Yesterday while walking through my yard, I fell into a mole hole. It was like that dream you have where you’re falling, and falling, and falling, and then you wake up, except I only fell for a second and I didn’t wake up, it was real life; although I didn’t exactly know what a mole hole looked like, so I wasn’t really sure whose hole it was. Pulling out my inner Sherlock Holmes, I did a little digging (figuratively, I didn’t want to meet the owner of the hole) and discovered that it was very likely possible to belong to a mole. A silly, blind little mole had dug a hole that looked just like a bowl (I’m Dr. Seuss!).
Well now that I had stumbled on such a catastrophe, I couldn’t look away from it, especially since it was conveniently locating behind my wife’s tulips that she had taken the time to neatly plant, and were now being killed off due to this stupid mole hole! She would never forgive me for letting those plants die without a fight so, hesitantly, I’ll take my stand against this blatantly brave pest.
Not by myself of course, a good knight always has his trusty steed, and mine is a nice handy dandy mole trap. Big, shiny, and everything else a man could want. This mole has fought well, but you know what they say. “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us,” and so he has to go. Farewell, Adios, Aloha, Au Revoir, Sayōnara; this has been fun but I’m done. It’s not me, it’s you; I hope you had fun in the mole hole while it lasted.
The moles in my lawn are driving me absolutely crazy. Every day, I knock down about ten or fifteen mounds and try to fill in the holes. Every morning, when I look out the window, I see ten or fifteen new or re-built mounds. I’ve lived in this house for eleven years, and never had moles in the lawn before. But, now, the yard looks bumpy and ugly, grass is dying, I’ve lost a couple of bushes, and I’m just sick and angry about it. I don’t even want to let my kids go out and play back there, because I’m afraid they might twist an ankle in a hole left behind by a mole, or fall over one of the tunnels. What if they catch some disease from mole droppings or parasites that might live on moles. Do parasites live on moles? I didn’t know anything about them, except what they look like and the kind of destruction they leave behind.
So, I’ve hopped on the internet and I’ve done some research. I know how often they breed, what they like to eat, how they killed my bushes, how quickly they dig through dirt, what kind of tunnels they use to travel through and the types of burrows they use as nesting grounds. I know all kinds of facts, and they only make me more frustrated and angry.
Of course, there are all kinds of websites that tell you how to get rid of moles in the lawn. People will suggest anything, and they all swear that their method is the best technique. I’ve read about and watched on-line videos of idiots with dynamite or firecrackers. Some people advocate liberally spreading poison all over your lawn, or piping the exhaust from a car or truck down through the tunnels. I just have to shake my head. I don’t want to do any further damage to my yard, I’m afraid of what the poison would do to my dog (who is useless at catching moles, by the way), and I don’t want to risk blowing myself or my property sky-high.
I did get one important fact from my web searching. I found the Allstate Animal Control website. They are a national network of professionals. These are people who are trained to remove moles from my lawn and who can even help me repair the damage the moles caused. Despite what my mother-in-law believes, you really can’t believe everything you read online. Results are results, though, and I can believe in a legitimate company that seeks out professionals in every region who know exactly how to handle the problem animals in their area. So, thanks to my online research, I know a great deal more about moles. More importantly, I have an excellent company that will solve my problem with moles in the lawn.
People of the world, we earthworms implore you to get rid of moles. It’s well documented that we earthworms are your friends. We do not carry diseases or parasites, as other creatures who roam your backyard do. We do not bite. We do not scratch. We don’t even bother your precious pets. We don’t like to get into your house and eat your food. We don’t damage your buildings and we don’t harm your children (except when they’re not too bright and swallow us whole).
No, on the contrary, we are excellent garden companions. You may have invented the plow, but we were there first, plowing underground. We mix up the soil, making sure the nutrients are well saturated throughout the soil, feeding all your plants. We tunnel, making sure water and just the right amount of air reaches the plant roots. Our castings even enrich your soil further.
