Small Holes In Lawn Overnight – What Digs Holes In Yard?

Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by Grow with Bovees

Have you ever woken up one morning to find that there are random holes in some areas of your lawn? Not sure how they got there, and asking yourself the question, what caused these small holes in lawn overnight?

In this article about finding holes in your grass, we will provide you with some detailed information about what causes holes in your lawn.

What Causes Little Holes In The Ground?

If you find small holes in your lawn, and you feel like they just randomly appeared, you might need to consider whether your grass lawn is infested by small animals or insects or if there may be another reason as to why this is happening to your grass.

In order to fix the problem, it is important to investigate your grass and find the cause and to then control it. Some animals that create holes in your lawn may include rodents, insects, birds and worms.

Let us have a closer look at some critters and animals that may have created holes in your beautiful and lush lawn.

What Animals Digs Small Holes At Night?

There are a few animals that can be present in your yard, which like to dig holes in your lawn during the night.

Continue on to learn more about them and how you can identify them by investigating the holes that were made.

Voles Digging Holes

Voles typically dig holes that resemble shallow, snake-like tunnels. If you notice any rodent droppings or chewed pieces of grass near the holes in your lawn, it is safe to say that voles are the culprit. Sometimes one will also find trails of dead lawn near the holes.

Gophers Dig Holes

These animals like to dig up holes overnight. They make piles of dirt and one will often find damage to the surrounding vegetation.

They feed on the blades and roots of your lawn and, upon investigation of the holes that were made, you will most likely find some grass blades in their tunnels.

The tunnels that are made by gophers may cause some uneven ground levels and sunken grass on your lawn as they affect the structure of the turf.

How To Stop Gophers

In order to stop gophers from digging holes in your grass lawn, place some castor oil pellets into their tunnels. This will repel them. Another way to force gophers to leave your yard alone, is to place peppermint oil or fabric softener inside their burrows.

In the worst case scenario, you can kill them using The Giant Destroyer.

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Mole Holes

Moles dig tunnels underneath the grass surface where they nourish themselves with soil organisms including grubs and earthworms. The tunnels can reach a depth of roughly 10 inches deep.

The tunnels dug by moles are left with a tall mound of granular pellets seen above ground level. It is volcano-shaped and can have a height of about 24 inches tall.

Moles are hardly ever seen on the soil surfaces.

How To Stop Moles

Planting natural mole repellents in and around your garden or yard will help in deterring moles. These natural mole repellents include fritillaries, alliums, garlic, daffodils, marigolds and shallots or green onions or scallions. You can see how to get rid of moles in yard here, with many solutions to mole problems.

Rat Holes

These rodents like to dig holes near big roots, tree snags and fences. You will notice signs of chewed grass clippings, rodent waste and soil dug out lying beside the holes.

Rodent burrows made by rats are usually around 3 inches in width and one would typically find signs of rodent activity inside the hole or near the area of the hole.

If you find multiple holes that resemble the one explained above, you may need to consider a possible rat infestation in your yard.

Getting Rid Of Rats

If you want to control and get rid of a rat infestation in order to stop holes from being dug in your yard, start by mowing overgrown grass, clearing bushes and getting rid of any food sources.

One can then apply some natural rat repellent to the areas where holes are seen. Shake Away Rodent Repellent Granules is one example of a natural repellent for rats.

Squirrels & Chipmunks

Another cause of small holes in your grass lawn may be small rodents such as squirrels. They dig small holes in grass in order to bury their nuts, to hide them away to be eaten at a later stage.

The most common squirrels to dig holes in your yard are the Eastern gray squirrels. They typically make quite shallow, small holes — about 2 inches in diameter — and you will not find a pile of soil around their holes.

Nutsedge weeds present on your grass, also draw squirrels to dig holes. They need to be dug up in order for the squirrels to get hold of the tuber on which they feed.

Chipmunks like to dig and hide away from any possible threat in tunnels and small burrows. Holes created by chipmunks are typically found in areas of the lawn where there are log piles, stumps and building materials.

