About three years ago, my mother had an underground sprinkler system installed and her yard landscaped. It cost her quite a bit of money, and when we started finding mole hills in the yard, she went ballistic. It turns out that the moles (or gophers, we aren't sure which) were using the space that the sprinkler pipes occupied as runways through the entire yard. Essentially, we had created a big underground mole highway. The moles (or gophers) were nibbling at the roots of the new plants she had planted, which killed a few and made the others sickly. They were also tearing up the yard as new mole hills kept appearing every day. As she was out of town most of the time, I was given the job of eradicating the rodents from the yard.

So, I did a little research. If you have a mole or gopher problem, these tips might help you out. These are the common methods for getting rid of moles and gophers that I tried:

  • Sonic Thumper - This is a battery operated device you stick into the ground that emits a sonic pulse/thumping noise that is supposed to irritate the animals and drive them out of your yard. They cost between $25 and $45, and are supposed to work like a charm. I tried this first as it is the most humane method. It didn't work. I don't know if this is a problem with our soil or something else, but I gave it about 10 days and the mole hills kept coming up in the yard.
  • Poison Pellets - We thought this had worked as we didn't see any mole hils for about 5 days after putting the poison down into the tunnels, but they came back. I don't know if it killed them and new moles moved in, or if it just made them sick and they weren't active for a couple of days. I was also worried about the neighborhood cats digging in to the hole and eating the poison pellets.
  • Poison Gas - The poison gas comes in sticks that look like road flares. You light them so they spew out gas, then stuff them into the gopher hole. This was a waste of money. In order to do this, you have to suck in a big lungful of air, light the fuse, stuff it in the hole, then pray you don't breathe any of the gas and that the dirt doesn't put out the fuse. Needless to say, it didn't work.

Since the common sold-in-the-store methods of getting rid of the moles weren't working, I did some more research. I forget exactly how I came across this method, but it worked. Its cheap, and safe for the environment. What is it?

Juicy Fruit Gum.

How does it work? Dig into the mole hill until you get to the entrance of the actual tunnel. Unwrap one piece of Juicy Fruit, and stick down into the hole as far as it will go. Fill the hole back in with dirt and make it flat so that its obvious if the hill becomes active again. Do this with every mole hill in the yard. The moles/gophers will eat the gum, it will stick to their insides (in theory), and it will kill them. Yes, this isn't very nice, but it does work. When I did this with every mole hill, the mole hills disappeared for about a month until some new moles moved in. It might take 2 or 3 pieces of gum per mole hill before the hill becomes inactive.

Disclaimer: I do not advocate killing pest animals if there are other ways of solving the problem. In my case, I tried the humane method of getting rid of the moles/gophers (the sonic thumper), and it did not work. I think that using a sonic thumper should be tried out before you resort to other methods, but that might not work for everyone. If you do not have the money to invest in a thumper, just try the gum. A Plen-T-Pack of Juicy Fruit is usually less than $1.

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