So, why won’t you get rid of moles? They are not a gardener’s friend. They may not eat as much of your plants or roots as other animals, like voles or gophers. But, trust me, the air pocket they leave behind in their tunnels is like a death sentence to the plant whose roots are affected. Plus, voles, mice and other animals use the mole tunnels, too, and they do eat your plants. Of course, you see the moles as an annoying creature, that makes mounds of dirt all over your property and destroys your vegetation. We see moles in a whole different light.
Moles eat earthworms. We try to get away. We can feel the vibrations through the earth when a mole is digging nearby, searching, searching, searching for a mouthful of one of us. And, we earthworms live under your grass, your flowers and your garden, which means that’s where the moles are tunneling. Once they get one of us, we can only hope they devour us right then and there, if only so we can avoid the horror that awaits the rest of us. Because, you see, moles are a lot like chipmunks. They like to store their food. Unlike chipmunks, a moles’ food is alive when it’s stored. The mole bites us earthworms in just the right spot, so we have no more control over our motor functions, and then it drags us away and stores us in its burrow to be devoured helplessly at a later time.
If you get rid of moles, you help the earthworm population. Moles eat us, your friends, your pals, your best gardening tool. They decimate us and your plants at the same time. Waste no time. Get rid of moles now so we can return to our pleasant relationship. You give us damp soil to tunnel through, and we will nourish your plants. Moles have no part in that cycle.
I have tried every mole removal product and gadget out there, but nothing seems to be working and I’m getting really mad. Look, I have a pretty tiny yard. Even as small as it is, I work hard to keep it looking really nice. My grass is a dark shade of green, my plants were chosen with a lot of care, and I even have a little flower garden. So, you can imagine how upset I am to walk out onto my beautiful little yard and sink about two inches into a mole tunnel, or watch as plants start to die because moles are exposing their root system.
And now my tiny little yard is costing me more and more money, as I replace plants, try to revive the areas with dead grass thanks to moles digging, and purchase mole removal gadgets and repellants. They’re destroying my whole yard, but they really seem to hang out next to my little flower garden area, under some bushes along my walkway.
I pulled into the driveway the other day, and spotted a large black snake slithering across the concrete and over into the area under the bushes. At first, it really freaked me out. It’s bad enough to deal with moles, and now I have at least one snake, possibly more. But, once I realized the snake could possibly be the solution to my mole removal problem, I decided not to hunt it down. Besides, snakes give me the heebie jeebies, and I didn’t want to go digging around under the bushes trying to hunt it down.
Of course, now I’m stuck with snakes in my yard. An obvious alternative is to get a cat. Mrs. Thompson, my neighbor who lives about four houses down, says her cat catches an average of two moles every day. The cat usually eats them, but sometimes leaves the dead moles as little presents on her doorstep. Small price to pay to have a cat take care of your mole removal. Unfortunately, that means you have to have a cat. I’m allergic and don’t really like cats. Maybe I can convince Mrs. Thompson to let me borrow her cat from time to time, but I’m sure it’ll get used to roaming around on my property and I’d have to deal with that.
So, snake or cat to get rid of the moles. Those can’t really be my choices, can they? I’m tired of spending so much money and time on mole removal instead of enjoying summer Saturdays on my small but previously well-manicured yard.
No, I think instead of wasting any more money on do-it-yourself products that don’t really work, or cohabitating with a snake or cat, I’m just going to pay for a professional mole removal service. They’ll do it right, they’ll get rid of the moles, and maybe they’ll even get rid of the snake. Then, I can go back to enjoying time outside in my yard again.
I do all the work, swimming through the dirt to create all my mole tunnels and surfacing all over the place, carefully displacing dirt to make mole hills. So, why is it that voles think they can just move on in? They’re perfectly capable of making their own tunnel system and burrows. So, why use mine?
I don’t think I do too much damage to a yard. Well, sure, you’ll have to deal with mole hills damaging a mower blade or two. Or, someone might trip in a hole, twisting an ankle. And, although I don’t mean to, I’ll often dig the dirt away from roots in my never-ending quest for grubs, but I’m not after your plants. I eat grubs and insects, so I’m not munching on flower bulbs or grass roots or chewing on vegetables in the garden. I just do my thing, sometimes making mole tunnels as fast as 18 feet an hour, making little mounds of dirt every now and then, just the bare minimums of what I need. We can co-exist, right? You don’t mind a little bit of mole damage, I’m sure.
