Looking for a few ways to deter ground moles and voles naturally from your yard and garden?

Moles and voles cause a tremendous amount of damage to lawns, flowers and vegetable gardens. And since they are rarely seen, they can be hard to combat.

Although there are commercially available traps and bait, many are also dangerous for pets, children, and even adults.

Ground mole hole
The tell-tale sign of a ground mole – the volcano-shaped piles of dirt in the yard.

So what is a gardener to do? Well, believe it or not, there are actually some pretty effective natural solutions to help to deter mole and vole populations.

And, in the process, safely minimize the damage they can bring to the landscape.

But keeping moles and voles in check all begins with first knowing which pest you are dealing with.

The Difference Between Ground Moles And Voles

Although they are often confused as one in the same, ground moles and voles are two entirely different animals. With two completely different diets.

Ground Moles

Moles are insectivores, and exist solely to eat insects. Ground moles will not eat plants or the roots of plants.

ground hole entrance for mole
A ground mole creates a new entrance hole with it’s claw-like paws.

They can sometimes damage them in the process of looking for their lunch, but they will not specifically target roots or foliage.

They work through the soil in long, underground tunnels in search of grubs, larva and worms.

Where there are moles, there will be small mounds of conical-shaped dirt protruding from the ground. These are their entrance and exit holes.

How To Spot Vole Damage

Voles on the other hand, are herbivores, and love feeding on plants.

They can often be confused as a mouse or shrew, but live solely to feaast on existing plant life.

Voles eat bulbs, roots, grass, leaves, and all types of plant foliage. They have even been known to eat the bark from trees and shrubs.

bank vole
A bank vole foraging for food. You can see how they can easily be confused for a field mouse.

Voles leave behind much smaller tunnels with no cone-shaped entrance or exit holes.

They often live in or near brush piles, wood piles, or high-grass areas.

So now that you can identify who might be damaging your yard and landscape – how do you control each of them naturally?

How To Deter Ground Moles And Voles Naturally

Methods To Deter Ground Moles

First off, understand that moles actually serve a bit of good to gardeners.

They devour huge amounts of grubs and larvae that include the dreaded Japanese beetle. See : How To Battle Japanese Beetles

If they are not damaging crops or yards with their tunnels, they can actually help a gardener more than hurt.

Japanese Beetle grubs
Moles love to eat grubs, like these Japanese Beetle grubs.

But sometimes, they can go a bit far. And banishing and repelling them becomes a much-need option.

Deterring With Motion & Sound

Ground moles, and voles as well for that matter, do not like ground vibrations or sound. Both represent potential threats and or predators.

The more constant and active the motion, the better the results in keeping them away.

For low-tech solutions, pinwheels placed around and in beds vibrate the soil and create motion and noise.

A small radio turned on in the garden can also keep them away as well. (Although if you have neighbors close by, it may irritate them too :))

sonic mole repellent
Solar powered sonic mole protection works by emitting waves through the soil.

But a more effective high-tech solution is to use solar-powered sonic repelling devices.

These small, solar-powered staked units can be placed around the landscape. They emit frequencies and waves through the ground that help to repel both moles and voles. Product Link : Seneca Smart Powered Mole & Vole Repeller

The best part – installation is as easy as placing them into the ground!

Castor Beans / Oil And Spray

The scent of castor oil is said to keep moles far away. Many gardeners plant castor bean plants in their garden to keep moles out. ( Be cautious however, as they can be an invasive plant.)

Many also believe that placing castor beans in the entrance holes causes ground moles to relocate. Onion and garlic placed in holes is another often-used remedy.

castor oil to repel moles
Pure castor oil is often used to create a natural repellent for moles and voles.

You can also create a natural repellent for lawn areas by mixing pure castor oil with water, and a few drops of liquid detergent.

To make, mix 10 ounces of castor oil with 2 gallons of water and a teaspoon of liquid detergent. Next, use a pump sprayer to apply to lawns and beds. Product Link : Pure Castor Oil .

With this solution, you will need to re-apply after rains or watering to keep its effectiveness.

How To Deter Voles Naturally

Take Away Hiding Spaces

With voles, the first line of defense is keeping their hiding areas to a minimum. Start by clearing out brush piles, and keeping grass and brush mowed down.

Also keep wood piles stacked and neatly off the ground a bit to inhibit easy hiding spaces.

wood pile
Wood piles and brush piles are great hiding / living spaces for voles.

With no place to hide, they are an easy target for natural predators, and will often move away to more secure locations.

Using Gravel And Fencing

Voles work through shallow tunnels, and are not fond of working through gravel or rock. In fact, they don’t like it at all!

Surrounding beds or garden areas with rock edging buried slightly below and above ground is one of the best natural solutions around.

Using pea gravel to deter ground moles
Pea gravel or wash gravel is a great defense against voles.

Voles are notorious for digging up and devouring planted bulbs. Adding a bit of pea gravel in the holes around bulbs at planting time can help keep them safe as well.

It also provides good drainage for the bulbs.

If that doesn’t work, mesh fencing or chicken wire buried below and above the ground at 4 to 6″ can work wonders in keeping voles out of beds and gardens.

sweet potato damage
A sweet potato nibbled on and damaged by a vole.

Mesh and chicken wire fencing is also an excellent way to protect the undersides of raised beds, or on top of newly planted seedling that are just beginning to sprout.

Natural Predators

There is no better way to keep a vole population in check than with natural predators.

Snakes, hawks and owls are all big vole hunters. But the best of all is the common cat.

red-tailed hawk
Hawks are a big help in controlling voles.

Cats are excellent vole hunters and can aid greatly in keeping voles from multiplying into a major problem.

You may however be gifted their hunting exploits at the back door.

Here is to finding the best way to deter ground moles and voles from invading your flower beds, garden and lawn this year – naturally! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

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How To Deter Ground Moles And Voles From The Yard & Garden Naturally