Mole-ested?

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1998

Last revision: Oct. 28, 2010

for a while, then disappear for no apparent reason, leaving the impression that the latest gadget or concoction is the answer to the lawn keeper's dream. Chances are the mole will return when conditions are more to its liking.

Some of the common mole buster remedies appear in the chart on page 25. There are many more that are too bizarre to mention.

Those with time and patience sometimes can capture moles alive by standing quietly during the early morning or evening in areas of fresh mole activity. If you see a mole tunneling near the surface, quietly approach the spot, jam a spade behind the mole, quickly flip the animal on the surface and into a container.

Don't be mislead into believing that capturing a mole will save its life. The trauma of capture often causes a mole to die before it can be released. Those that survive the trip to their new home are so off balance they may not live long enough to become reestablished. It is usually more humane to dispatch a mole on the spot than to expose it to suffering.

Trapping is the most reliable method of getting rid of moles. There are several effective traps on the market, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll consider one that also is easy to use.

The first trap of choice by most mole busters is the harpoon-type, which impales the mole on spikes. This trap is available at most hardware stores and garden centers.

You can best trap moles in the spring and summer when they are tunneling near the surface and their runs are clearly visible. Select places with fresh mole activity and where the run goes in a straight line. Straight runs are usually permanent tunnels that the moles use regularly, sometimes two or three times a day. Twisting tunnels are used less frequently, sometimes only once.

Flatten down a 2- to 3-inch section of the raised tunnel, making certain to mark the spot so you can find it again. Do this in several places to get an idea of where the moles are most active. If a tunnel is re-opened within 24 hours, you have found a good place to trap.

Start by flattening down the tunnel again the width of the trap pan-about 2 inches. Don't mash it down too far. Ground level or slightly lower will do.

Next, place the harpoon trap directly over the flattened run so the

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