Twi­light of the moles

Rid your world of the dreaded, tiny ad­ver­sary

The Covington News - - Showcase of homes -

They may be small, but home­own­ers across the coun­try will at­test: moles and voles are most def­i­nitely mighty.

Silently and stealth­ily, th­ese elu­sive furry pests wreak havoc on lawns and gar­dens across Amer­ica. Rarely seen by hu­mans, the moles work un­der­ground, leav­ing un­sightly tun­nels and holes — and dis­grun­tled home­own­ers — in their wake.

As out­door pests that pose no se­ri­ous threat to houses, peo­ple or pets, moles have been largely ig­nored by the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity. How­ever, for the mil­lions of lawn and gar­den en­thu­si­asts who wage war against th­ese pests, moles are se­ri­ous busi­ness. Ur­ban leg­end reme­dies range from the be­nign ( chew­ing gum or hot pep­pers) to the down­right dan­ger­ous ( ex­plo­sives).

While none of th­ese leg­ends have ac­tu­ally proven to re­pel moles, help is on the way. Sweeney’s, the lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of mole con­trol prod­ucts for home­own­ers, has re­cently re­dou­bled its ef­forts to study moles in or­der to cre­ate new prod­ucts and new tech­nol­ogy to add to con­sumers’ mole ar­se­nals.

“ Our re­search so far has shown that there is no sin­gle so­lu­tion to mole con­trol,” says Ste­wart Clark, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor at Sweeney’s. “ Our ad­vice to home­own­ers is to try mul­ti­ple prod­ucts, and be pa­tient. If you are per­sis­tent, you will even­tu­ally be suc­cess­ful. But you’ll prob­a­bly need to ex­per­i­ment with a few tac­tics to see what works for you.”

To help home­own­ers through the process, Sweeney’s has es­tab­lished a mole con­trol hot­line which gives con­sumers di­rect ac­cess to mole con­trol ex­perts. “ Get­ting rid of moles is truly part science, part art,” says Clark, who of­fers the fol­low­ing tips:

Know the mole

Moles live un­der­ground and rarely come to the sur­face. They eat al­most 100 per­cent of their body weight ev­ery day. They cre­ate tun­nels to search for food and can cre­ate up to 100 feet of new tun­nels per day. Th­ese tun­nels are what de­stroy lawns, and they can range from long, straight tun­nels to “ vol­cano” tun­nels that can go as deep as three feet un­der­ground. Mat­ing sea­son is in early spring, so ex­pect to see the most ac­tiv­ity then.

Make a plan

This phase in­volves de­tec­tive work. The goal is to iden­tify which “ runs” or tun­nels are ac­tive. For this, you’ll need a broom han­dle for pok­ing holes and small yard mark­ers such as spray paint, flags or even plas­tic forks.

First, poke holes into the tun­nels and then flag them with your marker sys­tem. If your hole has been re­paired by the mole af­ter 24 to 48 hours, you know you have an ac­tive in­fes­ta­tion.

Mas­ter the mole

Moles work quickly, and you should no­tice “ re­paired” ar­eas where the mole has ei­ther plugged up the hole or cre­ated a new “ vol­cano” mound in a deep tun­nel area. If there has been no ac­tiv­ity, the mole likely moved on to a new area or died.

In ar­eas of ac­tiv­ity, bait the tun­nel by re­mov­ing the ex­cess dirt to ex­pose the tun­nel open­ing. Place Sweeney’s Poi­son Peanuts, us­ing the prod­uct’s spe­cial cone- shaped con­tainer, deep inside the hole, to en­sure it reaches the mole. Care­fully re- cover the hole with dirt.

Per­sis­tence pays off

If phase one of treat­ment does not ap­pear to work, it is time to use an­other type of prod­uct. Try Sweeney’s Sonic Mole Spikes, which emit a pen­e­trat­ing sound that is ir­ri­tat­ing to moles and go­phers. Other treat­ment op­tions in­clude liq­uid re­pel­lant prod­ucts that can be at­tached to a hose for easy ap­pli­ca­tion and gran­u­lar re­pel­lent prod­ucts that can be ap­plied di­rectly from a shaker bag.

One more al­ter­na­tive is a mole trap, which is sim­i­lar to a mouse­trap. As the mole moves through the tun­nel, it pushes up­ward on the trap and trips it. The traps are ef­fec­tive be­cause it’s a mole’s nat­u­ral in­stinct to re­open ob­structed pas­sage­ways.

“ Ev­ery in­fes­ta­tion is dif­fer­ent, so dif­fer­ent treat­ments may be re­quired. How­ever, Sweeney’s is com­mit­ted to the on­go­ing study of mole and gopher be­hav­ior,” says Clark, who heads up re­search in both a con­trolled lab­o­ra­tory and in the field. “ Right now, get­ting rid of th­ese pests re­quires pa­tience and a will­ing­ness to ex­per­i­ment. In the fu­ture, we hope to un­lock the key to what will help home­own­ers solve their mole prob­lems quickly and eas­ily.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on mole con­trol, call the com­pany’s hot­line at ( 800) 837- 7644 or visit www. wr­sweeney. com.

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