St Louis Pest Control Blog

Voles, not Moles – How to Identify and Fight Back

Did you know that the vole (sometimes called a Meadow Mouse) is one of the most prolific rodents on the planet and is commonly confused with moles because of the similar but different damage signs? Voles stay active all year long; in fact, sometimes they will make runs (surface tracks) in snow that become visible once the snow cover has melted.

St. Louis Pest Control operators come across vole activity year round though the vole is more active during the warmer months.  Voles can cause a lot of damage to lawns and plants.  In the lawn area they will eat away the grass in a path that will lead them to and from their nest and food sites.  This why some people believe they have moles.  Although the damaged lawn can look slightly similar if you look up close you will find that the vole makes its runs on the surface and a mole will make its run just below the surface slightly pushing the earth up.  If your still not sure, step on the run.  If the run stays firm, then it’s probably a vole.  If the run caves in, then it’s probably a mole.

Let’s get back to how voles can damage the plants.  Voles will eat a variety of things: insects, nuts, berries and plants.  While eating all the creepy crawly things in your yard can be a good thing, the plant eating can severely damage or kill your plants.  Voles love to eat roots and bulbs and will even “girdle,” or remove a ring of outer bark completely around the base of,  a plant.  Their ability to to tunnel into the earth makes any garden or planter bed susceptible to these little rodents.

At Blue Chip Pest Services we attack the voles right were they live.  How do we do this?  Burrow baiting.  Like most rodents, voles burrow into the ground or into an old animal den to make their home.  Burrow baiting is a technique that involves placing a small amount of bait into the burrow(s).  The bait is pushed in with a stick or similar object in order to make sure non-targeted animals don’t consume the bait.  Burrows are often found along the rodents surface runs.  Burrows typically look like a broom handle was pushed into the ground.  The picture here has a key placed next to the burrow in order to give it a size reference.  Depending on the size of the infestation, burrow baiting might have to be repeated until no more activity is present.

Other ways to gain control may be done with a good ol’ regular mouse snap trap.  Take two sanp traps facing them back to back  long ways in the run. You may want to place a bucket or similar object over the traps to prevent un-targeted animal from setting them off.   And the best part of using traps is knowing that you got one.  When you use baits you rarely see the dead the vole. But if you do use snap traps don’t give up after you have caught the first one.  Chances are you will be re-setting the traps numerous times over then next week to month.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to for more information regarding our service options.


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