How To Get Rid Of Moles And Voles (And Gophers)
Close-up of mole by Michael David Hill is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
So, you want to know how to get rid of moles and voles (and gophers)?
First of all, moles are great!
They plow the soil and eat insects such as grubs.
Of course, they do leave behind some tunnels.
And while they don’t eat your plants, they can disturb them.
We may not mind a few tunnels, but when it gets to be too many, it can leave an unsightly mess of molehills, uneven soil and brown ridges in the lawn.
Bank Vole by Peter Trimming is licensed under CC BY 2.0
As for voles, they’re the ones that eat plants directly (as do gophers), so can cause even more of a problem (moles just eat insects and earthworms).
If you don’t know what you’re dealing with, moles leave the big volcano-like mounds, whereas voles leave 2 inch wide paths, but no mounds (and gopher’s leave a horseshoe-shaped mound).
(This article isn’t specifically about gophers, but some of the methods below will apply to them, too).
Before we talk about getting rid of moles and voles, in terms of prevention, both of them like moisture, so if you don’t irrigate, the soil will be less attractive to them.
They also prefer sandy soil over clay, but it’s almost impossible to change soil texture, so we can’t do much there.
Now onto how to get rid of a mole or vole in your yard…
How To Get Rid Of Moles And Voles – Top Methods
Here is my list, roughly from simplest to more involved.
You may need to try a few methods because what works great for one situation may not, for whatever reason, work for you.
For things that you place into their tunnels, you need to find an active tunnel. If you’re not sure if a tunnel is active, cover the hole with a bit of soil and see if the mole or vole clears it away within a couple of days.
Feel free to add your experiences with getting rid of moles or voles in the comments section below.
Cayenne powder. This very hot pepper will deter a lot of animals from your garden. You can sprinkle it directly into mole holes or mix with water and spray it. Cayenne is also mixed with garlic, vegetable oil, soap and water to make a natural insecticide. It can be useful to keep pets out of your gardens, too, although it is a bit of a mean tactic.
Spanishsmokedpaprika by Badagnani is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Smelly things. Some people have success getting rid of moles and voles with garlic or onion, fish, rotten food (especially cheese and yogurt), or walnut leaves. Place them down into the mole/vole tunnels.
Garlic by Donovan Govan is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Cat. If you already have a cat, some cats are good mole and vole hunters, or sometimes the cat’s smell will repel them. I wonder if a dog’s smell can be similarly helpful if they spend a lot of time hanging out in the yard. Certainly just having animals in the yard can keep moles away because they don’t like noise and vibrations.
That said, here’s a comment I received from Christina: “I realize some have found cats to be good in controlling their mole populations but they are also responsible for killing millions of song birds in the U.S. every year. Along with all the other challenges facing our beneficial birds, such as pollution, habitat loss, etc. etc., cats allowed outside are devastating their numbers. It’s also harmful to most cats as well as they become prey themselves to dogs, coyotes, raccoons, disease, getting run over by cars, etc. So, if at all possible, please keep your cat indoors…he/she will live a lot longer, healthier life and we’ll have many more songbirds to enjoy!”
portrait-of-cat by Expect Best is licensed under CC0 1.0
Noise. Loud noises can get rid of moles and voles. A small radio or speaker put down into the tunnel can work. I’ve also read about solar powered devices that send out signals, but the reviews are mixed on those. A simpler noise maker is to cut the top off a few glass bottles and stick them diagonally into the ground around mole hills so the wind causes noises the moles don’t like. They don’t like vibrations either, so if you can put little wind spinners/windmills near the holes, that can be enough to encourage them to go away.
Flower Pinwheels by Doug Hay is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Neem Oil. One of the reasons I wrote this post is because during my research for last week’s post on neem oil, I learned that it can work indirectly to dissuade moles. That’s because one of their main food sources is grubs. If you can decrease your grubs, you can decrease your moles. Neem oil can be effective against grubs, including the larval stage of Japanese beetles, so if you have a mole problem and a grub or Japanese beetle problem, neem oil may be the solution for you. That being said, using beneficial nematodes for grubs is a more tried and true strategy, so I recommend that over neem oil for now.
Neem leaves Neem Leaves by Thendral Muthusami is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Castor oil. This oil comes from the seeds of the castor bean plant and can sometimes be effective for moles. Mix 1 cup of castor oil with 2 tablespoons of liquid soap per gallon of water and spray it monthly over the lawn and soil and into their tunnels, and again after each big rain. Castor seeds can also be sprinkled in the garden in strategic places, but they contain ricin which is a highly toxic poison, so handle with care.
A-Castor oil plant by Parvathisri is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Plants. There are a few plants that can be effective for getting rid of moles. The most notorious is Euphorbia lathyris, also known as mole plant. It’s a beautiful, self-seeding biennial in zones 5-9. It is considered invasive, so you might want to remove the flowers before it goes to seed. The castor bean plant discussed above is also a good choice. Unfortunately, both are poisonous, so if you have children or pets, you’ll want to avoid them. Other potentially useful options are chocolate lilies and garlic.
P1010098-Euphorbia-lathyris by myself is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Barriers. Hardware cloth or any similar kind of wire mesh can be installed vertically around the garden, like a short fence, to a depth of 30 inches and a height above ground of 6 inches for moles (or 24 inches above ground for voles). Or if you can’t do the whole garden, you can install it around certain beds or even just your trees.
