How To Use Castor Oil To Remove Moles Kushneet Kukreja Hyderabd040-395603080 September 20, 2017
Do you have a mole you want to get rid of? Wondering what you can do to remove it safely and easily? Try castor oil – it has been used since ages to treat various skin ailments and works wonders in removing moles as well!
Castor oil is extracted from castor bean seeds that are scientifically known as Ricinus communis. It is a pale yellow vegetable oil and is very famous for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It can penetrate deep into your skin, right into the lower layers, and help remove moles. It also softens and hydrates your skin, helps reduce acne, removes scars, and reduces stretch marks (1, 2, 3).
Given below are different remedies that include castor oil. Use these remedies to get rid of a mole in that really awkward place.
- How To Use Castor Oil To Remove Moles
- Best Combinations To Remove Moles
- Side Effects
- Mole Repellent
- Mole Control – Home Remedies For Removing Moles From Your Yard
- How Do I Kill a Mole?
- Natural Mole Repellents
- Common Home Remedies for Removing Moles from Your Yard
- Armadillo Repellent
- 4 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Armadillos from the Yard
- How to Get Rid of Armadillos
- Armadillo Repellents
- How to get rid of voles? Which is more efficient: a vole poison, a trap, a repellent or vole control methods?
- What Are The Best Vole Control Products?
- 7 Steps On How To Get Rid Of Voles
- Why are voles dangerous?
- Vole facts: behavior and habits
- Best vole poison
- Best vole repellents
- How to get rid of voles: Let’s listen to the opinion of scientists
- How to trap voles: The top-3 vole traps
- Popular methods of vole control: A list of techniques to avoid
- Vole Poisons, Traps, Repellents and Prevention Products Comparison Chart
- Need to hire an exterminator? Find the best licensed professionals in your area.
- Castor Oil For Garden Use: Tips On Treating Pests With Castor Oil
- What is Castor Oil?
- Castor Oil for Garden Use
- Using Castor Oil in the Garden as a Pesticide
- DIY: Mole Repellent
- How to control moles in your yard
How To Use Castor Oil To Remove Moles
Moles are common skin lesions. They are undesirable growths on the skin and are brown or black in color. The shape of the mole can be either oval or round. Moles occur when the cells grow together in a bunch rather than growing separately. They can be removed through surgical methods or simple home remedies. Read on to know how to use the remedies.
Best Combinations To Remove Moles
1. Castor Oil And Baking Soda
2. Castor Oil And Garlic
3. Honey And Castor Oil
4. Tea Tree Oil And Castor Oil
DISCLAIMER: Before you use any of these remedies, consult a doctor to find out if the mole is cancerous or not.
1. Castor Oil And Baking Soda For Removing Moles
- 2-3 drops castor oil
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- An adhesive bandage
1. Add the oil to the baking soda powder. Mix well to form a sticky paste.
2. Spread this paste evenly on the mole and cover with a bandage to keep the paste in place.
3. Remove the bandage the next morning and wash the area.
4. Repeat this every alternate evening until the mole is gone.
How Long Does It Take
Depending on the size, it might take a few weeks for the mole to shed.
Do not scrub with this mixture as it may leave a scar once the mole falls off.
2. Castor Oil And Garlic For Moles
- 2-3 drops castor oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or fresh garlic paste
1. Mix the ingredients to get a thick paste.
2. Apply the paste on the mole and leave it on for a few hours.
3. Rinse with water and pat the area dry.
4. Repeat this remedy twice a day for quick results.
This remedy will start showing results in a week.
If you are allergic to garlic, please do not use this remedy.
3. Honey And Castor Oil For Moles
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2-3 drops castor oil
- 1/2 teaspoon flaxseed powder (optional)
- A band-aid
1. Clean the area with soap and water. Pat it dry.
2. Mix the honey and castor oil and apply the mixture on the mole. You can add flaxseed powder as well for faster results.
3. Cover with the band-aid for a few hours.
4. Remove the band-aid and clean the area before reapplying the honey and castor oil mix.
5. Do this twice a day for a couple of days.
You will see results in 7-10 days.
Clean the area before you apply the mixture to prevent infection.
4. Tea Tree Oil And Castor Oil Mixture To Treat Moles
- 3-4 drops tea tree oil
- 1 teaspoon castor oil
- Cotton ball
- Adhesive tape
1. Mix the tea tree oil essential oil with the castor oil.
2. Now, soak the cotton ball in the mixture and place it on the mole.
3. Secure the cotton ball in place with the tape.
4. Leave it on for three to four hours.
5. Repeat this once or twice daily.
It can take any time from a week to a month for the mole to fall off.
Tea tree oil can cause rashes, hives, and skin irritation. Make sure you do a patch test on your forearm before using it.
In general, the time taken to remove the mole will depend on its type. Some smaller moles disappear faster, while some others take more time to get cured.
These remedies are some of the cheapest and less time-consuming ones, and if done properly, you will notice changes in a few days. The mole will start shrinking and slowly disappear, leaving a reddish mark behind, which will go away in a few days.
Castor oil is safe for external use, but if you are allergic to castor beans and their products, avoid using it. Overusage of this oil may lead to skin irritation in some people. Always do a patch test before you use it.
Castor oil has a lot of benefits for general health, skin, and hair. Apart from removing moles and warts, it also enhances the production of collagen. This delays the appearance of wrinkles and slows down the skin’s aging process. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that heal swellings and sunburns as well.
Have you ever used castor oil to remove moles? How has it helped you? Tell us by commenting in the box below.
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She is a Biotechnologist, what we in normal English would call Scientist. While she is an expert in experimenting, she also holds an exceptional talent in juggling words and churning out content with just the right amount of sass added to it. When not saving the world with her articles, she likes to hang around with her Siberian Husky (because, aren’t dogs the best?). In her spare time, she likes a little ‘jibber-jabber, full of chatter’ time with her friends. So, what gives her the energy to do all this? If you ask her, she would say,”My cup of sanity – an extra large mug of coffee!”
|Mole Info: Moles live underground and surface only occasionally. Moles create a complex network of interconnected chambers by burrowing both deep and close to the surface, where they often leave visible ridges. Mole hills are places where the mole has pushed up earth above the surface. They have very poor sight and feed mainly on worms and insect larvae that they find by the sense of touch and smell. They will not eat anything that is not alive.|
Mole repellent – Many housewives and home owners make it their priority to keep their lawns neat and tidy to also add to the appeal of their homes. After all the time it took for you to grow the perfect green grasses to your landscape what would you do if you suddenly spot a small mound on the ground most probably inhabited by your not mostly liked animal in the world – the pest of a mole? Of course, your first reaction is to chase them away from your beautiful garden but what can you really do about these little animals that spend most of their lifetimes digging holes in the ground?
