How to get rid of Moles/Voles in my Garden ???

Natilie70(z8 E Tx)May 15, 2005

Help !!! They are driving me nuts. I want some of my garden for all my hard work. We have them elsewhere and gophers too. But the moles in my garden are taking more than there fair share. Especially my potatoes. Now moving on to other goodies. Depressing.

And - Where are all my worms this year ???

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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

The moles are probably eating all your worms! From what I understand, they eat their body weight in food (noteably worms) daily!

I have tried those sound/vibration generators but they seem to have a very short effective range--like a 6 ft circle. Heck, I'm not convinced they work at all.

Mole repellants are typically made of castor oil, either in liquid or pellet form. Not sure how effective they are.

Moles are driving me made too! In one small veggie bed alone, I found two moles! They are probably mating so I'd like to get rid of them ASAP. I just sprayed some castor-oil based stuff this morning.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 3:02PM
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Not sure if this is the reason, but when started to put coffee grounds on the mole trails. They/it took off. I belive they eat grubs, so if you have the grubs gone, no moles. Think the coffee grounds really upset those grubs, found a pair on top of the ground on the grounds. Not something normally see is a white grub above ground during the day.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 7:48PM
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I have not tried this myself but I have heard that it works wonderfully. Human urine will get rid of them. I am told that guys can easily "harvest" some into a bottle (soda bottle) and then, at night when your neighbors won't be as nosy, you would pour it into any holes or runs that you see. So far the moles and voles that we have aren't getting into anything that I care about so I haven't gotten DH to take aim at the problem........ sorry ;>O

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 11:43PM
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Natilie70(z8 E Tx)

: imtoobusy.. very intellesting theory. think DH might have to be quite close the ground to be able to take aim at such small holes underground. hmmmmm too cute. Reminds me of the old joke about their "handy gadget". Trouble is, we have sugar sand soil so the holes/runs are so soft that you have a hard time trying to trace them. I think liquid would just soak right on past them. Think it would still work ??

MLcom...I think I have read that coffee grounds would be good for the garden and flowers too. But where to get any - we don't drink coffee and I don't know anyone who does.

subywu...I'll have to check into that. Wow - that is a lot of worms to eat - no wonder I can't find any. And by the end of the year last year I finally had some really nice ones too. bummer.

Thanks all

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 12:05AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Protect newly planted shrubs by planting them in hardware cloth cages. Get a cat or two for the rest. Back when I had a few outdoor cats, I got daily or twice daily "tributes", if they'd already had their fill for the day. To be good predators, cats do not need food "withheld" nor do they need to be able to reproduce. Spayed and neutered animals that have free access to dry food will hunt for the variety and for the challenge and entertainment value.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 12:12AM
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The best thing I have seen is a granual product called Mole-Max by Bonide. It is an all natural repellent. The active ingredient is Castor Oil. I have heard some really good reports on this product. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 3:41AM
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Research at Michigan State University found that 1 pint of Castor Oil in a 1 quart hose end sprayer filled with water and applied to 2,500 square feet would get rid of moles for between 6 and 8 weeks and then would need to be reapplied. Other methods sometimes seem to work because moles simply move off for a while for no apparent reason. People have been trying, with little success, to get rid of moles since at least the 16th century as indicated by this story from a garden writer back them. "Get a deep, straight sided bucket and capture a female mole. Put the female mole in the bucket and bury it to the rim. As the female cries out for help and other moles come to try and rescue her they will also fall into the bucket and become trapped."
Voles are something else and can be trapped with rat traps. Moles are carnivuours, meat eaters, and do not eat vegetables. Voles are vegetarians.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 7:24AM
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Organic_johnny(z6b SEPA)

There are vole traps available that are spring released, driving spikes into the ground...made by "victory" or something like that (the company that makes the plain old fashioned mousetraps). I haven't tried one yet, but it looks scary enough.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 7:27AM
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Helen317(So. Ca, coastal)

Bright Stars, I hear that Starbucks gives away coffee grounds if you ask for them.

