If your flowerbed and potatoes are being destroyed by voles and all the while you are also seeing plenty of tunnels and huge dirt piles at the entrance of the tunnel, moles are at work.
Knowing the differences between the two is necessary because that knowledge plays a role in baiting and destroying them.
When most people see either a mole or a vole at a glance, they may mistake them for a rat or a mouse. Interestingly, Voles belong to the phylum Chordata and are relatives to hamsters and lemmings but notably have a shorter hairy tail, stouter body, and a rounder head. The molars of the moles are differently formed and are distinctly high-crowned with angular cusps as opposed to those of hamsters and lemmings that are low-crowned with rounded cusps. In places like Australia, voles are often referred to as meadow mice.
Voles eat plants of all varieties and have the ability to burrow underground. Voles are a menace for your garden because they are pure vegetarians. They eat plant leaves and stems. They are also capable of damaging roots of shrubs and trees. Although they are burrowing rodents they do not produce huge mounds of soil.
Moles are animals capable of digging elaborate tunnels and do create sizeable piles of dirt on their entrances. Their body size can be compared to that of a rat. If you catch a good glimpse of a mole, it’s physical facial features can help identify it from Voles.
The moles face does not reveal its eyes and ears because they are covered by fur. This adaptation is very practical, if you spend most of your time in burrows and digging tunnels you would appreciate that feature too. It prevents dirt from getting into the moles eyes and ears when digging.
They also have a distinctly bigger and pointed nose. The front feet of a mole are noticeably bigger as they are the mole’s main digging tools. They also explain the moles ability to dig and clear soil hence the big pile of dirt on their tunnel entrance.
A moles preference of food will feature meats such as worms, adult insects and bugs. So they are carnivorous. They are not rodents because they do not eat vegetables. So when you walk into your garden and some pest is biting away at your plants, you can be sure it is not a mole.
Rodents such as Voles do take advantage of mole tunnels to reach your garden and wreak havoc. So in that sense, the mole does perhaps contribute to plant damage in that way. When getting rid of moles, the bait has to be meat based while when baiting voles, a plant based bait will work. This distinction between the two is key in eliminating either of them.
Trapping, flooding or even poisoning are techniques you have no doubt heard of, but some experts have come up with a solution to remove moles and gophers —- that features a very handy chemical that can simply be found in your favorite DIY store; castor oil.
This particular solution can often do an outstanding job of managing moles and gophers in your yard.
Often it is asked how you can be sure of whether or not you have moles or gophers in your yard.
For starters, moles do not try to consume plants and flowers. These creatures, for the most part, take in grubs as well as worms, plus they leave behind distinguishing tunnels and also superficial, exterior part rails combined with spherical mounds of soil.
Compared to moles, gophers, on the other hand, are prone to create fan-like holes and they eat plants and roots.
Despite the fact that the soil tunnels moles create can be a nuisance to your garden and lawn spaces, their tunneling can have one benefit in cultivating the soil in your yard.
To eliminate moles, the use of a mixture of a milk-based spore bacterium plus some beneficial nematodes can help destroy any grubs that these moles eat. On the other hand, gophers can be an extreme disturbance. They feed on your flowers, plants and just about any greens on your backyard.
One thing you can try is granulated Castor oil products. It may be noteworthy to remember that Castor oil does not cause harm to moles and gophers, they solely deter these creatures from staying in your yard.
The truth is, it is possible to determine the particular route you would like them going. Utilizing a spreader, equally distribute the actual granules of Castor oil throughout a region of your garden in which the destruction continues to be particularly bad.
Using this type of solution, the protection rate can be just 1 lb for each 1 thousand sq. ft., which suggests a small amount should go a considerable way.
However, it is challenging to determine exactly how much, or perhaps in this situation, precisely how little you might have driven away.
You’ll be able to add moisture to the granules of Castor oil should you desire, or merely wait around for some rain to water it on your behalf. No matter what, the granules of Castor oil may gradually set out to dissolve and additionally give off the particular aroma which will repel moles and gophers.
This natural chemical that repels moles and gophers is also somewhat beneficial to the soil in your garden.
In case you are managing a sizable place, just spread out the granules of castor oil in your garden, which includes your flower or plant bed, leading these annoying moles or gophers towards the closest departure spot from your premises.
To push these pests within a certain route, place the Castor oil in about 1/3 of the place to be treated, originating in the spot furthermost of the final departure place.
While within just some hours of waiting, specifically if the area is watered effectively, the moles and gophers will certainly start off going into the particular route.
A couple of days afterward utilize additional castor oil to another location, and also a few days from then on, place more castor oil granules on the closing section.
Keep in mind that this method, although it may temporarily deter moles and gophers from your yard, it will require continuous treatment and may be quite costly over time.
