Q. I’ve always heard that you could use Juicy Fruit gum to kill moles tunneling in your yard. Is this true, and how do I use it?
A. This is another one of those urban legends that circulates on the Internet, although this one actually predates the Internet. Using Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum for mole (and gopher) control is one of those home remedies that has been passed down from our grandfathers (or grandmothers). Yes, you can find detailed instructions online as to how to apply the gum to moles’ tunnels…but that doesn’t mean it works! It doesn’t.
The whole idea behind the Juicy Fruit method of mole control is that the moles will eat the gum and that it will then “gum up” their insides, causing them to die of constipation or some other horrible digestive problem. There are even online debates about whether the gum should be chewed or unchewed when placed in the mole tunnels. By the way, advocates say that moles only like the Juicy Fruit flavor. While you can use a different brand of gum, the flavor still has to be Juicy Fruit. It’s suggested that you buy Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit in bulk packages from Costco.
One detailed set of Internet directions says to use a knife and a cutting board to cut the gum up into tiny squares, smaller than the period at the end of a sentence. Try doing that! Then you dig holes into sections of the tunnels and drop about one stick’s worth of tiny gum squares into each hole. Repeat in 5 to 10 days. The instructions suggest that you reevaluate this strategy in one month and says that if the moles “haven’t started eating the gum after a month, there’s no reason to expect them to start.”
The reason this mole control method doesn’t work is that there is no possible reason why moles would eat gum, Juicy Fruit or otherwise. Most people think moles are eating the plants in their gardens. They’re not. Moles are carnivores. They eat earthworms, grubs, and insects that they find underground. Juicy Fruit gum is about as far from an earthworm as you can get. Although one web site does say you should shake up some sticks of gum and some earthworms together in a container so you get essence of earthworm on the gum. Moles also don’t eat, nor are they repelled by, any of the other bizarre things that people put in their tunnels like human hair, mothballs, or chocolate-covered laxatives.
So why do so many people try this and then claim that it works? One guy says that after he applies the gum, the moles either die or disappear. That might be. Their absence is probably due to the fact that the moles have temporarily abandoned a tunnel, something they do all the time and something they would have done anyway. Or, all of the steps taken to poke holes in the tunnels and stuff in the gum may have disturbed the moles enough that they have decided to move on, at least temporarily. In that sense, then, perhaps the gum method does work!