On another forum I read that "clumps" from a cat box, dropped into the mole holes, gets rid of them. But I don't know if that really works.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 5:44PM
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Natilie70(z8 E Tx)

Well, I usually get into town about once a week - so I can get some stuff to try. Rat trap sounds interesting, but not sure if the soft soil would keep the hole open long enough for the vole to make it to the trap. It kind of colapses as you try to follow it.
If they are vegatarians - what eats the potatoes ??
Would the oil mess up the plants already planted in the garden and the food on them so far ?? Is that better off done at a time when nothing is planted ??

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:16PM
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Bo Svenson(z8 PNW)

Voles (also known as field mice) are eating your potatoes - they did a number on my potatoes last year. When veggies, esp. root veggies, are being eaten in the garden, voles are usually to blame.

Moles are often blamed for eating veggies, but as noted above they are insectivores. They will eat your worms, which isn't such a good thing, but they won't touch your plants. The fact that voles will often take over old mole runs helps to confuse the issue.

Getting rid of them is tough. We have a cat who is an excellent hunter, and lots of raptors in the area which also feed on ground rodents, but this is probably not applicable to a more urban setting.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 5:50PM
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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

Sadly, I have to report that I have had no success with both the castor-oil based repellents and the noise/vibration sticks. I even used the liquid castor-oil hose-end sprayer before sprinkling the granular form all over. The moles have been tearing up my flower beds all week regardless!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 11:07PM
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Was the concentration of castor oil y9ou used in the range of 1 pint per 2,500 square feet?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 6:41AM
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Organic_johnny(z6b SEPA)

Sorry, the trap is made by "Victor"

Here is a link that might be useful: site with photos of trap

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 7:10AM
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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

Because I only used the castor oil for my flower beds, I probably used 3x the recommended application. Does that make a difference? ie. more is not better?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 8:23AM
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I am french. I found a very efficient mole's trap that killed my moles in a few days.

It's really 100 % efficient.

You can see it on my website

There is a good demo at this address too :


Here is a link that might be useful: La guerre des taupes (Mole's war)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 10:57AM
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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

Samtronique, That definitely is an interesting product! If only it were a little less expensive!

I ended up getting a couple of Victor traps ($13 each) at Lowes. Thanks Organic Johnny!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 4:55PM
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More castor oil is not better, does nothing more than the 1 pint per 2,500 square feet application except cost you more money.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 7:06PM
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lilyfield(Zone 7 TN)

Has anyone tried juicy fruit gum? I put some down a mole hole - I think it was moles as I had some plants eaten by the roots last season - I chewed it a few times then took it out of my mouth using the paper (not fingers) and stuck it in the hole. No more mole vole or whatever, at least for now. Now I've got some critter chomping the TOPS of my radishes and lettuce. :(

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 4:11PM
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My dog hunts them down & kills them. He really tore up one of my flower beds trying to get to one.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 8:20PM
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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

After two days, I finally nabbed me a mole. Traps are easy to use. Load it up, carefully place it over a superficial tunnel, and then wait.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 8:22PM
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Organic_johnny(z6b SEPA)

Great photos subywu!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 11:47AM
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After googling numerous expensive methods to deal with an enormous mole problem, last night I tried something cheap and easy. I took a trowel and disected a surface tunnel and scraped some of the dirt away from the area. Then I loaded an ordinary mouse trap with peanut butter and placed it facing the direction from which the mole started the tunnel. I put a bucket over the spot and a rock on top of the bucket to discourage curious pets. This morning I had my first mole in the trap! My next move will be to roll the tunnels flat and see if more are using the same system. I can't believe this worked! It's one of those instances of seeming to be too good to be true, but it WORKED. This beats the repellent that's $15.00 a bottle and only works for a few days. I hope you'll share results if you decide to try this.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 10:00AM
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apcohrs(z5 IL)

I have had success with sulphur bombs. WARNING: I dont know if they are considered organic - As far as I can tell it is just burning sulphur (sulphur fumes are toxic) and the residue is what I use to acidify my rhodie beds.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 10:22AM
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20+ years at my house. Never had a problem with moles, voles, rabbits, squirrels, etc. I think it may be because of the 5 Pythons that live upstairs. I do distribute their manure liberally over my garden spaces.
Any snake manure will do, and there is someone near to you with captive snakes. You just have to find the source.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 2:03PM
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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