It is not an easy feat to actually get rid of them once they have started to infest your property, so the best thing to do is prevent them from getting an entry way to your garden. One way of attempting this, as heard around the rumor mill, is through the use of castor oil repellents. They say that these make the moles scramble out of your place. You can easily buy a lot of castor mole repellents in the market or you can make one on your own with the addition of some herbs and spices that you can substitute. However, these products have demonstrated no effect on the behavior of moles. In other words, they don’t work. Of course, you can give them a try – you have to make sure that you reapply them after a rain has washed down all the formula you have sprayed around your premises. It may also want to try, in your testing, to use different types of repellents so they would not be accustomed to the smell and would not get immune to the products that you are using.
Aside from these you can also try to grow varieties of flowers or plants that are not pleasing to the senses of these ground diggers. You can try growing the halcyon, caper spurge or castor beans which produces a pungent smell that could somehow help in eradicating your mole issues. These plants may also help in providing a difficult time for these moles to dig through their tunnels because of the many and complex root networks being grown by these plants.
If in case you already found their tunnels, you can fill them with the homemade repellent you have created or with the spray that you have purchased in the market, such as at Home Dept or Lowe’s. This may at least keep them from steadily getting access to your property and might just lure them away in another place where they can safely create their own dwelling and tunnels.
Before you actually try to secure the insides of your property, you better look into trying to exclude them from getting access inside and you can best do that by making a fence out of netted wires, with holes small enough not to let them pass through and it would be recommended that you try to bury at least half of a meter of the wire underground to help keep the moles at bay. If they can’t dig in underground, it would be much harder for them to crawl up the fence right? If you want and if it is allowed in your state you can also try to add in some live wires on your perimeter fence just to scare them away with a little bit of electrocution.
If these would not work, you can buy and set traps around your area especially your lawn where you have seen them. If trapping would not work for them then you can always call your local pest exterminator to handle the problem for you. They might as well know what to do with these pests since they are on that business, otherwise you don’t have much choice than to perhaps spread a few insecticides or pesticides that would surely kill them – again that is, if it is allowed in your local state laws. Read about mole trapping to learn about how it’s done, and please be aware that it isn’t easy for amatuers. Mole trapping requires a great deal of experience. You may be wondering if there are other ways outside of trapping to kill a mole but there really aren’t. You’ll need lethal traps like spear traps or scissor traps. Finally, are there some ways to modify your lawn or property? A little. Read about mole prevention here.
Go back to the main how to get rid of moles page for better information.
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When you look at removing wild animals from your property or land, you will often find that there are advised repellents and deterrents. Some of these are homemade, some of which can be bought from hardware stores, etc. Some of them can be really expensive too, which is why we feel the need to warn you that many of them don’t actually come with the best success rates. In fact, when used alone, as your sole method of mole removal, you will often find that it has zero success at all.
One of the most popular ingredients that we have seen in various mole repellents is castor oil. It is said that moles (and other underground critters) don’t much enjoy the smell of castor oil, therefore, causing it to evacuate whatever tunnel system smells of it. Not only that, but consuming castor oil actually makes the animal quite sick. (To be fair, if you consumed castor oil, it would give you an upset stomach too!) Using this theory, by using castor oil sprinkled or drizzled around mole hills and tunnels, you should be able to effectively eradicate the problem from that area.
It’s a pretty natural remedy, which does give you some comfort, but what won’t give you any comfort is the fact that it simply doesn’t work. Whenever we turn up to a mole removal job, one of the first things we usually hear is, “Oh, I tried using castor oil and flooding the area, but …”. If it worked, we would be out of a job. Our mole removal calls are higher than ever.
Speaking of flooding (which we just did), another recognized method of getting rid of moles is to flood the area. You don’t actually need to flood the area, but just make it quite wet — wetter than usual. Again, moles are said not to appreciate the texture of really soft ground, and will therefore find somewhere else to start digging. Wet ground is also quite unstable. The problem with this, of course, is that a good watering (or heavy rainfall) often attracts insects to your yard, including earthworms. Earthworms make up the bulk of the mole’s diet, so by over-watering the area, you run the risk of attracting more, not forcing them away.
Flooding is not a great option, not only for the utter waste of water (and cost on your water bills), but also because it makes the land unusable and unsafe for you. The people in your home won’t be able to enjoy the garden, because the tunnels and moist ground will have caused areas of instability, and this can lead to twisted and even broken ankles, as well as other injuries. Even animals, such as horses, can fall down an unstable molehill.
Cayenne pepper follows a similar process to the castor oil concoction — providing a solution that doesn’t smell or taste nice to the mole, and we have even heard of people using fruity-flavored bubble gum to repel moles. Sadly, the bubble gum trick DOESN’T repel moles. It kills them. Or, at least, it can. The gum can get stuck in the digestive tract of the mole, causing it to be unable to eat. Either that or it “gums up” their respiratory system and causes them to choke to death, by getting stuck in the throat. This is incredibly inhumane.
If you feel like getting really hands-on this year, one method of mole repellent that can actually work quite well when it is done properly, is to mix in kitty litter or gravel, something scratchy and with an edged-surface, with the mud or soil around your garden. Gravel especially is difficult for the mole to dig through, and it is likely to turn around. Filling mole holes with gravel, especially in high-traffic areas, has been shown to move the mole along a little bit, but you may find that you have to do this a few times before you can finally free your land from the thing.
You could always take the electronic route too. You can buy ultrasonic systems that are design to give off high-pitched sounds and/or vibrations through the ground, all with the aim of deterring a mole and other underground critters. These are often expensive and come with maintenance or running costs that you will also need to take into consideration. With long-term use, many of these repellents can actually prove to be the more expensive (and more time-consuming) options.
There are plenty of mole repellents out there that you could try your hands at. We’ve seen everything from shoving lemons and limes in tunnels, to using weird and wonderful combinations of herbs and spices together. The problem with repelling the animal is that you give it the opportunity to come back, once you stop using the repellent. If you run out of lemons and limes, for example, or have no more castor oil to use, the area is untreated and, therefore, vulnerable.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How to Get Rid of Moles
how much does mole removal cost?
Mole Control – Home Remedies For Removing Moles From Your Yard
Mole activity can wreak havoc in the yard, not because they eat up everything (they usually feed on worms or grubs) but because their mounded tunnels are often used by other burrowing pests. Moles, for the most part, are quite harmless to your plants. However, their tunnels can become unsightly when there’s enough of them. While there are many home remedies for removing moles from the yard, most are only temporary fixes. In fact, there is no sure-fire way to get rid of mole animals for good without taking drastic measures.
How Do I Kill a Mole?
