Voles or Moles?
Pest of the Week
Wondering which pest is damaging your lawn and garden? Here’s how to tell the difference.
Voles are small, chunky creatures that look like mice, except with short tails. They have short, blunt noses and small paws. In spring, brown trails in the grass indicate their presence, but in summer the trails disappear as the grass grows.
Voles eat bulbs, girdle plant stems, gnaw bark on young trees and shrubs, and eat roots. When voles do surface damage to trees and shrub stems, the plants will probably survive. But if voles chew deep into the trunk—damaging the cambium, where plant growth occurs—or destroy too many roots, plants will decline or die.
Use barriers to save your plants from voles: put up mesh fences around vegetables and bark guards on small trees and shrubs.
Moles, on the other hand, don’t eat plants. They have very tiny eyes and large front paws that look like flippers. These serve them well as they tunnel through soil looking for grubs, insects, and worms.
Mole tunnels are unsightly but generally don’t harm plants. If you can tolerate their burrows, moles will control insects and aerate your soil.
Don’t bother with common home remedies such as chewing gum or laxatives placed in their burrows—studies have shown moles ignore these substances. Instead, consider shrinking your lawn (in favor of flower or vegetable beds where tunnels are less obvious) and trying to get rid of the beetle grubs that moles love.
—photo courtesy of the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 10:29 AM
please help!!!! bulbs are being chewed. have used spray for voles and water in food remedy for moles. [bought at farmers store] still having problems! chewed $60 of bulbs!
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 10:31 AM
re help with moles or voles. bulbs chewed
Saturday, July 24, 2010 11:37 AM
OOHHH I have moles that destory my lawn so therefore I have had to make part of my front yard two flower gardens, which I don't mind. Now that I don't have my grass any longer!!! I also have lost exspensive bulbs due to the mole eating them thinking they are grubs when small.
There is a lot of home rememdies on the internet for getting rid of both the mole and vole so I suggest you surf the web. Also in our forums here there has been ideas mentioned on getting rid of these pesky critters. Best of wishes on getting rid of them.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 7:29 PM
Get a cat. Mine do a wonderful job at getting rid of voles. Feeding the cat is way cheaper and safer than most vole removal products out there.
Monday, October 11, 2010 9:53 PM
i want grass and i plant only plants that produce my yard is like a sponge the moles are so bad anyone help please , ive tried mothballs,hot souce fire crackers in there holes nothing works :(
Monday, October 25, 2010 10:21 AM
I completely disagree that moles don't harm plants. They aerate around all my perennials and the plants die. I have read that Talpirid mole bait works. I think I will try that.
Monday, October 25, 2010 10:59 AM
I, too, have the mole/vole problem! I planted a new lawn in my backyard & the little buggers are just tearing it up! I also have tried everything known to man to get these pests to either die or move on! Now, I've heard of one new remedy, I haven't tried yet, but I will & I sure hope it works! An old farmer told a friend of mine that when you find a mole hill, just dig down til you reach the opening & deposit approximately 1/2 tablespoon of Transmission Fluid down in the hole. Apparently, they had the smell & it will permeate his tunnels until he can stand no more & he'll leave the area! Sure hope it works. If anyone has already tried it or is going to, please keep me posted! Thanks
Monday, October 25, 2010 11:27 AM
kbrennan, I strongly encourage you not to put transmission fluid down a mole hole. It is highly toxic to the environment and wildlife. In Massachusetts and other states, transmission fluid is regulated as a hazardous waste when it's being disposed. Instead, try these research-based suggestions on mole control: http://ohioline.osu.edu/w-fact/0011.html
Tuesday, April 05, 2011 8:56 AM
how do you get ridb of the moles ? and also got aquestion how to get rid of creeping charle thats taken over the yard thanks joyce
Friday, April 08, 2011 12:12 PM
i have a friend that planted bulbs of garlic in several locations in her yard and flower beds---no moles--they do not like the smell. also there is a lily called chocolate lily which they do not like
Sunday, June 05, 2011 7:40 PM
My sweet husband found a litter of MOLES in are compose pile and never killed them, so when I was so mad about the tunnels all over the front and back, so then he decided to tell why all the tunnels. I tried everything that I could find on line that people said to try. AND NOTHING WORKED. So I found this product called "Easy-Set" Mole Eliminator (you can find it online) cost me $32.99. IT WORKED, I stuck it in the mole tunnel, and caught one in 1 hr, I was so happy :) so I found another tunnel and in the morning looked and I had killed another one. Now I will say if it springs up and no mole, take a shovel and dig down where the trap is, and you will see a dead mole, that happen to me, I thought no mole, but I was wrong.
Friday, July 01, 2011 3:05 PM
Is it a mole or a vole that leaves a pile of dirt outside it's hole? Just found two for the first time in over 10 years in my lawn and garden. Thanks.
Friday, August 05, 2011 10:15 AM
I bought a Device that is soppose to put out some type of Sounds that we can't hear!!Soppose to work up to 2000 yards!!! Well the moles must like these sounds they dig right beside it!!I guess it's Music to there ears!! They have dug up so much!!My Cat's & my Dogs have caught them!! But then I have even bigger holes all in my yard!! So now I have big Mole holes!!! They enjoy it though!So what to do I don't have a clue!!So I walk around with my Shovel in my hand &Tenni shoes on my feet. filling in Mole holes all day! It works!!LOL! Can't get my yard work done though! So any Help out there!! I've tryed it all??????? :)
Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:07 AM
The best remedy for moles is to treat your lawn with "Grub Ex" every three months. This kills their food source and they move along to someone else's yard.
I've tried hot sauce, moth balls, sound devices and various other treatments that didn't work, Grub Ex is the only product I've found that is tried and true.
Thursday, February 23, 2012 1:59 PM
I have found that if I poke holes in the run and pour lime in the holes about a foot apart they do not like the lime and don't come back
Friday, June 08, 2012 6:32 AM
Buy some mole traps at the local feed store. They are easy to use and with a little patience, pay off. Just set them and place them in their tunnel, cover them most of the way with dirt (leave part of top open to see if it's been effective). Do check it once in a while as sometimes the moles go under and fill trap with dirt.
Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:29 PM
i referred to the master gardener Jerry Baker who said to get a 20 gallon hose end sprayer and add dish detergent and castor oil. Then soak the area. Probably good to do right before a heavy rain. I ran the little buggers next door to my neighbors. The only draw back is you do have to continue to do it or they will return. I have also used milky spores, which get rid of the grubs for up to 10 years in the soil and it worked! It is costly at about 29.99 for 20 oz. and it is strategically placed every so many inches/feet on the ground. Now my 10 yrs are gone and the moles are starting to return. I am trying the sonic bullets but they do not seem to be working. Guess I will return to the milky spores. I will agree that Grub Ex is a great product and I have used it for a quick deterrent.
Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:54 PM
A friend of mine used dry ice. He dumped several tablespoons in each exposed hole and apparently the fumes are toxic to moles and voles.
I have not attempted this until I find out what detrimental effect it may have on the environment.
My husband uses a .22 rifle, shoots them when their head pokes up above ground, but I am not that keen on eyesight.