That is a great idea. Sometimes it is hard for me to locate a tunnel but I definitely see a few holes going to surface networks. I will have to try your technique to see if it works. Not sure if they like peanut butter but I supposed just the act of bumping into the trap will get them.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 9:50PM
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I'm a newcomer looking for help with my and my neighbors yard about not sure is it mores or voles. Found this and here I am a new member. Thanks for everybodies advice. I live in Michigan so after reading all of your advice I'm going to get in touch with MSU hoping to find out more

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 2:57PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I have had much success with trapping moles with an old time Victor harpoon mole trap. This one is more solid and has a sturdy handle. My daughter bought one of those more flimsy new models they sell now. I could hardly set it let alone have any confidence with the newer model.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 1:43PM
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I found a great way to get rid of moles...

It only needs a one time application to work for a whole year...

And it is completely environmentally safe...

it worked for me I hope it works for you...

Here is a link that might be useful: MoleAttack

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 11:50AM
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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

Just curious what the "non-toxic ingredient found in many households" is?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 9:59PM
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Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

I wondered the same thing, but I'm so tired of mole damage that I'd try most anything. They've created quite a moonscape in the lawns, making mowing rather bumpy. Some shrubs have been killed or their growth stunted where the moles have been very active. I now plant anything from a 4" pot in a chicken wire basket to keep them from plowing through them, destroying the whole root system. They've been worse this year for some reason; good eating maybe.
Pherny, how long have you used this product?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 3:18AM
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subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

Call it the skeptic in me, but Pherny's post seems to be an odd one for a first gardenweb post--mainly for the strong product endorsement...almost reads like an ad too.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 8:14AM
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when you see the dirt hill is th mole coming out or going in.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 2:19PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

This is how I keep my yard rodent free. It works almost all the time

Notice the smile! He always smiles after a hard day of work!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 11:46PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I would encourage people to use terriors and even moscovy ducks to controll rodents, but cats are not good for the environment, many many species of birds have gone extinct due to the intorduction of housecats into the wilds of north america.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 2:09AM
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I have tried the Mole Scram and it works...It actually WORKS. I applied it and within a week they were gone. They may be in my neighbors yard but at least they are not in mine

Here is a link that might be useful: Mole Scram Repeller

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 7:06AM
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The active ingrediant in this "MoleScram" is castor oil adn while this product may be easier to apply than liquid castor oil one would need to compare prices to know whether that is cost effective.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 7:15AM
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I remember several years ago my dad had a bad problem with tunneling rodents. we called the local extension office and discovered there is a big difference in moles and voles in regards to feeding.

Moles are after grubs and simillar ground dwellers while voles feed on vegetation roots. So there are different methodes of getting rid of them properly. First you need to know for sure which you have. Well luck would have it we had both. We managed to greatly reduce the mole problem by getting control of the japanies beetle infestation. No food for the moles and they die off. It's a slow process but very effective. For the voles we just kept setting those piercing traps that stab them as they pass under it in one of there common tunnels.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 1:52AM
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A friend told me this method of getting rid of Voles, and she has been using this successfully. Put some dry grits in the holes in your garden that the voles made. The vole will eat the grits, and later the grits will expand from the moisure in his tummy & his tummy will burst. Sounds crazy, but she swears by it! I just brought some grits at the supermarket to try it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 9:14PM
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I got sick of being wiped out. I just joined, not sure if this is a strictly organic site but after much internet research reading controlled studies by several reputed ag universities, the vibration & juicy fruit are wives tales.
I'd love to stay away from chemicals but it came down to an application of liquid Sevin. Yes, nary a grub or worm left but moles left also. No sense in being organic if you cant grow because of it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 7:57PM
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Hi, I had an infextation of voles a few years ago, we call them shrews up here in MN. I got a live mouse trap, the kind stores have in the entryways. Put a box of decon inside, and every few days I'd have one of my boys empty the bones and fur from the box into the garbage, so no neighborhood critters would get sick from eating the poisoned vole. Just a month or 2 and they were all gone. Karen

