How to take care of those pesky mole runs in your yard

Published 4:48 pm Friday, November 4, 2016

By Ty Torrance

Do you have mysterious tunnels running through your lawn or flowerbeds? If so, a mole has likely invaded your yard, and you are not alone. The eastern mole is the species most often found burrowing through Georgians’ grass and flowers. 

It has a pointed snout, small eyes and ears, short tail and rounded front paws. Moles live underground and rarely leave the safety of their burrows. They are most active in the early morning or late evening hours. Despite their reclusive nature, you can recognize their presence by the ridges and tunnels they make in the soil. The number of tunnels in your lawn is no indication of the number of moles you may have. One mole can construct many tunnels and runways. The mole builds the majority of these tunnels in search of food and only uses a few on a regular basis. Contrary to popular belief, moles do not feed on the roots of grass or flowers. They prefer to feed on insects, earthworms and grubs.  However, their tunnels can cause the plant roots to dry out, which causes the plant to dry out and die. An easy rule to remember is moles feed on meat (insects).

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Generations of gardeners have invented different home remedies to control moles, but the results are inconsistent and generally ineffective. Common home remedy mole repellants like pickle juice, bubble gum, red pepper, bleach, mothballs, human hair, windmills, ultrasonic devices, and castor oil do little to repel moles.

There are a few strategies, however, that have been proven to control moles.  First, you should get rid of their food source by treating for grubs or mole crickets. Soil applied insecticides are available for this type of use.  If you do apply an insecticide, it is imperative that you water in the chemical in order for it to reach the underground insects you are targeting.  Also available, are gel-worm poison baits that must be eaten by the mole to be effective. If that’s not successful, try trapping the moles.

The key to all of these methods is to identify the active tunnels before you set the trap or apply the gel worms. To find the active tunnels, step on all of the tunnels at one point blocking the mole from using that pathway.  In a day or two go back to the tunnels to find which ones the mole has reconstructed and place your traps or baits accordingly. 

Insecticides, poisoned gel worms, and traps are available at most home and garden centers.  If those tactics fail, you can always turn to your four-legged housemates. Family dogs and cats will be happy to help evict problem moles. 

If you have any questions, please give us a call at (229-248-3033).