moles, grubs and birds

Asked June 16, 2020, 3:42 PM EDT

I have grubs and moles thst I would like to eliminate. I also have many birds who are nesting and have babies in various stages that i do not want to harm. Everything I have read on internet so far is totally confusing.. can you please simply explain step by step how can i get rid of grubs and moles without hurting the birds?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

It would be a good idea to identify the culprit that you are dealing with. Make sure you do not have voles and/or moles.
It may be possible you have voles and/or moles. Here is some information on both. If you are noticing holes about the size of a silver dollar in lawns areas and a shallow runway system, suspect voles. They feed on the roots of trees and shrubs. They do not feed on insects like grubs. Control involves trapping with mouse traps baited with apple slices or peanut butter. See our website, photos, and publication on voles https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/voles

Moles - Moles create shallow feeding tunnels in lawns and feed on soil insects including earthworms, grubs, etc. They do not cause plant damage. Moles usually move on when their food supply and habitat changes. Mole activity can be seasonal and often stops on its own so in many cases control is not needed. Tamp down raised tunnels with your foot whenever they appear. Repellents and grub control products are not recommended for a mole problem as they just feed on other soil insects. See more on moles https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/moles

Grub control products are only recommended if grubs are feeding on your turf roots.
Make sure you have a grub problem.
Reasons to apply a grub control include - a past history of grubs, if you have a sprinkler system that keeps the soil moist for egg laying, and if we have weather conditions like wet summers and lush lawns while the adult beetles are active in June. It is normal and not problematic to have a few grubs in the soil (in fact, helpful because it keeps the grub predators around.) Unless you are seeing around 10 per square foot, and your lawn suffered severe damage last fall, it does not warrant the expense and impact of spreading any pesticides.

In general, adult egg laying begins in July and root feeding begins in August.
Grub controls are applied as a preventative. Look for a season long grub control that contains the active ingredient Chlorantraniliprole. This product is more environmentally friendly and has a broad application window (May through September) not now. Read and follow label directions.
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/grubs-lawns

Marian