A mortised split-rail fence in suburban America is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Mousetrap. Wash a traditional mouse trap or live trap with soapy water to remove any smells, because moles won’t get near it if it smells like you. Then put an earthworm, insect or peanut butter into the trap and place it in a mole hole or right beside the hole with a shoe box to cover it and a brick or rock on top to keep it from blowing away.
2005 mousetrap cage 2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Mole trap. Another option for how to get rid of moles and voles is to trap them with a mole trap, which you can purchase online or from a hardware store. You can get a live trap, or if it’s legal in your state/province and you’ve had it up to here, a killing trap.
Op scherp staande mollenklem by Bouwe Brouwer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Personally, I don’t use poisons in my garden, so I’m not sure of any of these options, but I’ll list the two I know and I bet there are more:
Moth balls. Some people have success with sprinkling moth balls over the lawn and in the tunnels of moles and voles. It is a chemical pesticide, so I don’t use them, and there are more effective solutions up above.
Ammonia. Some people have success pouring ammonia down the holes.
Ammonia smoke by Chemicalinterest
How do you get rid of moles and voles? Have you tried any of the above with or without success? Or do you have another method we should know about?
Let us know down below. Hopefully we can expand my list even further…
Phil …. Thanks for the info, I have a huge mole problem at certain times of the year ….. Seems the best we can do it deter the little rascals …..One year I had one under a very special small patch of lawn, so I ran a garden hose in the tunnel and forced him out …… He was then transported a few miles away to an open field where he was released ….. Not sure how he was after that, it was sunny and he sure didn’t like that …..Thanks for the info!
Where there is one mole, there are 100 more close by. The best result I’ve had is with the mole sticks that you put down into the hole, light the wick (it only burns for 5 seconds)and immediately cover the hole so that the moles cannot escape. The smoke will kill the moles. Then you watch and wait to see where the smoke comes out of other nearby holes. Cover those up immediately so they cannot escape. I have tried everything. There are mole pellets, but they do not work. They are supposed to work by making the slugs and worms distasteful. So if they are distasteful to moles, what about robins and other creatures that rely on worms? They come back very soon. sometimes it is hard to identify the holes, about the diameter of a broomstick, look for small bunches of grass in small piles. Scrape the grass away to see if there is a hole. They destroy my lawn by traveling right through or below the the grass roots. In my case, I had many bare spots because of them, not a nice backdrop for my garden.
Are you sure you have moles or voles? Moles have the little hills of fresh dirt as they’re digging up tunnels. The voles tunnel under the grass or other plants, feeding on the roots and leaving everything to die in their path. They have 100’s of other voles nearby and have the broomstick size openings to their burrows. It sounds just like our problems! So…
Can you tell me what the sticks you are using are and where have you purchased them? Much appreciated…
Oh, I am very sure they are moles, I have seen them and I have been using a smoke bomb, I am sure you know of them. You are supposed to stand there and watch where the smoke comes out of other holes, but I have not seen this yet. The first one when I saw them was the built up dirt as you described, but there was also a lot of dead grass. Turns out there were babies nesting in that pile. I am so sick of them. I can see their trails all over my lawn and they kill the grass where they go. Claudia
I bought a “Smoker” that I use for my honey bee ives and now I use a second one just for these tunneling vermin who like to eat the roots of flowers, bulbs, vegetables, etc. Instead of buying leaves or straw which is fine for the bees, I burn small wooden kindling from the woods with half of a plastic water bottle. The smoke is rancid and possibly poisonous. It smells really bad anyway.
I push the Smoker into a one inch hole that I make with screwdriver and puff away until I see the smoke coming out of the tunnel. Then I block the hole. I also aerate my lawn once a month and the 4″ stakes seem to take care of the tunnels. So far so good!
What a great idea. I have 3_1/2 acreas with animals grazing on the pasture I have mounds plus long tunnels then tons of diet mounds I have used poison worms and stuck my hose down the tunnel that seems to chase them off to my neighbers But I like the smoke idea and a wind mill vibration
Turns out My Mole problem is actually a serious Pocket Gopher problem added to by my dog who digs deep holes into their tunnels, the combination of the 2 makes it difficult to drive the Tractor across the field! Yes,they eat potatoes, nibble garlic,carrots, beets their paths cross. Thought they were moles, have mole- trapped many.
I’m having a problem with my dog going crazy digging up their paths. I bought the mole stick with the solar panel on top. I could not get it deep enough into the ground. Does anyone know if it can be placed in a rock garden or does it need to be free of the small rocks?
My wonderful cat took care of the problem in my yard.
My cat, a ferocious hunter (haha), took care of my moles too. They haven’t come back! Good kitty!!!
TARGET PRACTICE WITH A PELLET GUN. WORKS EVERY TIME!
Like this idea the best!! Moles are driving me nuts.
Thanks for the tips. I think those methods are great for getting rid of moles and voles.Impressive article, indeed.
Tuff telling if it’s voles just the top leaves are eaten I fence an area it come to another I do have two marmots but the eat in the day right? I caught a possum in early part of the season she had babies I couldn’t kill. But they like bugs usually more than plants. Jagged leaves and they don’t touch the stems. They’re not touching potatoes tomatoes or peppers any ideas?
