Moles are a real pain! Just when you have your lawn looking good, ridges start to appear. So you end up doing a funny dance, the “mole-in-my-lawn two-step”. It’s a cross between the jump and the mash.
Actually, your resident moles are looking for food. They dig through the soil, eating insects as they go. Earthworms and grubs are haute cuisines to them, but just about any insect will do.
Aside from creating a mess, moles actually do very little harm. They are insectivores and eat only insects. The only harm that they do to your lawn is the ridges that they leave behind, and in some cases their tunneling exposes some of the turf roots to air. On the plus side, a mole can eat 100+ grubs and other bugs in a single day…not a bad appetite for an animal the size of a chipmunk.
A single mole can dig 15 feet of tunnel overnight, then sometimes they seem to go away for a few days. Don’t celebrate too early because there’s a good chance that they’re still there, but just digging too deep for you to see. Or, worse than that, the female has gone to her den to care for a litter of babies.
There’s no shortage of advice on how to get rid of them. Everyone seems to have a sure-fire method that works, but the truth is, eliminating moles is very hard. The most popular method is large-scale treatment with insecticide. This seems to be the most common, perhaps because there’s money to be made in applying the treatments. Since Because moles feed on a variety of other invertebrates, not just grubs, applying insecticides to kill grubs in a lawn in hopes of depriving moles of their food supply is not generally effective. It may just increase the tunnels as moles look further for other sources of food.
Trapping is the most effective and practical method of controlling moles. There are several styles on the market, and most of them work if you follow the directions. Be persistent with the traps, if you eliminate one or two moles from a good feeding area, others will soon move in. There’s no way to be rid of them forever.
A search of the web turns up some unusual suggestions for ridding your yard of moles. Too bad that most of them don’t work:
Fumigants or gas-bombs may look good to see smoke coming up from the burrows, and may make the user feel good, but a mole usually has numerous burrows and escape tunnels.
Baits rarely work as moles don’t eat grain based materials. A lot of other birds and animals do, which then get eaten by dogs and cats who later die.
Broken glass, razor blades, chewing gum, and even human hair have been tried, but the results aren’t consistent. In all probability, the moles have just moved deeper or to another part of the yard. They’ll be back.
There are a few plants that seem to work. Marigolds and Castor beans have been studied, but you spread them out across the lawn and still have a real lawn. Several companies have tried a spray on Castor extracts, but the ground has to be continually saturated with them, and the results aren’t proven.
Windmills, whirly gigs, and electronic repellents can annoy you more than they annoy the moles.
Actually, there’s one other effective measure of control. Some dogs like digging after them. Borrow a beagle or dachshund. Of course, you won’t have much lawn left when they’re through, and you’ll have to stay by them for a while because, although they like the hunt, they rarely kill the mole because moles taste bad.