But, when these opportunistic and lazy voles move in, and run rampant through my mole tunnels, popping in and out of my mole hills all proud like they’re the ones who are in control, it makes me so upset. They’ll happily infest my mole tunnels and gobble up the roots I’ve accidentally laid bare, and I know how mad that makes you. It’s hard enough to deal with subsurface tunnels, but to have dead grass making them stand out must be very irritating to you. I know we can coexist, but voles are a pest to both of us. They’ll use my tunnels to hide from predators and your pets, and safely access your garden, flower bed, ornamental trees and devour as much as they can cram into their stomachs.
I just want an understanding between us, that we moles are not eating our way through your property. Think of us more like pest control. We’re eating the grubs, larvae and insects that cause yard and garden damage, so let’s not focus too much on a few necessary mole hills or mole tunnels, or accidental plant damage. But, voles aren’t here to help you. They take advantage of me and the plants you so carefully planted and tend.
So, just to be clear, I’m suggesting you exterminate the voles and let me go about my business helping rid your yard and garden of other pests. And, maybe you won’t get so upset over a few random but necessary mole hills and mole tunnels. I’m very good at what I do, but not when voles move into my house. Let’s work together to get rid of our vole problem.
“So, pumpkin, tell me about the latest weird case you’ve seen in the E/R.”
“Dad, seriously, I’m beginning to wonder about your morbid fascination with the odd and the gross.”
“Hey, give an old guy a break, will ya? Retirement’s not so easy. It’s either this or reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger, and there’s only so much Chuck Norris I can take. You’re an Emergency Room nurse and I need my stories. Besides, you owe me for all those bedtime stories you made me tell you.”
“Okay, okay. I’m just trying to think what tops the goiter lady. Well . . . there was this guy who came in with second-degree burns on his hand and arm. He’d been trying to get rid of a mole problem.”
“Ooooh, painful. So, what’d this guy do? Try to burn a mole off his arm with a lighter or something?”
“No, not a skin mole, a real mole.”
“So he captured a mole and tried to burn it?”
“Not exactly. I guess he’d been fighting a losing battle with a mole in his yard for over a year now. He says he’s tried all kinds of things to get rid of the mole, but nothing really seems to work. It’s already cost him a lot of money. He says he’s spent over a grand fixing the damage, but he just keeps finding new mole hills on his property.”
“Hey, mole hills are no laughing matter! I switched golf courses, remember, because my favorite course had a major mole problem. You know, one mole can make a lot of holes, and the mounds of dirt all over the place damaged my golf game.”
“Dad, I hate to break it to you, but you never did have much of a golf game. You can’t blame a couple of moles.”
“You ingrate! I can’t believe I raised such a spiteful daughter.”
“Ha ha, Dad. You missed your true calling in life. You should have been an actor, not an engineer.”
“Fine. Just go on with the story.”
“Well, he finally got fed up one day. I got the feeling some of his friends were over and they’d been drinking, because he got the not-too-bright idea to stick some old firecrackers down some of the mole hills and set them off.”
“That’s right, uh-oh. I don’t know what kinds he used, but probably just anything left over from last July 4. He said he and his friends went from mole hill to mole hill sticking the firecrackers down into the ground. Then, they took turns lighting them. I guess the one he lit was too old, or he didn’t get out of the way in time, but he ended up with massive burns all over his hands and arms. He’s lucky he still has all fingers.”
“Sigh. Why don’t people learn to get a professional if you want to get something done right? If you’ve got mole problems, get someone out there who can remove the moles. It would’ve cost him a lot less to do it right the first time instead of all the money he spent repairing the damaged yard.”
“Not to mention the hospital bill.”
“True, so true. Now I’m just sad for the guy. You up for some Chuck Norris?”
Moles in Hollywood are picketing production houses and animation studios in an effort to alter the public’s perception of them. While they are aware that more people will want to get rid of moles if they are successful, they say it will be worth it.