I also have turkeys roaming the yard so i place corn on top of ground mole mound & the turkeys scratch down the mole hill. So it’s a win win, turkeys get fed & i get the ground mole mounds knocked down.
I had a pet rooster who was a great mole hunter. He would leave them at the backndoor for me to see.
Clone that rooster!! Never heard of a chicken doing that. Besides bugs, they would only go after the lizards and tiny frogs…bad chickens!!
I second that idea. I have 2 pet ducks that have seen the voles but because they stay inside with me they aren’t sure of what they are.
My husband saw our giant rooster with a mole in his mouth the other day! He said all the hens were chasing him lol!!
Juicy fruit gum….try it. You’ll see.
The juicy fruit gum is very inhumane, but it works. Known that one well since I was a kid
What do you do with the gum?
How does juicy fruit gum work ….where do you put it
Really? What do you do ?? And thanks!!
Do you put a stick, half a stick, cheweed or unchewed?
I put Juicy Fruit gum left in the foil wrappers. The moles can’t digest foil and it kills them.
Well boo hoo, moles. Destroyed too much hard work last year. Being a country girl from living on the farm, I do not feel as badly as I used to. Fed up. Tyvm!!
Thanks for the suggestions! This year they are vile little rascals, they have their hills in my yard, all around us in the fields and pastures. my cats are catching them, but there is so many around, they could never keep up!!!
Phil ~ Had moles last year, and it seems that they are still alive and well this year. Am considering purchasing your Neem oil, but would like to know how often it would have to be applied, and in what strengths. Also considering your microbal fungi, but, as per the picture, it seems that mushrooms actually sprout in the garden. While I don’t have a problem w/that, my concern is whether they will flourish ~ or, in fact, even be able to survive out very hot summers, or if they would grow only in the shade of trees and garden plants. Am I correct in that you treat your gardehthat you treat your garden only once/mo w/this concoction for the entire growing season? Do the products come w/detailed mixing and use instructions, Pls answer as quickly as possible, as I think I should be putting it on very soon. Tx for all the info you provide to use novices!!!
I haven’t found consistent data on application rates of neem oil for controlling grubs, or data on how effective it is. I still lean to using beneficial nematodes for grub control before neem, just because I have more experience using that successfully. But if I were going to try neem oil, I would spray 1/2 cup in 3 gallons of water per 1000 square feet (or if using a hose end sprayer, put in 1/2 cup neem oil, 1/2 cup water, and set to a setting that mixes 4 tablespoons per gallon of water), every 7-14 days during the time when the grubs are active.As for the mycorrhizal fungi, they don’t sprout mushrooms. Some mycorrhizal fungi do, but not these ones. The inoculant only needs to be applied once – not every month. It comes with mixing instructions, and you can also refer to my calculator: https://www.smilinggardener.com/sale/calculator/
I use Neem oil regularly for insect control. It mixes with water at about 2T per gallon. Best used early or late, not when really sunny out and not when raining or watering plants. Apply tops and bottoms of leaves a d stems abt every 2 weeks or more if necessary especially after heavy rain or watering. I also put it on my surrounding dirt if I have an ant problem or squash bug issue.
It doesn’t smell bad. BE careful when bees are pollinating or any beneficial bugs are present. Been oil doesn’t discriminate on contact.
I’ve also used a combination of spearmint/peppermint and lavender in containers spread around and it seems to have worked. I’ve just read that wrapping bits of Irish Spring soap in cheesecloth and stapling it to a small post and placing them around your garden will keep rodents and deer away.
I used the solar powered mole chasers and for the first time we had a bumper strawberry crop! They chased away chipmunks and we haven’t seen the groundhogs in weeks and weeks. It may be the combination of sound and vibration.
Cool, thanks for sharing Joanne!
I love in Melb. FL & just moved into a house in May. While fixing up the yard, I started noticing holes, tunnels ( only because I sank in spots around the house,lol) but soon found the fan shaped holes & my dying garden & grass. I’ve tried just about everything I could think of. Which to some wasn’t much the whole blonde thing & all (lol) for a few weeks now I have turned into. “Bill M.” in Caddy Shack. My Landlord won’t be happy seeing her new flowers dead, but I tried to tell her. It’s just me trying to fix her yard & house & grow grass, my kids don’t do hard labor & in single so, Yeah for me. More work. Anyway… I’m trying a few other things thanks to you. So, TY. Hope ur problem is finally over. Hope u get/read this. Good Luck to u & ur Family.
I live in the desert in Arizona and have used the solar noise making devices. they work well. we are over run by ground squirrels who dig large tunnels and caverns. they work on a movement trigger. a ground or above ground movement sets it off. I have been able to raise a decent garden since installing a few.
The moth balls don’t kill them, they are a deterrent. They abhor the smell and move along. Works great for shooing skunks from under your buildings also.
Thank you for some advice that will work! Will try this.
That is what was said. They deter most pests and moths.
Mothballs get rid of Armadillos too!
