Not sure what is causing destruction in your yard? Can’t decide if you’ve got a mole problem, a vole problem, or a good old Caddyshack-like gopher digging holes and tunnels and mounds in your perfectly manicured yards? Well, lucky for you, you’ve got us! Your one-stop shop for identifying exactly what is tunneling through your yard. So, let’s dig in. (Pun totally intended!)
Moles are seriously vision impaired insectivores that live most of their lives underground tunneling beneath the earth as they are in a never-ending search for food. Not the most exciting existence, but to each his own. They are professional diggers and can tunnel up to one foot per minute, which according to my calculations, means that it won’t take long before significant damage can be done.Not a species that excels in covering up their tracks, moles leave a couple markers that will give you all the info you will need to confidently identify whether or not a mole is the reason your yard is jacked up. The two identifying markers are runways and mounds. These runways are not the kind that pouty-faced, long-legged, malnutritioned models walk down. These ones are long, shallow tunnels on the surface of your lawn that resemble small ridges with volcano-shaped mounds. They feel soft and squishy when walked on. Moles like to dig deep, usually more than 10 inches underground, as they also have a network of deeper tunnels used for feeding.
Mole mounds do more than create unsightly dirt piles in your lawn. They create an enticing home for mole meals, so moles cruise through their tunnels and check on the mounds for any potential food source that might have burrowed there.
Voles are also tunnelers and have mastered the runway gig as well. However, even though they can make runways underneath the surface, they typically tunnel on the surface and eat their way through the grass to get to wherever they are trying to get to, including their burrows and your garden. The shallow, snake-like tunnels that can wind through your lawn are the identifying markers that you’ve got vole issues. In addition, because they favor grassy areas and prefer to fill their vole bellies with green vegetation and plants, if you have partially eaten root vegetables, plants that have started wilting or turning yellow, you are finding chewed up roots, your flower bulbs have been eaten, or your young trees or shrubs are now leaning over, there is a very good chance that the responsible party is a vole.
Gophers are the largest of the three tunnelers and, based on size alone, can cause the most damage. Not being picky, they will eat all types of vegetation, soft-bodied worms and insects, and have been known to chew through underground sprinkler and irrigation systems and utility cables. Naughty little critters.
Gophers are often confused with moles because they also leave behind mounds when they are doing their digging, but here is a difference. When gophers dig their tunnels, they push the loose dirt out of their tunnels and to the surface, which creates long mounds that are fan-shaped, or crescent-shaped, or horseshoe-shaped, or how ever you want to describe C-shaped. The open side, or hole (clever, I know!), is usually plugged but when exposed, points the direction of the tunnel underground.
So, what exactly is tunneling through your yard?
Here’s a quick summary:
- Moles leave behind runways and volcano-shaped mounds.
- Voles leave snake-like tunnels with no mounds.
- Gophers leave long horseshoe-shaped mounds.
Once you’ve got the source of your yard destruction identified, head on over to HowToPest.com’s pest list for products specific to that particular pest. Still not sure? Give us a call or send us a message. Our highly trained technicians will be happy to help. When it comes to these destructive critters, there’s absolutely no love in these tunnels!