5 Signs of Moles in Your Yard

5 Signs of Moles in Your Yard

Moles can destroy your perfectly manicured lawn in a matter of days. These small, burrowing insectivores can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. While they don’t actually eat plants and roots, their burrowing causes significant damage to both lawns and flower beds. Moles can dig up to 18 feet per hour and are most active in early morning and evening.

Moles are small in size, ranging between 4 and 11 inches in length and weighing up to 8 ounces. They are most notable for their long, thin, hairless snouts, small eyes, and lack of external ears. They are usually greyish-brown in color. Moles have large, powerful front feet with webbed toes that they use for burrowing underground while their hindfeet are narrow with slender claws. Moles are nearly blind but they make up for their lack of vision with an exceptional sense of smell.

Moles come into your yard in search of one thing – food! Their diet consists primarily of earthworms and grubs but they will eat other soil-dwelling insects, as well. Moles leave behind a trail of damage when they burrow in your yard, leaving visible trails and brown patches and holes in your lawn. Their tunnels cave in easily, leaving you at risk for injury when you step on them.

Some of the most common signs of moles in your yard are:

  • Raised ridges that crisscross across your yard
  • Areas of discolored or dead grass
  • Raised mounds of dirt (molehills) that mark the entrance/exit of tunnels, usually less than 6″ tall and shaped like a football or volcano
  • Areas of loose or squishy soil on your lawn
  • An abundance of weeds; moles detach plant roots when they burrow, allowing weeds to take over and flourish

Because moles live underground they can be extremely difficult to prevent. The best treatment for moles is targeted elimination usually through trapping or baiting. It is also important to treat existing tunnels so new moles don’t replace the previously removed moles.

If you have a problem with moles or any other pests, contact your local pest control company who can properly assess your situation and treat it appropriately.

 

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What Attracts Moles to Your Yard?

What Attracts Moles to Your Yard?

The last thing any homeowner wants is damage to their yard after all the hard work they’ve put in to get it just right. One of the most destructive pests to yards is the mole. What attracts moles to your yard? How do you get rid of them?

Moles are burrowing insectivores, feasting on a wide variety of lawn insects. They are usually about 6 to 8 inches long with gray to black velvety fur. Moles have slender, hairless snouts and small eyes and ears. They have large front feet with long claws that they use to dig through the dirt. They breed in early spring and are most active then and in the fall. Other than during mating season, moles prefer to be alone; if you have a mole problem you are usually only dealing with one.

Moles are attracted to food sources in your yard, digging through leaving behind tunnels, holes, and mounds of dirt. Moles require quite a bit of food to survive. Common signs of moles include: surface tunnels, dying grass and plants, an increase in weeds, and molehills (which are piles of dirt less than 6 inches tall and shaped like footballs or volcanoes). Moles can dig up to 18 feet per hour. As they dig they detach the roots of plants which not only allows weeds to take root but also kills the lawn, plants, and trees.

Treatment

  1. Eliminate food sources. Primary food sources for moles include earthworms, grubs, ants, mole crickets, and other lawn insects. Use products specifically labeled to treat these pests and employ methods to minimize their presence in your yard to also help prevent moles from coming in search of them.
  2. Don’t overwater. Moles like soft, damp earth (and so do earthworms, which they love to eat). Try not to overwater your lawn to limit both mole and earthworm activity. Most lawns only need 1″ of water per week (whether through irrigation or rain). Set sprinklers on timers and turn them off on days it rains. Try to water early in the morning so the water has time to evaporate before nightfall, helping keep the soil dry.
  3. Apply repellents. Moles dislike the smell and taste of castor oil. Most mole repellents utilize this as the base product, making them effective at deterring them from your yard. Mole repellents should be applied monthly while moles are active.
  4. Use traps and baits. These methods are best used in fall and spring when mole activity is at its peak. The first step is to identify an active runway the mole is using. This can be done by poking holes in the top of a tunnel and watching it; if the damage is repaired within 1 to 2 days, that is an active tunnel. Place the trap or bait in this active tunnel.
  5. Call a professional. Moles can be difficult to eliminate without the professional expertise of a wildlife control specialist. These technicians know how to track moles, where to place traps, what baits to use, how to treat the tunnels so new moles don’t replace the eliminated ones, and how to monitor the tunnels to ensure the moles have been removed properly.

If you have a problem with moles or any other wildlife, contact your local pest control company for a comprehensive evaluation and elimination plan.

 

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How to Deal With Moles This Winter

How to Deal With Moles This Winter

A very common misconception is that moles hibernate during the winter. This is, in fact, not true. Moles do not hibernate and are quite active during the winter months. They actually remain active all winter long, continuing to dig and eat voraciously. Moles are omnivores that prefer to feast on grubs, earthworms, and other bugs. As the soil freezes, moles move from tunneling near the surface to digging deeper in the ground. When the weather starts to warm, the moles will tunnel closer and closer to the surface as the soil thaws and becomes easier to navigate.

Moles can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden. Moles cause dead grass patches because their tunneling disrupts the root system of grass. This creates patches that often start out yellow and eventually turn a light tan color. They also push soil and grass up as they dig, creating random mole hills across your yard. While these are easy to spot in the summertime, they can often go undetected in the winter months, giving you less opportunity to identify and eliminate them early. Because of this, it is important to take precautionary measures early before the winter season sets in. Here are some steps you can take for mole prevention this winter.