After trying everything indicated I have developed the foolproof cheap method: Get gas lawnmower, gas powered electricity generator or some other internal combustion motor. I have used a small gas powered electricity generator but a lawnmower will work too as they use similar engines. Perhaps a car exhaust will work too but the long exhaust pipes of cars plus muffler plus catalytic converter drop the pressure of the car exhaust and it may not push the gases into the ground holes as well as the lawnmower, gas powered generator, chainsaw, etc.Get a metal pipe and fit it to the the exhaust of the lawnmower or whatever. It can go insider or outside the exhaust pipe as long as fit is fairly good to keep the gases flowing into the hole in the ground.The pipe I use is copper, any metal will do. Plastic can work too but it has to plastic that does not melt easily as the exhaust gases come out hot.Normally you will have to bend the pipe down so it goes into the hole. The holes come out at an angle, not straight up, this makes it easier to slide the end of the pipe into the hole. The pipe I use is 3/4 inch copper pipe.Slide the pipe in 3-4 inches then put earth around and on top to prevent the gases from coming back out. You want the gas to flow into the underground network of tunnels.Be careful when you start the machine that does not collapse the hole. Most machines with the pull cord start shake a bit as you pull the cord.If you have more earth mounds around the lawn step on them to ensure the exhaust fumes, mostly “Al Gore gas” (CO2), do not easily come out, otherwise the fumes many never reach the far holes.Now let the gases flow in for 30 minutes or so to ensure they reach all tunnels to the end. It takes a while for the fumes to “soak” the ground because the ground is a bit porous and the fumes flow loses strength as it advances.Start the engine, make sure the pipe does not come off the exhaust and do something else for 30 minutes or so. I suppose the type of soil makes a difference. The more loose-porous the soil the longer the more time you may need. I have not done it but I suspect giving the soil a good watering before injecting the fumes will help keep the gases flowing through the tunnels because the moisture in the surrounding soil will act as a sealer to help keep the gases in the tunnels.It is the second time in so many years ands works like a charm. The little “terrorist” tunnel makers do not suffer as the fumes first effect is sleep.This year I had about 15 mounds spread over an area of 45 x 25 ft. I put the fumes in 5 days ago and not a single new mound. I suspect the hole terrorist cell has perished has perished and gone to heaven to meet the virgins, as it happened las year because no new mounds appeared.Voilá, de voles and the moles are gone.Note: make sure no small kids around. Exhaust parts get hot and lawnmower blades turn when the engine runs.By the way, the method does not damage the soil as the gases dissipate into the air (yes it is CO2, greenhouse gas but remember your beautiful tomatoes, etc., now will grow and absorb CO2, so no guilt).Good luck.
Exhaust from a combustion engine is Carbon Monoxide ( CO)NOT CO2 and does not benefit any life form other then killing what you do not want
I’d rather deter than kill. Thanks to all the posts on the internet who aren’t just murder and kill enthusiasts.Although ever since a grub bit my finger as a kid. I’ve felt a defiance against grubs.I used to seek torturous ways to kill grubs.I think throwing them on fire ant mounds then rustling the dirt to get the ants to attack the aggrevator was the most heinous.I think the grubs pleaded for the ants to not eat them caused the ants to abate not attacking the grubs anymore. I was thus confused as to why a ferocious biter/eater as a mound of fire ants would take sympathy on a grub…..but they quit attacking the grubs to my amazement.I then realized that grubs have a communicative ability, which made me hate them more while in amazement at cross species communication.I tried communicating with fire ants before but to no avail.I still despise grubs, but just toss them aside anymore when digging.I also think that grubs believe they are god. Which is another reason I despise grubs.Probably why there are so many religions is because there are so many grubs.Therefore if grubs are in actuality claiming to be god. According to grubs trying to claim to me they are. That It would make them blasphemous little liars considering there are multiple religions.Not only that but since grubs are trying to destroy all vegetation. Then that means that grubs are trying to destroy all life.Thus grubs in essence of religion are considered evil.Thus evil living below ground or as Satan is to hell and trying to control things it cannot see. As Satan is to what is considered good.And since grubs mutate into lawn moths and fly around harmlessly until the get impregnated and spawn more grubs by depositing their vermonic eggs in soil or wherever. Are basically the spawn of evil as such is religion.Thus my hatred of grubs and religion.Thus concludes my theory that grubs are evil and also the spawn of evil.
The post was about moles and voles….!!! Thanks for you take on grubs! I guess there is a common thread there….they are all 5 letter words!
Haha. Really? Grubs have teeth? Hmmm. I did get bitten by a praying mantis as a child tho, and felt betrayed because I thought they were religious.
You are. Great writer !!!!!
Gophers have voracious appetites and can steal a favorite vegetable or decorative plant while you watch. The networks of tunnels that gophers and moles dig can undermine your garden or lawn. Of the various eradication methods used, some are dangerous, some cruel and some simply ineffective. Perhaps the best gopher deterrent is to line your plant boxes with gopher wire so the pesky scavengers can’t get to your plants, but that won’t save the unprotected parts of your garden. A combination of methods may convince the gophers and moles to leave, but you may have to get tough. http://allblogroll.com/how-to-protect-your-garden-from-gophers/
All of the things mentioned do work. The exhaust works particularly well but can damage the engine if used for too long a time because of pressure building up and the heat. I think it is not a problem of the occasional gopher or two but it is the never ending problem. Eventually the hardware cloth or whatever wire is used can be chewed through by these creatures. For large wired areas such as our garden area, trying to find the hole underground is not that easy. You can temporarily get rid of them but then another comes along and the process starts all over again. It is never ending here and if you have ever stepped and had the ground collapse due to gopher tunneling you would know they can be dangerous in that respect. One thing not mentioned that we also have encountered with gophers is that snakes also use those tunnels to come into the yard and we are in rattlesnake country. Maybe we should just rename our mountain here gopher mountain and accept that this is the way that it is. By the end of the season you would think my husband was in CaddyShack with the effort he puts into getting rid of them. Thank you for the information. We will just keep at it.
