Thursday, 01 September 2022 12:23

Gardening with Peter Bowden: Mole Control

By Peter Bowden | Home & Garden
Illustration from a patent application filed in 1882 by James Williams for a mole killing device. Illustration from a patent application filed in 1882 by James Williams for a mole killing device.

You treated for moles in the spring but now they are back. Why? Because the mole mommies have driven the young moles from her borrows to go out into the world and set up their own...possibly in your yard. If you don’t want moles next spring, now is the time to treat. 

Ever since there have been lawns, humans have tried to figure out how to rid them of moles. Here’s an illustration from a patent application filed in 1882 by James Williams for a mole killing device. In his application Williams wrote “This invention may also be used in connection with a door or window, so as to kill any person or thing opening the door or window to which it is attached.” I can just see DEC and ATF trying to figure out how to classify this device. Not only would it kill the mole or intruder but the gunshot would alert you that it had been triggered. I hope Mr. Williams kept his day job.

A few years after the mole gun was invented a medieval-looking mole skewering device came along and is still sold today.  There’s something about moles that really incites the killing instinct.  As time marched on poison gas bombs were developed to rid our lawns of burrowing rodents.  They are still around.  They are exciting to use but rarely effective since the moles always have an undiscovered escape hatch that they use to avoid the gas.

There are poisons that can be placed in the mole’s tunnels that, if they happen to find and eat, will kill them.  Of course moles prefer earthworms and grubs to poison so these are of limited effectiveness.  I also worry that one of my cats will find the dead mole and eat it so I avoid poison in my lawn.

Finally we have a truly effective mole repellent.  MoleMax is a granular product that you put on your lawn and water in.  The active ingredient is made from castor beans and mole and other rodents can’t stand it.  It works fast too.  Moles generally vacate the area within a few days.  MoleMax can be used in lawns and flowerbeds.  It can even be used in the planting holes of bulbs to keep chipmunks from digging them up.

Remember moles are solitary creatures and the young moles are kicked out of the burrow in late summer and they have to find someplace to set up a burrow before winter.  If you apply MoleMax in early fall the young moles won’t set up house in your yard and you won’t have mole damage the following spring.

Thanks for the read!

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