Lawn pests

Asked July 24, 2020, 6:53 PM EDT

Has been a battle all summer with moles using repellant. The last month my beds are riddled with holes from something else, as well as all around the brick of my house. Have these teeny squirrels I have never had before, but have actually seen what I think is chipmunks around the holes. Odd, because in 26 years of chipmunks, squirrels, etc., this has never happened, though I live near woods. Moles are a constant headache. I don’t like to kill anything but am at my wits end. A critter control company wants to put poison worms in the holes. That would take half the day! Any ideas? Thank you for any help. It is most appreciated.

Washtenaw County Michigan

1 Response

Stay away from rubber worms if you have kids or dogs that could get into them. The best option for moles is the old fashion traps that you set into the soil - the key is just getting them in the right location - so it may take a bit of time and relocation of them to be successful.

Holes could be chipmunks or three-lined ground squirrels (small squirrels). Regular squirrels nest in trees.

As with an mammal concern, instead of just trying to randomly fix it, ask yourself these questions:

1. Why are they in my yard?
2. Are they causing harm to my yard or to me at a level that I can no longer tolerate?

Wildlife lives everywhere, and sometimes their populations can fluctuate (higher some years-lower others). Unlike humans, their territorial borders are not property lines, and as their populations increase, they can become abundant everywhere, not just your house. Other times-we may actually be encouraging them to move in (have more than everyone else in the neighborhood).

Assess that situation and move to the solution as needed. Are you getting more moles and chipmunks than everyone else? Is there something drawing them to your property over the neighbor? Or are all the neighbors observing this too?

With moles, they tunnel to find food, and often move on. If the issue is just this year, they may move to another piece of property with some patience. If you have a nice supply of earthworms and grubs on your property, they may stay a bit longer. If they are intolerable, buy some mole traps and start setting them.

With chipmunks, do you have yard full of oak and other nut-producing trees, as well as soil that is easy to tunnel in? Are you leaving out many bird feeders and eating outside often? Chipmunks live in areas where they have food. Either at your house, or the neighbor. Fortunately, they are primarily nut and seed eating machines, and don't bother our plants very much.

Overall, when mammal populations are up, they will expand until they are limited by food, shelter or disease. Your area may be experiencing a higher than normal level of them recently. Controlling them in your personal space may help for the short term, but if they are abundant throughout the neighborhood, you may get some new residents after you get rid of the current ones. But if it is only your yard, see if you can target the reasons your space is so appealing and start making changes that could discourage them from moving in.

In the short term, you can set live traps and relocate chipmunks, fill in their holes, and spray deterrents, as you mention. But think a bit about why they are drawn there and what your neighbors are experiencing too?