We do have moles and voles and they do not cause much of a problem. The moles are actually quite cute when seen and they do not damage the plants and here they are not really visible that often. The mice and voles are more of a problem with the chicken coop because they want to get the chicken food.
Thanks for sharing, Vickie.
I had an enormous tree removed from my yard last year and was delighted to have a sod lawn replace the appearance of a rooted yard. The voles have decided to “make themselves at home” and created the look of tunnels in this golf course yard. My challenge in this being mu 39th year is to convince them that I prefer not to share my residence with them. Any suggestions?
Sure, read the article and the comments and try it all 🙂
We have miles and voles. I’ve kept them
Controlled with vibration spikes but it seems we and our. Sigh it’s just pass them back and forth. The big issue! I have a nice ground 24′ pool. We have padded insulation on the bottom under the liner but last year we had tunnels sink under the pool. They are tunneling around the edges and I’m afraid my liner will get a hole. I use pellets in holes when I see them in the yard and around the pool when I see holes from them but I need help! We hate to lose the pool and have a lot of money invested in it. Oh and we have a worthless cat that just likes to watch the tunneling go in but doesn’t dig any of it!
Hi A hungry cat will hunt!
I use a gravy baster syringe to squirt gasoline in holes I punch to active tunnels, then give the voles a ‘hotfoot’. Bulk castor oil from Amazon is inexpensive and can also be squirted into vole holes or sprinkled from a garden hose sprayer widespread over the entire affected lawn.
We are having a vole problem around our patio. The dog does her best to get to them, but hasn’t been successful. Is it safe to spray the castor oil mixture in areas with pets? What about birds? Our bird feeder is nearby (no doubt that’s how we attracted the darn things), and I don’t want to harm them.
Ray Laub, if I opted for the castor oil & garden hose sprayer what’s the recommended ratio of ingredients? Can I spray my flower beds too, I’ve seen voles in there too!
I like that you mentioned checking the legality of traps you can use in your state. These critters can really do a number on your garden. You want to be sure and take care of them as soon as you notice a problem.
So, here is the tried and true solution.
My Aunt Lee lived in Point Roberts Wa. She had a terrible problem with Moles and voles in her lawn. Then the old fashioned method worked best. Urinate in a bucket and then pour it into a watering can. Start at one end of the property and work your way around and then start again. By the time two months had passed the little fellas and their families had moved out. She was the only one on the beach with no Mole holes. Although everyone asked her what she had used, she never told them. It was her secret! Her lawn was beautiful…
We tried the urine method. Did not work at all. The only solution I’ve found for getting moles and voles out of my life was to sell the house.
We live in a retirement community. We can sign up for a 5′ x 10′ raised garden plot. When I started mine I noticed a mole tunnel in the ground near it. Sure enough I found a few hollow spots in the dirt in my plot. I planted it anyway and hoped for the best. If have had a beautiful little garden. I harvested a head of lettuce and left enough for it to grow back. A week later it was wilted and the ground under it was hollow. I got a half. Dozen yellow squash earlier this week. Today that plant is wilted. Again the ground under it was hollow and it had no root. Is it a mole? There are no holes and the dirt in the raised bed is soft and it doesn’t make a raised tunnel. Should I use a watering can and sprinkle castor oil. Will it hurt the other vegetables?
Sounds like it could be a mole, but hopefully others will weigh in based on their experience. In general, you can usually sprinkle castor oil in the hole and it won’t harm the other plants.
It will be a Vole.. V for Vegetarian Vole… M for Moles that are Meat eating (as in grubs for example).
Therefore Voles eat the roots and also shoots (sometimes) of plants.
Nice one – thanks for sharing, Pat.
I’ve had trouble with voles and moles for years in my garden. I not only use a battery operated mole chaser which sends out a noise underground, but I use chewing gum in the holes. I take pieces of either juicy fruit gum or spearmint gum and slice it in half length wise. I then take the pieces and place one or more in the hole created by the voles and moles. They eat it and it clogs their insides and they die underground. I buy the three pack of gum and put out 90 pieces at once. If the gum remains in a hole for a day or more pull it out and place it in another hole that’s active. This works for me. Kathryn
I have tried it all! Deterring a mole does not get rid of it, only sends it somewhere else, another part of your yard if you have a large yard or your neighbor’s who really don’t want them either??? They will return! And I also find it strange that I have trapped hundreds of MOLES with pnut butter and sunflower seeds even though most (all???) claim they eat insects and grubs, I have NO grubs, managed to get rid of them years ago and keep controlled yearly to keep the skunks from digging holes. The moles EAT MY ROOTS and kill my flowers and trees…..I have trapped, yes killed, hundreds over the years. They are moles! The only way to control a mole infestation is to kill them. The neighborhood cats do not want to catch them as they have a very distinctive smell and taste. I know immediately when one has been in my garage, there was actually a period of time they were even entering the interior of my house! I have noticed the last couple years (it has been over 20 now) that I catch fewer and fewer and see less destruction….I am hoping I have finally elevated my mole problem!!!
