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Controlling moles in a garden

When moles take it upon themselves to appear in residential gardens you can almost see the resentment rise in homeowners as they survey their spoiled lawns. Moles can ruin the appearance of your lawns and flower beds, and their tunnels damage the roots of young plants, flowers and vegetables.

 

Many mistakenly believe moles kill plants by feeding on their roots, but moles actually prefer worms, grubs and other bugs. Plant damage is a side effect of their travels through the earth. The air pockets they create around the roots of ornamental plants and flowers can cause them to dry out and die.

Mole control can be a difficult and ongoing struggle and it isn't a job for the squeamish. I consider myself fairly handy around the home, but given the opportunity to kill a mole and I'll run a mile instead. However, there are some solutions for folks who want to stop the damage these animals cause.

Traps, baits and repellants offer homeowners the best chance for revenge

The first step is to locate active feeding runways. Use a broom handle or small stick to poke holes in the runways, then wait a few hours. The holes that have been plugged back up when you return indicate the active tunnels, which will be the focus of any course of action.

Many repellants are based on castor bean oil. You can spray repellants onto lawns with a garden hose or apply granules with a spreader. Repellants are available at local garden centres but don't expect miraculous results.

Toxic baits, while perhaps a more effective approach, should not be considered for use in a residential garden, where children or animals may come into contact.

Traps provide one of the most efficient and economical controls. There are a variety of traps, from wire hoop and scissor types to tunnel traps.

While it may prevent some lawn damage and satisfy a homeowner’s blood lust, battling moles remains a never-ending struggle. These buggers are a perennial problem that never goes away. You may control a few, but in time they will be back in your garden feeding on earthworms.

The most proven way to control moles - with excellent results - is to learn to live with them. Bother them enough and they may move next door, but sooner or later they'll be back!

Additional reading...

http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G9440

Wayne

Sent: 13 August 2013 01:39 PM

I read your article, but regret the three types of mole traps I imported from America just were not suitable for our soil or mole types, and just did not work. I have emailed all the local pesticide and garden remedy companies here, and none could help with toxic baits.

Please could you name some, registered or not, or even tell me how to make one? What bait would attract them? (Cat food?) Having got that I can add my own poison! (Dogs/children are not a concern here)

Hi Wayne,

I believe that moles are such a nuisance mostly because they are difficult to get rid of. My personal experience with moles was solved by training my dog to go after them.  He caused quite a bit of damage in the process; digging up areas where they appeared. But they finally got the message and moved elsewhere.

Moles prefer a diet of insects and aren't really attracted by food, so while baits work occasionally, they don't guarantee success. Traps are supposed to have the most success, but then again, they are not guaranteed.

You might have to learn to live with the buggers - or get a good dog!

Janice