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 5:19AM
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Shrews and Voles are different species of animals, although control methods can be similar. The poisoned baits can be of help but care in use must be exercised since that bait is also attractive to pets and will also kill them.
Sevin, Carbaryl, is a broad spectrum pesticide that is unacceptable to any organic gardener. Yes it will kill off any insect it contacts including the earthworms that indicate a good, healthy soil and which are the moles favorite food. Carbaryl is also very persistant in the environment, and is known to cause health problems in humans.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 6:42AM
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pjalst(Z5 Albany NY)

Any one else try the dried grits method?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 11:09PM
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i know of three professioal mole trappers here in the midwest one is a close friend he uses the hoop style trap its gratifying to know you possitively have caught your problem,yes moles eat grubs but they have a much wider appetite than just them,bugs and earthworms also part of diet and we dont want to kill our worms from pesticides.dont use poisons catch the varmit and know there gone.most of the other above methods are hit or miss options trap them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 9:48PM
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I have had a mole problem for a couple of years now. My experience is that they are frustrating, but do not do anywhere near the damage to justify the frustration. On the plus side, they aerate my soil and compost pile to some degree.

I have lost quite a few worms, I am sure, and maybe I have lost a few potatoes or something, and they make my compost pile look like Swiss cheese. But, as the kids say, it sucks to be them.

Two have come up dead recently, one from what appeared to be parasites, and another which met some more violent fate... probably from a cat. We also have large poisonous and non-poisonous snakes that love our garden, so they will have an interesting summer, to be sure. I also stick a hayfork in my compost pile often and let the moles take a ride on the wheel of fortune.

Bringing in predators is probably the best solution. If you ignore the moles and keep your dogs and cats inside, the predators will come on their own.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:48AM
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I saw some tunnels in my back yard mostly on one side of the yard and these tunnels are close to each other and there could be some under the deck which I cannot reach or see with my nakled eyes.
Do these voles are active during the night or day.For the baits , can I use peanut butter on a piece of bread and place it on top of pouches containing the poison or put poison on top of this peanut butter laced piece of bread.please advise your expert opinion anyone...

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 4:02PM
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I had a HUGE vole problem! They destroyed my lawn and garden that my wife and I worked so hard on. I called Jeff with Ecofirst Pest Control and they took care of it no problem. They are treating my home for twelve months and I havent had a single problem with any pest at all. And it was done at a VERY reasonable price. My advice is to call him 562.235.9269

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 6:13PM
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People will try many things to try and eliminate moles and voles and most simply do not work. Moles are carnivuours while voles are vegans. Moles most favorite food is earthworms, not just the grubs most sellers of poisons tell you theirs will eliminate, although those poisons will also kill off earthworms.
Setting out poisoned baits, to control moles, is not an acceptable organic practice because it is just too broad spectrum. The selleers of devices that direct engine exhaust somewhere will tell you that they will eliminate moles when those devices will not. By far the majority of time something appears to work it is simply because the mole, or vole, has just left for some reason.
Traps are the most effective and least expensive means of control although Castor Oil will work for about 6 weeks when applied properly. The best thing is to learn to live with the buggers since gardeners have been trying to eliminate them from the garden since the 16th century at least and there are more of them around now. If you get rid of the one in your yard another will simply move in to take its place, to fill that vacancy.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 6:51AM
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For moles I have used 'Trapline' traps for a couple of years and they work great! Made in the USA for about $7 each. You need at least 2 for each direction in the tunnel. They have a website that explains it well.
Two things I have learned; moles get active in wet weather and racoons WILL steal your trap if you don't stake them down well. I've lost 2 but caught 5 moles tunneling in my yard.
For voles use mouse trap with PB.
For gophers use rat trap with PB.
I believe that falls under organic.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 3:44PM
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The voles in my yard are driving me up a wall. I had such a beautiful bed of flowers and plants, lovely green lawn,now, I have a road map from the tracks or tunnels these critters have made and are still making. I have NO compassion for them. I want them gone! If that means death, so be it!
I plan to try EVERYTHING I have read in the messages posted.
Will give it three weeks, if it works, I'll be back to report the good news. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 5:17PM
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I used the biological powder on the area that was riddles with tunnels. It is supposed to be a biological organism that multiplies each year and kills the grub. The first summer after application I had half the beetles and half the tunnels. 4 years later I have no tunnels in this area. Some passing but manageable beetles.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:54AM
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PS I wonder if Castor bean plant has worked for anyone? Would Castor bean plants near my sweet potatoes repel voles?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:00AM
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Caster beans are poisonous, so keep small children away from plants & seeds(beans).