Thanks for sharing, Joan. I bet there are others who will be happy to know they aren’t the only ones finding this to be such a challenge.
I understand you have caught some of these little buggers, but it sounds like you have Voles, not Moles, with the way they are eating your roots, killing flowers & trees. I have never heard of a mole in a building, but as I have seen Voles running up an outside foundation wall and from the garden to hide under a porch or large stone. Voles would love the sunflower seeds, too.
“The Underground Exterminator” is a commercial product available at hardware stores, Amazon etc. It is a rubber boot that fits onto the exhaust pipe of your car or truck and to which you attach a garden hose. Push the hose into the mole hole, turn on the car’s engine and the moles go to sleep. Forever. I add to this by using a hose splitter and hooking up two hoses to get to two ends of a tunnel. This is effective and painless to the critter. The device costs under $20 and lasts many years.
I can not find the “the underground exterminator” recommended.
Search Google for “underground exterminator”. It’s the first one on the list.
I simply need to know how to share the planet with the moles who very kindly eat the grubs and excavate the ground under my lawn.
My friend takes the lovely aerated soil off the grass and places it in her garden so the lawn looks nice. I need to know if I do that will it hurt the mole. Humans do a lot more damage to the planet than moles and I enjoy gardening and live in a very nice area but the fact is we share this planet .
Any intelligent kind solutions example after several months do they leave when the food source drys up? I would be ok with only seeing them every few years for a few months.
Peace be with you all.
I realize some have found cats to be good in controlling their mole populations but they are also responsible for killing millions of song birds in the U.S. every year. Along with all the other challenges facing our beneficial birds, such as pollution, habitat loss, etc. etc., cats allowed outside are devastating their numbers. It’s also harmful to most cats as well as they become prey themselves to dogs, coyotes, raccoons, disease, getting run over by cars, etc. So, if at all possible, please keep your cat indoors…he/she will live a lot longer, healthier life and we’ll have many more songbirds to enjoy!
Last year we had an army of voles in our orchard. Fortunately it was also a good year for the gopher snake (bull snake) that took care of the voles. Can’t get more organic than that!
I have voles in my yard. There are two kinds of voles, which the article neglect to inform. One socie eats vegetation so it surfaces frequently to forgave for food, so you may catch a glimpse of him. The good thing about this spicie is that it doesn’t cause big damage to the garden. The underground type vole eat roots aNd thus create garden damage.
Contrary to the article info, my soil is heavy clay and the voles just don’t mind. Further, contrary to the article voles do not like wet soil and prefer dry areas. During the winter rainy season the burrow under concrete path were it is drier than in the open. During dry season they tend to spread out everyere.
Fortunately they don’t generally create mounds of excavated soil, but sometimes you might observe a heave in the ground, which will require some mending. Indeed the Gardner should Concsider vol es of that kind, as just another chore of yard work.
The trouble of eliminating voles, is that to know if the action taken is effective one has to exhibit dead bodies. This is impossible.
I have tried over the years a number of poisons available at garden centers AA, so far nothing seems to work.
I believe all the multitude of suggestions as to how eliminate voles don’t work, and if they do, they are impractical . Learning to live with them is probably the best course. At years it seems that they proliferate, but nature takes it course, and sooner or later, their number is reduced by number of natural causes. So don’t loose heart in a bad year, as next one will a lot less of them. And if they are not the damhpge causing type, consider them beneficial as the fluff the soil for you.
I open up the mounds to the tunnel and fill it up with my dogs poop. They then go someplace else.
Update on our gopher situation that this year is working – 1st: My husband is buying by the gallon Louisiana Hot Sauce and pouring it down the holes in the majority of the yard. It is only a deterrent but it works. 2: We have a portion of the yard outside our bedroom window where the gophers had persisted. Unfortunately, our dog chooses that area in particular to dig in the middle of the night in an attempt to capture the little guys. The dirt flies up and the dust comes into our bedroom. So knowing that gophers can only go about 20 feet underground before they have to create an air hole and knowing how deep their tunneling is in that area we filled the holes to about four inches from the surface with concrete. The grass can still grow and the gophers have left the area. Prior to this in that specific area we were having to dig up the lawn and lay down wire screening but they would just go around it. That was a lot of work to do. The concrete is so far working fine and it has been over a month since we started using it. There are no more gophers in that area and the dog is no longer digging there. At least in one part of the yard we now have a very nice lawn.
I started off spraying my yard with a weed killer. Then the trouble started as far as I can tell. Now I have, I believe, moles. I have used:
One repellent by granules, don’t know name
I have 2 of the vibrating alarms
I have one mole trap
I used Tom Cat repellent
I have punctured holes in yard & added those poison pellets
But I also have a tree stump that previous owner left & it’s full of grubs. Tree stump is about 5 foot tall. I cleaned it up quite a bit. Sprayed it with bug spray which was killing grubs, sprayed it with repellent, put grub ex down around the entire tree. Next it to have it cut out. But no mole tunnels close to tree stump.
The darndest thing is that when I dig to plant flowers, I don’t find any grubs.
I know I & there neighborhood had issues with ground hogs, possums, skunks & moles.
