Hardiness Zone: 5b
By Annelle from NE PA
An odd job for your husband. Human urine poured on the hill will chase them away. Be inventive as to how you collect this product. I used a toilet seat over a 5 gallon bucket in an area where there was privacy. Don't crack up laughing. It worked for me.
Moles are not as bad as you might think, aside from the damage their tunnels can do. They eat grubs and insects, as well as some worms. With them, you see the tunnels. Voles, another common pest here in eastern PA, eat vegetation, and the evidence you might see of them is more like a topless "tunnel" on the grass. You see it more after a spring thaw than in the summer, but you sometimes see the voles, too, they're grey, with a short tail, somewhat bigger than a mouse. Kind of cute, really.
Above ground traps may work with the voles; if you have them, clear any vegetation (such as ivy) away from the bases of trees--they'll girdle a tree and you won't know until it is too late.
For moles, I have heard that they don't like if you are growing castor beans. I don't know how true it is. I have also been told that planting fritellaria (crown imperial) bulbs is a strong deterrent. The bulbs are not cheap, but they make a nice show in the spring, and are otherwise unobtrusive. I have seen recipes online for homemade sprays; but cannot attest to whether or not they work.
You can get traps that you put over active tunnels that will be triggered when the mole goes through the tunnel and will kill them. When we lived in KY, we had a problem, and someone told us those flower "windmills" help--that the vibration drives them away. I had far too many little windmills in my yard with no luck! There may be vibration "machines" available to try, but I wouldn't hang my hat on it. But since I didn't want to use poison (kids/dog), we went with the traps.
I suspect your only luck will be in killing them, unfortunately. As long as there is food in your garden (and with healthy soil, you will have worms; and if you're organic, grubs) they will stick around.
Hardiness Zone: 4b
Anni-b from Victor, ID
A: Hi Anni,
Moles and voles can be tough to get rid of in the yard and garden. Here are some organic techniques to help control their populations.
Voles: They enjoy gnawing on bulbs and the roots of shrubs and trees, but seldom do damage to the yard. Voles are related to mice and are more apt to be seen above ground. They seek out protected places, so removing any protective cover (like controlling tall grass, weeds or brush) is essential to controlling them. Keeping your lawn mowed short for a period of time should also help curb populations. You can also consider live-trapping them (traps available at www.haveaheart.com or hardware stores), just make sure that after you catch them you relocate them at least 1/2 mile away from populated areas (in an overgrown field, etc.). Live traps can be baited with peanut butter and oatmeal or with bits of apple. Critter-repellant.com also sells a granulated deterrent called, "Shake-Away" that is made to smell like the urine of the vole's natural predators. Although I've never tried it, "Shake-Away is also said to work on moles.
Moles: These guys are slow moving and have poor eyesight so you will seldom see them above ground. Moles produce ridges as they tunnel searching for food and usually have a larger impact on the yard. Their main tunnels usually run along fences, foundations, tree stumps or other protected areas, and they also create tunnels that may only be used once. These abandoned tunnels can make parts of the yard feel spongy when you walk on them. Moles feed almost exclusively on insects like earthworms and grubs, but will sometimes damage roots, bulbs and tubers in their attempt to find food. They are most active in the early morning and late evening and are solitary by nature. If your problem is limited to a garden bed, try lining the area with 1/2 inch galvanized wire mesh. You can also try live traps, but do it in the spring (after a rain is best) when their tunnels are closer to the surface. Other organic controls include physical barriers dug down into the soil (for small areas), repellents that contain castor oil or castor beans (thought to upset their stomachs-possibly causing them to move on), or sound barriers (e.g. pushing the base of vibrating windmills, or children's pinwheels into their tunnels causes disturbing vibrations).
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I used it between my plants first to run out anything in them then went around the entire garden. When I saw how good it worked I did my whole yard (about two acres) and that was the end of the moles until this year. No more expensive exterminators! My sister paid a small fortune to have them come in and exterminate for voles and still had them. One good dose of this and they were gone. (04/10/2006)
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