A very common misconception is that moles hibernate during the winter. This is, in fact, not true. Moles do not hibernate and are quite active during the winter months. They actually remain active all winter long, continuing to dig and eat voraciously. Moles are omnivores that prefer to feast on grubs, earthworms, and other bugs. As the soil freezes, moles move from tunneling near the surface to digging deeper in the ground. When the weather starts to warm, the moles will tunnel closer and closer to the surface as the soil thaws and becomes easier to navigate.
Moles can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden. Moles cause dead grass patches because their tunneling disrupts the root system of grass. This creates patches that often start out yellow and eventually turn a light tan color. They also push soil and grass up as they dig, creating random mole hills across your yard. While these are easy to spot in the summertime, they can often go undetected in the winter months, giving you less opportunity to identify and eliminate them early. Because of this, it is important to take precautionary measures early before the winter season sets in. Here are some steps you can take for mole prevention this winter.
Keep It Dry
Overuse of sprinklers and irrigation systems can lead to saturated, loose soil – an ideal environment for moles. This loose soil is much easier to tunnel through and is often rich with earthworms and grubs, making it a literal feast for moles. Heavy rainfall can also create these conditions so it is important to be vigilant after storms. Limit watering unless necessary.
Lay Mulch Later
Mulch is a very effective insulator for plants during cold weather. While we are usually inclined to go ahead and mulch before the cold weather sets in, this creates an insulated environment for moles, as well as your plants. Instead of installing mulch in early fall, try to wait until after the first frost. Hopefully by that point, moles and other pests have established themselves in a more hospitable environment than in your yard.
Physical barriers can be very effective at preventing more damage to flowerbeds and trees. These barriers can be in the form of hardware cloth liners in the bottom and sides of flowerbeds or across the top of the bed to prevent digging or wrapped around the base of trees. By preventing them from digging you can limit the damage inflicted and hopefully encourage them to move on to another yard.
Utilize Natural Predators
Cats, snakes, and birds of prey are the most common natural predators of moles. Cats are especially notorious for pest prevention and rodent control around properties. If you don’t already have a cat, you may consider adopting one to roam your property and provide you with free pest control. Although it may be difficult, reconsider killing that snake you find on your property as they are also excellent at controlling rodent and other pest populations.
Eliminate Food Sources
As mentioned above, moles prefer to feed on earthworms, grubs, and other insects. In fact, mole problems often arise because of underlying grub problems. Be proactive in eliminating grubs and other pests from your yard to help control mole populations, as well.
Call A Professional
The cliche of “making a mountain out of a mole hill” isn’t far from the truth. Mole problems can manifest quickly into mole infestations and they can be extremely difficult to control and eliminate. Consider contacting a professional pest control company and setting up ongoing pest control services as these scheduled visits can help identify mole problems early and help resolve your mole issue quickly.
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Moles, a year-round pest nuisance, can cause significant damage to your lawn by burrowing into the ground to create tunnels underneath – usually indicated by above-ground dirt mounds (shown below) – to provide shelter and search for food. Although they’re rarely seen, you can identify them by their gray to brown color, webbed front feet, and long nose. Their front feet are so large that they’re able to dig about a foot per minute – that’s a lot of lawn damage in a short amount of time! Moles eat insects – mostly earthworms & grubs – in large amounts each day and search for meals by tunneling underground, which is what creates the dirt mounds all over your yard, a result of soil being pushed up to the surface.
If moles are causing damage to your lawn, there are a few things you can do to prevent and get rid of them – including the use of repellents, baiting, trapping, and grub control.
Mole repellents can be purchased from your local garden store or, for a more DIY approach, made at home using a caster oil mixture. This method can be effective if the entire yard is treated with the repellent, but will only work for a short amount of time. Once the repellent’s scent diminishes, the moles may return.
Mole baits can be effective if applied properly, but are not usually recommended since the products can be harmful to other animals that come in contact with them.
The most effective method of getting rid of moles is usually trapping, preferably by a trained wildlife control specialist. Professional mole control includes identifying mole tunnels, monitoring activity, and then setting traps.
You can also help to prevent a mole invasion by limiting their food supply – grubs – with lawn care treatments. As an added bonus, you’ll be reducing the amount of grubs feeding on your lawn!
As their name indicates, armyworms travel in large groups and can create a significant amount of damage to your lawn. Find out more about armyworms, how you can prevent them, and how you can get rid of them if they’re eating your grass and plants.
What are Armyworms?
Armyworms are a type of caterpillar and the larvae of moths with green, brown, and yellow stripes. They feed on mostly grass, plants, and vegetables. Chances are, you’re seeing fall armyworms right now, which are very common in Southern states. These armyworms can cause substantial destruction to your lawn which is unsightly and detrimental to your lawn care program. They multiply very quickly and can be tough to eradicate once plants or grass is infested.
How to Prevent Armyworms?
Check for signs of lawn and plant damage often. This includes patchy areas in your lawn that turn brown, where grass has been noticeably eaten. In their adult form, armyworms are brown moths with a white spot on each wing. If you see these moths, it’s likely that larvae is feeding on nearby plant sources. You may also notice more birds in your yard when armyworms are active, as birds eat armyworms. Spotting armyworms early is critical in successfully eliminating them and will cause the least amount of damage. It’s also important to continue a good lawn care program so that your your grass can return to its previously healthy state.
How to Get Rid of Armyworms?
Keep grass maintained with a good lawn care program including regular mowing to keep grass short, watering your lawn often, and giving it the proper nutrients needed to maintain healthy grass. Apply an insecticide specifically for the treatment of armyworms; your local lawn care company or exterminator can take care of this for you or recommend effective products.
After armyworms are treated and eliminated, the process doesn’t stop there. It’s important to continuously check for armyworm damage as a reoccurrence is common. Because this pest cannot withstand cold temperatures, early Spring is when you’re likely to have another infestation.