For a more permanent and less costly solution, experts agree that trapping moles and gophers are a better solution.
Apart from the barbaric use of traps and poisons, there are, in fact, more humane ways for mole pest control methods to get these mammals out of your yard.
You can even choose to simply coexist with them by fashioning your landscape in a way that will benefit both you and the moles.
If living with moles in your yard is something that is not acceptable to you, then perhaps you can make use of plants that possess certain characteristics that are rather unappealing or even revolting to moles.
The results that you will get from using such mole control methods are not exactly as effective as other types, but using such natural ways offers more benefits than many of the more conventional methods.
The castor bean plant has proven itself again and again as being a very effective deterrent for moles. In fact, castor bean is the active ingredient of most of the commercial mole repellants available in the market today.
This tropical plant grows at a height of about 15 feet and features big star-shaped leaves. The castor plant was once used as a laxative and could potentially cause harmful effects, especially to your children and pets, so make sure to keep them away from this plant.
Coming in second to the castor bean is the Caper Spurge. Aptly given the title as the “Mole Plant”, this living mole repellant grows to about 2 feet tall and thrives in areas where there is an adequate amount of sunlight.
Despite its known notoriety in being an effective mole repellent, this plant actually would work as a very attractive accent to any flower bed. Just like the castor bean, this plant is also dangerous to children and pets so they should not be planted in high traffic areas.
The Mexican Marigold might not possess the most beautiful aromas in the flower kingdom but it would be a nice addition to any flower garden. This has long been used for companion planting so its positive effects in repelling pests such as moles are hardly questioned.
Companion planting is yet another pest control method where a certain plant prevents the harming of other desirable plants.
Flower bulbs are also very effective for mole control. Aside from giving your yard the color and variety that it needs, these flowers can also ensure that your lawn will be free from any unsightly holes and mounds.
Along with the daffodil, a couple more of the most popular flowers include the Siberian squill and the crown imperial.
Vegetable and herb bulbs such as garlic, onions, shallots, and chives also repel moles effectively. Onions, most especially, are able to effectively keep away moles because of a naturally strong odor.
There are herb and vegetable bulbs that also provide aesthetic appeal to wherever they are planted so using these plants as mole control methods will not exactly take a toll on the overall beauty of your lawn.
Such pests normally attack lawn with moist soil since this enables them to easily dig, tunnel, and eat the plantation grown in the garden. The gophers’ mound is generally seen with a ‘fan shape’ like structure.
If you are looking out for gopher control, then the first step is to learn about its shape and size so that you can easily distinguish it from other similar pests.
The pocket gopher is one of the most commonly found gopher types in the lawn area.
Gopher Control Tricks
People look out for various gopher control tricks to make their lawn gopher-free. There are a number of measures recommended that usually result in its complete elimination. Some of these include:
- One of the most opted solutions is to go for gopher trapping. For this, you need gopher traps and locate them in the tunnel of an active gopher mound. Also, cover this area with black plastic.
- Another effective trick is to fill the gopher’s tunnel with carbon monoxide through your vehicle’s gas/exhaust.
- You can also go for a garden hose and fill the tunnel with water. In such a situation, the gophers may end up drowning or sometimes pop out of the water to rescue from drowning. Such gophers can be killed by using a shovel.
- The gophers can also be get rid of by using poison substances like strychnine. But while using it, you need to be extra conscious to keep it out of the reach of children. Also, make sure to wash your hands properly after you use it.
- People also opt to plant gopher surge, which is hugely disliked by gophers.
- You can also release predators like domestic cats, wild gopher snakes in the active gopher mounds.
- One of the other ways to get rid of gophers is to place a fence covering your garden area. For this, you need to dig a trench at least 2 feet deep, along with a 1-½” galvanized chicken wire or hardware cloth.
- The most expensive option is to hire a professional. Such professionals use aluminum phosphide, which produces highly acute phosphine gas by reacting with air moisture and soil. Nowadays, many exterminating companies also offer guarantees thus making this option one of the most reliable ones.
Factors to be Considered
When you’re looking for an answer to how to get rid of gophers, one must collect information about the factors that could affect the results. These factors play a major role in adopting the best possible way out that could help in complete gopher removal from the lawn. Such factors include:
- The health and safety concerns, especially for children and pets.
- The main aim is to kill gophers or just to repel them.
- The size of the lawn area and the type of plantation done.
- The conditions of the nearby areas and gardens.
In truth, moles and gophers create massive underground tunneling systems that can potentially damage drainage systems, damage PVC piping, and destroy underground cabling systems. There are methods on how to kill gophers and moles, but there are helpful ways to getting rid of them naturally.