Moles can be so frustrating that many people wonder, “How do I kill a mole ?” The most effective method for killing moles is by using traps or poisons. Traps are usually set in spring or fall when moles are most active, with early spring being the most favorable time, as this is when females are pregnant. There are several types available, all of which should be placed near active tunnels, especially where they are known to feed.
Poisons or chemical repellents can also be used; however, these pose more of a threat than the moles themselves, especially if there are pets or children around. These are also hazardous to the soil and surrounding area.
Natural Mole Repellents
There are alternative mole control methods to get rid of mole animals. Sometimes, mole control involves nothing more than a little encouragement to move elsewhere. Using natural mole repellents may be just the thing to get rid of mole animals. Not only is this option safer for the environment (as well as pets and children) but it’s also better for the moles. Rather than killing them, natural repellents simply keep them at bay.
Natural mole repellent can be as simple as planting vegetative barriers throughout the area that deter moles. These include plants like daffodils, marigolds, alliums, and fritillarias, mole plant and castor beans. Although mole plant and castor bean plant (which contains castor oil, a well-known mole deterrent) can be used to repel moles, both plants are considered poisonous and should be avoided around pets and children. Alternatively, there are repellents containing castor oil that can be used instead.
Common Home Remedies for Removing Moles from Your Yard
Unfortunately, home remedies are not always foolproof. However, some are at least worth trying before resorting to more severe methods of mole control. Keep in mind that these may only work temporarily, if at all.
Lawns that receive too much water can cause mole tunnels to rise closer to the surface; therefore, limiting the amount of water usage on the lawn or garden may help alleviate this problem.
Likewise, removing their favorite sources of food can help. Check the lawn for signs of their favorite insects, such as grub worms.
In fact, you may find that on occasion Mother Nature does all the work for you. Changes in weather, food supply, or ground moisture can actually cause moles to leave on their own.
Castor oil is a popular ingredient in mole repellents. You can mix your own mole repellent by mixing 6 oz. of castor oil and 2 tbsp of Murphy’s Oil Soap or dishsoap in one gallon of water to make a concentrate. Mix one ounce of concentrate per gallon of water and apply to the lawn. Make sure to reapply the homemade mole repellent after rain or watering.
Ridding the lawn of moles is challenging, especially if their numbers are large; however, taking drastic measures isn’t always necessary. By using natural mole repellents along with some home remedies, such as reducing irrigation and practicing insect control, the moles might very well change their location, at least for a little while.
You have an armadillo problem. Is there an effective natural armadillo repellent that you can purchase to get rid of them? Or an unnatural product will do as well. Anything to get them to stop digging! Maybe some machine, some device like a high-pitch sound machine that will keep the dillos at bay? Let’s examine some of the repellents sold out there:
Mothballs – Yes, this product is chemically known as naphthalene, and is sold in ball form and flake form. Many manufacturers sell mothball flakes as a general animal repellent. The idea is that the mothballs smell bad, so the animal will stay away from them.
Coyote Urine – Or any predator urine, actually, from bobcat to wolf. The idea is that an animal will get scared if it smells the scent of a big, scary predator, and it will keep away from the place where the urine is applied. This is sold in liquid or powder form, sometimes mixed with mothballs.
Castor Oil – The plan here is that armadillos dig in the soil for worms and grubs, and a yard loaded with castor oil is not as good to dig in, and the oil will keep away the grubs.
High-Pitch Sound Machine – The theory is that the high-pitch sound is annoying to armadillos, and they won’t want to go near it.
In almost half of the armadillo cases that I take on, the customer has already purchased all matter of magic “armadillo-b-gone” or “armadillo-away” type repellents. These repellents are usually comprised of either naphthalene (moth balls) or predator urine (fox or coyote) or castor oil as noted above. Or some people buy those high-pitch sound machines, which are so useless the FTC has officially labeled them, as a whole, fraudulent products. I’ve personally observed dozens of cases in which customers have loaded their yards with these sorts of gimmicks, or even poured entire boxes of mothballs or bleach down armadillo burrows (NOT good for the environment, dummies!) and it doesn’t effect the armadillo’s behavior one bit. In short, I’m saying to you that there is no such thing as an effective armadillo repellent, unfortunately. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and try some. Any success you experience at keeping armadillos away though, will be purely coincidental. When the repellents don’t work, come back to this site and read about dillo trapping techniques. Or you can click on this map of Professional Wildlife Removal Companies if you want to hire someone to help you.
Look here. I was hired to take care of the armadillo problem at this house after the customer had already poured a 5lb box of mothballs down the armadillo hole. It didn’t care. The animal just kicks the mothballs out of the way and continues to use the burrow. Most of the mothballs got buried in the dirt anyway. As usual in wildlife control, there’s no cheap and easy solution.
Well, actually there is a relatively cheap and easy solution. Just trap the armadillos in cage traps, and then relocate them far away from your property. That’s it. That’s the only effective armadillo deterrent out there. But it works, and works very well. If you want to learn more about the process, click this link about how to trap an armadillo. Basically, you just need to set a large sturdy cage trap on the armadillo’s path, or even right over the burrow. Make sure it’s flush with the ground and doesn’t rattle. No bait needed.
If you want to learn more about armadillo behavior and biology, go to may main armadillo removal page.
Armadillo Email From Reader: Hello David, I found your site while searching for assistance in relocating a “herd” of Armadillo’s who have decided my property is the PERFECT place to live. 🙂 I’ve tried out castor oil and mothballs to get it to go in someone else’s yard, but I’ve found that doesn’t work. I’m thinking I need to trap them and get them somewhere else! I’m having a horrible time locating anyone interested in this task for my area…New Port Richey, west of you on the gulf side. I’ve been searching for months actually. I’m not in your service area unfortunately, but I wanted to stop in and let you know that I spent nearly 2 hours reading all the wonderful info, and about your experiences. By far the BEST site I’ve ever seen…lot’s of “heart” put into it. It’s very obvious that you love what you do! Fantastic web site, very enjoyable to spend time reading it. 🙂 I wish you continued success and hope you never lose your enthusiasm and concern for our wild creatures. They mean no harm to us or our property…they’re just living their lives as nature intended, and aren’t aware of the issues they sometime create by “sharing” our homes and yards. Very sincerely, -Wendy-
My Response: Thanks for the kind words, Wendy! I do care about wild animals, and wildlife education. For example, it’s best for the environment not to spread mothballs around – they don’t help anyway. I think if you click on my nationwide directory, you’ll find someone who can do armadillo control in your neck of the woods. Read About Armadillos.
I have also written some preventative articles on how to keep armadillos away and another one about how to keep armadillos out of the yard or garden and my general How to Get Rid of Armadillos guide.
