In the past few years, I have noticed increased mole activity in my residential client’s lawns and receive requests for advice repeatedly. I hope you find this information useful.
Moles, for the most part, are quite harmless. However, their tunnels can tear up your lawn when there are enough of them. There are a lot of home remedies for getting rid of moles from the yard, although most are only temporary fixes. Unfortunately, there is no absolute cure or single method for getting rid of moles.
Moles can quickly colonize and spread through adjacent residential properties. Because they need a well-established tunnel network to survive, control will be more difficult the longer they are allowed to tunnel and become habituated. Moles don’t hibernate in the winter.
Establishing Initial Activity:
Use your finger, or a narrow rod to puncture a hole in the top of subsurface runways. Be careful not to crush runways. Mark opened runways and revisit them 2 to 4 days later. Runways that have had holes resealed within 72 hours should be baited.
After you discover as many tunnels and mole holes that you can you will require a dowel rod to poke openings into these tunnels, and several of those marker flags to easily be able to find the openings you just made. The next day check the holes you’ve made into the tunnels. What you are looking for is whether or not it has been “repaired”. That means that after the mole goes through their tunnels, they mend any destruction, by and large simply by running through the area again. So, if a hole you poked is no longer open, you have discovered an operational tunnel.
Organic Methods for Mole Deterrent:
Coyote and fox urine can be purchased at your local hunting-sporting goods store. Pour this down the holes. Coyotes and Foxes are natural mole predators so the moles may be tricked into thinking they are present and hopefully leave.
Another method is cat feces from your cat box. By poking a hole and placing it right into their runs they may believe cats are down there chasing them. You can do the same thing with human hair. This makes them smell undesirable to their mates.
You can mix your own mole repellent by mixing 6oz of castor oil and 2 tbsp of Murphy’s Oil Soap or dish soap in one gallon of water to make a concentrate. Mix one ounce of concentrate per gallon of water and apply to the lawn. Make sure to reapply the homemade mole repellent after rain or watering.
Keep in mind that these may only work temporarily, if at all.
HOW DO I KILL A MOLE?
The most effective method for killing moles is by using traps or poisons. Traps are usually set in spring or fall when moles are most active, with early spring being the most favorable time, as this is when females are pregnant.
Moles construct deeper tunnels that are not visible from the surface. These deep tunnels systems are often marked by a series of conical mounds (piles of dirt) 4 to 12 inches high formed when dirt is pushed to the surface when moles construct these tunnels. To locate deep tunnels, push a probe, such as a broom handle, into the soil between mounds. When the probe enters a tunnel, the resistance on the probe will decrease rapidly. Mark opened tunnels and revisit them 48 to 72 hours later. Runways that have had holes resealed within 72 hours should be baited.
For mole baits, I recommend Talprid Mole Bait. This has been the gold standard for mole control. It mimics the mole’s natural food of earthworms. Talpirid works quickly and can kill moles in 24 hrs.
Determining Baiting Results:
Five (5) to 7 days after bait application, check for mole activity using the same procedure for determining initial mole activity. Return 48 to 72 hours later and put new bait in all active runs.
All mole baits need to be applied in the main underground runway or subsurface feeding tunnels. Do not haul away the mole hill soil. You can delicately work it into your lawn to prevent settling of the soil.
If you truly have an infestation, then the poison is probably working, but not killing enough moles for you to see any progress. You need to stop with the poisons and move on to trapping. This way you buy a few traps, set them up in the active tunnels, and dispose of each dead mole properly as you catch them. Wear new latex gloves when handling traps so the mole cannot smell your scent, not gardening gloves. If the mole trap needs lubrication use cooking oil instead of petroleum oil. It is recommended that you check with the local authorities to see what the trapping laws may be in your area.
- A 5 ounce mole will consume 45-50 lbs of worms and insects each year.
- Moles can dig surface tunnels at approximately 18 feet/hour and travel through existing tunnels at about 80 feet/minute.
- The moles natural predators include hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes and house cats.
- There are six species of moles in North America, and three of these may occur in your yard. Moles are about the size of chipmunks (6-8 inches in length) and can weigh three to six ounces.