Moles in the Lawn
So you have moles in the lawn? You have probably never seen them but those unsightly mole hills and trails are making your yard look like it has been the target of a mortar attack. If you live east of the Rockys that mole in your lawn is probably an Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus) or it could be the goofy looking Star-Nosed Mole
Eastern Mole, photo courtesy of BSC Photography
Okay, I hear what you are saying, " A mole is a mole and I want them out of my yard." Well to get them out of there you need to learn how a mole thinks and behaves or the mole traps and poisons aren't going to be effective. This is your lucky day friend. Whatever type of ground mole you have in your yard doesn't matter because they all behave in a similar fashion. With this knowledge you can take care of business.
The mole is a small insect-eating mammal and not a rodent like most folks believe. They spend most of their lives in underground burrows. Moles are around 4 - 8 inches in length and have short, powerful front feet with outward-turned palms and digging claws, small eyes and ears, short, black or brownish-gray fur and an elongated head and snout. The Star-Nosed Mole has a snout with a fleshy protuberance with a bunch of tentacles radiating from it.
Star-Nosed Mole, photo courtesy of gordonramsay
They live in vast underground networks of interconnected tunnels. They also create shallow tunnels just below the surface where they find worms, insects and other invertebrates. In lawn areas, the mounds and ridges resulting from their burrowing are what cause us our problem with them. In the moles natural environment they cause little damage. They are seldom noticed until their tunneling activity ventures into our yards and then you have moles in your lawn.
The mole is a solitary and territorial animal. In fact there usually are only 2 - 3 moles per acre. This territorial nature is a key factor in mole control. After a mole is eliminated by trapping or poisoning your lawn may soon be claimed by a neighboring mole looking for new grounds causing you to believe that your mole control plan is not working.
The key to trapping or poisoning moles is in locating active tunnels
Moles make two kinds of tunnels. Shallow tunnels at or near the grounds surface and deep tunnels that are 6 - 20 inches underground. Mole hills are built as the mole digs deep runs and pushes soil up through the surface of the yard.
The interconnecting trails visible above ground and just under the surface are feeding tunnels and may often be used only once. Deep tunnels are the moles' highways that leads between feeding areas and living chambers. These deep tunnels are where the Victor Scissor Mole Trap really shines. Too locate deeper tunnels use a stick and probe between or next to fresh mounds. When the ground gives way, the stick has probably broken through the burrow.
Photo courtesy of Tom Verre
Finding surface runways that are active will take you a little more time. Look for good straight tunnels. Tunnels that are more likely to be active ones seem to be those connecting feeding areas or those running adjacent to driveways, walks or garden edges. You will need to collapse a small area of several tunnels and mark the spots. Over the next couple days you will have to check to see which tunnels are re-expanded. These are the active tunnels and this is where you want to place your traps or poison worms.
So remember, if you want to get the moles out of your yard
- Moles main diet consists of earthworms. They do eat white grubs but getting rid of the grubs won't necessarily get rid of the moles
- There are usually only 2 - 3 moles per acre but when you get rid of one another will take its place. Keep trapping.
- Both traps and poison worms are effective if placed properly in active mole tunnels.
- Identifying active mole tunnels is the key to winning the battle with the mole.
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