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Extension educator clarifies: Not moles — voles

March 26, 2014

After the snow has melted, have you noticed mole-like "runs" in your yard, except that they appear to be well-traveled above ground runs, rather than the more familiar burrowing damage created by moles? If that is the case, change the 'm' to a 'v' – you probably have voles, not moles.

I recently got my first vole question of the year, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. Voles are a fairly common rodent in Indiana landscapes, except that they don’t get the same attention that the subterranean burrowing mole gets.

Dr. Timothy J. Gibb, Purdue turfgrass entomologist, offers the following information about managing voles:

Meadow voles are true rodents, and belong to the order Rodentia (from the Latin word rodere, to gnaw). The word vole refers to "field"-- earlier uses of the word were used as vole-mouse, and eventually became simply voles. People often refer to voles as meadow mice, or "field mice".

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