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 8:33PM
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I bought some black mouse traps, the ones that you squeeze together on one end to open the trap-end. I loaded peanut butter on the trigger that sticks out of the trap-end. (Not that I expect the voles to be attracted to the peanut butter..but, whatever). I placed the trap in the running path near the holes that go into the ground. I caught 1 vole the first night, while I was getting rid of it, I caught 3 more within 90 seconds (I had 4 traps). Since then, I've caught 3 baby voles.

My guess is that the babies are coming out of the hole because the parents didn't come back. Perhaps I'm almost there!

My beautiful front yard is ruined..trails everywhere, and the upper grass has been eaten away at the root. I'll need to replace the whole thing, or re-seed the whole thing.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 5:48PM
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Milky Spores work for me, to remove the grubs.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:16PM
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I just went outside and put grits in holes in my yard... we'll let you know.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 7:42PM
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Growing up in Arkansas my mom used moth balls as mole repellent and it worked. Just push them into tunnels and their gone.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 4:40PM
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Plant lots of daffodils.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:12PM
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#1 never kill a garden snake, they love mice, voles moles and toads, they are a Godsend to the gardener. #2 Let kitty cat outside :-) #3 Follow the mole tunnel the vole uses till you come to the hole at the end of the mole tunnel, set a small mouse trap with peanut butter next to that hole.. cover the trap with a bucket or large flower pot secured with a brick or rock on top. Check daily, sometimes ants love the peanut butter too but it works like a charm.. BAM you have a dead vole in your trap.. repeat often with new mole tunnels and the hole at the end. Three years ago, voles ate up my sweet potatoes and took 1/2 of my harvest.. not anymore!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:33PM
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Some unknown varmint has dug his way around the drain pipe
of our bar ice maker which drains thru our cement slab.
I have removed about 10 lbs of dirt and gravel from under the machine.
Don't know what it is. Am thinking of shoving some steel wool and nails down the opening and fill it with a foam sealant. Maybe some laundry soap or mothballs would be good along with the nails and wool, Whadda ya think?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 11:09AM
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I used to have lots and lot of mole tunnels in my yard. I purchased a couple of those battery operated tubes that you bury in the ground. One for the front yard, one for the back. They emit a random high pitched beeping. It didnt do anything the first year, but the past two years I have not seen a single mole tunnel in my yard. Perhaps its just a coincidence, but it seems that they found it annoying enough that they moved elsewhere for winter hibernation and spring breeding. They make solar powered ones now, and I may replace with those instead of buying more batteries. The hoop traps do work - for more immediate results.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 6:41AM
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Voles are tunnelers but often use the tunnels moles dig for easy access to your garden. Control the moles and it helps minimize the number of voles. Plant a mole plant in your garden--it's a bienntial--and it will drive moles away in a 40 foot radius. Works wonders in my herb garden and lily beds.
To eradicate voles I buy those green rat poison pellets, soak them for 5-10 minutes in apple juice, and then drop a couple down each vole hole I find. Cover the hole with dirt and wait for them to take the bait. My hostas and aliums are safe since I began baiting the planting bed.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:18PM
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I am going to try grits, coffee grounds and human urine first to get rid of my voles. As a last resort I will use moth balls, but I wanted to know if moth balls are harmful to the environment.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 1:32PM
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I have tried everything for years & nothing worked.I order critter gitter & it burned up in 2 min even with water spaying on it! I bought a flex exaust pipe & put a vacumn cleaner part & hooked this to my tractor exaust & stuck it in the trench tightly. They could not get away from the carbon monoxide. If they should come back later gas again!!!! It works Dr Harry Walker

