This time of year brings out the pests in droves. There are pests that bite and sting. Some buzz, some creep, some are just creepy. But according to a wildlife specialist from Kansas State University, the number one problem pests are moles. Moles can make a huge mess out of your lawn or garden. But pocket gophers, often referred to as just plain gophers, can cause the same time of tunneling damage, so how do you tell if you have moles or gophers? And why does it matter?
Although they are commonly mistaken for one another, they definitely are not interchangeable. Gophers are rodents, whereas moles are related to mice or voles, in the shrew family. Moles are insectivores and their diet consists of mainly earthworms, millipedes, centipedes, snails and slugs, but not vegetation. Gophers are strictly herbivores, making a meal of the vegetation in your lawn and garden.
The problem for humans is, both of these critters will tear up your lawn or garden with their incessant burrowing and tunneling, but for different reasons. Which makes them just that much harder to eradicate.
Also, you may never see the pest to tell whether it’s a gopher or mole. It would probably be advantageous to trap at least one, so you will know what you are dealing with.
It is possible to get rid of moles by contaminating their food source with red pepper or castor oil. A mixture including plenty of dish soap sprayed in or near their tunnel will also make them want to go elsewhere for a different food source.
Gophers on the other hand can be put off by noise or animals like cats and dogs. A well placed pile of dog doo-doo in the tunnel can alarm the gopher to canine presence and they will high-tail it out of there. Same with what the cat leaves. One article suggested playing loud music near the tunnel but that isn’t really a neighbor-friendly tactic.
Of course, there is always poison, if that is the road you wish to take, but the possibility exists that animals other than the intended victim will find it.
The easiest way to deal with either of them is to call your pest control expert. Leave it to the professionals and enjoy your pest-free lawn and garden.