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Controlling Moles, Voles and Shrews in the Lawn

The raised ridged areas across your lawn caused by tunneling below the ground's surface are tell-tale signs of unwanted creatures in your yard. Moles, voles and shrews can wreak havoc on lawns causing damage to the root system of your grass and ruining the look of your lawn. Their tunneling may cause destruction to your flowers, vegetables and shrubbery. Once they have arrived, what do you do? The experts at Southern States can show you how to identify which burrowing creatures have invaded your yard and how to get rid of them.

The first step to removing these unwanted creatures is to identify what ground-burrowing critters you are up against. Moles are the largest, ranging in size from 5 – 7 inches with velvety fur and paddle-like forelimbs for digging. Voles are approximately 4 to 5 inches long and covered with short, brown fur. Shrews are the smallest of the three averaging slightly less than 4 inches in length with short, grayish fur.


While moles can be beneficial to the soil because they cultivate and aerate the dirt while tunneling for food, homeowners object to the unsightly molehills and tunnels that can destroy a beautiful lawn. According to the National Mole Hunters Association, moles can dig 100 feet of tunnels in a single day. They dig because they are looking for food – mainly earthworms, grubs and other insects. Be aware that when moles are present, voles and shrews are likely to be around.


Voles are herbivores that travel through mole tunnels and survive by eating grasses, bulbs, tubers, and herbaceous plants. While moles damage your plants when looking for insects, voles are actually eating your vegetables and flowers! Voles burrow into the root systems of shrubs and trees and they will gnaw on tree trunks causing substantial damage.


Shrews create dime sized holes in the lawn gaining access to existing mole tunnels. Shrews are insectivores and can be found under logs and other damp, shaded areas where insects live. Many people will leave shrews alone since they eat insects and grubs and are not as destructive as moles and voles.

How To Get Rid of Them

There are several approaches to ridding your yard of moles, voles and shrews. You may have to try more than one method depending on how many types of creatures are living in your mole tunnels. The most successful way to eradicate moles is to trap them using a mole trap that is carefully positioned into the mole’s active tunnel. Voles and shrews can be trapped and killed with mouse traps. Another option is to use poison. While many people don't like this option, it can successfully rid your yard of destructive lawn vermin.

If you don't want to kill the animals, you can try different methods that are meant to deter and discourage them from returning. Southern States offers mole repelling products for this purpose. Since moles primarily eat earthworms and other subterranean insects like grubs, removing the food source can often eliminate the problem. Apply grub control as part of your lawn maintenance program. Also, keep your grass cut regularly and remove old logs, brush, leaves and rocks to eliminate the insects that moles and shrews feed on. Removing overgrown vegetation and debris can help control voles. Getting an outdoor cat is a great idea too!

Talk to your local Southern States expert about ridding your yard of unwanted burrowing creatures. Visit your local Southern States or shop online to find the information and products you need to solve your lawn and garden challenges.

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