If you notice a pattern of 3 to 5-inch curved ridges on your lawn, along with small mounds of soil scattered about, it’s a telltale sign that a mole is present. These little mammals are capable of causing significant damage in a short amount of time, as their tunneling destroys any plants in their way.
As they burrow into the ground, they disrupt the roots, causing the distinct ridges of their tunnels to quickly change to a brown color. Looking at the bright side, moles assist in loosening the soil and feeding on harmful insects in the process. Discover the methods to eliminate moles from your yard before they cause significant harm. Keep reading to find out more.
What Are Moles?
Moles are insect-eating creatures that burrow underground. They measure approximately 6-8 inches in length and are covered in gray to velvety black fur. They have slender, hairless snouts, as well as small eyes and ears. Moles have large front feet with long claws that can dig like a hoe. During the breeding season in early spring, moles may live alone, meaning that the complex tunnel system in your yard is probably the home of just one mole.
In order to understand how to remove moles, it’s important to first grasp how they exist. Moles are always constructing new feeding tunnels and typically do not reuse them. Entry and exit mounds, typically round and symmetrical, are created by moles in a volcano-like fashion. The hole is typically filled with soil, but it is still noticeable. The mounds are linked to the main runways that moles use regularly. The runways are typically located 12-18 inches below the surface and are not readily visible.
Moles have a preference for white grubs, a common lawn pest, but they also feed on insects and insect larvae. When given the option, moles prefer moist, sandy loam soils to dry, heavy clay soils. During warm, wet months is when they are most active, but they live underground all year.
Confusion with Pocket Gophers
At times, homeowners can confuse mole tunnels with the ones created by pocket gophers, which are tiny rodents that also dig underground tunnels. Gophers, on the other hand, do not leave behind raised ridges as they move. Instead of munching on aboveground plants, they feast on grass roots and other vegetation, dragging them into their underground tunnels and causing soil to be pushed outward.
Their tunnels have a flatter appearance, often with fan-shaped or semicircular mounds. There may be a visible hole in each mound, although the hole can be camouflaged by earth clumps.
You can use mesh barriers, traps, and poison baits to get rid of pocket gophers. On the other hand, do not use baits with strychnine as it can harm other animals that consume the poisoned gopher.
How to Get Rid of Moles
Getting rid of moles can be a challenging task due to their underground habitat. If you have pets or children that could be exposed, it’s best to steer clear of repellants, poisons, and fumigants as they are not recommended options.
The most effective method for getting rid of a mole is to use a trap designed specifically for catching and killing them. Below-ground and above-ground traps are available to get the job done. Please adhere to the package instructions for proper positioning and relocate the tunnel traps on a daily basis as long as you continue to observe mole activity to improve your chances of getting rid of them.
The most effective times of the year for eliminating moles are spring and fall, when the ground is not frozen and the moles are most active. Typically, you will only need to trap one or possibly two moles in order to solve the problem since they do not live in groups.
How to Keep Moles Away
Moles are more likely to visit areas with large open spaces or lawns, typically found in rural or suburban yards. If you have moles often hanging around and don’t really mind some tunnels on your property, you might want to consider using the barrier method to safeguard smaller areas, such as a vegetable garden or a vibrant flower bed in your front yard.
To create an underground fence, bury a 25-inch metal or hardware cloth barrier at least one foot beneath the surface. If a mole burrows through this barrier, it will typically continue on and excavate in another location.
If you want to discourage moles from living on your property, you can try improving the drainage to keep the soil drier. Moles prefer moist soil, so changing the drainage might discourage them from staying. If the issue is not serious, you can wait and see if the mole relocates on its own. If the damage to your lawn or garden continues to deteriorate, it is advisable to take necessary steps to eliminate the mole.
Fortunately, you’re unlikely to see multiple moles causing havoc in your yard at once, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still a nuisance. After learning how to eliminate moles, you can address the ones attempting to burrow under your lawn and hopefully prevent additional moles from arriving by adding barriers or enhancing soil drainage.