Moles. Myths And Answers.
- February 16, 2016
I was watching the news this morning and saw a story about moles in the lawn. The summary of the story was, ‘Now that the snow has melted, people are starting to see more mole damage in their yard. And the best way to get rid of moles is to remove their food source.‘ The reporters went on to state that ‘grubs were the main source of food for moles.‘
Myth: Control the grubs to control the moles. While moles can eat grubs, 80-90% of their diet is comprised of earth worms; therefore, controlling grubs is not going to control moles. DO NOT expect to control moles by using grub control products. Moles can also feed on the periodic cicada (17 and 13 year locust), and the population of moles can vary significantly depending upon the time of the cicada life cycle. The best way to control moles is to trap them.
Myth: Kill or scare moles away with Juicy Fruit Gum, castor oil, glass shards, cigarettes, hot peppers, etc. I have not read any research that demonstrates the effectiveness of these claims. Some of these ‘home-remedies’ can actually be dangerous to humans, pets, and the environment.
Myth: I can use poison corn, or mouse/rat poison to control moles. Moles are insectivores. Their main diet is earthworms. They do not eat plants, seeds, or roots and therefore they will not eat any mouse/rat poisons or baits used to control rodents. There is one mole bait, called Talpirid. Talpirid is a worm-shaped bait that will kill moles within 24 hours. The problem with Talpirid is the idea of placing gummy-worm-shaped mole killing products into the lawn. Ideally, the bait is placed into the tunnel to prevent people or animals from picking it up and consuming it, but there still is a risk. You can decide the level of risk to you and your property.
Myth: Moles. Voles. They are all the same. Mole and voles are completely different. Moles bury tunnels under the ground and voles create pathways in the grass on top of the soil. Moles eat worms and insects. Voles eat nuts and seeds.
Trapping moles: The key to trapping moles or using Talpirid is to place the trap or bait in the main tunnel. A mole will have a few main lines with many branch lines. A mole will use the main line several times a day, but may only use the branch lines once and never come back. You need to monitor the tunnels to find the main line and place your trap or bait there. There is a video by Kansas State University listed below that can help you understand how to track a mole tunnel. The method involves using a broom stick handle to poke holes in many tunnels. Then come back the next day to determine which tunnels have been repaired. Repeat for a couple of days to determine where the main lines are, then place your traps or baits in those tunnels. Do not try to place your trap on mole mounds. The mound will be too deep to effectively trap the mole. Once the trap has been sprung, don’t just pull the trap out of the ground. The dead mole will not come out of the ground like a shish kabob, it will be stuck in the tunnel. This is fine if you don’t want to have to dispose of the critter, but without inspection of the tunnel, you won’t know if you killed the mole or if the trap had a mis-fire. Many homeowners have trapped a mole and not even realized it.
One yard can have enough worms and insects to support several moles. Trapping moles can be effective, but if your yard is adjacent to a forested or wild area, complete mole control may be difficult. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to call or email us or post below.