How to Control Common Pests in Your Yard

Carpenter bee resting on a piece of wood

1. Carpenter Bees

A common sight in the spring and summer is the carpenter bee, which can cause more than scares — it can damage your home.

This insect bears a striking resemblance to a bumblebee but there’s one distinct difference between the two: their tummies. Bumblebees have fuzzy abdomens, whereas carpenter bees’ stomachs are hairless and smooth.

Carpenter bees’ scare is worse than their sting. While males may look menacing around people who approach nests, they lack a stinger. And females rarely sting.

But those females can wreak havoc on your home, leaving round, smooth openings — roughly 3/8 to ½ inch in diameter — in deck and fascia boards. Here they lay their eggs, and future generations often use the same areas for their needs, excavating additional tunnels.

To remove these pests, build a carpenter bee trap from pressure-treated wood and a mason jar.

Read How to Build a Carpenter Bee Trap for more information.

Mole digging out of a molehill in the backyard
Moles can quickly turn your backyard into a mess. But there are ways to remove these critters from your yard and prevent them from ever returning.

2. Moles

Gardens are mole magnets, and those of us who love to garden are guilty of attracting them.

These mammals love a moist, earthworm-rich area, and gardeners create the perfect habitat after tilling, mulching and watering.

If you don’t have a serious mole problem, don’t worry about these critters. They’ll take what they can eat and move along soon enough.

But if moles are making a mess in your backyard, here’s an action plan to stop them:

Shrink Your Lawn: Lawns are a likely target for mole damage. Replace part of your lawn with shrub plantings and wildflower gardens. Adding hardscaping is another option.

Reduce Watering: Saturating your soil attracts earthworms and moles to the surface. Cut back on irrigating your lawn, and choose drought-tolerant grasses and plants.

Replace Plants: Native plants are less damage-prone and require less water than imported varieties.

Prevent Entry: Protect raised beds by lining them with ¼-inch metal hardware cloth. You can also add a mole barrier around the perimeter of your yard. Bury hardware cloth or sheet metal at least two feet deep. It should stick up about 6 inches.

Scare Them: Moles aren’t popular with predators, but your dog or cat might enjoy hunting them or scaring them off.


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