The unmistakable signs of lawn moles might just be one of those sights that sinks the heart of anyone who’s ever invested time and effort into maintaining a lawn. Lawn moles are a particularly unpopular pest because unlike most, they’re very difficult-if not impossible-to get rid of permanently. In most cases, the best you can do is reduce their activity level and try to learn to co-exist somewhat peacefully.
There are a large number of mole-removal strategies that don’t work, and only a couple that actually do provide you with a shred of hope against these critters. Don’t bother with home remedies such as red pepper, pickle juice, bleach, camphor, or electronic or ultrasonic devices. They just don’t work.
The only home remedy that actually does occasionally work is castor oils granules, and that one is by no means guaranteed. However, it’s a cheap option so it’s definitely worth a try. For this one, just buy a bag of castor oil granules, and spread at a rate of one pound per one thousand square feet. Note that there’s no research to support this method-don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work.
Insecticides unfortunately don’t help much either. The rationale with these is that because moles feed on insects, removing their food source will cause them to go elsewhere. The problem is that moles don’t feed only on insects, so removing them isn’t much good. In fact, it can actually increase the damage done to your lawn, because the moles may start digging new tunnels to find new food sources. The other problem with this method is that you’ll also kill beneficial insects, as well as the ones the moles feed on.
Poisons are largely ineffective, simply because most available baits are grain-based, and moles do not eat grains. The main problem with poisons is that there’s absolutely no way to know whether any of the poison you lay out actually gets inside the moles in your garden. In addition, short of digging up the tunnels (and further destroying your lawn) you’ve got no way of removing the moles.
Traps are by far the most effective method of removal, but they’re tricky to set up. There are some important things to keep in mind if you’re going to try and trap moles. First, moles have a highly sensitive sense of smell, so it’s crucial to wear gloves when handling traps, to prevent them smelling like human. Leather gloves, or gloves made from any natural fiber, are best.
Traps should be set in a main tunnel, near an active mole hill for best results. If you’re not sure which hills are active, just push all the hills down on the same day, and then check the next day to see which ones have been pushed up again. Those hills will be active.
While trapping is the best way of getting rid of moles, it’s still not effective as a permanent removal method. Trapping is effective as long as you’re willing to continue doing it, but it’s not likely that your lawn will remain permanently mole-free. New moles can and will show up if the tunnels in your yard become empty and your yard remains a desirable habitat.
Peaceful Coexistence via Habitat Modification: Is it Possible?
Short of erecting a mole barrier around your entire yard, there is no 100% sure-fire way to remove moles permanently. Often, the best you can hope for is limiting their activity by modifying your yard to prevent them from tunneling extensively. Funnily enough, this is perhaps the only method that has a hope of working permanently. Yard modification makes your yard a less desirable habitat, so moles are less likely to return.
Modifying your yard can actually be a good thing for you as well as your yard. Many of the changes you can make will make your yard more aesthetically pleasing, as well as less attractive to moles.
The most effective solution of this type is to reduce the size of your lawn. One enormous swathe of green is prime mole territory, because it provides them with a large space for the long, straight tunnels they most prefer. Break up the lawn with paths, gardens, or patio areas and you’ll instantly make your yard a less mole-friendly place.
Another possibility is to try watering your lawn less deeply. Mole tunnels run deep, and moles tend to surface only when they must do so in search of food. Their food-earthworms and insects-moves close to the surface if a lawn is watered deeply, so by reducing your watering you may be able to prevent moles from surfacing as often.
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