Is your yard looking like some sort of battle has been taking place?  Odds are there is and it is you versus the voles.  That is not a typo…voles, not moles.

They are different things.  First of all, voles are cute, they look much like a large mouse and they eat a plant-based diet. Voles are also known as field mice.  Moles look like something out of a horror movie with no ears or eyes, long noses, and long claws, they also eat worms, grubs, and insects.

Both can cause damage in your yard by creating underground tunnels and mounds of dirt in your lawn.

I have had voles in my yard now at two homes and I tell you…they are hard to get under control.  In my first home, it just happened all of a sudden. I had to call the guy who had some yard work for me to tell me what it was.  I had never heard of voles.  I am by no means an expert but I have spent hours and a fair amount of money fighting the vole.

Besides voles and moles, you might have a gopher.  Their damage is more obvious.  I had a gopher in my old neighborhood.  He never bothered my yard but I did see him sunning himself on a number of occasions.  Two of my neighbors had gardens so my yard was of no interest. I have to admit, that gopher was living the good life.  They also can cause dirt mounds and tunnels, but they are bigger to fit the bigger gopher body.

What do you do about them? From all my research…castor oil. I used to buy these castor oil pellets from the farm store. Sprinkle them close to the house before a rainstorm or water them in; they dissolve into the soil.  A few days later on a rainy day or water them in again near the house and farther into the lawn…and keep doing that to drive them out…but start from the center and move away so they have a director to retreat. I have also read that capsaicin from hot pepper plants works as will using urine from a fox or a coyote.  Voles will think these natural predators are near and leave the area. I have also used the sonic spikes that make a sound that is supposed to keep critters at bay.

I did make some serious progress with the castor oil pellets and sonic spikes.  You could always call in an exterminator but there is the cost and if you have to consider if there is a risk to your kids, pets, and other animals in your yard that are not a problem.

Here are some suggestions from my go-to resource for everything the Farmers’ Almanac (the one with the orange and green cover and based in Lewiston)

Voles and Moles

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