Moles and Voles are 2 rodents that
most gardeners love to hate. They are different species and have different
diets, so the methods for controlling each is different.
Moles dig long, raised tunnels,
usually in your lawn. They eat grub worms, earthworms and some other
invertebrates, so it is really difficult to control them with a poison bait.
They are blind and nocturnal so you rarely see them, only the damage. If you
are lucky and actually see them moving in the tunnels with their paddle like
feet, you can dig them out and dispatch that individual with a shovel. Small
dogs such as Rat Terriers or Jack Russell Terriers can be used to dig them up
and kill them with less effort than any person I know. The good news is, on
the average there are only about 4 moles per acre.
Moles have two types of
tunnels. They have permanent ones that they use all the time and foraging
tunnels that they use to look for food. If you will stomp down all the
tunnels in your property 2 or 3 mornings in a row, you will quickly find out
which are the permanent ones because they will be back the next day. If you
purchase the mole traps that look like a spring loaded miniature pitchfork,
dig this into one of the permanent tunnels. With luck you will have a
dead mole in the morning. You will need to repeat until there are no more
Voles look like a small brown
field mouse with a stump for a tail. They love to eat the root systems of
plants. I am sure they read garden catalogs because their taste seems to lead
them to the most expensive plants in your garden. You know when you have them
because a plant that looked good the night before is now a wilted pile of
leaves with no roots. Voles love rich, loose, improved garden soil. Exactly
what you work so hard to do for your plants. They especially love Hostas but
have been known to prey on Azaleas, Dogwood, Hydrangeas and a long list of
Voles dig small holes in the
ground about the size of a 50 cent piece. Try baiting ordinary mouse traps
with either a shelled, unsalted pecan or a pealed acorn. Set the trap next to
a vole hole. Cover both the vole hole and the trap with an upside down flower
pot. (If you use a plastic pot, put a brick or something similar on top
so it doesn’t blow over; you could trap a bird!) If you have many voles
set many traps and check daily. You will make a dent in the population and if
you are persistent get down to a control level. Short of a nuclear
blast there will always be some voles. People that have several outdoor
cats report good results in controlling vole populations.
Like all things in
nature, not all cats are created equal, so this may or may not be a
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