Over my 29 years in the lawncare industry as a Licensed Lawn Supervisor, I have heard many stories and seen many strategies used to control moles. Filling the tunnels with gum, hair, rose shards, glass, gummy worms, gas tablets, moth balls, castor oil pellets, etc. All can work but to truly understand the effective strategies, you need to understand the mole.
Here is a list of the 7 things you need to know to become a successful “Mole Hunter”.
1. What is The Moles Diet? Mostly insects, grubs, beetle larvae, and earthworms. They must eat 70–100% of their body weight each day to have enough energy to burrow. Occasionally, they’ll eat seeds, roots, or bulbs.
2. How Much Tunneling Can One Mole Do? Many people believe that there’s a mole in every tunnel they see. The good news is that even though you may see dozens of tunnels, there are probably only a few moles in the yard. Possibly only one or two. Moles dig fast: about 18 ft./hour. They may be able to tunnel 100 feet a day or more, depending on soil conditions. You may think your lawn is full of moles, when it’s just the home of a few, very busy little guys.
3. How do I Scout the Mole Tunnel for the Most active ones? Here’s a few ways:
- Make holes with a stick in the tunnel. Mark hole with a flag. Check the next day. If the hole has been closed back up, it’s an active tunnel. Moles don't like sunlight and will quickly repair openings.
- Roll the tunnels down. The tunnels that pop back up are active.
4. What do I Need to Know About Trapping Moles?
- Trap in the spring or fall when the soil is moist and the moles are closer to the surface.
- If the lawn is so dug up that you can’t tell the feeder tunnels from the travel tunnels, roll or walk it flat. Flag the area so you can find it easily, then watch for a few days. If the flattened area is raised again, you’re looking at an active tunnels.
- Set multiple traps. If you can’t choose between locations, set traps in both.
- Set locations: Best: an active travel tunnel that extends into a wooded area. Good: any active travel tunnel, or a molehill.
- Scout for the most active tunnels and use bait there
- Always handle with rubber gloves to avoid scent transfer
- Caution: Product is very toxic. If you have pets or children, this may not be the strategy for you.
6. What Control Strategies don’t work particularly well on Moles?
- Baits & Devices. Chewing gum, mothballs, thumpers, ultrasonics, flooding the tunnels and grain-based baits don’t work that well because moles don’t normally eat grain. If you are going to try baits, use rubber gloves. Moles have a great sense of smell.
- Grub treatments. They may get rid of the grubs in your lawn, but there will still be plenty of worms for the moles to eat. Remember, Grub Control is NOT Mole Control.
The Bottom Line: Persistence Overcomes Resistance! If you are going to tackle the Mole problem yourself, be persistent. If you are going to hire a professional, hire someone you trust. Referrals from friends, family or a neighbor are usually the best way to avoid getting taken advantage of. Check those reviews too.