Moles are small round creatures with long flat noses and five finger-like appendages on each small arm. However, they are so tricky that you may not ever be able to spot them.
So look for the holes that they dig-they are usually tiny holes, and leave mounds of dirt strewn all over. These mounds are usually a few inches high and are shaped like miniature volcanoes.
There are traps to catch these creatures without killing them, in which case they can be relocated far away from where they will no longer bother your garden.
However, there are other mole traps and poisons that will kill them outright, and guarantee that you will not have a continuing mole problem.
Gophers are very similar to moles in that they dig underground tunnels, leaving mounds of dirt on your lawn, and can disrupt the root system of your plants, grass, and trees.
They even look almost the same as moles; though they are usually a little longer, thinner and lighter colored, it is very difficult to tell them apart.
So again, look to their dirt mounds to tell which kind of pest it is. Gopher mounds are less high and are usually fan-shaped or horse-shoe shaped. The ways to get rid of them are also similar-with traps or poison.
If you feel like mole and gopher traps and poison are inhumane, you can also apply something called a milky spore disease that will kill worms and other insects, which are your pests’ food supply.
Once they no longer have food, they will leave your property alone. However, most garden and lawn owners simply feel it is more convenient to buy the variety of mole and gopher traps available, to have your landscape looking beautiful again.
Listed below are a few different methods on preventing gophers and moles from your yard:
- Baiting – Many people use poison to bait these critters. Poison is often used in the form of strychnine-laced barley. These pellets are placed into the underground tunnels for the yard moles and gophers to eat.
- Trapping – Trapping is a very common way to catch gophers and yard moles. It can be quite a time consuming but well worth it in the long run. It is also nice to be able to see your results and know that you have caught the little pests. Traps are also fairly inexpensive.
- Fumigating – Gas bombs are also very common ways to get rid of gophers and yard moles. Holes are dug into the tunneling systems and small ignitable gas bombs are placed into the tunnel. The hole to the tunnel is then covered up again with dirt.
- Flooding – To use this method, a hole is dug down into the tunneling system and a hose is pushed through. The water is then turned on and left on for at least 15 minutes to hopefully flood out the yard moles and gophers.
Although moles are indisputably fascinating little animals, they can make one giant mess of your yard or garden. If you are among those many homeowners who are considering mole extermination, ground moles once and for all, you can take hope.
Much of the advice you will hear about how to get rid of ground moles is barely effective, at best, and often is completely wrong.
The first step in controlling moles is understanding them. First, you should know that “ground moles” is really just a common term that people apply to many different types of creatures. There are six distinct mole species in the United States, for instance.
Only three of these ever cause problems for the typical homeowner, and the usual culprit is a single species: the Eastern mole.
Contrary to widespread belief, moles do not eat grass or plants. However, their non-stop tunneling activity breaks roots, causing turf and other plants to die.
This is why you really need to learn about and implement effective ground mole control. What does this mean exactly?
First off, the use of poisons is not recommended. Many are not particularly effective, and they can also be dangerous to children and pets.
Much better approaches to ground mole control exist. These approaches rely on the time-tested use of traps.
You can try commercially produced poisons as well as supposed mole control substances that you mix up in your kitchen. Keep in mind, though, that anything strong enough to kill a mole could harm a child or a pet.
And, some poisons may even be illegal, depending on your jurisdiction.
It is possible to get rid of ground moles. You don’t have to put up with unsightly molehills dotting your yard or dangerous tunnels creating safety hazards to you, your guests, your children, and your pets.
Most of the so-called remedies floating around either work inconsistently or not at all.
Or, they are too expensive, too dangerous, or sometimes out-and-out illegal. Smoke bombs, mothballs, gasoline, poison, human hair as a repellent — forget all these.
Most homemade efforts to get rid of ground moles entail placing something in or near the animals’ tunnels that will supposedly send them looking for a new home.
Things that have been tried include red pepper, sharp or jagged objects (e.g., razor blades, shards of glass), pickle juice, mothballs, and bunches of human, cat or dog hair.
While inexpensive and mostly harmless to try, most of these, sadly, does not work.
The one proven way to get rid of ground moles is with a trap by a reliable mole removal service.
The best time to trap moles is in the spring or fall. Also, setting out your traps immediately after heavy rain will make your moles easier to catch, because they will have moved up closer to the surface of the ground.
With the right kind of trap, used correctly, it is possible to get rid of ground moles. You don’t have to put up with unsightly molehills dotting your yard or dangerous tunnels creating safety hazards to you, your guests, your children, and your pets.
The truth is, there are some things that can help improve your situation. Be sure that you really want to go through all of the steps on home remedies for moles in yard to reduce your home’s mole damage.
