7 things you need to know to become a successful “Mole Hunter”
In my 29 years in the lawn care industry as a Licensed Lawn Supervisor, I have heard many stories and seen many strategies used to control moles such as filling the tunnels with gum, hair, rose shards, glass, gummy worms, gas tablets, moth balls or castor oil pellets to name a few. All can work but to truly understand the effective strategies, you need to understand the mole.
1. What is The Mole's Diet?
Moles must eat 70–100% of their body weight each day to have enough energy to burrow. Their diet consists mostly of insects, grubs, beetle larvae, earthworms and occasionally they will 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 (flatten). 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.
5. How do I use Gel Worms to Kill Moles?
The best gel baits come shaped like worms and have the active ingredient Bromethalin; sold under the brand names Talparid and TomCat. This is a newer product with mixed reviews. For best results:
- 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. 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.
7. Why do so Many People Think I Have a Grub Problem because I have Moles?
In recent years, the EPA has removed many different insecticides from the market that were reducing earthworm populations. These products would dramatically decrease the food source for moles and drive them away. Today’s products control grubs and insects without killing earthworms so Moles have to scout your yard much more aggressively to feed, thus, many more tunnels.
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. And as always - check the reviews!
If this article was useful to you, read some others similar to it:
- How To Prevent and Control Crabgrass.
- Are Grubs Attracting Moles in Your Yard?
- 5 Best Ways to Seed Thin and Bare Lawn Areas.
- How Do I Know if I Need Mosquito Control?
Since 2007, Green Meadow Lawn Care has provided homeowners throughout the greater Tolland, Connecticut area with premium fertilization programs, tick control, mosquito management, seeding & aeration and tree & shrub care.
To speak to our Customer Service Manager, please call Dave (view Dave's video bio here) with any questions. Dave has been in the industry for 30 years and is always happy to help with his expert advice.