How to Take Your Lawn Back From Moles & Voles

Voles and moles can cause serious damage to lawns.
Voles and moles can cause serious damage to lawns. (Image: David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images)

Moles and voles are creatures that can do serious damage to your lawn. Moles are gray to dark brown and about 6 to 8 inches long. They have long noses, webbed front feet and no visible ears. Moles create underground tunnels in their search for earthworms, grubs and insects. These tunnels can raise the surface of lawns, creating small mounds. Voles are dark brown and look like mice with short tails. They feed on grasses, flower roots, seeds and bulbs. This diet can damage lawns and gardens.

Things You'll Need

  • Traps
  • Baits
  • Repellents
  • Insecticide
  • Rocks
  • Chicken wire

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Capture the mole or vole using a trap. Cage traps are available that will capture the mole or vole. You can also place a glass container or jar underneath one of the active underground passages or runaways of a mole or vole. Determine where an active passage is by pushing down on the mound and seeing if it reappears or rises a couple of days later. When the creature passes over the container and falls inside, the slippery walls can prevent it from climbing back out. There are bait traps that use peanut butter and oatmeal or apples slices to capture voles.

Control the mole or vole's food source. By eliminating or reducing the food available to moles and voles, they have little cause or need to continue inhabiting or traveling through your lawn. Insecticides are available that target grubs and insects commonly eaten by moles. Spraying repellents on plants is effective at keeping voles from eating them. Using a fungicide or hot pepper sauce is also effective.

Build a barrier. Placing rocks in the soil of gardens or around flowers can discourage voles from digging. Filling mole passageways with rocks or glass can also prevent their crossing. They may, however, dig around the rock barrier. Chicken wire can also be placed on the tops of flower beds to keep voles from digging down. Placing sharp materials in beds or mole tunnels can also prevent burrowing.

Kill the mole or vole. When a humane method is ineffective at controlling your mole or vole problem, killing the creature may be a last resort. A predatory animal, such as a cat, can help to control your lawn's vole problem. Hawks, owls and snakes feed on voles. To encourage a welcome habitat for such birds, you may consider planting trees in your lawn. Poison baits are also effective at killing moles and voles. There are also traps such as the scissor-type and harpoon-type that are lethal to moles. Snap traps, like those used on mice, can effectively kill voles.


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