The Q&A Archives: Ridding Yard of Moles

Question: Something is tunneling all over my new garden. I'd like to know if it's moles or voles, and how to get rid of them.

Answer: Moles create characteristic mounds and tunnels that rise above the soil level; voles have trails through tall grass, but have been known to use mole tunnels to feed on roots and bulbs. It sounds like you have moles at work.

There are many ways to try to get rid of moles. Moles feed on grubs and earthworms living in your lawn or garden. The damage they do is to plant roots while they are tunneling. Your first consideration should be to control the grub population in your lawn. You can purchase beneficial nematodes to control the grubs. These are microscopic organisms that you spread on the lawn. They infect and kill grubs but are safe for animals and people. Another tactic is to flush the mole tunnels with water (best done in the spring), or protect your garden by burying a fencing of tightly woven hardware cloth. Finally, moles hate the smell of castor oil beans, and you can purchase repellents containing castor oil. (The beans themselves are poisonous.)

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