PRODUCTION

A Comfortable Mole with Robyn Rogers


May 5, 2021

You’ve worked hard to create a beautiful yard. You’ve fed and watered your lawn just like you’re supposed to. You’ve planted perennials and annuals throughout the property, bringing pops of color and interest. You’ve even gotten the garden in that you’ve been promising to do for the last two years. And then it happens. At first, you only see one or two – those volcano shaped mounds erupting here and there. Ok, you can live with that. Then another, and another, and another pop up. Your yard begins to look like a mine field.

Mole

There’s no rhyme or reason as to where the next one will show up. And it doesn’t seem to matter what you’ve done to the surface, these mounds appear in the lawn, in the flower bed, in the garden, and even along the driveway. You have moles. Or more likely, you have a mole.

Moles like to live alone. Even though you have evidence of moles all over the place, it is probably just one very industrious insectivore. Did you know, a mole can dig to disappearing in ten seconds? Even more impressive is how fast it can “swim” with its paddle-like claws through a tunnel. Eighty feet per minute! No wonder they get around.
Moles spend most of their time looking for food. And for most moles, the menu mainly consists of grubs, beetles, insects, and earthworms. They find these tasty morsels just below the surface of the ground. They prefer to dig through moist, loamy soil – the common make-up around the Pacific Northwest. They are less comfortable in sand or clay soils. Probably because they won’t find much to eat there.

While moles aren’t likely to eat your plants, they may still cause damage to your flora. Not only do their tunnels disturb and break roots, but they also create easy access for voles and other rodents who do like to eat seeds and roots. A mole might not be interested in your spring bulbs, but a vole is happy to make it his lunch.

If you have ever gone to battle against a mole, you know it can be a difficult war to win. Moles don’t like to sit still, and they are hard to predict – as you can easily see by the random placement of their mole hills. But there are a few approaches that can give you relief. They break into four main groups: traps, repellents, nematodes and poisons.

TRAPSHav-a-heart Live Traps, Cinch Traps
Traps are probably the most sure-fire way to make sure your mole problem disappears for good. They are also the cheapest solution.

Cinch Single Mole Trap

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When setting traps, make sure to look for freshly made mounds. Cinch traps are proven effective for killing moles and are worth the extra work of digging them into the ground.

Havahart Live Animal Cage Trap, 18 in.

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Live traps can be used in nearly the same way as kill traps. It’s really all about the placement. By digging a “plug” of lawn out around a mole hill, you can easily repair the area once the mole is caught.
Placing the traps in the tunnels on both sides of the hole ensures that if a mole comes through from either direction, it will be caught. If you don’t catch a mole within two days, you are probably in an abandoned tunnel system and should try another mound.

REPELLENTSMoleMax, Liquid Fence
The first thing you notice about a mole is that pointy pink nose. Well, it’s not just good-looking, it is exceptional. Moles are some of the only animals that can smell in stereo. This means they can smell quickly and determine the direction from which the smell is coming. In other words, they are super smellers. We can use this to our advantage with repellents.

Bonide Molemax Mole-Repellent Granules, 10 lbs.

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Most repellents are liquid, but some are pelleted form. Working from the center of your property out, you can slowly “push” the moles out of your yard. There are two main concerns with this approach.

LIQUID FENCE 71666 Ready-to-Spray Mole Repellent, 10000 sq-ft Coverage Area Bottle

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First, you must reapply regularly, or moles will return when the unpleasant smell is gone. Second, you might consider where you will be “pushing” the moles to. Is it your neighbor’s yard? Is it into your vegetable garden? Moles are going to move somewhere. Do you have a good place for them to go?

POISONSMoleWorms, Poison Peanut Pellets, Giant Destroyer
Poisons are easy to use and come in a variety of choices.

Sweeney's Poison Mole Worms 10 pk.

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Since moles love to eat earthworms, choosing the poisonous worms makes a lot of sense. Pellets are another easy option. Most pellets are poured into a hole leading to a main tunnel. Moles should die within a couple of days of ingestion. Yet another option is gas. You’ll find several ways to administer gas into the tunnels, including smoke bombs that you light and pipes to connect to your car’s exhaust.

Giant Destroyer Rodent Gasser, 2 oz., 4 pk.

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Whichever way you tackle poisons, make sure to read the directions carefully and be aware of other animals that might encounter them.

NEMATODESBeneficial Nematodes
A newer idea you can find on the shelves is beneficial nematodes. These micro-organisms thrive on a diet of grubs and other soft-bodied insects. They are easily mixed into water and sprayed out onto your property, seeping down into the soil. Nematodes are voracious eaters and have the added benefit of increasing their numbers through procreation. Nematodes won’t do anything about full-grown insects or earthworms, but they will take part of the buffet away from our mole friends. And this might be just enough to encourage them to looks elsewhere for a meal.

Beneficial Nematodes

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Finally, you may want to consider just how much damage a mole is doing to your yard. Is it just a small nuisance or does it look like an excavation site? Because for as much damage as a mole can do to your yard, it can also help control insect activity, aerate the soil, and create fertilizer.

Moles are incredible creatures, but they can also be an unwanted resident in your lawn or yard. If you decide to evict these little diggers, you have several options to choose from. Paying attention to where they are active in the ground will increase your chances of success. And in the end, you may decide that a few mounds of dirt aren’t that bad in return for a few less insects.


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