Taking it to the Food Chain

      On Saturday morning, Knightley sniffed out a dead mole that was occupying space on our front lawn.  I had noticed the increasing number of mole tunnels in the front yard, and thought back to my childhood days of stomping on mole tunnels.   I hadn’t thought initially of the moles as a menace that I needed to rid my yard of. Thanks to The Wind and The Willows, from childhood, I think moles are pretty cute.  First off, because I know that moles eat the bugs. However, upon closer inspection of the dead mole, I changed my mind. Why? Because I have entirely convinced myself that mole died as the result of a Copperhead bite, and the mole was just too big to for the Copperhead to swallow.  As much as I think moles are cute and harmless, I think Copperheads are vicious and dangerous. They are the last thing that I want Knightley running into in the yard.  So I thought, nope, the moles can’t stay; they are rodents that will attract Copperheads to the yard.

So how do you get rid of the moles without killing them?  I don’t have the patience to attempt trapping them, and besides, where would I take them once I trapped them?  I am sure I just couldn’t let them free in someone else’s yard. No, after hours of internet perusal, I decided that the approach that I liked best was to rid my yard of their favorite food source, thus making my yard a less desirable place for them to be.  So it means taking it to the grubs, specifically the Japanese Beetle grubs that I know are also inflicting my lawn.  To get rid of those, the safe, non-toxic option is Milky Spore.

Here is what I love about the whole thing -I love that I have spent time sitting around reasoning out that the danger from moles comes from the potential attraction to then that Copperheads, one level up the food chain have.  So, I have determined that to try to alleviate that potential food chain menace, I must go two levels down the food chain and take it to the grubs.  Then, the way that I get rid of those creatures is by using a non-toxic bacteria that gives the grubs a disease that kills them, but is harmless to other plants, birds, and pets like Knightley.  I love it when natural science is useful.  All of those food chain diagrams that we drew in elementary and middle school, and that I still see Melissa grading on her high school students’ exams, really do have lifelong value! I also love bacteria that is our friend. This bacteria is so great, because it will multiply inside of the feeding grubs, while killing them, and then the spores will live on in my lawn for the next 10-15 years, giving me that long of protection. 

Well don’t I feel bad about killing the grubs, you ask?  Well, the answer to that is absolutely not. Let me tell you, in case you couldn’t figure it out from the name “Japanese Beetle”, that those beetles are invasive species.  They are not friends of mine.  If I let them have their way, then our roses would be destroyed as would our lovely crape myrtle.  I need to get rid of these jokers and now is the time of year to do it.

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