I have worn myself out trying to get rid of these things!!
Caught a skunk the other day! Help! I heard coyote urine? I heard ammonia?
I have heard that a fertiluer high in nitrogen deters voles… any thoughts?
Good question, I’m not sure. Of course, we don’t want to be broadcasting nitrogen all over the place just to deter moles, but if putting a little into their tunnels would help, that could be interesting. I haven’t heard that, though.
Voles are my problem, and the only way I’ve found to get rid of them is the gasoline in the hole – I use a small funnel to be sure it’s going in the hole and not just on the ground. I go one other step – I light it. I know the gas fumes are heavier than air, so will go down into the tunnels. I then light the fumes at the top. Generally one will get just a “poof”, not a real explosion. I think that the voles (and probably gophers) breathe in the fumes which should kill them if they get enough – but by lighting the hole it may cause a flash throughout the tunnel and in their lungs, probably killing them almost instantly. It works in lawns, but afraid to try it in flowers etc. as I don’t think the flowers would like the gas! Have tried most of the other methods suggested, but have yet to find any success. Would like to use Decon pellets in their holes, but try to find any – the EPA has ended their sale. They have a nasty habit of outlawing anything that actually works.
I use the poison worms and they work best for me, but this last week I noticed my glue board in the garage were not where they were suppose to be and looked and something had eaten all the dead bugs, well my sons came and they looked and I saw one of the glue boards and picked it up and when I looked in screamed and dropped it but then picked it up and mystery was solved as it was a dead mole or if not dead was later as I threw it in the trash. He had also eaten the Peanut Butter from the mouse trap. What I would like to know is how he ate the Peanut Butter without making the trap go off as it is sensitive. I have a lot of them because I have lots of earthworms or fishing worms as I call them.
Glue traps are horribly inhumane. Please don’t use them. They often harm non-target animals as well.
I’m obsessed with glue traps. It’s inhumane to have my dog break his leg on mole holes. Glue traps, gum, and ammonia/bleach is the method that works. FOR SURE!
Gas them with your lawn mower & a hose. Fit a metal hose or pipe to the exhaust of your lawn mower…place hose or pipe into the mole hole…Run lawn mower for 10 minutes or longer….Moles Be Gone. ☺
I live in an unincorporated area so getting rid of moles is actually fun. When I see a fresh run I simply walk it back down flat…. get a lawn chair and a cup of coffee…. and a 20 ga. shotgun. I enjoy the morning….. the mole will eventually get tired of being stuck in one spot with his run smashed flat. When he moves… BAM… no more mole. Last year that strategy accounted for 14. The year before… 22 total. My mole problem has been few and far between since.
I have 165 acres, started with voles and now have pocket gophers as well, tearing up pastures and endangering stock with their holes. Natural predators not keeping up, and don’t want to use poison that sends them to water due because started impacting birds of prey. County says I can’t use anything gaseous because too close to water sources. Help!
My dad kept a herd of wild cats; 15 to 20. Feed them just enough so they can fend for themselves. One of them jumped on a rattler right next to him and saved him.
Probably not a good idea to keep a herd of wild, hungry cats anymore as they kill more than moles. Not good for the cats either! Please read Phil’s section on cat’s and my reply to it, he posted. Thanks!
Have a friend who grew hot peppers and til them into the soil in large quantities with some success on smaller acreage know for me…..garlic worked. but change taste of certain crops. In smaller areas…no sensitive areas..we have less than 10 acres…..drop a handful of cloves in a backpack sprayer , fill with water and let it sit a week…add few tablespoons soap…..then go to town …spray everything…(we do 2 acres a day n rotate)… test on sensitives like roses or only spray base. We did garlic spray for deer but now see no raccoons…no deer no skunks…no moles…no voles…..no gophers…..no mosquitos……..and on and on…..bees n butterflies and flies do not mind it but if you leave a bucket open that’s marinating flies can’t help but dive in and drown! We save every spray bottle that comes into the house(Febreze, Clorox, wood cleaner etc) n soak to clean…..then share with neighbors. One said deer was eating grapes but no more…….they are careful to spray posts and fabric they hung. They spray weekly and it is a joy. One neighbor sprays perimeter of two acre yard while walking dog daily… Another soaks half pound garlic in five gallon bucket to make a concentration to use in a hose end sprayer. The best part is YOU CAN REUSE THE GARLIC for months…just add a few new and keep refilling the sprayer or bucket or jar or whatever…..with water and letting it a steep least a few days. We dump buckets of the water under the shed and at the treeline.and eventually toss old cloves there..again we were chasing deer…..but the moles evaporated right along with them…..now we have fewer TICKS…our hydrangeas and gardens..small vineyards n crops are coming back and deer stay in untreated fields. We are going to start growing garlic!!!! Because the only way this does not work on less than 10 acres is if you do not use enough garlic. For when it rains have old ground up cloves sprinkled all over too…in case of heavy rains. The spray odor goes away in a few moments to humans (lasts 2 weeks with animals seems like) so no smelly worries there….seriously great!!! ..bout to start selling it from snake oil wagon y’all!!!! Good luck!
Im confused? Are you using garlic alone or with the cloves?
I’m going to try the pee in a watering can, and used cat litter. Hope one or the other works. My yard front and back is a mess. I have hills all over the place.