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 6:35PM
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Moth balls are hazardous to the environment and are a known human carcinogen. No one that is an organic gardener/farmer would use them outside to repel any animal.
Grits, rice,etc. supposedly because they are dry and expand when cooked will do the same thing in a mole and that mole will then either get its intestines compacted or will explode, depending on whom you talk with, which does not happen.
Attaching something to your yard/garden tractors exhaust and piping that down the mole/voles tunnel network may sound good but it is harmful to the engine and does nothing to the mole/vole. Often, when people do that, the mole/vole has already left or does shortly after for some other territory. Moles need about 1/4 acre to live on and they will defend their territory to the death.
The single most effective means of control is the trap. However, I have a friend that has trapped 40 moles every year for the last 45 years and has not made a significant dent in the mole population around him.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 6:36AM
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The best was to rid your property of moles is to ask a policeman or fireman for about 3 or 4 flares. Once you get the flares, cut an opening in one of the mole tunnels, ignite the flare and put it in the tunnel. Make sure the tunnel is not blocked with soil. When you put the lit flare in the tunnel then cover the hole.
If there are multiple tunnels repeat the directions.
This procedure will not kill the grass or plants. As for the moles, I`m not sure!!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 6:38PM
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Asking a policeman or fireman for flares is not going to work, because even though you tax dollars might have paid for them very few carry them any more since they are a significant hazard on the highway. If you wish to spend you money on useless items many stores still do carry those.
Moles learned eons ago how to build tunnels that would provide them with a safe have which is why flooding does not work and attempting to pump a poisonous gas throughout the tunnel network will not either.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 7:03AM
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OK, my two cents. First, moles are the critters that are tearing up the lawns & gardens making tunnels just under the surface of the soil. Voles are mouse like critters that use the mole tunnels. Both are considered pests.

Many dogs are great mole/vole hunters. Let them loose in the area of the pests and they locate them digging or moving under ground. The dog then digs up the rodent and normally just plays with it but in the process usually kills it. I had a huge mole problem last year. I tried chasing them with traps but was having little luck. My son brought his Blue Healer for a visit one day and all of a sudden, he was in the back yard playing with a critter. We went out and sure enough it was a mole. I thought it was a fluke but an hour later, boom, he had another one. Well, we happened to get an Austrailian cattle dog last November and he has already shown an aptitude for digging up critters although, he tends to dig without regard to the damage being caused so hopefully that will change. But in the mean time. I have decided that since moles feed on insects, notably grubs, I would simply get rid of their food source. I laid an application of pesticide on the yard yesterday. I know that will infruriate a lot of tree huggers out there and I love animals and plants but I spend a whole after noon last week re-leveling the huge dirt piles all over my yard and trying to flatten all the tunnels. I have tons of 2 foot wide bare dirt spots all over the yard now. I am sick of dealing with these little bastards. With the pesticide, I am hoping they stay outside my property lines. If not, i will have to put the dog into training.

Two summers ago, my father decided to stop putting insecticide and herbicide on his lawn. That summer, the moles moved in for the first time in 7 years. He has one of those retiree lawns that is immaculate. Well the moles moved in and went to town after the stopped insecticide treatments. I was lucky and seemed to have killed them off quick with some of those poison gummi worms before they bred and multiplied. They breed several times a year. He started the lawn treatments again and has not had another mole problem since. His neighbors get them and the tunnels come up to or near his lot line and stop. So screw it. I am done messing around with them after 4 years of repairing their damage all summer long.

Those are my thoughts and my experiences with moles. But I am open to doing whatever it takes to get rid of them. And as an added benefit, I should have less a problem with ants, ticks, fleas, spiders and all those other nasty summertime pests.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Question, I know what a vole is and my cats at least the older one knows how deal with them BUT I have holes in the ground perfectly round, no humps on the surface and the grass is fine BUT I found a dead animal appx. apprx. vole size, with tiny to no eyes and feet that look like they were made for digging.

What ever these critters are they are no real problem but what was it?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Check the link below. It shows a Vole and also shows some of the holes made by one of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Voles and Vole holes.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Yep, that is vole, Ringo, my oldest cat, dispatched one the other day after the other two two-year old dweeb cats just followed it around inside the house.

I know what a vole or meadow mouse looks like.
Ringo brings one in every now and then, although sometimes like a young rabbit once, they ain't even close to dead.

That is not what the other dead one looked like.
Beside small eyes and big feet, it had a pointed nose.
I do not think it was a mole as I have never had any signs that I had moles.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Sounds like a Mole.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I have now read all about your ideas of Stabbing, Poisoning, and Exploding small garden mammals: what a rotten bunch you are!! I think you grow some extra plants and leave some fruits and vegetables "for the spirits". They were here before you were, and will be here long after you are gone. Why are you all so damned selfish and self-centered?

