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Mole Troubles? “Moles are Nature’s Insect Control”

Home remedies ineffective on moles, voles: Ask the Ground Crew
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 3:27 PM

Over the winter, moles established twisting trails in our front lawn. How do I get rid of the moles? What do I do about the mole trails ? — Bob House, Avon

For the past two winters, some kind of burrowing mouse/mole/vole makes tunnels under the snow and feasts on my phlox. They live in holes in the ground. They chew the plants down to nothing but a stub. Would applying deer repellent in the fall eliminate the problem? – Dale Jarvis, Brunswick

Moles and voles are both small hairy creatures that tunnel through lawns. Besides that, they are very different animals. Voles eat plants; moles do not.

Moles tunnel underground seeking insects, grubs and earthworms. According to organic lawn expert Paul Tukey of, “Moles are nature’s insect control. Whenever someone asks about what to do about Japanese beetles in the summer, I tell them to cheer on the moles — which consume the grub phase of the beetle’s life cycle.”

Flatten the tunnels by walking on them. If you don’t, the grass may dry out, leaving unsightly trails of dead lawn. Remove any dirt piles, rather than raking and reseeding; piles usually result in a bumpy lawn with dead patches.

If you decide to get rid of moles, trap them. Forget home remedies like chewing gum or castor bean seeds. Poison does not work. Hire a professional or trap them yourself. Use several and make sure traps are placed inside of active tunnels.

Have you considered getting rid of the lawn instead of the moles? Tunnels will be less noticeable if the area is converted to beautiful plantings!

Voles eat the crowns and roots of perennials (like phlox) and may also gnaw on woody stems, damaging or killing plants. Although they can tunnel, they often will simply take over mole tunnels – much less work!

Sunflower and other birdseeds will attract voles. Keep the area beneath feeders free of fallen seed. A fall landscape cleanup goes a long way toward prevention. Mow the grass and trim dense vegetation surrounding it. Clean up any fruits, vegetables or piles of dead branches from the landscape.

Traps or poisons placed at active tunnels do work; some spray repellents might work, but I’ve not heard definitive results with them. Voles are rodents similar to mice. Have you considered a cat?

© Sabrena Schweyer, Salsbury-Schweyer Inc.

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