Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mountains [Out] of Mole Hills

It's disappointing, but they're back!   I had hoped that the frozen tundra conditions out here JOTOLR over this past winter would have not just discouraged these professional excavators, but eliminated them altogether.  No such luck.  They've already surfaced.

Yes, I know that moles are deemed helpful in the pest-irradication department, consuming at times, their own weight in harmful insects and larvae in 24 hours.  But their value is compromised by their incredibly destructive foraging methods.

Moles have an uncanny knack for instantly locating newly planted shrubs, trees, seeds.....and tunneling under them.  This has the unfortunate effect of both unearthing the transplants,  and denying them much needed water. The only thing the gardener notices is that the new transplants are unaccountably wilting.  Check for mole tunnels! 

It's a discouraging business, trying to irradicate moles.  It is said that there are usually--"on average" only three moles per acre...My skeptical nature wonders how this is measured.

We've been the whole route. We've tried all reasonable remedies short of explosives:  traps, pellets, gas, and even.....castor beans, castor bean plants,  and castor oil.  Now that particular old timey "cure-all" presents some interesting mental cartoons in my mind.  Wonder if the Castor Oil isn't a sort of propellant, that simply hurls the mole forward after having consumed too much!  

Moles can dig more than 100 yards of tunnels per day.  Left behind are ridges and hummocks of dirt.   It seems they only come to the surface "occasionally" least that's what another "mole expert" said.  But the dirt hills are now in plentiful supply out here JOTOLR, particularly in my dormant blackberry patch.  They've already geared up for spring.  And we've got new plants coming any day now.

Apparently moles' enemies come mostly from overhead--raptors, dogs, cats--and humans; so as long as they stay mostly underground, the only dedicated mole-predator is the snake. I'm not sure which I find more tolerance for:  the mole or the snake.  I think, this time, I'm in the snake's camp.

So, the good thing is that spring must be on its way.  Seeing moles moving about means we're thawed.  On the other hand, does anyone know of any sure-fire mole discouragements?  If so, please pass the ideas on!

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