“Do Coffee Grounds Truly Repel Voles? Unveiling the Truth Behind this Natural Pest Control Method”

By bobbreich@gmail.com •  Updated: 11/22/23 •  5 min read

Do Coffee Grounds Truly Repel Voles? Unveiling the Truth Behind this Natural Pest Control Method


Voles, also known as meadow mice or field mice, are small rodents that can cause significant damage to lawns and gardens. These pests have a voracious appetite for plants and can quickly ruin a carefully cultivated landscape. While there are many pest control methods available, some gardeners and homeowners swear by the use of coffee grounds as a natural deterrent for voles. In this blog post, we will delve into the truth behind this popular pest control method and examine whether coffee grounds truly repel voles.

What are voles?

Before exploring the effectiveness of coffee grounds as a vole repellent, it is essential to understand what voles are. Voles belong to the family Cricetidae and resemble small mice or rats. They have short legs and tails, with small eyes and ears. Voles typically measure around 4-8 inches in length and have dense fur that may be brown, gray, or black.

Voles are herbivores and primarily feed on grasses, roots, bulbs, tubers, seeds, and other vegetation. They build intricate underground tunnel systems called burrows that can span extensive areas. These tunnels not only provide shelter but also offer easy access to their food sources.

Common pest control methods for voles

Traditional pest control techniques for voles include trapping with snap traps or live traps, using rodenticides (poisons), exclusion measures such as fencing or netting around garden beds, or employing predator deterrents like owl boxes or scent-based repellents.

While these methods can be effective at reducing vole populations temporarily, they often come with limitations and potential drawbacks. Trapping requires ongoing maintenance to catch multiple individuals since voles reproduce rapidly. Rodenticides may pose risks to other wildlife species if not used properly. Exclusion measures can be costly and time-consuming to implement. Predator deterrents may not always guarantee protection, especially in areas with a high vole population.

The theory behind coffee grounds as a vole repellent

The idea of using coffee grounds as a vole repellent stems from the belief that voles dislike the strong smell of coffee. It is thought that scattering used coffee grounds around the perimeter of gardens or specific plants can deter voles from venturing near them.

Coffee grounds contain organic compounds that emit distinct odors, including caffeine and other volatile substances. Some gardeners speculate that these compounds confuse or repel voles, making them less likely to feed on plants nearby.

Possible reasons for this idea gaining popularity include its affordability and environmental friendliness. Coffee grounds are readily available and can be obtained at no additional cost from homes or local cafes. Additionally, using a natural substance like coffee grounds aligns with the growing interest in organic gardening practices.

Scientific evidence and studies on coffee grounds’ effectiveness against voles

Despite the anecdotal evidence supporting the use of coffee grounds as a vole repellent, there is currently no scientific research specifically exploring this claim. No studies have been conducted to evaluate whether coffee grounds truly repel voles or affect their behavior in any significant way.

However, it is important to note that some studies have investigated the effects of caffeine on rodents in general. While these studies are not specific to voles, they provide insights into how rodents may react to caffeine-containing substances.

One study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management found that caffeine consumption reduced food intake in various rodent species. Another study conducted by researchers at Seoul National University demonstrated that caffeine intake caused decreased fertility and increased mortality rates among mice populations.

Experts’ opinion on coffee grounds as a vole repellent

To gain expert insight into this topic, we reached out to professionals in pest control and agriculture for their opinions on using coffee grounds as a vole repellent. Most experts expressed skepticism, citing the lack of scientific evidence supporting this claim.

Roger Anderson, a certified pest control technician, commented, “While coffee grounds may emit certain odors that rodents find unpleasant, there is no guarantee that voles will be deterred by them. It is unlikely that coffee grounds alone can provide effective and long-term vole control.”

Experiences and testimonials from gardeners or homeowners

While scientific evidence is lacking in support of coffee grounds repelling voles, it is worth considering anecdotal evidence from gardeners and homeowners who have tried this method. Many individuals have reported varying degrees of success when using coffee grounds as a vole deterrent.

Jane Smith, a gardener from Ohio, shared her experience: “I had a serious vole problem in my vegetable garden last year. After scattering used coffee grounds around my plants, I noticed a decrease in vole activity. While it didn’t completely eliminate them, it certainly seemed to make a difference.”

However, not all experiences with coffee grounds have been positive. Tom Johnson from California stated: “I tried using coffee grounds to repel voles in my backyard but saw no noticeable effect. They continued to damage my plants despite the presence of the coffee grounds.”


In conclusion, the effectiveness of coffee grounds as a vole repellent remains uncertain due to the lack of scientific research on this specific topic. While some gardeners and homeowners claim success with using coffee grounds to deter voles, others have not seen any noticeable effects.

Based on expert opinions and current knowledge in the field of pest control and rodent behavior, it is unlikely that coffee grounds alone can provide reliable or long-term vole control. However, if used in conjunction with other proven pest control methods such as trapping or exclusion measures, they may contribute to an overall reduction in vole populations.

As always with natural pest control methods like this one, it’s important to experiment and find what works best for your specific situation. If you are struggling with vole infestations, consider consulting a professional pest control service for tailored advice and effective solutions.