Mole Damage or Vole Damage?

Vole in a yard

At TermiGuard, we have heard clients complain about the damage to their beautiful gardens and freshly-planted flowers or plants for what seems like forever.

They’ll say things along the lines of:

“The moles are eating my (South) Jersey tomato plants again”


“I’m so tired of those moles destroying everything”

Moles DO damage, but

While moles are certainly responsible for lots of damage – like ruining our lawns with their elaborate tunneling systems, even tunneling into roots and causing damage – you may be blaming them for things they just aren’t guilty of.

Because we know a mole’s diet consists of insects – mainly earthworms and grubs – we know they aren’t likely the ones who’ve been eating away at your plants.

So, if not moles, who IS the culprit?

The Vole! Not sure exactly what a vole is? No problem…

Vole Biology & Ecology 101

In South Jersey, we find the two most common types of voles are the ‘meadow vole’ (better known as field mice) and the ‘pine vole’ (or woodland vole).

If you’re experiencing plant damage, chances are you’re most likely dealing with volesnot moles!

Admittedly, moles do their own kind of damage, but let’s not be too quick to blame them for all the destruction we may experience in our yards.

Mole Damage vs. Vole Damage

How does a homeowner tell the difference?

Mole damage

  • Moles are burrowing animals that create tunnels and mounds in your yard. They are primarily insectivores and do not feed on plants.
  • The tunnels and mounds created by moles can damage the roots of plants and disrupt the growth of your lawn.
  • Moles are most active in the spring and fall, and their tunnels and mounds are often visible on the surface of the ground.
  • To identify mole tunnels, look for raised, crescent-shaped mounds of soil. Mole tunnels are usually wider and deeper than vole tunnels and do not have the same well-defined paths that vole tunnels do.

Vole damage

  • Voles are small rodents that feed on plants, including the roots, stems, and leaves of your garden plants and ornamental shrubs.
  • Voles create well-defined paths or tunnels through your lawn and garden, and they often gnaw on the bark of trees and shrubs.
  • Voles are active throughout the year and are more likely to be found in areas with dense vegetation, such as gardens and flower beds.
  • To identify vole damage, look for gnawed plants and trees, as well as well-defined paths through your lawn and garden. Vole tunnels are usually shallower and narrower than mole tunnels.

By understanding the differences between mole and vole damage, you can take the appropriate steps to control and prevent further damage to your yard and garden. This may involve using repellents or traps to control the population of moles or voles, or protecting your plants with physical barriers such as fencing or netting.

If you think you have moles or voles, call the mole control experts. Our MoleGuard program can help!