Timely Tip – Moles
Holes and trails that run throughout your lawn along hedges, sidewalks and walls may be caused by rodents called moles. Moles are 6” – 8” (15-20 cm) in length with a thin tail. The mole's eyes are concealed by hair. They have pink feet that are able to dig rapidly with broad (fingernail-type) claws. During early spring and autumn, moles build an extensive network of both deep and surface tunnels. The tunnels act as the mole's living quarters. Deep tunnels may be from 6 to 24” below the surface. Shallow tunnels are often long winding pathways throughout the surface of the lawn. These pathways are used during damp weather when much of the mole's food is near the surface. Moles are active all year round and can tunnel underground at a rate of 12-15 feet per hour with surface tunnels being built at 1 foot per minute. Moles lead an extremely active life, eating their weight in food daily. They feed on insects, grubs and slugs found during tunneling, but their main source of food is the earthworm. In the Delaware Valley, we consistently see the greatest amount of mole damage on lawns surrounded by wooded areas, the mole’s natural habitat.
Trapping and baiting are both effective means of control but are not permanent if mole-infested areas such as woods and neighboring lawns cannot be addressed. Cleared areas will quickly be re-infested because of the wandering habits of moles. Traps and bait should be placed in primary runways and around holes that are continuously re-opened. It takes careful observation and experience to identify primary runways, and many homeowners who undertake do-it-yourself control often become frustrated by poor success. In recent years, mole control services have cropped up to provide a convenient alternative to do-it-yourself mole control. These services often provide annual contracts that involve regular visits by a mole control expert. Expect to pay $300-500/year for the average-size lawn.
An Often Unsuccessful Home Remedy
Homeowners often try to control lawn grubs and insects to reduce mole activity. However, this is most often unsuccessful because the mole’s primary food source is earthworms.