Just when your lawn and gardens are looking like golf courses and doing spectacular- flowers blooming, veggies growing, grasses pluming…along come the yearly voles and moles. They are the nemesis of our hard work and dedication. What do we do? First, determine vole or mole. They are different. They are both @$%^@#! but are different in appetite.
Moles – About 7” long, long tail, long noses and webbed front feet, which are ideal for digging tunnels. Moles are insect eaters, like grubs, worms and other pesky things underground. Typically they are not seen as they remain underground. Any trails you may see from moles are “excuse me” trails, just passing through looking for food. However, if they do come a little closer to the surface and with their appetite, they can ruin a lawn fairly quickly.
- Killing them is the most effective for long term control. Traps and various poison baits are readily available.
- The humane method is to bait a type of Havahart trap and release somewhere where they won’t cause trouble.
- And last but not least….Deterent. Because moles feed on grubs and worms, etc., ridding your yard of grubs with a grub killer or Milky Spore, will help a little, but worms and other tasty critters remain. A castor oil based mixture applied to the lawn is a popular choice to repel, but once the scent is gone, they could be back to known territory. There are commercial mixtures available or you can create your own castor oil solution to spray.
p.s. Killing the grubs can help save your lawn. Grubs love grass roots.
Voles – About 5” long and similar to mice, with shorter tails. Voles have eyes and ears that you can see. They feast on plants, grass and annual/perennial-flower roots. Seeds and bulbs are a favorite snack for them. Veggie plants too. Voles can make quick work of a plant or roots in a hurry. Unlike moles, voles multiply rapidly, so immediate intervention is key.
- Spring type mouse traps work well, with some peanut butter or slivered apple slices. Place them at the entrance and exit holes, if you can locate them or along the active tunnels.
- As with moles, a humane method is to trap with baited Havahart traps and relocate, far, far away.
- Have a cat? Perfect vole hunter.
- A variety of poison baits are available to rid the critters. They are typically applied into the entrance and exit holes and covered with a little dirt and tamped down.
- There is a selection of repellents like Liquid Fence, Plantskyyd and hot-pepper liquid concoctions that can be effective at keeping voles from tunneling into the beds and eating your plants. However, after a rain, you have to reapply.
Then you have the tried and tested home remedies that have been around for years! None with science to confirm, but you never know. A lot of these apply to both voles and moles, or not.
- Flooding the tunnels
- Course crushed sea shells into the holes or tunnels
- Sonic tubes. The thought is that the vibrations in the ground from the sonic waves will deter voles. However, the effectiveness will be minimal in sandy soil due to lesser obstructions in the ground for the waves to bounce around.
- Grandpop’s old work socks! (Not quite sure)
- There are others, but they require fire and gasses…….NOT recommended.
TIP: If you plan to construct/install raised flower or vegetable beds, line the bottom with 1/4” steel mesh prior to filling with soil. The mesh is available in rolls at your local home improvement store. It comes in rolls and is pretty easy to work with. This will help greatly.
Should you find the need to repair your lawn from vole or mole damage, Secluded Acres has all your seed, fertilizer and soil needs.
Good Luck! We all need it.
Submitted by Rick, vexed by voles and maddened by moles