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Birds Make Shallow Holes

Most birds can also create small holes in your grass. This happens while they hunt for prey. They may peck at your grass at dawn in search of worms and other sources of food. This can cause small holes to form in your lawn.

Bird holes are something you can not really do much about. On a positive note, birds help to keep pest populations at bay in your yard.

What Insect Makes 2-Inches Wide Holes In The Ground?

There are several insect populations that live on the ground underneath the lawn surface during the winter seasons. When spring arrives, these pesky insects typically emerge from the surface, leaving behind small holes in your grass.

Continue on for more information on these underground insects and pest insects.

Earthworm Holes

Earthworms are worms that can be identified as tube-shaped, legless, segmented worms. They can be found squirming around in a healthy yard and are actually seen as a healthy part of the soil. They benefit lawns by aerating the soil underneath them as they feed.

If, however, there is a larger population of worms in your yard, they may cause small holes surrounded by tiny piles of soil in your grass.

Holes caused by earthworms are quite common during spring and fall. Increased moisture and warmer temperatures increase the activity of earthworms.

Getting Rid Of Earthworms

We would advise that you do not go about killing the earthworms in your yard, as they are beneficial insects of the soil.

If you find that their casting is an esthetic issue, let them dry out before brushing them through the grass lawn.

If you wish to reduce the activity of earthworms on your grass, try and collect mowing clippings after mowing the lawn.


Japanese beetles are hungry pests, and they eat plants, grass roots — causing dead grass —, vegetables and flowers. These insects lay their eggs in soil which leaves tiny holes in your yard the size of dimes or quarters when the eggs hatch and the larva starts to turn into beetles, and they start emerging to the surface.

Japanese beetles are really a problem as they also attract other animals such as birds, raccoons and armadillos, which may cause major damage to your grass.

Dealing With Beetles

You should spray them off your property before they start ruining your garden. If the infestation is extensive, use a pesticide to rid your lawn of the beetles.


These insects are also well known for digging holes in lawns. In fact, there are two particular types of wasps that act this way. Namely, the scoliid or cicada-killer wasps.

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Scoliid Wasps

When the end of the summer season approaches, these wasps like looking for grubs to kill by digging their way through the soil of your lawn. This maneuver leaves behind tiny holes in the grass.

If you see these holes being surrounded by plenty of black or bright blue wasps, you will know that they are the culprits.

Cicada-Killer Wasp

This insect is difficult not to notice. They are bright-yellow and black, and about 2 inches in length. This killer wasp preys on cicadas and once they have paralyzed them, they bury the paralyzed prey in the soil, which then leaves behind quite sizable holes. Cicada killer wasps are not harmful to humans.

Quick Tip

If you want to make sure that wasps are in fact the culprits for holes in your lawn, investigate them closely. If you find eggs in the holes, excavation of the holes is necessary to control the problem.

Ants & Termites

These are natural insects of any garden and should only be dealt with if the damage is visible and extensive, keeping in mind that ants attract birds.

Ants and termites create tiny holes in your lawn, which typically consist of small ant hills which are made of tiny pellets of soil.


There are plenty of reasons for the sudden appearance of holes in your lawn, from mole holes, vole holes, to the dog digging. The bottom line is that a lawn with holes is not a very pretty sight and the once lush grass around the holes may take strain and can ultimately become damaged, turning yellow or making brown patches and eventually dying.

Other problems that may arise from holes in your grass are issues with drainage, and they make excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects or lawn pests.

Should you find any holes, it is a good idea to investigate further. Find the cause of the suddenly appearing holes in your lawn and try to get rid of the problem. Once the origin of the problem is sorted out, fill the holes and plant new grass seeds. Consider taking further action if you want to prevent the issue from returning.

Do not forget to consider that your pet may have caused small overnight holes. Dogs, especially, may have destructive behaviors and dig small holes for fun or when they are bored.