4 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Armadillos from the Yard
Are there armadillos digging up mounds and making a mess of your backyard? Try these four remedies to keep them away.
How to Get Rid of Armadillos
1. Wipe Away Their Food Source
The armadillos are most likely digging holes in your lawn in search for food (aka insects and grubs). Remove their food source and they’ll most likely leave. One way to quickly reduce their food source is by applying beneficial nematodes to your garden or lawn soil.
2. Set up a Cage Trap
Setting up a live cage trap is an effective option for armadillos that have already made your yard a permanent home. Armadillos are nocturnal animals so the traps should be set late in the afternoon and checked on several hours after darkness.
Please be aware that it is illegal to relocate trapped armadillos in Florida and Texas (they are non-native species in those states). You may want to call animal control to take care of that for you. Armadillos are carriers of leprosy so you also want to avoid handling them.
3. Use a Predator Urine Spray
This method is a hit or miss but still worth trying. Armadillos have a keen sense of smell so it may help to spray predator urine around your yard. You can easily purchase fox urine online.
If you are a dog owner then you could also try burying a bag of dog hair or dog poop into the armadillo’s burrow. Same works for cat litter.
4. Set up a Fence
Armadillos will always come and go, especially if you live in a place like Florida. If you have some highly-valued plants in your yard then consider building a fence around them.
According to experts at UF, the fence should be approximately 24 inches above ground and the bottom of the fence should be buried 18 inches below the surface. The fence should also be slanted outwards (40 degree angle).
Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.
There are many reasons for armadillos want hanging around your house or yard. Armadillos can cause extreme amounts of damage to property with their burrowing. Although many will say that the best way to get rid of them you can move them, there are ways to eliminate them completely. Here are a few tips that keep these creatures slowly from your yard and garden. Examples of fake Florida armadillo repellent include naphthalene (Mothball) flakes, predator urine, like a fox or coyote urine and castor oil. Of these products, castor oil looks like a promising idea because it can make the insects taste bad, but you have to use a ton of it permanently.
Garlic has a good effect on the Florida armadillos. Planting garlic plants outside of your property will often stop them to move further in. You can also use dried chilly in areas that you notice the signs of armadillos. This is usually determined by the small holes that are up to 3 “deep and 5” wide. As garlic and peppers can be used together and are recommended for vegetable gardens.
Armadillos have a very good sense of smell. For this reason, ammonia and naphthalene are not acceptable for sensitive nostrils. Spreading these around the perimeter of your land or property will help in keeping the armadillos away. This is recommended for areas you will not eat what they grow.
Armadillo control can be implemented either by passive or aggressive method. With both practices you will ultimately have the best results. Passive techniques use repellents and sprays to deal with armadillos huge sources of food. This approach will produce results, but only temporary. In most cases, both passive and aggressive control armadillo will give the best results. It is good to be more realistic, when seeking for a solution and not to spend money on a product that makes big claims, but it is simply ineffective. The type of solution that will have to be used for solving the problem will largely depend on the activity of Florida armadillo in the property, and whether they are just visiting the yard or garden for food, or made hole in the ground within the limits of the yard. For armadillos that come to the area, so they can find food or dig worms and insects or rummaging through garbage, building a fence is often a permanent solution. For those who have made a hole in the ground in the garden, the best approach is usually to catch the animal in a trap and remove it from the area.
There are three types of repellent treatments for armadillos. The first is designed for certain plants. Although armadillos are not vegetarians by nature, they will eat the whole plant or flower beds, if given the chance. The liquid can be sprayed on any plant or flower and Florida armadillos will immediately leave the area. It will continue to target plants for a month – even after rain. Use this treatment to attack very specific plant in a flower bed or garden.
Armadillo repulsion yard stray
This liquid will penetrate into the soil about 2-4 inches. As excavation of animals, small amounts will receive this has paws. The armadillos will avoid areas where it is applied. This will cause them to move away from your yard in search of grasslands and forest areas without such taste. The control procedures will last about one to three months and will not harm grass or ground water.
Armadillo sound repellent
These devices send audio, which is stressing different animals depending on the setting. Ultra Sound works on both frightened armadillos and making them uncomfortable with surrounding areas. These type of repellents will not actually help with the armadillos which you currently have in your property but that they will do an excellent job at keeping new animals from the yard altogether. Some companies are selling ultrasonic sound emitters as a panacea for all kinds of pest. These products have absolutely no reason to provide effective pest repellent qualities. There are homes where people have gone so far as to dump the whole five pound box of naphthalene in Florida armadillo hole, or pour a whole gallon of bleach down there, and armadillos are not interested at all! The only way to solve the problem with the armadillo is to physically trap and remove it from the property. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution, no magic spray that will keep them away. The good news is that they are easy to trap – if you have a good knowledge of the animal. it is best to remove armadillos by hiring a professional wildlife trapper.
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How to get rid of voles? Which is more efficient: a vole poison, a trap, a repellent or vole control methods?
The vole is serious vermin in your garden. This small creature can bring many problems to owners of both flower-beds and crops. These vermin are often confused with moles when people find their dead plants. The main difference between moles and voles is that voles eat roots and fruits, but not worms. Their passion to eat can kill expensive trees and flower-beds. How can one fight these small creatures? There are hundreds of methods all over the web. Some of them are efficient (traps, repellents, repellers and poison), while some of them are simply useless. Today, we are going to discuss both the useful and useless methods in order to compare them.
What Are The Best Vole Control Products?
Actually, much depends on the level of infestation. If you don’t have plenty of voles around or they gather in small areas, trapping is the most effective way to get rid of them. Keep in mind that it is crucial to place enough traps and use attractive baits to get things done. In case your yard gets a severe infestation, placing poisonous baits is the most effective way to kill a large number of voles in a short time.
However, the most important part of vole control is prevention. By keeping these rodents away with repellents, you will protect your valuable plants and trees from damage. But never apply repellents in the areas where poison baits or traps are located as this will diminish the effectiveness of the latter ones.
2. JT Eaton Anticoagulant Poison Bait
This slow-acting poison bait comes in convenient blocks. They attract voles with a peanut butter flavor while the active ingredient Diphacinone kills them for sure.
3. Bonide Vole Repellent In Granules
4. Electronic Vole Repellent
5. Snap Killing Trap
This reliable trap comes with a strong stainless steel spring. You will need plenty of traps, from a dozen to 50 pieces for a large area (2 or 3 per runway and hole).
6. Multi-Catch Trap Catchmaster
With a size of 10.5 x 6.2 inches, this trap catches about 10 voles per setting. It has a one-way door design so that no rodent could escape. To clean the trap, open a lid.
