Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Moley Days

Moles: such a wonderful holiday topic, part two of three.

I still recommend a 3 prong approach when controlling moles for the less adventurous. These 3 steps are:

  1. Kill the mole
  2. Manage its food source
  3. Repel other moles from your yard

Moles tunnel through your yard looking for food. They usually have several main runs through your yard as well as secondary tunnels. The secondary tunnels are where they collect their food and once they have a gone down a secondary tunnel they will not return to that tunnel. In order to kill a mole with bait or a trap, you must be able to locate the main tunnel.

The best way to locate the main runs is to take a stick and poke holes in the tunnels in your yard. Next, mark where you made these holes. The next morning come and check to see if the holes are plugged, then you know you have a main tunnel. The mole will only plug holes on the main tunnel. That evening, open up one of the holes that the mole plugged the night before and place bait 5 feet on either side of the hole that you reopened. When the mole comes back to re-plug the hole it will have to walk right over the bait. These baits are very tasty to the mole, so the mole will usually eat the bait and die.

Three baits that we regularly hear good results about are Mole Patrol, TomCat and Talpirid. I prefer Mole Patrol because it is one third the price and has 6 times the amount of bait placement as Talpirid. Stay away from poison peanuts. Moles do not eat peanuts, they eat insects and worms.

Controlling the food source is the next most important factor in managing moles on your property. Depending on which doctor (PHD) you believe, the mole eats 85-125% of its body weight every day. In human terms a 100 lb. person would eat 85-125 lbs of food per day. That is a lot of food! Using a product like Lebanon Insect Control or Aloft on a regular basis will do a good job in managing the mole’s food source. Monitor your insect populations with a soap solution to determine how often you need to apply insecticides. Use two ounces of lemon dish detergent in a five gallon bucket of water and pour slowly over your soil in the areas where you think you might have insects and see what comes to the surface. Some products get tied up in the thatch to kill surface insects (like ants), so be sure to get a product for sub-surface insects.

Castrol products (Mole Repellent, Holy Moly) and other repellents (Mole Stopper) work good as perimeter treatments to keep moles from re-infesting your property. Be sure there are not any moles on your property before you put out this barrier or you will trap them inside your landscape. Make a 10-20 foot band treatment around the perimeter of your property. Reapply these repellents as the label recommends.

If you yard is free of moles right now, you can skip #1 and just manage their food source and repel them at the perimeter of your property. Be sure your yard is free of moles before you skip #1 in this process. If you take away the mole’s food source and he is in your yard already, he will really tear up your yard looking for food!

As it gets cooler, it is the time to kill them. Try to take away their food source, and try to repel them from your property and you should have good luck against the moles. Beware moles usually get more active as the temperature cools.

Managing moles is an ongoing process. Quick fixes are usually unsuccessful. We did have a customer at Possum’s that used some Mule Mix to dry up a wet area that moles favored, and the area dried up and the moles left. Maybe the moles do not like tunneling through Mule Mix, or once the area was dry, it was not an area that they wanted to tunnel (no insects?).

Moles roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost….

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.