Keep It Dry

Overuse of sprinklers and irrigation systems can lead to saturated, loose soil – an ideal environment for moles. This loose soil is much easier to tunnel through and is often rich with earthworms and grubs, making it a literal feast for moles. Heavy rainfall can also create these conditions so it is important to be vigilant after storms. Limit watering unless necessary.

Lay Mulch Later

Mulch is a very effective insulator for plants during cold weather. While we are usually inclined to go ahead and mulch before the cold weather sets in, this creates an insulated environment for moles, as well as your plants. Instead of installing mulch in early fall, try to wait until after the first frost. Hopefully by that point, moles and other pests have established themselves in a more hospitable environment than in your yard.

Install Barriers

Physical barriers can be very effective at preventing more damage to flowerbeds and trees. These barriers can be in the form of hardware cloth liners in the bottom and sides of flowerbeds or across the top of the bed to prevent digging or wrapped around the base of trees. By preventing them from digging you can limit the damage inflicted and hopefully encourage them to move on to another yard.

Utilize Natural Predators

Cats, snakes, and birds of prey are the most common natural predators of moles. Cats are especially notorious for pest prevention and rodent control around properties. If you don’t already have a cat, you may consider adopting one to roam your property and provide you with free pest control. Although it may be difficult, reconsider killing that snake you find on your property as they are also excellent at controlling rodent and other pest populations.

Eliminate Food Sources

As mentioned above, moles prefer to feed on earthworms, grubs, and other insects. In fact, mole problems often arise because of underlying grub problems. Be proactive in eliminating grubs and other pests from your yard to help control mole populations, as well.

Call A Professional

The cliche of “making a mountain out of a mole hill” isn’t far from the truth. Mole problems can manifest quickly into mole infestations and they can be extremely difficult to control and eliminate. Consider contacting a professional pest control company and setting up ongoing pest control services as these scheduled visits can help identify mole problems early and help resolve your mole issue quickly.

 

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"Holy Mole-y!" There's a mole in the pool!

mole peeking out of the grassThere’s nothing like jumping in the pool on a hot summer day (well, a day that feels like summer anyways)!  So that is exactly what my family and I did on Saturday.  We went to my in-laws’ house and jumped right in the pool.  We had just begun to cool off and enjoy the water when we noticed we weren’t alone.  There was a mole in the pool!!!
The mole was quickly removed without incident and the fun continued but of course my mother-in-law had lots of questions about what it was doing in her yard, how did it get there, what is was looking for, and how does she get rid of them.  So mother in law…this is for you!
Moles are mammals that live underground and occasionally come to the surface.  Above ground, they breathe in oxygen and are able to re-use it to survive in low-oxygen environments such as underground burrows.  When they surface, they cause damage.  Mole damage is divided into two types: burrows and mounds.  Burrows occur when moles search for food near the surface, causing soil to be raised in ridges. Mounds are created when moles burrow deep or tunnel under solid objects such as tree roots or sidewalks and push the soil to the surface.

map of mole's runway system

Mole's runway system


Moles’ bodies and front claws are ideal for digging.  Their hands are quite large for their bodies and include an extra thumb and multiple joints in other fingers.  There are situations where mole damage is mostly visual, but in other situations they can destroy root systems in your yard, eventually killing the grass.
Damage caused by moles:

  • Interference of mowing and planting
  • Create weed invasion
  • Damage plants
  • Damage drainage systems and watercourses

The best way to get rid of a mole is by trapping or baiting the runs.  The trick to mole extermination is to find the feeding tunnels vs. the travel tunnels.  A professional animal removal service provider can distinguish between the two and can humanely remove the moles from your yard.  Call Northwest Exterminating for mole removal.
What is the craziest thing you ever jumped in next to?

"Holy Mole-y!" There’s a mole in the pool!

mole peeking out of the grassThere’s nothing like jumping in the pool on a hot summer day (well, a day that feels like summer anyways)!  So that is exactly what my family and I did on Saturday.  We went to my in-laws’ house and jumped right in the pool.  We had just begun to cool off and enjoy the water when we noticed we weren’t alone.  There was a mole in the pool!!!

The mole was quickly removed without incident and the fun continued but of course my mother-in-law had lots of questions about what it was doing in her yard, how did it get there, what is was looking for, and how does she get rid of them.  So mother in law…this is for you!

Moles are mammals that live underground and occasionally come to the surface.  Above ground, they breathe in oxygen and are able to re-use it to survive in low-oxygen environments such as underground burrows.  When they surface, they cause damage.  Mole damage is divided into two types: burrows and mounds.  Burrows occur when moles search for food near the surface, causing soil to be raised in ridges. Mounds are created when moles burrow deep or tunnel under solid objects such as tree roots or sidewalks and push the soil to the surface.

map of mole's runway system

Mole's runway system

Moles’ bodies and front claws are ideal for digging.  Their hands are quite large for their bodies and include an extra thumb and multiple joints in other fingers.  There are situations where mole damage is mostly visual, but in other situations they can destroy root systems in your yard, eventually killing the grass.

Damage caused by moles:

  • Interference of mowing and planting
  • Create weed invasion
  • Damage plants
  • Damage drainage systems and watercourses

The best way to get rid of a mole is by trapping or baiting the runs.  The trick to mole extermination is to find the feeding tunnels vs. the travel tunnels.  A professional animal removal service provider can distinguish between the two and can humanely remove the moles from your yard.  Call Northwest Exterminating for mole removal.

What is the craziest thing you ever jumped in next to?

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