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Controling moles isn't easy

Posted: June 1, 2014 - 12:06am
Mole traps are available at Culpepper Ace Hardware in Evans.    Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Mole traps are available at Culpepper Ace Hardware in Evans.

Have you noticed mysterious raised tunnels appearing in your lawn or garden seemingly overnight? If so, there might be a mole infestation. Controlling moles isn’t easy and can require a good deal of patience. Moles are small mammals with pointed snouts and oversized forefeet used for digging. The most common mole species in our area is the eastern mole. They are about the size of a chipmunk as adults. They are solitary animals that rarely leave the safety of their tunnels. Moles are most active in the early mornings, especially after a rain shower.

Although they may appear to be damaging your plants, moles are meat eaters. Their favorite foods include earthworms, grubs, spiders, snails and slugs. As our soil temperatures rise in the spring, mole activity increases as more soil insects become active. Also, mole offspring are usually born in March or April. One mole can make several tunnels; therefore, it may be difficult to determine how many moles are tunneling through a lawn. Moles destroy very few plants or bulbs by direct feeding, but may dislodge plants while tunneling in search of food.

The recommended method to control moles is trapping. Mole traps are lethal traps and can be found at many home improvement stores. Before setting a mole trap, it is important to find the active main tunnels. Tamp down all visible tunnels, and re-check the tunnels within two to three hours to see which tunnels have reformed. This is the main travel tunnel and should be the location for the trap.

There are various home remedy methods rumored to control moles, such as castor bean oil, chewing gum, or mothballs. There are also several mole repellants available which use sonic waves or vibration to scare away moles. None of these have been proven to be reliable. Poisonous bait, marketed as “gummy worms” to mimic soil grubs, is not a reliable method to control moles because they are often not ingested by the mole.

If all else fails, get a cat. Your feline friend will be more than willing to chase down and eliminate them at no charge.

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