Garden Moles

Are garden moles creating havoc in your vegetable garden or flower bed again this year?  

Have you tried a bunch of do-it-yourself remedies you read about online but you still notice mole tunnels running everywhere?

Before you rush out and set a bunch of traps or spray a layer of organic deterrent, it's important to understand which type of animal is creating the tunnels in your garden , eating your vegetables or killing your flowers.

If you're experiencing damage to your vegetable garden or flower bed chances are a mole or vole is the culprit.  

However, even though the names "mole" and "vole" are similar, the foods they eat and the reasons they invade your garden are very different.

Moles vs Voles - What's The Difference?

Moles are insectivores and their primary diet consists mainly of earthworms, grubs and other small invertebrates.  One common misconception is that moles tunnel through your garden and eat your potatoes, beans, or the root systems from your vegetable plants causing them to die.

The truth is, moles tunnel through your garden searching for carnivorous food and they don't actually eat the roots of the plants or the vegetables. However, a single mole can still cause a lot of damage.

As the mole tunnels through your garden or flower bed they disrupt the root system from the grass or plants they travel under and around.  This disruption to the root system is what eventually kills the grass or plants.

Plus, the root system of a plant is a great place to search for earthworms and grubs.  As the mole scrapes away dirt around the roots searching for its food it removes the plants nourishment causing it to die.

Voles, which are commonly called meadow mice or field mice, take advantage of these "pre-made" mole tunnels and use the tunnels to consume plant roots, bulbs, bark and even potatoes along the way.

Voles are very destructive to gardens and they will even gnaw the bark from fruit trees which can cause them to eventually die.

Since voles don't like to feed out in the open, the mole tunnels offer them a perfect feeding environment. 

Trapping Garden Moles

By trapping the moles, you help eliminate the tunnels they create through your garden.  This reduces the pre-made highways used by voles. So, by removing the moles you actually help eliminate the problems caused by voles!

To specifically trap a mole or a vole the trapping method you use is different.

To trap a mole look for a fairly straight portion of tunnel that probably leads into or out of your garden.  Avoid the small, short zig zagging tunnels that run randomly though the garden and focus on the longer, straighter runs.

To determine if the runway is active you can step on a small peroration of the tunnel and check it the next day to see if its raised.  A raised tunnel indicates the mole has passed through and the tunnel is active.

Next, choose a reputable mole trap.  I prefer the Victor Out O'Sight scissor trap because they're cheep, easy to set and they work great! Set the trap according to the manufactures specifications. 

Trapping Voles

The easiest way to trap a vole is by using a standard mouse trap baited with peanut butter.  Once you have your trap baited, dig up a small section of the mole tunnel and place the trap inside.  

Next, place a bucket or similar device over the tunnel opening to prevent light and other animals from reaching the trap.  As the vole travels down the mole tunnel in search of food it will encounter you baited mouse trap……something they can't resists.  Although its really simple, this method works great for trapping voles.

Another option for trapping voles outside of a mole tunnel is to take a small box and cut a hole in two ends (creating a tunnel).  Set the baited mouse trap under the box and place the box near vole damage.  Thick brush or overhanging branches are a good spot to place your box and trap.  

Overall - Garden Moles

Garden moles and voles can create a lot of damage to your lawn and garden.  Since moles and voles are different animals, it's important to determine exactly which one is the problem and trap them accordingly.  

Whether you have a mole or even a vole, both are pretty easy to trap. Just follow the instructions listed above and purchase a couple quality mole traps or mouse traps and you will have a pest free garden in no time!


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