Asked on Mar 27, 2014

Voles attaching my Garden again - now what?

Tim Saiers
by Tim Saiers
I believe I had Voles in my garden last year and they most of my crops including onions from underground. I see holes in the garden but can't catch them. Now they are back and the onions I just planted are starting to disappear. Any ideas how to get rid of these creatures.
  20 answers
  • Libby Yuewhoo Libby Yuewhoo on Mar 27, 2014
    You poor fellow, I know just what you are going through. Voles ate my beets, carrots, swiss chard and hosta last year. I've spent the winter doing research. First of all clean up all mulch or clutter that might offer protection to the rodent. Dig a trench on either side of your planted rows and sink a row of close knit chicken wire, tight enough not let rodent pass through. Bury it. Might be a good idea to have it high enough so you can see it when you hoe. A friend of mine has given me a P3 Mole Chaser which is suppose to be effective on voles, moles, shrews & gophers. Wish me luck and good luck to you too.

  • Julia Brown Julia Brown on Mar 27, 2014
    A few years ago we had many underground tunneling visitors to our church garden. They actually caused the pavers to raise up! I read about Juicy Fruit gum being effective. They can't resist the smell, but can't digest it once they've eaten it. I broke the sticks into tiny pieces, and put them into the main entrances to their tunnels. There were few to no tunnels the next year. I continue to use it if I see anything remotely like a tunnel. There has been no damage for two years now.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 28, 2014
    You can use mouse snap traps, tucked under an overturned flower pot that has been propped up on one side.

  • Moles dig the tunnels and voles use the mole runs to get to and eat the plants. You can save your hostas in the future if there is a single root by putting in water and within a couple weeks you will have new roots and a revived plant-I have saved many. As Libby suggested, many used chicken wire or hardware wire to make baskets to plant their bulbs and other plants. I suggest using rock too and dig a hole twice the size, put rock in the bottom up to the bottom of the plant and then rock around the edges and fill in with dirt. I find this to work and have been doing this with new plantings. Julia is right and i was told a long time ago by an old timer that Juicy fruit gum works. He actually chewed it for a minute and put it in the hole because he loved the gum LOL Now there is another trick too which if you have cats who use the kitty litter-shove the cat crap down the holes. I know, gross, but it has worked for me in the past but now that I have dogs they think cat crap is a treat and go digging for it- Ugh! Eliminating the food source for moles is important because moles do serve a purpose by eating grubs and giving my dogs something to do (to my dismay). I also realized that sometimes the moles do a good thing and loosen my hard clay soil, then my dogs dig the holes to get to the moles, and so with that I have a bigger bed with better soil. LOL I also use castor oil in my water cans which is a repellent for moles and voles. Some add dishwashing liquid along with it. Castor oil works and this is what is in the sprayers you buy at the garden centers. It is environmentally safe. I never knew anything ate onions except certain larvae and bugs. You may also have ground squirrels which are a whole other critter to deal with. How large are the holes?

  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Mar 28, 2014
    I have an extreme vole problem in my area, too. Voles wiped out a whole bed of iris last year. I use Mole Max which is a granulated product or you can get it in liquid (used, mainly, to spray a lawn) and it is effective. It contains castor oil which has been mentioned and they will move away from an area if you use it. However, you have to reapply about every six to eight weeks. The used kitty litter is another option if you have indoor cats but I don't. For my veggies and herbs, I have resorted to container gardening until I can get some raised beds that are fortified with plenty of wire.

  • Joyce Pinkava Joyce Pinkava on Mar 28, 2014
    Moles hate euphorbia. Plant some in your garden. But they are invasive.

  • Sally Roesner Fuhr Sally Roesner Fuhr on Mar 28, 2014
    Feral cats do a real job on voles. They have the patience to just sit at the hole and wait. My JR terriorists are also very effective if you don't mind having a system of canals in your lawn.

    • @Sally Roesner Fuhr My indoor-outdoor cats will sit and wait too. In the summer they catch many which the dogs then scoop in for their snack-yuck! My dogs enjoy digging for moles and have caught large ones already in the past 2 weeks!

  • Sally Roesner Fuhr Sally Roesner Fuhr on Mar 29, 2014
    My cats will catch those stripey little chipmonkey critters and eat all but the tail. They leave that in front of my porch for me I guess. I could imagine them gagging on that!

  • Warren Searfoss Warren Searfoss on Mar 30, 2014
    there is a product out there that contains Cayenne pepper and other natural products you spray around the garden but not on the plants all . you have to mix it ... it smells not too good but dissipates after awhile it kept the moles and voles out of my garden when they were chewing my tomatoes. you only have to respray after a good rain

  • Jessica C Jessica C on Mar 30, 2014
    I would go out and get a big, bad kitty cat!

