Archive for August, 2013

Moles and More

Author: Meera, August 1, 2013

Fresh mounds of dirt and surface runways have newly populated the rear of the Henny Penny Farmette. I recognize the dirt mounds asĀ  telltale signs of the presence of either moles, gophers, or voles.


Since the mounds are small and shaped like volcanoes with ridges on the soil surface, my best guess is that my night visitors are moles–mammals that live underground and create a vast network of tunnels.


Of the three, moles are actually the more preferable since they do not go after plants and bulbs. As insectivores, they eat earthworms and grubs. If you have a flower beds and a lawn, that’s a perfect place for them to find food . . . and they need a lot. By some estimates, they need to eat their body weight daily.


There are ways to detect which little creature you have in your lawn. Moles leave fresh dirt mounds piled like volcanoes. Moles leave subterranean pathways that pop up the soil to look like ridges.


Voles leave no mounds. Pocket gophers leave a horseshoe-shaped mounds of dirt.


Which brings me back to the much maligned mole. Whereas voles are voracious root eaters, moles actually can be beneficial to a garden, eating worms, bugs, and grubs but they don’t eat plants or bulbs. They will starve if fed a diet of only plants. See,


Their shallow tunnels aerate the garden soil. And if you find the eruptions unsightly, you simply have to tamp down the raised areas. Scientists have studied methods of getting rid of moles and say none of the home remedies (castor oil, shattered glass, chewing gum, etc.) really works. That’s not to say they can’t be banished; it’s just difficult to find a humane way to do it.


If we gardeners can’t get rid of them humanely, perhaps we could just learn to live with them. Another option is to attract barn owls to your property, since they love dining on moles, gophers, rats, mice, and other rodents. If you build a barn owl nest, they might take up residence. Mother Nature’s eco-control is always best. See,






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