Table of Content:
7 Steps On How To Get Rid Of Voles
Since using only one method is rarely effective, we suggest that you should prepare a plan of action. The following steps can be included in this plan:
1. The first and the most effective step is habitat modification. Since voles do not go far away from their nests in search of food, reduce food availability in the area to stimulate them to move to a more favorable one. To this end, pull the plants, cut grass, remove the piles of debris, wood, and leaves in the places where voles have been noticed. Dispose of fallen fruits and nuts which are an attractive source of food for voles. Turn over the turf and mix it with gravel to prevent voles from making tunnels. Apply commercially available herbicides like Grass and Weed Killer to eliminate unnecessary plants around your garden.
2. Install barriers around valuable crops and trees. Purchase special covers (trunk protectors) protecting trees so that voles cannot gnaw the bark. If it has already happened, close the tree’s wounds with a protective film. A wire mesh wrapped around the trunk is good at keeping voles away. The fence should be about 20 inches in height and one foot deep. Take into consideration snowbanks as they make your barrier shorter.
3. Apply odor repellents based on natural ingredients such as castor oil like Bonide Molemax Vole Repellent to keep voles away from the garden. They are good at creating protective barriers.
4. Use poisons in the form of granules and blocks. Poisons are particularly effective in the autumn and winter when voles are short of food supplies. For safety reasons, place the poison in a bait station or directly into the vole’s tunnel. Slow-acting poisons like JT Eaton anticoagulant bait are the most recommended ones.
5. Trap voles, although this will not help significantly reduce their population. These devices can be lethal like snap traps, or humane traps like cages capturing animals alive.
6. Place ultrasonic repellers. However, this is a short-term solution because rodents become accustomed to all kinds of noises. To enhance the effectiveness of ultrasonic repellers, change their location regularly.
7. Call upon the assistance of rodent’s natural enemies, primarily cats. Perhaps they will do the whole job for you. If they condescend to do it, of course.
In order to get it right, learn more about methods suggested by scientists and products recommended by users from our detailed guide below. You will also learn about habits of voles and how they can be dangerous for your property. The guide will help you choose the best trap, poison, and repellents to cope with these pests.
Why are voles dangerous?
The vole can look cute at first glance. This animal can create significant damage. If you have such “neighbors”, your garden will be destroyed step by step. The teeth of this vermin are excellent for destroying tree roots, flower bulbs and any other plants in your garden. One can identify the existence of the vole in their garden by specific teeth signs on damaged roots and trunks of trees. Unlike moles, who don’t touch any of your plants, voles use plants and roots for their daily menu. Giant populations of voles can be identified by the death of such plants as alfalfa, cattle grass, clover, potatoes, carrots, beets and turnips.
Voles often serve as vector-borne disease carriers, such as tularemia, leptospirosis, mycoplasmosis and various vermin, ticks and fleas.
Vole facts: behavior and habits
- Fast reproducing rate of voles. Voles breed throughout all warm seasons and can produce from 5 to 20 cubs per year.
- Voles prefer large communities. If you are have voles in your garden, prepare yourself to find around 20-30 holes. Their holes and tunnels look like the moles’, but they are significantly smaller and not so deep.
- Fast growing rate. A young vole reaches maturity in a month. The gestation period takes from 15 to 30 days.
- Voles are not dormant. They are active throughout the year, so don’t be surprised if you find even all season plants damaged.
- Voles are greedy. A vole can eat a volume of food equal to its own weight in just one day. That makes around 10 kilograms per months. One can identify the existence of the vole by specific teeth signs on roots or trunks.
Best vole poison
Poison is one of the most popular methods in the war with voles. Many people decide to use it, because it’s incredibly simple. They are tired of setting various mousetraps and getting no result. They decided to buy poison which they hope will solve all their problems. We have chosen the most popular and well-proven poison.
1. JT Eaton Anticoagulant Bait
JT Eaton Anticoagulant Bait is a powerful poison. It can be used to combat various rodents. For example, you can use it like a mice poison as well. This poison consists of special waterproof granules with Bromadiolone. This rodenticide was approved by scientists from the Colorado State University Extension as an efficient measure against voles. This poison causes internal bleeding, but voles have to eat it several times in order to die.
There are no special secrets. One just needs to locate capsules near areas with voles and wait for results. It’s pretty easy to use in your garden, but this poison is not useful in large areas occupied by voles. Anyway, don’t forget that this poison is dangerous for your pets; thus, don’t forget to keep them away from poisoned areas.
x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission JT Eaton 709-PN Bait Block Rodenticide Anticoagulant Bait, Peanut Butter Flavor, for Mice and Rats (9 lb Pail of 144)
By JT Eaton
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Best vole repellents
Repellents are efficient if you are using them as a preventive measure or together with poison or traps.
2. Aroma castor oil vole repellent | Granules
This product includes aroma granules to scare voles, moles and gophers based on castor oil. One package of such granules can cover up to 5000 square-feet, but all scientists are repeating their mantra: “This method is a humane one, but it can’t be used on an industrial scale.” The key word is “scaring”. These granules can be great in order to create some kind of a “protective wall” against voles. Just put it along the borders of your garden and they won’t disturb you while the active ingredient is working. Some scientists are sure that only pure castor oil (with 100% concentration) can be used to scare voles away. If you are facing just a couple of voles and you don’t want to pour castor oil all around your garden, then you can use these granules. If you are also using herbicides, voles won’t disturb you for a long period of time.
x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Bonide (BND692150) – Molemax Mole & Vole Burrowing Animal Repellent, Rodent Repellent Granules (10 lb.)
By Arboria/LWO Corporation
Last update on 2020-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Castor oil repellent: Check the current price
3. Electronic vole repellent – Solar Powered
An ultrasonic repeller is a controversial device. Scientists don’t consider this an effective method. Practice shows that this device can be efficient, but for a limited period of time. No doubt, all rodents will run away from the ultrasonic wave for a couple of days. But they’ll get used to it and will come back, paying no attention to your innovative device.
Do you want to use repellents efficiently? Combine them! Use this ultrasonic repeller with solar panels and special granules or poison as a radical alternative. When the repellent effect appears and rodents start to run away, protect your garden with granules and voles will never come back.
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Electronic repellent (4-pack): Check the current price
How to get rid of voles: Let’s listen to the opinion of scientists
There are three main methods to fight a vole: traps, repellents and poison. But scientists from the University of California totally neglect all “three pillars” of the home pest control: “Trapping is not practical for voles because so many individuals have to be controlled when they are causing problems in commercial orchards. Fumigation is not effective because of the shallow, open nature of vole burrow systems and the large number of voles. Repellents are not considered effective in preventing damage.”
According to these experts, one of the most efficient methods is habitat management. Scientists are sure that voles only go a couple of feet from their holes in order to get food, thus if one can remove plants from the area, voles will leave soon too: “Use a hoe, herbicides, or other methods to keep an area reaching about 3 feet out from trunks free of vegetation.”
