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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Holiday Pantry Pests
Fall Pest Control: Oriental Cockroaches
Energy Saving for the Holidays
Holiday Pest Proofing
Stop the Overwintering Pest Invasions
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.
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.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Late Fall Pests
5 Reasons To Be Thankful for Pest Control
Deck The Halls Without Pests
Things That Go Bump in Your Crawlspace
Unusual Winter Wildlife