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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

It Takes A Skillful Trapper To Catch Pesky Moles

It has rained more the last week or so in Yalobusha County than it has in the last few months.  While still behind in rainfall, the recent rain has helped our crops, pastures, lawns, gardens, and anything else that needed a rain.  Look for a jump in the crops and pastures.  Hopefully, we’ll get timely rains this year.  We’ll need them if the ninety-degree temperatures of last week are any indicators of a long hot summer.

Last week, Christine Fielder, April Kilpatrick, and myself represented Yalobusha County Extension Service at the Catch-A-Dream Fundraiser.  Christine headed up first aid, April worked registration, and I worked the live auction and a couple of other odd jobs.  

This fundraiser raises money to give children with life threatening conditions the opportunity to fulfill their dream of hunting or fishing.  Yalobusha County Extension Service is proud to be a part of such a wonderful charity.

There will be both a judged horse show and a timed event horse show this Saturday at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  The judged show starts at 2 p.m. and the timed event show will not start before 6 p.m.  I encourage you to come out and see some of the best horses in the state.  

Monday night at 6:30 p.m. will be the final Private Applicator Training this spring.  If you need a Private Applicator’s License or if yours expires soon, please plan to attend.

Weekend before last, I attended the state track meet in Pearl to see my niece, Katie Gentry, pole vault for Pontotoc.  While there, I watched Coffeeville’s boy track team win several events and the girls place in several events as well.  Congratulations to the Coffeeville High School boy’s team for their win in the 1A State Track Championship.  The Water Valley High School boys and girls track team also did well the following Saturday in the 3A meet.

Horticulture Tips:

The Moles Are Back

The warmer weather of spring really gets these small critters on the move to satisfy their voracious appetites.  Moles are small furry critters described having beak-like noses, tiny rudimentary eyes, no visible ears, and paddle-like front feet with large claws and stubby, hairless tails.  The ridges in the lawn is caused by their shallow tunneling in search of food which is mainly a diet of earthworms, beetles, grubs, and other insect larvae.  While they rarely feed on plant material, their tunneling can cause damage to the roots of turf, bulbs, etc.

In controlling moles just remember the reason they are there is because they are finding something to eat and if the food is not there then they will soon leave.  Repellants such as caster oil may deter them from using tunnels that it is applied into, but does not stop them from making new ones.

Trapping is still the homeowners most cost-effective and safest method of removing moles if you do not want to harm your beneficial earthworms.  

However, trapping requires some skill, a lot of patience, and general knowledge of mole habits.  A harpoon trap can be purchased from most any garden center.  Early spring is usually the best time of year to trap since the moles are active very close to the soil surface and the soil is cool and moist. Not all tunnels are traveled regularly so it is important to find the main daily run.  This is accomplished by simply making a step on the tunnels to firm the soil back down and checking each morning to find which one is used daily then set the trap on that tunnel. If you are not successful after a couple of mornings, reset the trap in another location.

There are several effective poisonous bait products available, but caution must be taken in using these where other animals such as cats, dogs, squirrels, etc. may come in contact with them.      One material called “mole gel bait” with the active ingredient warfarin, an anti-coagulant, is packaged similar to a caulking tube that injects the gel into the tunnel. As the mole crawls through it he gets the gel on his face and feet which he attempts to lick off, and ultimately is poisoned.  Another bait type product with bromethalin as the active ingredient is shaped, textured, and even smells and taste similar to earthworms.  You simply make a small hole into the tunnel and drop one of these earthworm type baits into the tunnel.   It is marketed as Talpirid and other trade names.  Information on this product can be found at <> .

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