Our customers frequently ask questions about moles. What do they feed on? Why do they burrow so close to the surface of the ground, creating unsightly molehills in beautiful lawns and gardens? Should they purchase a poison, or a trap?
Before looking at the various control methods available, let’s review some general information about moles. They are subterranean mammals which rarely emerge from the ground, related to field mice and other rodents, but easily identified by their large front feet, which are used for digging. Moles can burrow anywhere from a few inches to several feet below ground level. When they tunnel close to the surface, they damage plant root systems, and the roofs of their tunnels will often rise above the ground slightly, forming molehills.
While moles do not feed on plant roots—instead, they eat earthworms, insects, and grubs—their tunneling often damages root systems in lawns, gardens, fields, golf courses, etc., which is why they are considered a pest.
There are a few steps you can take to control moles:
- Eliminate the food source. Because insects and grubs make up a large part of a mole’s diet, targeting the insects and grubs with a pesticide application can force the mole to search elsewhere for food. However, this is not always effective. The pesticide might not affect earthworms, in which case the mole will still be able to find plenty to eat, or it might not penetrate the ground as deeply as is needed.
- Smoke bombs which emit poisonous gas (such as phospine, or high-grade nitrogen) once placed inside a molehill are popular, though they, too, are not always effective.
- Flooding tunnels with water is a simple, yet sometimes effective, home remedy.
- The most effective method of controlling moles is trapping. This requires both patience and a bit of detective work; locating mole runways can be difficult. Look along the edges of sidewalks, fences, driveways, and buildings. The good news is that there are usually no more than three moles per acre of land, so catching one can go a long way in solving lawn or garden damage problems.