Mystery dirt piles

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cowboy joe, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    For the past month or so, I have found a dozen or so small (~12" round, 2-3" high) dirt piles on the lawn. At first I thought a small critter was digging up grubs but the grass is intact below the dirt, or at least looks like it is...just looks like someone piled a couple of shovels of dirt on the lawn. I also thought that it might be bees making a ground nest. I have had some sod bees this year but there is usually an opening for the underground nest. Any ideas, short of small alien crop circles, as to what might be doing this?
     
  2. Cheri in NY

    Cheri in NY Well-Known Member

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    Possibly moles?? We have had them recently near the asparagus bed that is not visited this time of year. My cats kill them, but won't eat them. Just leave the dead bodies as reminders to other moles, I guess.
     

  3. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds like it could be a mole or a pocket gopher, with moles a little more likely. The gopher hole tends to be in the middle of the pile, while the mole hole tends to be on the edge. Moles are insectavores and are probably eating grubs and other lawn insects. You might take a long -like 18" screw driver and push down around the hole to see if you break through into the tunnel system. Mole holes are shallow while a gophers' are down a ways. I have recently seen a new mole bait on the market, but I cannot speak to its effectiveness. They do make mole traps and smoke bombs, but I never liked either. It is generally easier to eliminate their food by treating the lawn. There are many gopher baits on the market. I prefer the treated oats. The baits must be placed into the tunnel. Sight a straight line between two fresh mounds and use the screw driver to find it. Create a funnel by rotating the screw driver and put a teaspoon of bait into the tunnel.
     
  4. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    Probably ants, most likely red ants. We have a number of those also and if you look real close you'll see tiny holes and probably some ants around it.
     
  5. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sparrow could be right, but not if they appeared like overnight. I would expect you to see ants on the mounds during the day, even if they are typically a nocturnal ant, like carpenter ants. And carpenter ants wouldn't be nesting in the ground.
     
  6. Gercarson

    Gercarson Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If those dirt piles were in my yard they would be fire ants - after Ivan, I've gotten a few more - I'm allergic to their bites.
     
  7. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yankees don't allow fire ants. Now Cowboy, if you will take your garden hose out to one of those mole hills and turn on the water full force, you can shove the end of the hose down through the dirt pile. If you keep poking around the middle of the pile, you will hit a hole in the ground. Once you locate the hole, start washing the dirt pile back down the hole. every bit of that pile will go back in the hole and you can run a heap of water in there also. All the piles are connected by underground passageways. Some moles work right under the surface raising up the sod, or what ever is there. Others have runs deeper in the ground and have to push the soil on top the ground to get rid of it in their runs. I have run the garden hose into some of these runs for a couple hours and never filled them. Moles don't make these piles for an underground entrance but just for a discard pile.
     
  8. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Cowboy Joe, will you let us know what you find out about those dirt piles? I am curious here as I've been doing some fun research since last Fall about keeping moles away, just for fun.

    I'd like to know what you find out.

    LQ
     
  9. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    moles-------that's what it would be here in Wis.
     
  10. Upham

    Upham Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like moles to me!
     
  11. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Have some of those. Moles. Used to get all upset about them, but now just stomp the dirt back flat and ignore them. If it should rain, the loosened soil really soaks up the water. So if they aren't where you'll trip on them, appreciate them. They're sort of cute little critters.
     
  12. Nan(TX)

    Nan(TX) Well-Known Member

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    One possibility is...
    [​IMG]
    Now if you hear..
    I'm alright
    Nobody worry 'bout me
    You know your on the right track.
     
  13. Laura626

    Laura626 Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Here in VA we have a problem mid to late summer with cicada killer wasps. They make nests in the ground and the females lay eggs in cicadas. The males fly around a lot but don't sting. The females can sting but rarely do unless threatened. They look like huge wasps-kind of scary looking. Once they lay eggs they die off-a pretty short season. The nests in the ground aren't huge like yellow jacket nests are-just a few males and females in each pile. Maybe this will help? Hope so!
     
  14. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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