closer look.

Moles vs. Voles

  • Moles and voles are quite different because they are different animals entirely. Voles are rodents, similar to mice, rats and pocket gophers. Moles are not rodents. Here are a few key ways they differ.
  • Voles have teeth that are used for gnawing on wood, like other rodents do. The teeth of a mole are not equipped to chew through wood.
  • Moles subsist on invertebrates, earthworms, and grubs. Voles mainly eat plants, plant bulbs, tubers, and a variety of grasses.
  • Moles have claws for digging extensive tunnels. Voles have smaller claws for digging burrows and shorter tunnels.

Moles often dig near the surface and create pathways of raised soil. These pathways often have dead grass because moles sever grass roots as they move along. Voles create deeper tunnels that can be seen from the surface. They can also create pathways that can be seen as they will chew paths through turfgrass.

Mole Hole or Vole Hole

If you’re finding mounds of dirt in your yard that look like little volcanoes, you have a mole infestation. If you find holes that are about the size of a golf ball and there are no mounds of dirt around them, you have a vole problem. Hopefully, you’re not finding both types of holes in your yard.

Mole Damage or Vole Damage

Moles: When moles come into your yard, they create lots of dirt mounds and many pathways of raised turf. If dirt mounds are spread out, it can choke your turfgrass and cause it to die, leaving patches of dirt in your beautiful lawn.

Voles: There are a few ways meadow voles can damage yards in the Bay Area. The paths voles create in turfgrass, called runways, are unsightly to look at and the holes they make can be numerous. Unfortunately, this is not where the damage ends. They feed on the bark at the base of your trees and, when they do, it can cut off the flow of nutrients and cause trees to die. When voles get into your landscaping, they can feed on bulbs and cause your plants to die. When they get into your garden—well, it is safe to say that you’re going to have fewer vegetables to enjoy at dinnertime.

What to Do About a Mole or Vole Infestation

We provide many preventative tips in this blog of ours, such as 5 tips for stopping mole damage before it happens. But, once moles or voles move in, it is best to give us a call. These critters are hard to control. If left uncontrolled, they can reproduce and develop into alarmingly large populations and do considerable damage to your lawn and your plants.

At Smith’s Pest Management, we may specialize in trapping gophers but our highly-trained trappers also make short work of vole and mole infestations. Here’s what you can expect when you call:

  • We’ll conduct a detailed survey of your infestation and determine the extent.
  • We’ll put together a management plan that adheres to modern Integrated Pest Management method and puts Green solutions first.
  • We’ll lay traps down and mark them to systematically detect, trap and remove your lawn pests.
  • In some cases, we may use fumigation to humanely eliminate moles or voles hiding deep in tunnels.
  • We’ll track the progress of your control treatment and let you know when your issue has been resolved.

If requested, we can continue monitoring for mole or vole activity and provide an ongoing trapping plan to protect your yard and your plants from continued damage, and protect your wallet from unwanted landscaping and lawn care costs.

Are you struggling with moles or voles in the San Francisco Bay Area? Reach out to Smith’s Pest Management. Our licensed and experienced technicians are standing by to help you resolve your pest control problem.

Kourtney B. - Los Gatos, CA

My chicken coop was put up five years ago. I went out one night and almost had a heart attack because there was probably 100 rats in with the chickens. I called Smith’s and the problem was solved quickly. No more rats!