Help! My yard is overrun with moles!

gwtamaraJanuary 1, 2013

Ironically, all a good gardener's hard work, mulching, irrigating, keeping a compost pile can actually ATTRACT moles by providing plenty of worms, grubs etc. for them to eat. Their constant search for underground insects can cause serious damage to lawns and gardens, so it would seem that destroying soil insects would decrease their activity...but actually, damage may be increased as the animals burrow even more in their territory to find the scarcer food! Also long-term eradication of soil insects is impractical, if not impossible.

Other means of getting rid of moles that DO NOT work:

Fumigating: car exhaust, poison gas cannisters etc., are a wasteof time when dealing with moles, their tunnels are far too extensive to fill with gas. You may succeed in repelling them, or maybe killing one, but tomorrow...THEY'LL BE BAAAACK!

Poison baits: moles are primarily insect eaters, poison baits are generally grain-based.

Mothballs: moles maybe temporarily repelled, or more likely, just dig different tunnels. In the meantime, you have poison lying around for children or pets to find.

Vibrating or ultrasonic devices: As lovely lawn decorations, windmill daisies may may bother your neighbors, but your moles won't mind a bit.

Chewing gum, broken glass, human hair, etc., etc., etc. : Again, really not effective. Homeowers sometimes think they've run off a mole using one of these methods, most likely, she's just gone to deeper ground to have babies, who will be ready to dig their own tunnels in a month!

Recommended methods for getting rid of moles

Trapping: The 'harpoon' type trap is probably the easiest to use, but does require careful placement. You'll need to watch the mole activity to find active 'surface runs' . Often these are located along a barrier, such as a driveway, or along the edge of a woods or hedge. They tend to be fairly straight, and may appear to connect two or more mounds or the curving ridged paths where the moles hunt. Once you think you've found a main runway, make a hole in it, the mole will repair it in a day or two if it's an actively used run, which means it's a good place to trap.

The trap should carry instructions on how to set it. Lightly depress an area of the run, and place the set trap over it, so that the trigger just barely touches the depressed area. The support spikes should straddle the tunnel without blocking it. Also, take care not to damage any other part of the run, the mole needs to be able to get to the trap area. A bucket placed over the trap can help keep children or pets away.

Check the trap often, if not tripped within a few days, try another location.

Other methods: Moles can easily be observed at work, for those with strong stomachs, a pitchfork or shovel straight into a moving burrow is quite effective. Or you could try to dig up the creature and transport it elsewhere...be warned, these little velvet-coated beasts are fearless, and can deliver a painful bite or scratch!

Some dogs and cats are good mole-hunters, though it seems more of a game, as moles taste unpleasant, and few predators actually eat them.

When placing a garden or lawn near a wood or field where moles are plentiful, a 'mole barrier' can keep them out. Sections of galvanized hardware cloth or aluminum sheathing, 3 feet wide, should be buried to a depth of 24". Six inches should be left exposed above the soil, and three inches can be bent forward on the bottom, towards the source of the moles, to discourage them from digging underneath it.

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