How to get rid of voles according to the experts from the University of California
What is the best method to get rid of voles according to scientists? They recommend making your garden less attractive for them and protecting other trees from the sharp teeth of voles. It’s also recommended to protect and cure your trees in order to remove possible damages and prevent future vole attacks.
4. How to stop an invasion with herbicides
A well-known fact is that voles build their nests close to the places rich in food. When the food has gone, the entire community will move to different place. Scientists recommend using various herbicides to control the vegetation around your garden, while we recommend that you use only the best herbicides, such as Compare-N-Save which is a #1 Best Seller in the Weed Killers category.
You can use it to create a “dead” border, thus protecting your garden from future invasions of vermin. Voles will simply avoid your “deadly lands” because they can’t find any provisions. It’s worth noting that this method is useful in order to prevent “a catastrophe”, but not to fight with voles. So, you have to get rid of them first, and then create a border. Read over 2700 customer reviews and learn about more helpful tips about using this herbicide.
x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer, 41-Percent Glyphosate, 1-Gallon , white – 016869
By Ragan & Massey Inc
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5. Saving your trees using tree guards – Tree Trunk Protectors
Not only roots, but also the trunks of young trees can be damaged by the sharp teeth of voles. One can use special tree guards to prevent the death of expensive plants. The tree guard is a special cover that prevents direct contact of vole’s teeth and trees.
x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Dimex EasyFlex Plastic Tree Trunk Protectors, 6 Count, Grey (1131-6C)
By Dimex Corp.
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Tree Trunk Protectors: Check the current price
6. Curing damaged trees – Tree Wound Pruning Sealer
In order to prevent additional wounds and damages of trees, one has to close their wounds. That’s why we need the liquid band from Tanglefoot, which creates a protective film that covers wounds on the trunk and branches of your trees. It’s incredibly useful: it can cure your trees from weather, animal or cutting damages and can be used even in rainy areas. This product has a high level of quality, but it requires some skills, thus don’t forget to wear gloves and use a brush that can be thrown away, because the film is extremely sticky.
Tree Wound Pruning Sealer: Check the current price
We are done with the light and “peaceful” methods. It’s time to move to more radical techniques: trapping, poisoning and repelling.
How to trap voles: The top-3 vole traps
Even though the University of Californian called trapping an inefficient method, it has already become the real “classic” of the garden. Keeping in mind that voles are relatives of mice, one can use simple mouse traps to catch them. Scientists consider mousetraps useless, because it’s impossible to clear a field using them, while the majority of research was performed on such fields. Mousetraps are pretty useful for smaller areas. Now you have to decide if you want to use killing traps or humane ones, which won’t kill rodents.
7. Killing vole trap – Snap-E Trap
Now you can see a very familiar construction with the snap trap system. One can’t find any significant difference at first glance, but this set of 6 traps is very popular among users and has received the #1 Best seller name in the Pest Control Traps category. The price of one mousetrap is less than $2!
These mousetraps are made from durable weather resistant materials with no corrosion effect. These traps can’t be used under the ground, they must be placed on the surface. Use a piece of cheese as bait and locate the mousetrap near a tree or a mouse hole and you will significantly increase their efficiency. Use more devices to eliminate voles. Read over 2200 customers reviews in order to understand how this trap works with voles.
x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Snap-E Mouse Trap-6 Pack
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Live-catch vole traps
We offer you two different models with almost equal prices, which will be appreciated by all humane people and animal lovers. The first device is made from transparent green plastic, while the second one – from steel. Choose the one that fits your needs! Please remember, that as the case with any rodent trap, one device can be used to catch only one vole. The more traps you use, the more creatures you catch.
8. Smart Mouse Trap – Humane trap
A humane trap – means the vermin will stay alive. You can use any traditional method to attract the vole, e.g. by putting a salted cracker. Set the trap and wait until the vole comes inside and activates it. One significant disadvantage is that you can’t catch more than one vole during one activation session, but the green transparent plastic allows you to see your prey immediately. Several voles can get inside at the same time, but chances of such situations are really low.
x Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission AdChoices Product from Amazon, Publisher may get a commission Smart Mouse Trap – Humane Mousetrap
By Humane Mousetrap
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Human trap: Check the current price
9. Havahart 1020 Live Animal Two-Door Cage Trap
Another mouse box, but this time it has two doors. It uses the very same principle of operation. The device is made from sturdy rust-resistant wire mesh with steel reinforcement. Two entrance doors significantly increase the level of efficiency, because the vole will run inside after seeing a door-to-door passage, because it looks “very easy”.
Live trap: Check the current price
Popular methods of vole control: A list of techniques to avoid
We have already discovered the most popular methods of fighting and professional tips. Now we have to learn about the popular methods that people use which can help against voles. But we have to warn you that such methods are useless if there’s no connection with scientific knowledge! Below you can find the two most useless methods.
- The most dangerous method. We can’t ignore one of the most light-minded methods – killing voles with exhaust fumes. One has to use a hose and connect a pipe of a car and a hole. After that, you need to start the engine. Why is this method useless? Because voles are not moles with deep holes. Scientists from Colorado confirm: “Fumigants usually do not work for control of voles because their burrows are too shallow and complex”. In addition, such an operation can kill all the fertility of your soil and you won’t be able to grow anything on it.
- “Vibrating can”. An empty metal can is fixed on a stick located on an open area. The wind creates vibration and noise, scaring voles out of their holes. We have to mention that this sound can be pretty annoying and the level of efficiency is pretty low, especially in comparison with other methods, such as traps. Furthermore, we already know that sounds of any kind can’t scare voles.
Fighting voles requires some time. If your neighbors are also facing the problem of voles, you have to think about using repellents in your own garden. If you are suffering from the problem yourself, try to combine traps and poison, while using tree guards to protect your trees. The vole is not so dangerous. You have to be patient and only choose working vole control products and methods. We have combined all of them in the following table for your convenience.
Vole Poisons, Traps, Repellents and Prevention Products Comparison Chart
|Product||Type of product||Prevention/control method|
|Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer||Herbicide||Prevention|
|Tree Trunk Protectors||Tree guard||Prevention|
|Tree Wound Pruning Sealer||“liquid band” to cure trees||Both|
|Smart trap||Humane trap||Control|
|Live Animal Two-Door Cage Trap||Humane trap||Control|
|JT Eaton||Poison bait||Control|
|Vole Repellent Granules||Natural repellent||Both|
|Solar Repellent||Electronic repeller||Both|
Need to hire an exterminator? Find the best licensed professionals in your area.
Essential reading: How to get rid of a gopher?
