No More Moles
Is there a nontoxic way to get rid of moles? They're ruining my yard.
—Martha Gotthelf, Bozrah, Connecticut
Melinda: First, make sure moles are the problem. These insect eaters feed in summer and hibernate in winter. Their tunnels cause ridges in a summer lawn. Voles, which are smaller mouse-like animals, are the more common culprits. They feed on seeds and plants year-round and wear "runways" in the ground under the snow, damaging lawns. Such damage is usually discovered in spring. Moles can be controlled by constantly disturbing their tunnels. Tamp them down and refill the entrances as you discover them. This will often drive moles from your yard. Vole populations are usually large and harder to control. Many gardeners decide it's easier to live with these pests by just protecting the trunks of trees and shrubs with small fences made of hardware cloth and reseeding damaged lawns. You can try trapping voles in fall. Use rat traps baited with peanut butter and oats. Place traps in a pipe or under some other type of cover so songbirds, pets and children don't accidentally find them first.