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Moles In Lawn

Summary: To fight moles in the lawn you should be prepared to try several methods of mole control including traps baiting and repellents. This article will focus on products for eliminating  moles in the lawn; the good, the bad and the down-right foolish.

I'd hate to make a mountain out of a molehill, but if you've got critters making a molehill out of your yard, it's no laughing matter. Moles really like cultivated lawn areas: places that are fertilized and kept up. Lawns are rich in the bugs, grubs and worms that moles love to eat, and believe me, moles love to eat. An average mole eats 80-100% of its body weight in a single day.  For most of you, that would be over 100 pounds of food each day. Lawns, gardens and golf courses are a few of a mole's favorite dining spots.

Because of their voracious carnivorous appetite, some people have suggested that the best way to remove moles is with poison. If they're eating like mad, they suggest just slipping a little pesticide in the ground and all the moles will just bury themselves. But, is mole poison the most effective mole solution? There are some issues to consider.

First, moles are not just big eaters, but they're picky eaters, as well. If the mole bait doesn't feel, smell and taste like food, moles will pass by and not waste their time. Kind of like strained peas, you know?  Second, some mole poisons can present harm to other animals or even children.  If the moles reject the bait they may push the bait to the surface where it becomes accessible to pets and children. Thirdly, mole poison isn't that easy to put down. You can't just throw it around your yard and wait for the moles to come find it. You have to first identify their tunnels and then determine which tunnels are active versus abandoned. 

Because of the mole's finicky eating, bait manufacturers have created a variety of products which they claim will best attract the moles. Let's look at a few of the most common products.

Grain baits: Manufacturers add flavor enhancers to the grain baits to try to make them more palatable to moles. But, this is a problem since moles are carnivorous. Last time I checked grains were not listed under the œmeat category. I rate grain baits as œSave-Your-Money.

Gel poison? This product comes in tubes that looks like a giant syringe. You insert a dollop of the gel into the tunnels at regular intervals. The gel treatment offers the safety benefit that it won't get pushed to the surface if a mole doesn't eat it, but my guess is the only moles interested in this stuff would be the ones that need their food strained. I rate gel poisons as another œSave-Your Money.

Since moles are carnivorous, worm baits like Talpirid claim to be more effective.  They match up effective poison with a "yummy" form.  The poison tastes, smells and feels like worms which moles favor most often. At least, that's what the manufacturer tells us. I've never tried eating worms or mole bait, so I can't confirm it. But, that's the goal of worm baits. I've used this stuff with great success so I rate worm baits as a œGood buy.

Less popular mole solutions include gassing the tunnels or setting physical traps. The smoke bombs require that you stay at least fifteen feet away from foundation walls. The gas can permeate through a wall which would make it pretty stinky inside the house. 

Mole traps give you the joy of actually pulling a dead mole out of the ground. If you are into body counting, traps would be your weapon of choice. It is the only method where that requires disposal of the mole bodies. You have to clean the traps after each kill, too. I don't love the traps because they sit openly in the lawn and they can do great damage to curious pets or children.  Some people love the traps. I don't!

Juicy Fruit Gum: Forget it! A wife's tale. The mole is supposed to eat the gum and choke.

Castor beans: The seeds, leaves, and stems of the plant contain ricin and ricinine, which are poisonous to humans and animals. Eating a castor bean causes nausea, and eating several may cause death. Castor oil has been used by the military in aircraft lubricants, hydraulic fluids, and in the manufacture of explosives. It has also been used in the synthesis of soaps, linoleum, printer's ink, nylon, varnishes, enamels, paints, and electrical insulations. I have always heard people speak of using these beans for mole control, but not once have I ever heard of any verifiable success. Plus, where in heck does someone buy caster beans?

So is mole bait effective?  Yes, it can be.  If you plan to bait your yard for moles, though, you should be prepared to learn about moles and you should be willing to try a few different kinds of bait to see which is most effective for you.  However, of all the types of baits, Talpirid  is the only one with field testing. Other types of baits are not necessarily proven to work. Be ready also to try a couple different baits. None of them promise 100% efficacy so, as with any extermination project, be ready to try a plan B.

There are some repellent products like Mole Scram, that claim to keep moles out of treated areas. The repellents contain non-toxic, natural ingredients that moles can smell in their tunnels. The product manufacturer claims it also gets on the worms and insects the moles eat, making everything taste terrible.

Spend some time researching mole tunneling habits online or at your local library. The more accurately you locate and identify certain types of tunnels, the more efficiently you can bait and remove the moles.  Of course, as always, if the project seems beyond your ability or capability, don't hesitate to call a professional exterminator for help.

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