Moles and voles are pests that can damage gardens and lawns and create frustration for homeowners. Many chemical methods are on the market to repel and destroy these animals, but these are very toxic to other harmless and beneficial creatures. There are several alternatives to toxic chemicals to prevent moles and voles from infesting your property.
Using Nature Instead of Chemicals
Natural pest control uses barrier methods and the inherent aversion of moles and voles to certain smells. They are generally easy to implement in your garden or lawn area, and do not contain toxic substances that can hurt pets and children or create chemical run-off into nearby lakes and streams. There are numerous methods to do this, some of which work better than others. You may need to resort to multiple methods to deter stubborn animals.
Types of Natural Repellents
Natural repellents can be broken up into several categories--the barrier methods, food-source methods, and smell-aversion methods. Barrier methods include wire mesh or fencing around the perimeter of garden or lawn areas or caging around bulbs or roots of favourite plants that voles love to eat. Food-source methods deny the creatures access to feeding, such as controlling grubs that moles routinely seek out for food. Smell-aversion methods include substances like essential spearmint or peppermint oil, castor oil, Bounce fabric softener sheets, or ammonia. Moles' and voles' natural fear of predators can be used against them with the use of commercially available fox, coyote and bobcat urine products for deterrence.
Effectiveness of Natural Repellents
Barriers are one of the most effective means of repelling moles and voles, but are not always foolproof. Planting marigolds, scilla, castor bean plants and euphorbia can also help to repel moles. Ammonia and castor oil are most commonly used substances for mole and vole deterrence.
How To Use Natural Repellents
Low barriers of wire mesh cloth or chicken wire can be constructed around the perimeter of the affected area to repel moles and voles. If underground bulbs are being eaten by voles, you can contain the bulbs in small wire cages buried beneath the soil. A castor oil solution of 177ml of castor oil and 2 tablespoons of Murphy's Oil Soap in 1 gallon of water can be used to spray the lawn to repel moles and voles. Soak a cloth in ammonia and drop it into mole tunnels or where vole damage has been detected. Predator urine is applied around the perimeter of the affected area where voles are a problem and in the entrance of tunnels made by moles.
Safety of Natural Repellents
Barrier methods are, of course, completely safe for children, pets and the environment. Natural repellent substances are also generally safe to use, but keep family pets away from areas where strong substances like caster oil and ammonia are in use. Predator urine is safe to use around pets and children. As with any substance for garden use, wash your hands thoroughly after handling.