The Eastern Mole is the most common. These moles are underground rodents that are 6.5 – 7 inches long at maturity. They are fur covered, with tails. The forefeet are large and are wider than they are long.
The hind feet are small. The eyes and ears are concealed in the fur. Unless you trap a mole, you are likely never to see one. They do not come above the ground unless forced to.
A common misconception about moles is that they eat roots and plants. This is not true, as moles do not eat vegetation.
Moles only eat grubs and earthworms. However, moles will damage plants by tunneling through the root zone and even popping plants up out of the ground. Moles eat 70-100% of their body weight per day – they constantly tunnel to find new sources of worms to eat.
Where They Live
As stated, moles live underground. They feed by burrowing just below the surface of the soil, making unsightly raised tunnels or runs. However, they also burrow deep depending on the weather conditions.
When they burrow deep, they push the excess soil up, thus creating mounds. These mounds resemble volcanoes and can show up anywhere. Often pocket gophers have similar tunneling traits with the exception that their mounds are kidney-shaped and are usually in a line.
What To Do With Mole Damage
Mole damage is an extraordinarily disruptive issue that often interferes with enjoying the beauty of your yard in spring and summer.
We spend all winter of gray, dead surroundings just waiting for the new, green beginnings of spring. But then, just as it arrives, all you can think about is the frustration of all of the mole holes, tunnels and hills that dominate your soil.
This is always the biggest disappointment of the new season. But, what is it that a typical homeowner can do?
The truth is, moles are wild animals and are very difficult to control. However, the whole trick is, moles are in your yard because it’s the best place for them to have a great chance for survival. Meaning, if your neighbor’s yard is a better place for them to survive, that’s where they will be.
Although moles do help aerate the soil and do get rid of harmful grub worms, they are usually too destructive to leave alone.
Mulching is a good method to keep moles away. Using natural compost and organic matter to fertilize your lawn is a very key component to rebuilding the biology in your yard and getting rid of the mole.
Next, you can have better success by keeping your grass higher. If fact, doing both of these will allow your root system to develop and grow deeper. Moles hate deep root systems and will gladly move on to the next yard for easier hunting.
Many homeowners are constantly searching for ways for mole control.
However, being so unfamiliar with alternatives to mole extermination, people tend to go on the hunt, looking for powerful and often dangerous chemicals — as though there is some well-kept secret cocktail of poisons to help them end the ever-lasting problem of mole damage in their lawn.
Too often, this becomes like searching for nothing and just as unproductive. This is not only a dangerous task of applying poisons and chemicals but is often like skating up an icy hill as well.
The sad part of this search is that it generally results in a trial-&error method of adding chemical after chemical after chemical to your soil until you end up terribly over-poisoning your lawn.
Ironically, many of these methods can substantially worsen your yard’s mole pest problems rather than improving them.
Since chemicals can drastically contribute to (rather than solve) mole Infestation, you should consider some very useful natural alternatives. In this age of organics and going green, the natural way can actually be the best way to prevent mole infestation in your lawn.
Here are some helpful tips on mole control:
Bagging your grass clippings is like siphoning your soil’s nutrients from your lawn. The grass is using your soil’s nutrients, converting those nutrients into plant material, then that plant material is supposed to convert back into the soil.
Removing the clippings is simply removing the nutrients that were intended to decompose and re-enter the soil’s cycle. To compensate for this loss, we tend to fertilize. Therefore, mulching is an obvious first step.
Stop Using Chemical Fertilizer, Herbicides, and Pesticides
Your grass has evolved for billions of years without a lawn service. But, suddenly, many believe that the key to a greener lawn is expensive chemicals which is not true.
Your soil simply wants decomposed organic plant matter. It’s easy to do this on your own. Including mulching your grass when you mow, keep organic material from your home (unused milk, pasta & sauce, coffee & grounds, eggshells, etc). Just turn these into your soil and let your soil’s biology do its work.
Water Your Grass Often
Letting your soil dry out in the summer months damages your grass root system and worsens your soil’s biological balance-making it more susceptible to pest infestation.
Grow Your Grass A Little Higher
Higher grass can mean deeper roots. And, deeper roots can make it harder for some pesky yard pests, like moles, to tolerate your lawn-encouraging them to move on to soil that’s better suited to their needs.
Keeping your yard mole-free on your own can be done. It can simply be a matter of enhancing your lawn’s ability to fight mole infestation naturally, rather than soaking it with a dangerous concoction of chemicals.
Removing these chemicals from your arsenal in the fight against mole pest infestation allows your lawn to be all-natural.
It can also make your lawn less attractive to moles (relative to your neighbors’ chemically treated lawn) and make you the mole-free neighbor.