How can I get rid of moles and voles in my yard?

Asked October 17, 2013, 11:39 AM EDT

They are destroying our lawn. We have tried a metal trap but didn't catch one. Also, have tried poison in the holes twice. Do you have any suggestions to help?

Harford County Maryland

1 Response

If the damage is limited to runways in the lawn, the offending creature is a mole. Moles are loners and very territorial, so you may only have one or two moles in the landscape. They are capable of digging 12 feet/hour, so one mole can cover a lot of territory. Also, moles are relatively beneficial in that they eat grubs and they aerate your soil, but, of course, they can become a nuisance.
If you want to eliminate a mole, you must find an active runway, i.e., one that is used every day. Press some of the runways down and observe which one(s) is repaired the next day. Then, purchase two regular mouse traps, take a trowel to the runway, remove about one foot of the roof of runway, clean out the bottom of the runway so that you can place the two traps on the floor of the runway facing each direction. You do not need to bait the traps, but set them. Press the soil down on either side of the traps and cover the open area with a board or tile. Check the traps the next day.
Be advised, if you trap one mole, another mole may discover the vacated territory within a few days.
Voles are vegetation eaters and are colonizers, i.e., if you have voles, you may have 80-100 voles. If you notice loosened soil around the base of your ornamental shrubs or around your flower beds and small, quarter-sized holes, you should place numerous mouse traps around the area on the surface and baited with peanut butter or a small piece of fruit. If you have success catching voles, keep trapping throughout the fall and winter.
We do not recommend using poison since squirrels and chipmunks can move these around and make them available to pets and small children. Besides, by using traps you can measure your success.