mole bean plant for mole problem

fostina1(7)June 25, 2008

i searched for moles, and it seems the only effective way to get rid of them is a mole trap. i have a friend who says there is a plant called a mole bean plant that they cant stand and will keep them away. i was watering my garden last night when parts of it started caving in. i was very sad, my plants look alright though so im hoping i can just fill it in. any thoughts on this. maybe i should have searched for mole bean. ill do that while i wait on the wisdom of my elders.

thanks

chris

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gardener_sandy

Castor bean seeds are highly toxic (some say that as few as two beans can be fatal if ingested) and in my opinion should never be planted in a vegetable garden due to the chance of mistaking them for edible beans.

Castor bean oil is the ingredient in most of the mole repellants used on lawns. There is anecdotal evidence that it works but I wouldn't want it in my vegetable garden.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 9:15AM
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aulani

Here's a link about castor beans and how highly toxic they are. I agree with gardener sandy, they should never be planted in a vegetable garden.

I noticed this year that the plants were on sale at several locations here. People were walking by with their children, brushing against the leaves, remarking on how pretty they were, touching them. Deadly!

I'm sure you've heard of the deadly poison, Ricin, used by terrorists. It is made from castor beans.

http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/ricin/ricin.html

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 9:35AM
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fostina1(7)

ya, ill stay away from stuff that big brother is probably keeping tabs on. thanks.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 9:53AM
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alfie_md6

Touching castor bean leaves is deadly?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:04AM
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deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)

Moles are annoying but they don't harm your plants unless they uproot something recently planted and the uprooted plant sits in the sun with roots exposed and dries out and dies.
I just stamp down the mole ridges. Think of them as aerating your soil. I just live with them. I don't think they can be controlled without resorting to mayhem. But some people will choose mayhem over moles.
Gophers are another category entirely. For them, mayhem is the only answer.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 12:58PM
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aulani

alfie, here's what I found:

"...Lately, the extremely toxic components of Castor Beans (including the protein ricin and the alkaloid ricinine) have been the subject of much interest. The most notorious is ricin, a deadly poison found in abundance in the seed and in smaller amounts throughout the rest of the plant. Ricin is a water-soluble protein that inhibits protein synthesis in animal cells, leading to their death. Poisoning occurs when animals ingest broken seeds or chew the seeds. Intact seeds may pass through the digestive tract without releasing ricin.

Ricin is incredibly toxic. As little as 0.5 mg (the amount contained in several seeds) can kill an adult. One seed can kill a child. We are not the only sensitive animals. Four seeds will kill a rabbit, 5 a sheep, 6 an ox or horse, 7 a pig, 11 a dog, but it takes 80 to kill a duck. Ricin has been investigated for its potential use as an insecticide."

"...in smaller amounts throughout the rest of the plant."

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:44PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

It's true that only trapping will control the moles (except for terrific poisons for which you need special licenses for). However, it's also true that the moles are doing no harm to your garden, except that they eat earthworms and other soil insects; I know, I have them everywhere throughout my vegetable and ornamental gardens. Voles will use mole tunnels, and they are enormously destructive since they eat the roots of plants. Voles can be kept under control, but it's very difficult to do this in summer when there's a lot of foliage.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 6:28AM
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fostina1(7)

so, the mole tunnels wont hurt my roots?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 10:10AM
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deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)

My experience says no, except as I said, maybe small recently planted items that get uprooted before they are established. I think moles operate at different levels. They cruise near the top of the soil, which creates the ridges. I think they work a little deeper as well, but they appear to not work one area exclusively. They move about. I think lawn damage is what makes most people angry with them, but they don't bother my lawn that I can see.

Sometimes you can see the ridges being created. Mr. Mole is right under there. Once I saw the ridge being created and earthworms were coming up to the top of the soil and fleeing in the other direction. Almost couldn't believe my eyes!
When moles are working shallow like that they are very vulnerable. If you see a ridge being created, get your shovel and pop out the mole if you wish to harm him. They are helpless out of the ground. My cat got one that she saw tunneling shallow. She brought him to me. He was already dead. She was pretty proud of that catch. And let me tell you, moles are very weird looking little animals. Huge front paws or feet, just like shovels, no eyes that I could see.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 12:57PM
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denninmi(8a)

Moles are actually highly beneficial in that they do aerate the soil, and they consume vast numbers of grubs and other burrowing insects. Alas, they DO tunnel through plant roots, often damaging the plants (like the one that tunneled under part of my beets last week and made them wilt), and the tunnels can be annoying and even somewhat dangerous (if they collapse underfoot and make you trip and fall!).