  • Christine Christine on Mar 31, 2014
    I have 5, beloved, idiot cats that dont't hunt. :) Bringing in a wild cat? How are you going to care for it in the winter? Voles are field mice. Poison 'em with mouse poison. Moles'll eat the grubs in your lawn, but then you have mole trouble. Then come the voles to eat everything organic you have. I use those little green balls 'o mouse poison. I get them in bulk at the Southern States.

    • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Mar 31, 2014
      I can't risk using poison because I have a little dog that uses the yard. However, it might work for others that don't have other critters using the space. I'll have to stick with the Mole Maxx and castor oil. I'd even grow castor bean plants but those are also deadly to pets.

  • Warren Searfoss Warren Searfoss on Apr 02, 2014
    not poison...... it just smells that bad plus the pepper drives the moles and voles away doesnt hurt them

  • DORLIS DORLIS on Aug 26, 2015
    For above ground, there is a product called "Liquid Fence". I get mine from the local feed store or you can make some. It is rotten eggs and garlic. The smell goes away soon for humans because we don't have a good sense of smell. Maybe try running some garlic through the blender and putting it around your garden. You always need garlic for cooking.

  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Aug 27, 2015
    If you would put some granules of Mole Maxx into the planting holes when you set out your onions and other plants, and continue every thirty days or so to sprinkle some more around the plants, they should leave them alone. I've been using it for over three years and, now, the voles stay at the other end of the yard because most of my garden has been treated with the Mole Maxx...see if your garden center carries it.

  • Tim Saiers Tim Saiers on Aug 27, 2015
    thanks, I will give this a try. Nothing else is working. The voles just keep destroying my crops.

    • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Aug 28, 2015
      @Tim Saiers They are so destructive. Other than calling an exterminator company (cost:???!!!), I didn't know what to do other than container planting which, in Zone 9, doesn't work for some veggies, I found the Mole Maxx to work. It does take about $20 a month, in the growing season, to keep enough of it in the flower and veggie beds to discourage the little critters but I've lost only two flower plants this season. Make sure you do buy the brand, Mole Maxx. There are some others out there, based on fox or coyote urine, that don't work as well. Good luck.

  • DORLIS DORLIS on Sep 08, 2015

  • Tina Hill Tina Hill on Feb 08, 2016
    is there a way to know if it is voles or moles? we have ...springy mushy areas in our new yard and my nephew thinks it is moles ... i just want whatever they are gone.... do u think predator urine would drive them away ?

    • See 1 previous
    • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Feb 09, 2016
      @Tina Hill Voles don't leave a noticeable tunnel like moles do. Moles eat grubs and worms, etc. but the voles eat the green stuff...veggies and most flowers. As I said, above, I use Mole Maxx to discourage the is made of castor bean which the voles hate. You could grow castor beans if you don't have any pets or children in the yard but the beans are poisonous so I only grow them in a front border. Also, I've noticed that they steer clear of marigolds, calendulas, rosemary plants. However, they love veggies and my rose bushes. I pour Mole Maxx down their tiny little holes and sprinkle it in every hole I plant something in and, then, every thirty days, I scatter some more around and look for the disturbed dirt (that's where they put the excavated dirt...but they scatter it and not pile it up like gophers do). It sounds as though you do have voles.

  • Barbara Null Barbara Null on Apr 01, 2016
    my son who is an exterminator, came by this past week and set some live traps up. These are available in stores. He followed the tracks and put them at each hole, which we have many. He then put a rock on it so other critters can't move it.. put down "Nice" (from Walgreens) granola bars along the paths.. Now we wait.. lol.. other then a shotgun in the holes... lol

  • Tim Saiers Tim Saiers on Apr 01, 2016
    thanks for the idea Barbara. So far , nothing is working.

  • Jacusa Jacusa on Apr 02, 2016
    they went away… when I stuffed used kitty letter in the paths….and used peppermint oil they disappeared. First I stuffed used kitty litter… then sprinkled peppermint oil … tromped down on the ground really well….and so far no more critters….. gone for about 6 weeks…. if they come back I'll repeat the process…. I know the used kitty litter is gross…. if you don't have a cat… ask someone who does…. You can get peppermint oil… really strong stuff…. at GNC health Food… Walmart might carry it…. I got mine … fairly inexpensive at Swanson Health Foods online… which is where I buy all my health Food items. It's worth a shot…. Good luck! JAC

    • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Apr 02, 2016
      @Jacusa The used kitty litter is usually recommended by the experts but I don't have a cat or know anyone who does. The Mole Maxx is still the only thing I can use that works. Of course, a professional exterminator can rid them for you but that is expensive.