I have voles in my yard & gardens in upstate NY – they eat the roots of new-ish plants. The only solution I’ve found is to: (when planting) dig holes, line with chicken grit (the large size granules) as I back fill around the plan. The grit is actually granite chunks/particles. There are limits to this approach – I’ve been buying the grit in bags, but might need to start sourcing larger quantities. For tomato plants I dig a very large hole to allow for root growth and mulch heavily every 2 weeks. By the end of the season, the mulch is usually ~12″ high and I haven’t seen any vole activity in the mulched area (yet).
I’m curious about the pee solution – will try this year when no one’s looking to ask what I’m doing. Can you by Bull Snakes – Amazon?
it is illegal to import any nonnative species without a state of ny dec wildlife permit.doing so may result in hefty fines.however,there are three native snakes in your area that love to eat mice,rats,and meadow voles;blacksnakes,blackracer snakes and milk snakes.
Clem, Im from the Northeast, what do I ask for for the “chicken grit” No one around here seems to know what Im talking about , thanks
I’ve used Juicy Fruit Gum or Double Mint Gum for years now. Take a piece of gum and slice it lengthwise. Put one or two pieces in the hole. When the vole or mole eats the gum, it clogs their innards and the die underground. If a piece of gum is still in the hole 2 days later I move it to another hole. Sometime I’ve put out 90 pieces of gum at one time! This does work.
That’s great. Gun up the works! Count me in.
Aren’t you supposed to chew it first and shape it into a worm?
Hi , I had 100 or even more mole hills in my yard , I counted them , was terrible , then u planted castro bean seeds in certain areas of my yard , the plant is beautiful , but highly posious, but With that said , since planting , moles are no more !
I had 1 person tell me they poured ground glass into their holes. My natural question was who held the moles… 😉
We have garden with fence 3 ft deep. For previous 3 years we didn’t have any issues with digging kind of animals. However, this spring we are discovering soil mount network in the walkways of the garden. I also noticed several 1″-1 1/2″ dia. holes outside of the fence perimeter. What animal can dig so deep?
I am surprised no one has mentioned Propane gas. BBQ tank with hose into the tunnels fill’em up and Ignite.
Both fun and satisfying. Makes some nice big booms!
I live in No. Ca., where we are in constant fire danger, and NEVER would ignite a tunnel to get rid of the voles, moles or what ever. Kathryn
I live in Florida, sand wet soil, and our moles tunnel next to the wood fence line too, so “setting fire” wouldn’t be safe or effective.
This winter, spring, and early summer saw literally dozens of gigantic molehills. We tried everything we could think of with no success, finally, we opened up all active hills exposing the tunnels and poured into then a granular 16-16-16 fertilizer which we also use on our lawn combined with granulated lime. Within three days of introducing the 16-16-16 to the tunnels all activity stopped! In doing some research we determined it was the ammonia in the fertilizer that got to them. If we ever see any mole activity again we will immediately pour down into the tunnel 16-16-16. I’, sure that any granular fertilizer with a high nitrogen count will work also.
What is the lime/fertilizer ratio and how much did you use?
Since moles feed on grubs in the soil, getting rid of the grubs will get rid of the moles. In addition to the Neem Oil solution mentioned earlier, a natural biological solution, such a GrubGONE (Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae) will get rid of the grubs in very little time. Without the grubs, the moles will move to the neighbors yard where there are still grubs available for them.
We learned some time ago that gophers do not like coffee, and will move to a coffee-free area. We not only spread free coffee grounds in our gardens for the fertilizer and organic matter, but spread it on flower beds to deter gophers. If I see a gopher hole, I pack it with coffee grounds, and never see any activity around that hole again. The plants not only enjoy the gopher-free zone, but benefit from the fertilizer the coffee grounds provide.
Moles feed on worms too, not just grubs. Moles stockpile them in little underground food caches.
I bought 4 packs of Juicey Fruit gum. I then wrapped the pieces of gum tightly in aluminum foil. Then I stuck these pieces of gum in the different tunnels where the moles are, so they would eat them. They cannot digest the foil, so thankfully it kills them. This has worked every time. They don’t come back.
Does the juicy fruit gum technique get rid of voles too?
We live in a rural area. When we first bought the property 45 years ago, there were very few neighbors. We are still fortunate that our closest neighbor is 1/4 mile away. But through the years the Population of people have been growing and along with this slaughtering our coyotes, bobcats and predator animals who used to hunt and control pest like mice, voles, moles, rabbits and rats. We would set and watch our coyotes hunt and eat these destructive rodents Daily. Now with population growth this is no longer the case! They have chickens or small pets that they feel they need to protect. We’ll build a fence for their safety! Let our coyote population grow and the rodent population will be controlled!
Pour CLOROX in the mole holes and a drop of ammonia wear a mask i promise you that will eliminate any pest problem take it from a marine but DONT. mix them in the same container they will run away in seconds never return
If you have the right dog, you won’t have gophers. My fox terrier cleared 1/2 acre filled with gophers in just two days. He somehow harrassed them out of their holes and killed them. Another, mixed breed non-terrier, cleared a yard of gophers by eating them all – try to stop her. The squirrel got away and none were seen again.
Nobody has tried wood ash? Apparently that changes the PH of the soil, deters beetle larvae, starves voles….