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Recycle A to Z

alternatives to pesticides - bugs/pests - moles

                              moles

Actual size: 7”

Some moles are beneficial – they eat pest insects and improve the soil through aeration. Some, such as the Townsend’s mole, which is found here in the Northwest, eat more vegetation than do other species. All moles eat earthworms, and all species, regardless of their feeding habits, can disfigure lawns, heave up seedlings and sever tender roots as a result of tunneling. Sometimes, though, moles get blamed for damage done by field mice or gophers.

Prevention
Moles cannot dig through soil that is severely compacted, stony or heavy in clay. To discourage mole invasion, build borders of stone-filled, clay and/or compacted soil around the areas you want to protect. These barriers must extend at least 2’ into the ground and be 6” to 12” wide. Or try burying small-mesh fencing 18” to 24” deep so that it stands 2” or 3” above the soil surface. Moles also don’t readily invade very wet or very dry soils.

Physical control
Catch live moles in pit traps and release them away from your garden area. Commercial pit traps are available, but you can make your own by burying a jar or other container with vertical sides just below a tunnel for the mole to fall into. Or try flushing them out of their tunnels with water from a garden hose (this may have the greatest impact in the spring when the young are still in the nest). A tool is also available that injects oxygen and propane into the tunnel systems. When ignited, the concussion collapses the tunnels and kills the moles.

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