Q: Does anyone know an organic way to get rid of voles/moles aside from
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).
About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
Put hot red ground pepper in their runs, but you have to keep doing it, and do it in many different places to get rid of them. They will eventually get the hint.
Try putting pieces of chewing gum at the opening of their holes or along the paths where they run. Sounds funny, but it works! (04/10/2006)
I do and it works, for a long, long time. Mix two parts castor oil to one part liquid detergent (check the ingredients, I use Ivory). Whip the mixture in a blender until the consistency of whipped cream. Take a few heaping tablespoons of it and mix it in a sprinkling can of warm water (about a gallon or even two). Go around the entire area and sprinkle the ground (after a rain is ideal so it soaks in deep).
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)
I put moth balls down the hole, and that did it for me. (04/15/2006)
Some garden centers carry predator urine crystals you can pour in the holes. (04/21/2006)
I heard sticking human hair in the holes will discourage them. (04/28/2006)
Plant daffodils or any bulb that is in the garlic family it worked for me. I went online to the HGTV site and that is the advise they suggested. It worked. In the fall I planted them and in the spring the moles or voles disappeared. It won't hurt to try. (06/30/2007)
I live in Michigan and have a lot of problems with moles, also. I tried traps, poison, and everything else with limited success. My garden center in Kalamazoo carries a mole repellent called Repellex. I currently use the granular and have bought the liquid which are both easy to apply. It seems to work pretty well and I buy it twice a year. The packaging says it is made with castor oil, hot pepper, and garlic. The granular definitely smells like garlic! It doesn't bother my dog (who I wish would catch the moles) and the smell is not noticeable when applied. It is considered a natural product and is made from just a few ingredients so I think it is worth trying. (08/01/2007)
I just purchased organic mole and rodent repellent from Lowe's. It is safe in vegetable gardens. (04/27/2008)
Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!