Method 1: Vole control using garlic – effective, cheap and friendly!


01a vole control using garlic

This mole and vole control method is one of the best ways to get rid of the rodents. It is very effective immediately … but also lasts for year. Unlike most other approaches, it’s almost for free, does no harm to animals and the environment and is totally safe for pets and children. A few hours of effort need to be put in once … but thereafter no further work will need to be done at all.


Mole & vole control with Garlic – how does this work?

As we humans know too well, garlic has a very strong smell and taste. Moles and voles have extremely sensitive noses … after all that’s how they find their food digging through thick soil. So if garlic smells already so strong to humans … we can only imagine how much stronger and off-putting it must be to those sensitive rodent noses. And this is exactly the basis for this mole and vole control method: The rodents won’t even go near a plant of garlic.

The good news is that garlic is really easy to plant and grow: You simply put an ordinary clove of garlic in the ground and it will grow all by itself (returning every year).

In most cases, simply placing one clove near the plant to be protected is already sufficient. To have maximum mole and vole control we recommend to place 3-4 cloves around the plant you want to protect. For vegetable beds we suggest to place the garlic in rows along the beds. (Distance between two garlic plants should be approx 2 feet/60 cm, and about 3 feet/1 meter between rows). For larger areas like lawns we recommend to place the garlic around the edges or trees, so that it doesn’t affect your ability to mow the lawn.


How well does this method work?

This method of mole and vole control works astonishingly well: Protection is immediate when you place the gloves in the ground.

As the garlic grows back every year you also have an excellent long-term solution. You can even cut the garlic (e.g. with a lawn mower) and it will still grow back.


Is this method expensive?

No. The only cost for this mole and vole control method is the purchase of the garlic. Even if you have to buy a lot of garlic, it is quite cheap. And you only have to do it once as it grows back by itself every year!


How much effort does this method involve?

There are three steps to this mole and vole control method:

  1. Decide where you will place the garlic and estimate how much you need to buy. (Depending on what you are trying to protect, this can take from a few minutes to an hour for bigger and more complex areas.)
  2. Buy the garlic.
  3. Place the garlic cloves in the soil. (This goes very fast once you’ve done a few … for example you can protect 50 single trees/bushes or a medium size lawn in 2 hours)

The best about this mole and vole control method is that once you have done above 3 steps, you do not need to do anything any more for years to come.


Environmental, animal and safety matters

Unlike many other mole and vole control methods, no actual harm is done to the rodents or any other animals or plants.

This approach is also perfectly safe with pets and children.


Summary of pro’s and con’s


  • Very effective short and long-term projection against moles and voles
  • Very environmentally friendly: no harm to animals and the environment
  • Cheap and easy to implement
  • Safe to pets and children
  • Needs to be done only once and will protect for years to come with zero effort


  • One-time effort to plant can take several hours depending on size


For a complete overview over all 18 vole and mole control methods … see our page: “18 methods for getting rid of voles and moles




20 responses to “Method 1: Vole control using garlic – effective, cheap and friendly!

  1. I had voles starting to make pathways in my finely manicured lawn, so I cut the grass real short where their pathways were and sprinkled minced garlic in the pathways. End result: No more voles, however Doves appear to like garlic because a few started appearing in my yard.
    Total cost: $10 for a few jars of minced garlic, and what you don’t use tastes great on grilled steak or salmon!

  2. Will this method work for gophers, as well? They are everywhere this year!!

    • Martin R Collins

      Hi Susan, we have seen best results for vole control. Garlic can put off gophers to some extent, but probably not as the only method.

  3. Hi, I made the mistake of installing all of my raised beds without a metal screen guard to keep the moles and voles out. I am completely willing to try planting a perimeter of garlic plants in all of the beds if it will work. I have garlic growing in one of the beds and I still see some evidence of the mammals. I don’t think they damage the garlic but they still tunnel around in the bed where it’s planted. I wonder if raised beds are too much of a perfect world for these damn things. Will it work? Thanks.

  4. Kim Pishioneri

    I realize this may be a stupid question, but do you peel the cloves or leave them in their tissue when you plant them?

    • Martin R Collins

      Hi Kim,

      you can do either, but it’s best to leave them in their tissue. This reduces the risk of bacteria or fungi attacking them before the cloves grow and turn into a plant … but then again garlic is pretty resistant anyway.

  5. Yvette Spicer

    My vole problem is in front of my chicken coop & run. My chickens are free range during the day so have the ‘run’ of my backyard. I cannot plant garlic there as they would rip out the plants or totally decimate them. Would poking a hole in the vole tunnels and putting something down there … would Castor Oil work?

    • Martin R Collins

      Hi Yvette,
      we describe vole repellents like castor oil in method 8, see
      Castor oil is a fast and effective way of getting rid of voles, but the big problem is … that it doesn’t last long and voles are likely to come back in the future (can take several years or several weeks 😉 ). And it needs to be done in all affected areas. Preferably in one go, to avoid the voles moving from one side of your property to the other. If you go for this method of vole control, try to do it in times where it’s unlikely to rain for a while.

  6. Louis Soulcheck

    Does garlic or caster oil really work to rid the yard of moles and grubs

    • Martin R Collins

      Hi Louis,

      whilst both castor oil and garlic depend on smell, there is a big difference: Castor oil smells (a lot) but only for a few days or weeks (depending on the weather). Garlic (if planted) smells continuously as the plant grows and splits. That’s why garlic is a much better method of vole control, especially long-term. For it to be effective you need to ensure to plant the right number of cloves as described in the article.

  7. Charla Green

    Thank u I live in the mountains sometimes can’t wait to try it.

  8. do I just plant them is certain areas of the yard? How far apart. I don’t know of anything special they are after except grubs.

    • Martin R Collins

      Hi Linda, to answer your question on this mole and vole control method, it’s probably easiest to consider the garlic as a “virtual barrier” that the rodents won’t cross. So if you want to protect a young single tree, plant 4-5 cloves in a circle around its roots. (Diameter of the circle around 2 ft/60 cm). As a very rough rule, the root system usually extends to the same area as the crown of the tree. To protect flower beds or lawns, the best is to plant a clove every foot or so.

  9. I am very frustrated. We live on the water and my whole neighborhood has had a huge population increase this past year with what appear to be voles. They have devastated my vegetable garden and my neighbors last year and I want to do something before I plant this year. I have dogs so don’t want to use poison or spray the lawn. I have a solar sonic repellent I just purchased but feel this isn’t sufficient. I will try the garlic but the comments make me worried this may not work, either.

  10. I will try the garlic cloves. How about crushed garlic bought at the store? How about fish oil that stinks but a great fertilizer?

    • Martin R Collins

      Crushed garlic and fish oil do work very well as a method of vole control. However, the effect will only last a few months as it gets washed away by the rain et cetera. If the object is to get rid of a lot of voles fast when you have a peak infastation, then that’s good. But you will still need to use a more long-term method of vole control for the long-run.

  11. I planted garlic cloves 1.5 inches deep around the perimeter of a Japanese Maple that had become the home of many voles as evidenced by a myriad of holes and tunnels. The next day to my amazement all the cloves were sitting next to the hole and the planting holes looked they had been cleanly dug out. Do squirrels like garlic? Because if they don’t, those little rascal voles smelled the garlic, pushed the cloves out of their planting holes and left nice fresh holes in the ground. Has anyone experienced this phenomenom? Guess I’ll have to try the castor oil treatment next :^(

  12. Garlicgoes dormant in summer. Does it still.repel voles?

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