Presence of moles in the yard can cause disturbance to any vegetation. Moles cause havoc in the farm by digging tunnels which may be used by other burrowing animals to destroy roots of plants and other vegetation in the yard. Gophers take advantage of these tunnels created by moles to feed on underground roots of grasses and other vegetation. Gophers may also settle and live in these burrows causing more damage to vegetation on the lawn. Controlling these moles is therefore important in eliminating other animals that take advantage of the burrows made by moles.
Moles may be controlled using a number of techniques. The techniques used may require an understanding of the behavior of these burrowing animals. Moles grow up to 6 or 8 inches long with gray to black velvety coat. They have slender hairless noses and small eyes. Many times, people confuse moles with gophers. Moles differ from gophers in several ways. Unlike gophers, moles are less destructive. In fact moles are useful in aeration of the soil and eating destructive larvae. Gophers feed on grasses and other plants while moles feed on insects, insect larvae, white grubs and earthworms. Moles may become destructive when they invade the lawn. This makes it necessary to control them.
How to Control Moles
There are many ways through which moles can be controlled though a few of these techniques are effective. Some control techniques may only help to contain moles from multiplying but the most effective and safe method to kill them is by trapping.
Before you start applying a control method of your choice, you should know a few things about moles. Moles construct new burrows regularly and may not use the same one twice.
If you are one of those people who can`t even harm a fly, consider using live traps. Capturing moles can be fun. Before you set the live traps, locate the burrows which moles are presently using. Locating the active channels is easy, level the pushed up soil and check the next day for new pushed up soil. In this way, you have identified an active lead. Place a live trap at the entrance of the hole and cover it using a solid covering. If the mole returns to the same hole, it will get trapped in the basket. Relocate the trapped moles to another place if you wish to keep them.
If you opt for a kill trap, use either a disposable trap or a re-used trap. Commonly used kill traps use a spring. The spring becomes effective when a stray mole tries to open the hole which you had initially flattened. You should read the manufacturer’s instructions before setting the kill trap to maximize the effectiveness of the trap.
Use of Baits
Baits may also come in handy when you need a quick solution to mole problem in your yard. Baits are simple and easy to set. Some baits have a disguising worm like look to attract moles. These baits contain poison which kills moles when ingested. However, you should use this method with caution as it may be dangerous to your pets in the yard.
Battery-based devices produce vibrations that disturb the moles in the ground. They may include vibration windmills and fumigators.
If you are someone who beliefs in environmentally friendly control methods, you should consider planting chocolate lilies on your yard to discourage moles and other rodents from invading it. Planting garlic may also be effective for preventing mole infestation.
Moles spend most of their time in the dark due to their limited eye-sight. However, they have a nearly perfect sense of smell which makes it efficient to use certain odors against them. You should consider using this method to get rid of moles in your lawn. Mix a cup of castor oil with two tablespoons of dish soap in a gallon of water. Apply castor oil based repellants along tunnels and surfaces on your lawn to keep away moles and gophers. You may increase effectiveness of the spray by applying it at least every month and soon after rain or watering as an anticipatory measure.
Other Organic Controls
As stated earlier, using chemicals such as rodenticides and insecticides may kill beneficial animals and insects. You can avoid this by applying organic controls. One effective organic control method is the use of underground barriers. Set underground barriers by burying a 24-inch hardware or metal to at least 30 centimeters below the ground surface and twist the bottom out by 90- degree. Underground barriers are durable and effective prevention measure. Since metal barriers are a bit expensive, mesh barriers may be used in place of metal barriers.
You can also discourage mole-infestation in the lawn by improving soil drainage. Moles thrive well in moist environments; therefore, limit the amount of water usage on your garden as this encourages moles to multiply.
Moles can also be eliminated from the garden by limiting their favorite sources of food. Check out on the lawn for mole foods like grub worms and take them out to discourage mole infestation.
Eliminating moles from the garden may be difficult, especially if they are allowed to multiply to large numbers. However, applying drastic measures may not always be necessary. If your aim is to eliminate moles entirely from the lawn, you should consider applying an integrated pest management practice. IPM is whereby several methods are applied at the same time to control pests in the farm. Integrated pest management aims at improving control effectiveness by combining several methods with different advantages. The method is recommended when the population of moles in the yard is significantly high.
In a nutshell, controlling moles involves the use of the following; kill traps, live traps, bait traps, battery-based devices, natural preventives, repellants and organic controls.