Rid your house of bugs, moles

Published 5:46 pm Saturday, November 24, 2007

Last week we discussed how to attract desirable wildlife to your home, this week I will address how to get them away. These two local creatures have received a lot of attention lately and we have received numerous calls about each. So let’s briefly address them both.

Q. Why have there been so many lady bugs around, are they good or bad?

The recent cold weather has probably helped suppress these until spring but here are some things to consider. Too some people lady bugs are a nuisance, but this small commonly red and black spotted bug has numerous benefits especially to gardeners and poses no threat to plants or people. This year we had high reports of aphids and others garden pest, which has resulted in a large crop of lady bugs. The only downside to the Asian lady beetle is it often looks for places to overwinter until the spring and a favorite place to do this is in attics and homes. It is not a problem now but when temperatures warm up in the spring and they begin to leave, some may end up inside your home as opposed to outside. Therefore if you had large amounts of lady bugs around your house be thankful they are helping your plants but check and be sure you do not have excessive openings leading up into your attics or you could have some unwelcomed guest in the spring, I know I had many last spring.

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Q. Why do I have so many moles in my yard?

Moles are little furry creatures with beak- like noses, small eyes, no visible ears, and paddle like feet with claws. They are usually most active in the spring but we have been receiving numerous calls about them this fall. Moles rarely eat roots or plants, however, their tunneling does cause damage to the root structure of your lawn. Their diet consists primarily of earthworms, beetles, grubs and other insect larvae. Therefore they may remain in a lawn until all available food is eaten and then move on. There are a few options for controlling moles.

First it is important to find which tunnels are most frequently travelled. Simply go out in the evening and step on several different areas of the tunnels, depressing the tunnel flat to the ground with your foot. Then, in the morning check to see if any of them have been raised, if so, then you know where to try methods of removal.

The most effective way to control moles is by trapping (harpoon traps are the most common trap). Set the trap on top of the tunnel where the mole is traveling, you can put earthworms under the trap to help attract them.

Let the trap sit a few days, if no mole is caught then move the trap to another location.

The second method is to inject specific products into the hole to control them. There are several gel baits to use that are quite simple, you inject the product into the tunnels and when the moles go through the tunnel the ingredient gets on their feet and face, when they lick it off it works as a anti-coagulant which controls future problems.

Be cautious with pets because some of these products are harmful if ingested by dogs or cats, please be sure to read the label on any product you purchase.

David Carter is the director of the Adams County Extension Service.