Castor Oil For Garden Use: Tips On Treating Pests With Castor Oil
Trying to be a good steward to the earth means minimizing your impact on the natural order of life. We do this in many ways, from driving a low emission car to choosing local foods at our supermarket. Another way to limit any negative influence on the earth is by gardening smart. Use safe, non-toxic herbicides, sustainable gardening practices and natural pesticides. Using castor oil in the garden can be part of good garden management without the potential side effects that commercial formulas may cause. Read on to learn more.
What is Castor Oil?
For many of us older gardeners, castor oil represents a childhood trial. Once upon a time, mothers gave their children castor oil to regulate digestive health. It was once thought to be good for the digestive system and spoonfuls of the foul stuff were force fed into unwilling children’s mouths. This foul tasting practice has gone out of fashion in favor of other better tasting and more convenient over the counter remedies, but that doesn’t mean we need to retire the oil. There are many beneficial uses for castor oil, such as using the oil as a pesticide.
Castor oil for garden use may repel voles, moles
and possibly other digging and tunneling animals, such as armadillos. Treating pests with castor oil is a natural, non-toxic way to repel these unwanted digging animals in your garden without hurting them or causing poisonous chemicals to build up in the garden and ground water. Additionally, using castor oil as pest control is non-toxic and safe around children and pets.
So where does castor oil come from? The castor bean plant, which is occasionally grown in gardens as an ornamental – BUT its beans are toxic and shouldn’t be grown where pets or small children are found. The oil itself, however, is safe and readily available through most retailers.
Castor Oil for Garden Use
Wild animals can pose a problem in the home garden. Mole hills pop up overnight, skunks dig up prized plants in search of grubs, and squirrels unearth your bulbs and render them useless for the bloom season. One way to minimize the damage that naturally occurs when animals forage is to use castor oil as pest control.
It may sound silly but this out of fashion medicinal is a common part of natural commercial pesticides. How does castor oil repel animal pests? It seems the bitter taste and the unpleasant smell are the key. Just as children had to hold their noses to take the stuff back in the day, so too, our animal friends are sickened by the ripe odor and bitter taste.
Using Castor Oil in the Garden as a Pesticide
Castor oil won’t kill animal pests, but it will repel them. To harness the effect, you need to apply castor oil directly to the soil. The formula will work for a week or so even in the rainy season. Weekly applications are the most effective at controlling animal damage in the garden.
Use a hose end attachment and spray a mixture of 2 parts castor oil and 1 part dish soap. Mix the two items until they are foamy. This is the concentrated solution and needs to be used at a rate of 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Apply evenly to the affected areas.
Treating pests with castor oil weekly will see fewer mole hills and dug up garden beds without any danger to your pets and children or the environment.
You now have an underground maze of tunnels going on in your yard, turning your beautiful lawn into a sinkhole.
This is the work of moles, voles or gophers, and it’s important to know the difference before you try to eradicate them from your yard.
Moles are burrowing insectivores. They grow to be 6 to 8 inches long and have gray to black velvety fur, slender hairless snouts and small eyes and ears. They are most active during warm, wet months, although they live underground year-round.
Watch for their trails of raised soil and grass sprawling across your lawn. Check for mounds of dirt with holes in the middle; these are telltale signs you’ve got moles.
While moles do have their good points — they plow the soil and eat insects like grubs, they do leave an unsightly mess of tunnels, uneven soil and brown ridges in the lawn behind them.
How to get rid of moles
The most effective way is to kill them with a trap, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Spring and fall, when the ground is moist but not frozen, are the best times of year to get rid of moles because they are the most active at these times.
In all but the worst cases, you may have to remove just one or two moles because they don’t live in communities. You can also wait it out — moles live less than three years.
If you want to try a different method, master gardener Paul James uses a granular form of his favorite repellent, castor oil, for moles and gophers. Castor oil products don’t actually harm the pests, they simply send them scurrying elsewhere.
Other home remedies include cayenne pepper sprinkled directly into mole holes or mixed with water and sprayed. Cayenne is also mixed with
garlic, vegetable oil, soap and water for a natural insecticide.
Flooding the tunnels with water or fumigating them by attaching a hose to the exhaust of a lawnmower can also be effective. Milky spore bacteria and beneficial nematodes can also help eliminate moles because they destroy the grubs they feed on.
Voles, also known as field mice, are less obvious than moles because they create surface two-inch wide paths, rather than mounds, all over the yard. They tend to live in low-lying vegetation like flowerbeds and gardens and eat plants directly — to the bane of many gardeners.
If you notice your plants suddenly keeling over for no reason, you should suspect a vole problem, according to Wildlifeanimalcontrol.com.
Voles resemble their lawn-leveling mole but these critters have shorter tails and longer fur. They are easy to recognize with large, prominent front teeth and big, beady black eyes.
How to get rid of voles
Some professionals opt to use snap traps, similar to those used to trap mice. Place them near the entrance to one of the many tunnels the voles have dug in the yard or garden. Because voles usually live in large groups, traps aren’t necessary the quickest way to deal with the problem.
You might consider introducing a cat into your yard or garden. You can also use a repellent, but by the time most people notice the infestation, the burrow and population are already large. Repellent can be a “hit and miss” proposition and will rarely work with an established population.
With beaver-like buckteeth, small eyes and furry cheek pouches, a gopher spells trouble when it decides to feast on your lawn. These pests form large colonies and a huge network of underground tunnels.
You know you’ve got gophers when underground tunnels destroy your landscape. They eat plants and their tunnels are rarely visible. Gopher mounds are fan-shaped with a hole off to one side.
How to get rid of gophers
Many of the methods used for gophers are the same as for moles.
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Moles can wreak havoc on an otherwise gorgeous lawn. Here’s our favorite tried and true DIY mole repellent recipe for getting rid of those pesky hole digging beasts!
It’s important to keep in mind that moles don’t hibernate over the winter. Which means that it is vital to have an efficient mole repellent if you don’t want a big surprise when spring arrives.
If you look at commercial mole and vole repellent blends, you’ll note that the main ingredient is actually castor oil. Castor Oil works by making the food source and environment of burrowing moles and voles smell and taste highly unpleasant. This assault on their acute senses causes moles and voles to leave the treated area in search of a more suitable habitat.
DIY: Mole Repellent
1/4 cup castor oil
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons liquid detergent (We use Dawn)
Combine all ingredients in blender until consistency of whipped cream.
To Use: Add 2 Tablespoons of repellent to a regular garden watering can and then fill with warm water. Thoroughly water over areas of greatest damage.
For best results apply after a rain or a thorough watering.
How to Prevent Moles from Coming Back
To prevent moles from coming back, you’ll need to remove their major food source which is usually grub worms.