One cold, cold, winter will control them. Not putting out bird seed will control them. There is NO NEED to torture them!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:39AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

Interesting (sort of) that Carusso joined Garden Web TODAY.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 4:41PM
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GreenOrchardMom(Ga Mts 7)

Interesting (also sort of) that Carusso thinks extreme cold & less food to kill off moles is NOT torture.
I'm not really sure what bird seed has to do with it...
so count me in the rotten bunch
Whatever comes between me & the organic food I work so very hard to grow for my fam has got to go!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:52PM
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terrene(5b MA)

2010-2011 was the worst winter I've ever experienced here and the small rodent population EXPLODED underneath the deep and persistent snow cover. The chipmunks, voles, moles, etc. were running around everywhere last spring.

Traps may work well when sited and baited properly, but the best organic weapon I have against moles and voles is my cat. A small, spayed, vaccinated, never bred, and well cared for female cat that takes her responsibilities for eliminating the small rodent population both inside and outside the house seriously (most of the time).

I don't like the cat in the front garden near the road and she doesn't hunt there, so there was still a vole or 2 wreaking havoc on the perennials this winter. One very windy day a couple months ago I look out and 1/2 my large Buddleia 'Black Knight' had blown across the yard. The vole had eaten the roots! That was the last straw! I immediately borrowed a mole trap from a friend - very difficult to set and zero results. Perhaps it wasn't sited properly.

So I tried a castor oil/human urine solution and sprinkled that over the perennials (skipped the Daffodils and Foxglove, those are poisonous and nothing seems to eat them). There hasn't been any damage since! In a couple places it looks like something had dug near the root of a plant, but no apparent damage, so I guess they really don't like the taste of the castor oil.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 6:48AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Also, I'm using some hardware cloth barriers around the roots of some of the perennials that are being transplanted back into the front garden. So far, the Echinacea - which seems to be a vole favorite and they wiped out most of it. I'm circling the plants with 1/4 inch hardware cloth that's about 8 inches in diameter as a more permanent (hopefully) solution.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Some people have suggested some not at all organic methods to get rid of moles/voles, most of little real value.
If grits actually did what some have stated in moles/voles those grits, that we also eat, would do the same thing in us.
Poisoning the soil in anyway is not an organic solution to a really small problem, and these are at best temporary solutions. Often people do "something" and the mole leaves so the person that did that thinks they have had success but all that happened was the mole just up and left as they are prone to do.
The most effective, and most expensive, method of repelling moles is to spray 1 pint of Castor Oil over 2,500 square feet every 6 weeks. Less will not work, more is a waste of money.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:14AM
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Two ways to get rid of voles/moles. First try burying cat feces in the mounds or runs. This drives them away. If that does not work use a shop vacuum to carefully excavate a run. Place a garden hose into the run in one direction and bury the hose solidly. Hook the other end to your car exhaust and let it run for 5 - 10 minutes. Reverse the direction of the hose in the run and repeat. GUARANTEED to kill all voles in the area! You may need to treat several areas in this fashion to get them all. Note: don't do this in vegetable garden areas or other sensitive places as vehicle exhaust is poisonous. Check with local laws for "legality" of using this method.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Blocking the exhaust of your vehicle may damage your engine in addition to being illegal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Myths and mole control

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 6:10AM
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I used mouse traps with peanut butter... caught two voles... and several mice. Mice will burrow under ground and eat roots. I will try the castor oil too.
We also have the live traps (Have-A-Hart) they work well. It is a continual battle. :) Suzie

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 2:00PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Since this thread has been bumped, I'm happy to report that my front garden is still vole-free! The castor oil seems to have driven them off, and the wire cages around the roots of the Echinacea, Phlox, and Salvia 'Black & Blue' has protected the plants with 100% success, resulting in nice big healthy plants. Very much unlike last summer, when I watched one plant after another wilt, yellow, and die as they succumbed to the vole menace!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 3:05AM
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qbush(6, NE MA)

Kimmsr: Does Castor oil kill the grubs or just discourage the mole? I don't (yet) have mole problems, but I have had a growing issue with japanese beetle, and I find their grubs as I weed and dig. I was going to try milky spore as the beds emptied, but do you think castor oil would work better?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Qbush, the castor oil discourages the moles. They don't like the taste so they leave the area and go elsewhere.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 1:22PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Yes apparently the voles do not like the taste of the castor oil. I made the castor oil/urine mixture extra strength, and try to saturate the root zone of the perennials or other plants.

