How to get Rid of Moles and Voles

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Here is some interesting reading I got from a Pat Pape article to safely eliminate moles and voles from your garden:

Moles and voles are difficult to eliminate once they move to your yard and make themselves at home. Two chemicals can be used, but call in a professional. One method uses an insecticide to eliminate the moles’ food source, but it also kills beneficial earthworms. Another chemical method uses poisons, a dangerous material to have around pets or children.

Populations of voles are naturally controlled by owls, hawks, snakes, foxes, outdoor cats and feisty terriers like Jack Russells. They also can be controlled by humans who have mousetraps and use peanut butter for bait. Put the traps under big plant leaves since voles don’t like to come out in the open. Moles can be trapped in Have-a-Heart traps and released about 1,000 miles away, but this is difficult because you must use an insect or slug as bait. That is the same treat you’d use to catch a skunk … something you definitely don’t want to do.

Since moles love to eat grubs, get rid of your grubs by releasing beneficial nematodes into your lawn when the temperature hits 55 degrees. These teeny predators harm only unwanted pests (grubs, June bugs, flea larvae, etc.). Water them into the lawn at dusk, and they’ll rid your lawn of grubs within a few weeks. The online organic supply company Gardens Alive! is one source for these little helpers. Castor oil reportedly sends moles to your neighbor’s lawn, and some gardeners say it chases nasty voles as well. Most garden centers carry ready-made castor oil repellant products in spray and granular form (one dry product goes by the name Mole-Med). Labels on some of these products claim they’re also effective against armadillos and pocket gophers.

Want to mix up your own caster oil repellent at home? Add two tablespoons of castor oil to a sprinkling can filled with a gallon of warm water, add two drops of dishwashing liquid, and sprinkle, stirring constantly, onto the infested area. Apply when the lawn and weather are dry. If heavy rains hit, repeat a day or two afterwards. Otherwise, reapply once a month until you see no new tunnels.

To protect tulip and crocus bulbs, fill the holes with sharp stones when you plant spring bulbs. To prevent damage to small trees, make sure to trim grass closely against the trunk to eliminate voles’ hiding places. This is especially important to do before winter sets in. To protect a veggie garden from all burrowing creatures, sink your fence two feet into the ground. Because voles are so petite, you must make it a small gauge fence.

As for those battery powered virbrating machines that only varmints can hear ... forget it. A British gardening magazine tested those devices and found that they repelled nothing.

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