Control of voles and moles - Knowledgebase Question

Wallingford, PA
Avatar for jwilli2618
Question by jwilli2618
October 9, 1998
We have lived at our present address for 25 years and until last year never had problems with moles or voles. This year has been especially bad even though I spread grub killer on the lawn and in our many flower beds. I have tried mole poison pellets and a mole trap without success. Can you help? I did hear from one well known gardener that he has put wads of gum in the vole holes and apparently the voles eat it and get it stuck in their mouth such that they can not breathe. Sounds far out but I am desparate. A cat would help but we can not keep one.

Answer from NGA
October 9, 1998
Homeowners sometimes get so desperate, they'll try anything to get rid of tunneling moles and voles. The critters won't go for poison baits, will leave for a little while if smoke bombs are set in the tunnels, and could care less about chewing gum. Moles and voles have moved in because you have nice organic soil with tasty worms and grubs. You don't want to eliminate all the underground insects and larvae because they are beneficial, and if you have a healthy population, the moles and voles will be attracted to your yard. The only sure way of eliminating moles and voles is to trap them. You can be successful if you set the traps in the main runs rather than in lateral tunnels. Moles use the main run frequently, but the laterals go to sleeping dens and places where they pile debris. To find the main run put on your detective cap and carry a long, thin stick or metal probe. Start exploring the yard, trying to find the direction and location of a long, straight tunnel. Once you've eliminated the short runs and honed in on the main tunnel, carefully set your trap (scissors-type traps are most effective). Cover the top of the trap with a piece of plywood or sod to eliminate light or you'll scare the critters away. Properly set in the main tunnel, your trap should net you a mole. Empty the trap and reset it as often as necessary to get all of the moles. Good luck!

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