In The Yard
I've had an ongoing battle with the moles who take up residence in my back yard. Doing a quick online search, there are many "solutions" to be found, but seemingly few of them really work in getting rid of these pests. Here a just a few of them:
Poison baits: These are generally uneaten because the mole is a carnivore and doesn't care for peanuts, the most often used bait.
*Tunnel flooding: Moles can run fast and have many escape routes. In nature however floods are a major mole killer.
*Tunnel gassing with cartridges and mower engine exhaust attachments: The soil absorbs gasses relatively quickly and the mole tunnel complex is so extensive there is always an escape route.
*Moth balls in tunnels: Moles avoid treated tunnel and dig new ones, remember 15 feet of new tunnel in one hour!
*Soil vibrating devices, pin wheels and ultra-sonic types: Any strange smell or vibration may initially scare or irritate the mole but they quickly adapt and if your yard is where the food's at, they'll be back, and soon.
*Mole repelling plants: These plants only affect a small area, the root zone of the plant and would have to be planted in large number throughout the yard to be really effective.
*Traps utilizing knife blades and harpoons: These are the most consistent control measures but they take time and practice to use properly. Most traps are placed in feeding tunnels, where they won't catch anything, rather than runways)
*Live Traps (same as above)
*Killing soil insects in an effort to remove food supply: Controlling beetle grubs has been a standard mole control recommendation for years but in most yards there is usually enough non grub food remaining to keep mole happy. If anyone's interested I have a copy of a study that examined the stomach contents of 100 moles to find out exactly what they were eating.
*Shooting: You've got to be very good and usually it's not legal.
*Chewing gum in tunnel: Moles don't chew, remember they're carnivores not bubble gummers; how juicy fruit gum got to be a mole control is a funny story but basically was a hoax that caught on.
*Crushed glass in tunnel: Moles aren't that stupid.
*Gasoline in hole followed by lit match: I hope YOU are not that stupid.
*Stepping on tunnels: This doesn't get rid of moles but alleviates their damage.
*Wire barriers: Moles can't get through, but usually, you end up fencing the moles IN the yard.)
*The Pitch Fork Method: Moles can be killed by conducting a mole watch, but it is prone to accidents and such activity can frighten the neighbors and small children.
*Cats and dogs: Can be very successful but entirely depends on the nature of the pet. Some cats and some dogs are great molers, others could care less.
In the last few days, I've discovered several new mounds of dirt popping up in my lawn.
I've stumbled upon a new method for keeping the moles away, although it may not be a very "green" solution. I bought one of the gallon jugs of that stinky cleaner, Pine Sol, from Costco (yes, it stinks, I can't imagine using it in the house to clean the floors, the bathroom, etc.)
I also have a big bag of these heavy duty industrial cotton balls that I bought at our SCRAP recycling store a few months ago.
The cotton balls get a good soaking in the Pine Sol solution.
I stick a hose into each mound of dirt to fully open up the hole, and then wash several stinky cotton balls into each hole.
And...you're probably wondering..."Does it work?"
Yes! I'm having success with it, although it's not immediate. I do have to "re-seed" any new holes with cotton balls in the following days, but the moles seem to give up and leave the yard, moving over to the neighbor's yard...or maybe they die from the fumes of the Pine Sol. (Who uses that stuff anyway...they sell it in big gallon jugs at Costco!)
Just for the fun of it (yes, mole hunting is just plain FUN)...I'm experimenting with this old electric radio that I salvaged from the city dump while working on my artist gleaning residency. I've wrapped it in plastic, plugged it in to an extension cord, turned it into some loud music, and set it right onto one of the bigger opened holes (speaker blasting directly into the hole). I've read that moles don't like noise (who does!!), and I thought this might be the perfect scientific backyard experiment. I'll let you know how it works.
To protect my little experiment from the rain, I've covered it all with a plastic tub.