[The Brazil Times nameplate] Overcast ~ 50°F  
High: 64°F ~ Low: 41°F
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ways to stop that tunneling

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Moles. Pesky little guys who dig up your yard and give homeowners headaches on a daily basis.

Personally, I've never tried to get rid of one, but I have watched my grandparents spend numerous hours trying to figure out how to solve their mole problem.

I've had friends use home remedies and end up frustrated because they can't solve their problem.

Contrary to popular belief, moles are not rodents.

Actually, they are insectivores which are part of the mammalian group.

As the group insectivores suggest, their diet consists primarily of earthworms, grubs, ants and other animals that live in the soil.

Occasionally, they will consume various seeds and vegetable matter.

Yet they are not the culprits that eat your bulbs or roots of plants in your gardens.

Eating grubs usually isn't the problem that homeowners have with moles.

The problems actually is the nests and tunnels that they dig. Moles usually build their nest 4/16 inches below the surface under boulders, trees, stumps or fence rows.

There are two difference types of tunnels that they produce. Surface runways are commonly seen as the raised ridges running throughout a yard. In a given day, a single mole can extend a surface tunnel by 100-feet.

Deep runways are usually main runways and result in soil being deposited on the surface through short vertical tunnels in a volcano-like mound.

There is a general rule of thumb on estimating how many moles might be in your yard.

Typically, one acre of land will support up to two-three moles at one time.

However, if your yard is adjacent to large tracts of forested area or weedy fields, you will be subject to continual invasions by moles.

Now that you have learned some about moles in general, it is time to hit the really important part, mole control.

Already this year, I have been asked do moth balls work on moles?

Well, the answer is no.

Actually, home remedies of bubble gum, razor blades, moth balls, lye, mole dances, spinning or electric devices, and flooding tunnels with water or car exhaust are ineffective at reducing or minimizing moles.

Some individuals are lucky and end up owning a cat or dog that are excellent at catching those pesky moles. However, the best method of control is trapping.

There are several types of traps available on the market.

Yet, for the novice, a harpoon trap is the best alternative as it is easiest to use and readily available from most hardware stores and lawn/garden centers.

The following steps will help make it easy for you to use your harpoon trap. First, measure the depth of the tunnel using your finger or a stick. The bottom of the mole run should be no deeper than the length of the trap spikes.

Next, using the side of your hand, lightly press down a narrow section of an active runway.

From there, push the supporting spikes of the trap into the ground, one on either side of the runway, until the trigger pan just barely touches the depressed tunnel. Pump the spring of the trap up and down a couple of times so the spikes can clear any obstructions.

Finally, set the trap and leave it.

Once you have a trap set, cover it with a bucket to protect kids and pets from coming into contact with it. Check once or twice a day to see if your trap has worked.

If after four or five days you have not trapped a mole, you will need to relocate the trap to another working tunnel.

If you feel that your trap needs lubricated, do not use motor oil or WD-40.

Instead, use a wire brush to remove the rust and dirt then lightly lubricate with mineral oil.

If you do not want to actually trap the mole, you can try conducting a "mole watch."

During a mole watch, you will capture and remove a mole during its active portion of the day.

This is often the procedure used on golf courses. Once the moles are captured, they are relocated to a wooded or weedy field area away from any residences.

Each year, numerous residents are faced with mole problems.

Hopefully though, they are able to prevail and prevent the moles from destroying their yard.

For more information on moles, check out the Purdue Extension publication ADM-10-W, "Moles," at http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publica.... If you have any questions about moles or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or you can reach me directly via e-mail at smith535@purdue.edu.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* May 22 -- State FFA and 4-H Livestock Judging Contest, Purdue University,

* May 31 -- Holiday, Clay and Owen County Extension Offices closed,

* June 5 -- Walking Stick Workshop, McCormick's Creek State Park ($5/project),

* June 5 -- National Trails Day Activities, Cagles Mill Lake (Lieber SRA),

* June 8 -- Clay County Extension Board meeting, and

* June 12 -- Bird Fest, Turkey Run State Park.