The best way to get rid of moles is to get rid of the grubs which they eat. Any garden center worth its salt should have a number of effective products, both organic and chemical, which will take care of the grubs, and the moles will then move on. This approach has worked very well for me to discourage both moles and skunks from digging up my lawn. Personally, I use the Bayer Advanced product that contains Imadicloprid (Merit). I find it very effective.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 1:32PM
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daryljurassic(OHIO 6a)

Thats definately the castor bean. I have tried the seeds in tunnels. Not sure if it worked but a did have lot of plants come up...The traps are more effective IMO. Make sure the tunnels are active buy flattening them out and then rechecking them later.
While the seeds are poisonous, I would not be very concerned about the plant itself. I don't wear gloves...I have grown over a 100 of them in the last 8 years with no ill effects...(I think lol). If you have small children, I would recommend cutting off the seed pods. When they dry in the sun they have a "mind" of there own....(think safty goggles). Here is a link of a timeline featuring my "jungle" last year. Mainly castors and bananas.
http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/slideshow/559502445tbXlfw

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:39AM
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garysgarden

I remember growing up with castor bean plants in the backyard. They're cool as hell; grow up to the size of a small tree from seed in a single summer.

There was a garden and an apple tree and all kinds of stuff in the yard with the castor beans and all us kids ran around everywhere and ate stuff right off the plants that we'd been told we could eat, and didn't eat a damn thing we weren't supposed to because we knew we'd get in trouble if we did.

Granted, I'm not saying that discipline is all it takes, but either kids are going to do what they're told or they're not. Whether it's not eating a castor bean or not running into traffic... there's only so much that can be done.

But castor bean plants themselves are not that big a deal in my opinion. Nightshade is far more dangerous and infinitely more likely to actually poison someone. I haven't ever eaten a castor bean, but based on the way the plant smells I would imagine it tastes HORRIBLE.

People hear that ricin is made from the beans and they just freak. It's true, but heroin is made from poppies and they're not remotely dangerous in a garden.

Kids should definitely be carefully educated and/or observed around castor bean plants. They should also be carefully educated and/or observed around rhubarb. That stuff'll kill you dead if you don't prepare it right.

Electrical outlets probably kill more kids annually than castor bean plants, though.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 12:05AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Castor beans are very poisonous, but in addition, they do nothing to rid your garden of moles. The moles would just avoid the area right around the roots. Getting rid of grubs won't get rid of moles either, since their favorite food is earthworms--so, unless you trap, and trap regularly and repeatedly, you'll have to learn to live with moles. Not so difficult. I've been doing it for 13 years. It's the voles that are the real problems.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 6:48AM
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daphne16(5)

okay so I am going to jump in and ask if the mole that keep pulling my plants into it's holes is really a vole? It has gotten 4 toms, 5 blue lake bean bushes and 4 squashes. I step on the tunnels every day and have even placed used cat litter in the holes. I hate using posion. FIL spread grubex all over the yard in early May. The grub damage has healed but the tunneling creature is still here.
Any suggestions?
Thanks
Daphne

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 3:15PM
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wally_1936(8b)

Noise will keep the moles away as they hunt by sound. Some people put moth balls at the opening of one of their holes. Others use those cheap plastic toys kids use to buy with the propeller on a stick. The noise confuses them. They did sell a noise maker in some nurseries many years ago.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 11:01PM
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tomatozilla

Daphne if plants are getting dragged into the hole it ain't a mole (they eat bugs and damage plants accidentally), it's whatever local varmint you have that eats plants - here this happens to my neighbors all the time and the culprits are pocket gophers. I get moles whenever my worm population supports them, a plant or two may get killed, or coyotes may tear things up a bit before they realize they can't catch the mole, but the fun of watching the worms leap into the air to escape the mole is worth it! It's a riot to hear deep_roots has seen this also. The mole is so fast, I can stand right over him and he goes on with his work, confident he can dig away from me faster than I can catch up with him! And he's right, I've tried! Moles have beautiful fur.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 1:13AM
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daphne16(5)

Thanks,
I am going to go to the local nursery tomorrow and ask for help with the plant stealers.
Thanks,
Daphne

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 5:58PM
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garysgarden

How'd it go at the nursery?

Curious minds want to know!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 6:47PM
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daphne16(5)

Well,
They were no help, sigh. They said it was a mole and that the plants were probably just falling down the holes. I told them how sometimes the plant is completely gone not just down the hole. They had no clue. I am going to find the local extension office and see if they are any better.
Do chipmunks steal plants?
Thanks,
Daphne

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 9:56AM
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garysgarden

Dunno about chipmunks, but I think the vole idea is still probably on target.

Some snakes are predators of voles (which are a small rodent like a mouse, but bigger.) Wolves, owls, hawks, coyotes, foxes, weasels and cats also predators of voles, but I'd guess the average domestic cat is probably more interested in chasing voles than catching them.

Not sure how to attract the predators to the area, but if you could do that it'd probably solve the problem easier than anything else.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 11:27PM
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