Monday, June 1, 2009

Mountains of Mole Hills - They have returned!

Here in the NorthWest, we have abundant wildlife. Most of it is welcome, but some of it is not. All the warm weather has warmed the subdermal layers of the earth, and awakened the MOLES! Last week the yard and garden erupted with mounds. I don't mind them all over in the woods and pastures, but when they hit the garden and yard, its time to deal with it.

Over the years, we've tried moth balls, gum, smoke bombs, BIG smoke bombs, gas, HUGE smoke bombs (bombs are fun!), fake, poisonous worms, and a variety of traps. Have even tried those noise-making battery powered spikes that my neighbors swear by. Traps are by far the best route to take. I've tried funky, weird wire traps, and also have a few of the "bed-of-nails" traps, but NONE of them work as well as the standard, "scissor" type traps.

The best technique we have found (my two little girls are my mole trapping assistants) is to push the dirt back into each of the holes for every mound the mole makes - probe in the pile to find the tunnel, and then shove all the dirt back in that you can - this really makes them mad, and is key to getting them to push the dirt out harder, so it will spring the trap. When you locate an active pile, dig out the whole so you can insert the trap into the tunnel's path. Again, fill both sides of the exposed tunnel FULL of dirt, so the mad mole pushes it back out hard and into the waiting jaws of death.

Here is a trap that wasn't set deep enough - you're going to miss them often, so check the trap every day. My traps are getting rusty, so we have to carefully set the trigger as lightly as possible, and fill as much dirt in the tunnel as possible. When you miss a mole, shove the dirt back into the tunnel (both sides), and put the trap in again deeper.

Success! I reset this trap 4 times this week, missing the mole each time. Finally, I moved to an adjacent mound, pushed alot of dirt into the tunnel, and he was mad enough to hit the trap.

One great tip from a neighbor - we now bury the dead moles in the whole we trapped them in. It seems to keep other moles from moving into the area, and appears to work well. Try it!

And we got a second mole! My 5 year old was so excited! Me too!
Again, we missed this one 4 or 5 times, but finally got him. These are the first 2 of the year. Last year, we got 11 of them. I have two more in my yard, and 3 in my neighbor's to get for her.

Another tip that works really well - I cut the bottom out of a 5 gallon bucket, and I place the "tube" around a mole hill, and blast the dirt using a waterhose into a slurry that easily flows back into the mole hole. This is a great way to get rid of the mole piles, and it really makes the moles MAD, so the traps work more effectively. The side walls of the bottomless bucket keep the mud slurry contained, and it will help push it back into the tunnel. Try it!