Getting Rid of Moles
Moles can be a real nuisance for any lawn or garden. Sure, they may be kinda cute and fuzzy but that may change after you break your ankle by stepping in one of their tunnels. Moles can leave behind large mounds, called mole hills, all over your yard. They can tunnel under plants, bushes, and trees which will cause the plants to die because they can’t get enough nutrients. If you are trying to grow vegetables, moles can affect the yield of your plants and even stunt their growth. Moles may not eat your plants and vegetables but they can definitely cause enough damage. If you have this problem and need to know how to get rid of moles, here are some helpful solutions for you.
What Is A Mole
A mole is a small furry animal around 6 to 8 inches long and weighing about 3 to 6 ounces. It is a common misconception tha moles are either blind or have no eyes at all. In fact, their eyes are very tiny and ususally covered by fur. Their eyesight is very poor and they operate by their sense of touch and smell. Moles are very strong for their size which makes them ideal at digging tunnels. They can actually tunnel about 15 to 18 feet in an hour. They dig two types of tunnels determined by the seasons. In the winter and cold months, moles dig deeper tunnels. In the summer and warmer months, they dig closer to the surfcae which is what causes all the damage. Since moles do not hibernate, they can dig all around your yard all year long. Moles are carnivores, eating grubs and insects found in the soil. They can eat 70 to 80 percent of their body weight a day.
Should You Get Rid Of Moles
Just because you have moles around your house doesn’t mean you should get rid of them. Moles are beneficial because they eat many pests around the yard and their tunneling actually helps to aerate the soil. Moles may be a nuisance but they are not dangerous. They do not intentionally destroy any of your plants or grass and their tunnels and hills are really just an inconvenience that do nothing more than ruin your manicured lawn.
How To Get Rid Of Them
If you can’t live with the pesky moles digging through your yard, there are some ways that you can get rid of them. The first thing to do is to find out which tunnels the mole is actively using. A good way to do this is to stomp on a section of tunnel until it collapses. If the mole is in the tunnel, he will repair the tunnel within a day. Another way to tell where all the activity is located is to take a stick and poke the mole hills. If the hill is solid dirt, the mole is no longer using it. if the hill collapses, the mole is in the area.
Repellents – One way to get rid of moles is to use repellents. There are some chemical commercial brands available on the market that you can buy and will give you partial success. There are also some home-made remedies that you can try such as castor oil or mothballs. Whether bought or homemade, repellents all work the same by changing the smell in the soil. This might work but moles are very adaptable and may soon return.
Barriers – Another thing that you can try to keep moles out of your lawn or certain areas of your garden is to install barriers. You can use a tight-woven mesh or fencing and install it below the earth or you can even pour gravel or concrete. Some people have even buried things such as tin or sheet metal below the surface. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you bury it no less than two feet below the surface. Installing barriers is not a complete mole-proof method but is a good deterrent and one of the more humane methods you can use.
Drive Them Out – You can always try driving the moles out by flooding their tunnels with water. To do this, find a long, straight active tunnel and insert your garden hose into the tunnel. Then turn the water on and let it run for awhile. The idea is that the water will drive the mole out of its tunnels and mole hills. When he pops up, you can try to catch him using gloves, a cage, or something suitable. However, this is also not a fail-safe method. You really need a long tunnel for this to work. Moles can have a whole network of tunnels under the ground so there are enough places for them to hide and stay dry.
Traps – Probably the best solution for getting rid of moles in your yard is to trap them. Just be prepared to be patient. Even with an active tunnel, moles tend to move around a lot. If you want to trap a mole, there are two types of traps that you can use: lethal and non-lethal. A good do-it-yourself non-lethal trap is the pit trap. This is a very simple trap. It involves a container such as a metal coffee can or glass jar. Dig up a small section of the mole’s tunnel and then dig a hole at the bottom of the tunnel deep enough to place the can or jar. The container should be perpendicular and you want the lip of the container to be even with the floor of the tunnel. After that, cover up the hole in the roof of the tunnel with something that will block the light. The idea is that the mole will fall into the container and be unable to climb out. You should check the trap daily to see if you are successful. There are also other non-lethal traps that you can buy that won’t harm the mole. Once you catch it, take it someplace with lots of grass that is far away from your yard (not your neighbor’s yard) and set it free.
The other type of trap you can use is a lethal trap that will kill the mole. This is sometimes a faster (and definitely more permanent) solution to your problem. Before you decide to get all medieval on the moles, check with your state wildlife department to make sure that it is legal to kill moles. In some states, it is actually illegal and can result in fines. Provided that you can kill them, there are several commercial traps that you can buy. Methods of dispatching the digging critter involve everything from choking, chopping them in half, crushing them like a big mouse trap, or impaling them in a steel spike.
Poisons – You can always try to poison the mole but there are big disadvantage to using poisons in your yard. First, the danger that the poison represents to pets that share the yard. What is harmful to the mole will also be harmful to your pet. Also, poisons can affect other wildlife such as squirrels and birds. So unless you have no problem with possibly killing every animal in the area, don’t use poisons to get rid of moles. Stick with traps.