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Digging Through the Weeds on the Internet

It isn’t uncommon for someone to call the Purdue Extension Office stating they saw something online, but wasn’t sure if it is true. For example, one of the common questions we get is will moth balls prevent the moles digging up my yard? Purdue Extension cannot recommend any home remedies (bubble gum, razor blades, moth balls, lye, mole dances, spinning or electric devices, and flooding tunnels with water or car exhaust, etc.) for mole control because they are not research based. Instead, what is research based is a harpoon trap or a mole bait (special earthworm-like products) containing the active ingredient bromethalin.

This article isn’t intended to educate individuals about how to take care of moles, but to help individuals understand how to weed through the different sources of information available to them on the internet. One way of sorting information is to specify the type of website you want. You can do this by typing site:.XYZ, where the XYZ represents the domain on the internet you want to search. For example, if you want to search for information on fertilizing a lawn, you can type “fertilize lawn” and do a focused search for information on fertilizing lawns from university sites on the internet. This technique works in most search engines, including Google, Bing and Safari. By adding the phrase or to your topic of interest, you sort out a lot of irrelevant information.

Once you have your information, look to see who wrote the article, what their background is, and how old is the information. For instance, if you are looking up something on fertilizing a lawn and it is from 1980, practices have changed since then. Therefore, you need to look for something more recent. Likewise, if you found an article on growing grapes from New Mexico, it may not be relevant for growing grapes in Indiana because our climates are different. 

As always, if you are dealing with a horticulture, agriculture, or natural resource related question, don’t hesitate to contact Jenna Nees with Purdue Extension in Putnam County with your questions. If you need help identifying a plant, insect, or damage from a disease, it is best to attach multiple photos of the item to your email. If you are dealing with something related to health and human sciences, such as food safety and healthy eating, contact Abbi Smith with Purdue Extension in Putnam County with your questions. You are also welcome to call the Purdue Extension Office directly at 765-653-8411 or visit our office at 152 E Columbia St., Greencastle, IN.

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