Moles: What You Need To Know
Who hasn’t had a mole mound or two…. or many, many more, in the lawn!
One of the most commonly asked homeowner lawn questions is, “How do I get rid of moles”?
Understanding Moles and Their Behavior
Let’s start at the beginning; understanding what moles are, when and how they damage lawns across the country, and what, if anything are effective controls. First, moles are small mammals, about seven inches long at maturity, that tunnel through lawns and gardens in search of food. They weigh only about four ounces.
While they may look like mice or rats, moles are not rodents. They are nearly blind, with tiny eyes, covered by fur, no external ears, and a clean, hairless snout.
What Moles Feed On
Moles feed on soil-inhabiting insects, larvae [grubs], spiders, and beneficial biologicals, like earthworms. They do not seek out or intentionally eat or destroy plants or plant parts. The damage to lawns is caused as they push the soil aside with large, flipper-like forefeet in their never-ceasing search for food.
With a high energy requirement, moles can feed up to 24 hours per day, consuming 60-90 percent of their body weight each day.
When Do Moles Come Out?
Moles are most active spring and fall, when insects and other soil active critters are present. They can literally be seen pushing up tunnels and mounds in the early morning and evening hours and can move many feet of soil each day, creating real eye sores in the lawn.
Mole Control Techniques
Nearly everything under the sun has been tried, in typically unsuccessful attempts to get rid of moles, humanely or otherwise. Below, is a partial list of the many, many mole control techniques and procedures homeowners have employed, with varying degrees of success:
Solution 1: Dip a corn cob in roofing tar and thrust it into a mole run! Yes, this really has been tried. Turns out moles can’t stand the smell of tar and depart.
Solution 2: Get a cat! Cats can be effective in seeking out and capturing moles. What happens next is probably fairly obvious. It’s bye-bye mole.
Solution 3: Keeping with animal remedies, most terriers love to dig. And mole runs can be a great sport for these furry little dogs and rid the lawn of moles at the same time.
Solution 4: Sprinkle dried blood or tobacco on mole runs and tunnels. Some say it really works!
Solution 5: For years, folks have sung the praises of castor oil. Numerous products are available. The idea is that, while castor oil won’t kill the mole, it’s smell drives them away and into the neighbor’s lawn.
Solution 6: Put mole killing poison bait in runs and tunnels. Some success is likely but usually not a complete solution.
Solution 7: Sprinkle red pepper on the mole run, entry or exit holes.
Solution 8: Place mole traps in tunnels. In our search for the perfect and most effective way to get rid of moles, trapping [humane or lethal] is the most promising technique.
Note: Should you elect to trap moles humanely, in tunnels, it is necessary to take the trapped mole[s] at least five miles from the site of the trap location before releasing them. Seems silly but, evidently, moles do return to the scene of the crime!!
Some of the above mole remedies have been presented in a less than serious way. The reason is simple, most are not reliably effective in ridding the lawn of moles. Traps do work. Several types are available at the local big-box store or online. Some landscapers and critter control companies are available to trap and remove moles, as well. A quick on-line check will provide availability in your town.
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