To permanently remove grub worms, apply milky spore to the affected areas each spring, summer and fall for at least 2 years in a row.
Milky Spore is a naturally occurring microscopic bacteria (Bacillus popilliae) that kills Japanese beetle grubs before they can grow into ravenous adults. It’s a long-term solution because it survives winter temperatures.
The Milky Spore population increases each year, reaching peak effectiveness about three years after application, and lasts ten years or more.
Benefits of milky spore
Features & Benefits:
- 10 oz. Box can treat up to 2,500 square feet.
- Targets Japanese Beetle grubs feeding on roots.
- Naturally occurring bacteria Bacillus popillae.
- Kills grubs within 7-21 days while releasing even more spores.
- Developed by the USDA and approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
- Lasts several years and repopulates itself, lasting 10 years or more
In short, apply the castor oil treatment to your lawn today for an instant DIY mole repellent, then apply some Milky spore to remove their food source for an effective permanent, affordable solution.
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How to control moles in your yard
Moles, common in backyards throughout most of the United States, are a frequently cited problem in our Pest Patrol forum. The two most common mole varieties—star-nosed and eastern—measure about 7 inches long from nose to tail. They have broad, outward-facing pads on their front feet, small and narrow hind feet, and tiny pinholes for eyes; their ears are not visible.
Moles are voracious, high-metabolism feeders who use their large front paws to tunnel through the ground searching for ants, earthworms, and grubs; some species consume more than their weight in food daily. “They are pretty well adapted to life underground,” says Craig Riekena, a compliance manager for Bell Laboratories, which makes the mole poison Talpirid. “Their fur lies and flexes against their skin in a way that lets them tunnel as if they’re swimming.”
You’ll know you have a mole problem if you spot visible trenches and dug-up soil in your lawn and garden. Look for the raised ridges that characterize mole feeding burrows, along with molehills, which look like miniature volcanoes with plugged holes in the center. These are often located close to the deep permanent burrows where moles nest and reproduce.
Some molehills can be substantial enough to damage mower blades and housings. Flower beds are also at risk. “Since grubs gather around the roots of shrubs and flowers, moles scrape that dirt away and remove the plant’s foundation and depriving the flowers of nourishment,” says Stephanie VanSyckle, a spokeswoman for mole-trap manufacturer Victor.
Whether you take action against moles will depend on the extent of the damage they cause and your personal threshold for how it looks. Consumers Union Senior Scientist Michael Hansen notes that the ridges and molehills are mainly an aesthetic problem; you can tamp down the ridges and water them to repair damage. Hansen points out that moles’ preferred foods include several soil pests, especially grubs, so getting rid of moles could exacerbate other problems.
To prevent moles from burrowing under or climbing into specific sections of your garden, experts recommend burying metal mesh hardware cloth 2 feet vertically below ground with another 6 inches showing above ground. Moles tend to tunnel closer to the surface in spring when soil is moist and go deeper in the summer. “Since moles have trouble burrowing through dense soil, arranging stones or dense claylike soil around a garden to a depth of 2 feet can also help,” says Hansen.
Another natural defense—using a castor-oil mixture—has been touted by a poster in the Pest Patrol forum who says he hit on the idea after hearing that moles sometimes avoid fields where castor beans are planted. There’s more than a bean of truth to that idea—a series of studies by three Michigan State University researchers revealed that one castor-oil-based spray repellent did keep moles at bay for periods ranging from 30 to 60 days.
However, researchers from Ohio State University and the University of Arkansas disagree with the MSU findings, citing the short duration and effect of weather on the tests. Marne Titchenell, a professor of wildlife ecology at OSU, also warns that castor oil can harm insects, earthworms and other creatures that populate the soil.
Peter Sawchuk, a program leader in our Technical Department, reports good results using Spectracide’s Mole Stop and Bonide’s Mole & Gopher Repellent. “Both of these have worked well for me,” Sawchuk says, “but keep in mind that you’ll be driving the moles into the adjoining property, which might not endear you to your neighbor.” Other posters are recommending cats as another natural way to control moles.
More lethal alternatives include trapping and killing moles, which, experts say, is the only way to be sure you’re rid of them, and using poison. Consumer Reports has not tested the traps or poisons cited below, and there are safety, health, and/or environmental issues with all of these methods.
Harpoon-type traps like the one shown work best; handling them is risky and requires skill. Locate an active mole runway by pressing down on raised ridges of soil. The next day, note which ridges have been raised again. Then depress the ridge of soil and set the trap over it; the mole will trigger the trap as it moves through the tunnel. “If you’re going to use a trap, be very careful, as they are designed to impale or crush animals,” Hansen says.
Also check local regulations before you begin trapping. If mole trapping is banned in your state, as it is in Massachusetts and Washington, another alternative is a poison bait such as Talpirid. It comes in a form that resembles an earthworm—another preferred food source of moles—and contains the rodenticide bromethalin, a potent neurotoxin that was developed after rodents began building up resistance to earlier poisons.
The Environmental Protection Agency, concerned about the number of accidental poisonings of children and pets, recently restricted sales of many rodenticides to licensed pest applicators and stipulated that they could be deployed only in sealed bait stations. But since moles are technically insectivores, not rodents, products marketed to control moles are not considered rodenticides and are exempted from those restrictions.
In the wake of an accidental poisoning in New York City, the state of New York has restricted bromethalin’s sale and use to licensed pesticide applicators. “Talpirid is a registered pesticide in New York, so it is not banned, but because of the concentration of the specific active ingredient listed—bromethalin—its use is restricted,” says Maureen Wren, spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
“Bromethalin is World Health Organizaton Class Ia pesticide—it’s highly acutely toxic,” says Hansen. “If it’s eaten by children, or if the dead moles are dug up and eaten by pets, it can be harmful. It is also toxic to birds and fish.” To ensure that you safely and effectively use bromethalin, follow all product instructions and precautions.
But, Hansen says, “There are much better and safer ways to control moles. Controlling grubs is one way, as that’s one of their major food sources. You can also use a garden hose and flood out of their tunnels; this is especially effective in the spring when they’re breeding and especially effective against moles on the West Coast, who dig their breeding burrows closer to the molehill than other species.”
If all else fails, you can hope that raptors will take up residence near your lawn. “A group of hawks did a pretty good job keeping the lawns at our mower-testing facility in Fort Myers, Florida, free of moles,” says Sawchuk, who took the photo of the hawk at right.—Gian Trotta and Michael MacCaskey
Essential information: Our Complete Lawn & Yard Guide offers how-to instructions and ratings of a wide array of lawn and garden equipment. You’ll also find the expert advice for dealing with weeds, common insects, and lawn diseases—and an interactive guide to the major lawn problems.