“Most everyone thinks we’re just blind, soft, cute and dumb, but there’s so much more to us. We’re not totally blind or dumb,” one mole organizer explained.
Their letter to one animation studio cited old and recent movies, claiming the cartoons make them into “caricatures, either as terrible pests or as single-minded, blind but cute beasts.”
“Why can’t they see that moles are people, too?” one picketer with particularly soft fur said.
In response, the public relations manager for the animation studio came out with this statement: “While many humans define moles as “odd looking”, they are also cute.
We see that as a good thing, and we use this to our best advantage in our cartoons. We cannot be held responsible if they have soft fur and adorable little noses.”
Another production house whose recent film vilified the rodent took an opposite stance. “Moles do a lot more damage than we actually showed in our movie. They cost homeowners a lot of money when they kill off the grass or plants, and their ridges of dirt are unsightly and make lawn care difficult.”
Picket organizers admit they had a difficult time getting moles to join them, since they are not extremely social creatures. “We just felt it was worth the effort, because we have so many great qualities humans are missing. For example, we have twice as much blood as other creatures our size, which helps us to breathe better underground where we have low oxygen and high carbon dioxide. Where is that information in the movies?”
Some moles from a nearby subdivision are speaking out against the L.A. protest. They seem to fear reprisals, greater efforts to get rid of moles. One mole, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “We have a hard enough time as it is, without these big city moles bringing all this attention to us. They want to tell the truth about us? Then tell everyone we can eat up to 50 pounds of grubs every year. That’s good for your lawn, never mind the damage we might do to the rest of the yard.”
Moles do not eat vegetation, but their tunneling activities do turn the grass brown. They are excellent at tunneling. It is estimated they are able to dig their tunnels at 18 feet per hour.
Perhaps my interview with one local homeowner and his daughter says it all. “They’d be welcome to all the grubs in my yard, if only they didn’t have to dig. I’d be happy to have them here if they weren’t killing off my grass.” His daughter added, “Ooooh! They’re so cute!”
When 13 year-old Nathan needed to make some extra cash one summer, he thought he could do yard work for the neighbors, having no idea that mole removal would become one of his chores. He knocked on the doors of his neighbors, explained that he was trying to earn some extra money, and asked if they would hire him to do some work around the house or yard.
Most of his neighbors were happy to do their own yard work, not really trusting the young boy to keep their lawns looking as good as they liked. But, the Johnsons took pity on him and said yes.
He showed up at the Johnson’s one Saturday morning, as previously planned, and they started him off with pulling some weeds from the garden. That went well, he was paid, and they set up a time for him to come back the following Saturday.
Mr. Johnson came out to talk with Nathan and give him his weekly yard chore. As he looked over the yard, Mr. Johnson became more and more agitated, kicking at little mounds of dirt. Finally, he said, “Nathan, if you are successful at mole removal, I’ll give you $100!”
Well, needless to say, other types of yardwork at five bucks an hour just seemed pointless. He had his task in front of him, and he’d figure it out one way or another.
Nathan searched online for ideas and suggestions. He tried making noisemakers and sticking them down the holes to drive the moles out. The moles stayed. He considered burning them out, as one video implied, but figured Mr. Johnson might not give him the hundred dollars if he caught his lawn on fire, or exploded a gas line, so he ruled that out. He tried to flush the moles out by flooding the holes with water. He poured oil down the holes in an effort to “stink them out.” Nothing worked.
One Saturday, he was out in the Johnson’s yard with a leaf blower, blowing the leaves into piles, when he passed one of the dreaded mole hills. He stopped, mind whirring. Could it possibly work? Naw. Well, it might be worth a try.
Sticking the end of the leaf blower in the hole, he laughed, imagining moles flying out of each hole high in the sky. Wouldn’t it be great if he could finally earn that promised hundred dollars and stop pulling weeds, sweeping sidewalks, and bagging leaves?
Unfortunately, real life doesn’t always work the way we think it should. Nathan earned his five dollars an hour that Saturday, and Mr. Johnson called a professional service for mole removal.