Mole and Vole Control
by Joe Magazzi
We have received a lot of calls regarding mole and vole damage this year, as the moles have become particularly active this Fall.
Mole activity is more prevalent at this time of the year due, in part, to grub activity. Those pesky beetles that were active in the late spring and summer have laid their eggs, which have now hatched and are advancing through the 3rd instar stage as white grubs. Moles are insectivores and love those big delicious, nutritious and protein-rich grubs that are eating their way through the turf roots. As the moles travel your yard eating the grubs, the tunnels that you see pop up and multiply. They are great diggers, so pressing down on a tunnel or setting a mechanical trap can often be futile as new tunnels simply pop-up in other areas; it can feel like the more you fight them the more damage they do.
Meadow Voles (the most widely distributed species in the US), on the other hand, are herbivores and love plants and plant roots. They can dig themselves, but also love to follow the tunnels of the mole. Poisons can be effective, however since moles and voles are prey for so many animals, poisons can end up being harmful or fatal for species we don’t want to hurt such as hawks, owls and eagles, as well as the family cat or dog. There have even been accidental human poisonings, so poisons are rarely a good choice.
In either case, the best way to fight these garden pests who utilize great teamwork to destroy our turf, landscape and gardens, is with products that contain Castor Oil. Although not perfect and not a 100% cure-all, organic animal repellents with castor oil can provide some control without the toxicities listed above (see study from Michigan State University here). Castor oil is a repellent, not a poison, so the moles and voles will “get out of dodge” but won’t be killed.
Green Earth Ag&Turf is offering a 25% discount on the easy-to-spread granular castor oil formulations MOLE or VOLE SCRAM (as an aside, we will also extend a 25% Discount for the rest of 2017, while supplies last, on any of the SCRAM repellent products including Snake SCRAM, Deer SCRAM, Rabbit SCRAM, Dog SCRAM, Cat SCRAM). Although moles can provide some benefits such as reducing pests, insects, larvae, and aeration for the lawn, most people don’t like moles, yet don’t want to kill these animals if it is not necessary.
We are always looking for better solutions, but as of right now castor oil is the best organic remedy that we know of for moles and voles from a natural source.