The castor oil is VERY sticky and coated the inside of my watering can, and it took several months of using the can before most of the castor oil was rinsed away. So I imagine the castor oil "sticks" to the roots of the plants, making them distasteful for several months. This did not seem to have an adverse affect on the plants' growth whatsoever this season.

Recently I am seeing some new evidence of tunneling rodents in the front garden, and think it would a good idea to do another application of the castor oil for protection over the winter.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 6:47PM
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I've not tried castor oil, but have heard that it doesn't really work. Besides, who wants caster oil all over their garden?!

Mole poison is the way to go. There is a great comparison chart for all the different types of mole poison around linked below. Hope it helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mole Poison Comparison Chart

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:23PM
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None of the products listed are acceptable to an organic gardener because they can poison non target animals as well as the moles.
Where Castor Oil has not been found effective not enough of the product was used. Research at Michigan State University found that you had to apply 1 pint of Castor Oil over 5,000 square feet, less was not effective and more was a waste of money.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 6:27AM
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The castor oil worked great for getting rid of moles in my lawn. The stuff should be sprayed on the ground not on the garden plants. There's no reason it should end up all over the garden. Spray on the ground and water it in. You won't even notice that it's there.

A quart of castor oil costs about $15 at the health food store or Amazon. I used a sprayer that attached to the hose. Easy to apply, not expensive.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:41PM
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I take your point about mole poison products not being suitable for anyone wanting to keep things organic.

Has anyone here tried any of the mole deterrent products out there? I think most of them give out low frequency sounds, but I don't really know how effective they are...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:17PM
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nightwatcher(Zone 5 Ohio)

I didn't get a chance to read all of the comments but I have been fighting the eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) for years. There is a lot of false information on the internet and also false remedies. Here is what I have learned about the eastern mole from my years of trapping them for about 35 years.

Mole and Gopher bait will not work and neither will castor oil that I have bought by the gallons. Windmills and "sound" devices do not work. Moles love earthworms, I would say that 95% of their diet are earthworms. I have plastic mesh barriers buried only 12" deep which control any moles coming to my yard via the surface feeding tunnels from the neighbors.

If you see hills or mounds of dirt, it means the moles are starting a colony with deeper tunnels and chambers. You don't want colonies of moles having young. I have used a water hose and filled up the underground tunnels and chambers with the mounds of dirt. Sometimes the moles drown and sometimes not. Moles do not need much oxygen. They can hold their breath a long time and will resurface in a few minutes.

One mole can do a lot of damage over a wide area. You might think that you have several moles when only one is doing all of the damage.

I like the Victor spear type traps the best. I put at least 2 traps close to each other about a foot away in the shallow feeding tunnels. I dig down and set the spear traps into the deeper tunnels. Use a sharp knife and cut through the grass sod when you make a depression for the spear trap. Using your foot will cause the trap to trip before the mole reaches it. Use a knife and set 2 traps close together.

I collapse all surface tunnels with a jet of water or a tamping bar and check back later. When I see a mole working in its tunnel, I collapse the tunnels at two ends to ensure the mole does not escape and use a spading fork where the mole is and lift the sod and kill the mole.

I also dispose of the contents of my cats litter box into tunnels of moles coming from the field and into buried trenches using a 3" wide trench shovel and cover with dirt. The best mole deterrent that I have used so far. I will post more later or answer questions if anyone is interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eastern Mole

    Bookmark   December 9, 2014 at 9:44PM
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nightwatcher(Zone 5 Ohio)

I forgot to mention that my soil is sandy. Where I previously lived, I had hard clay soil and never saw a mole. I found another good web site about moles that I want to share.

Here is a link that might be useful: Controlling the Eastern Mole

    Bookmark   December 9, 2014 at 9:55PM
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