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Moles, Why Now?

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

It is only mid-February and many customers have come into the garden center or called the store with concerns about seeing their lawns being torn up with mole tunnels.   The customers are wondering, why now?  With the cold winter we are having, aren’t the grub worms still down deep in our soil?

A COMMON QUESTION  –  So, if the moles are not after white grub worms just yet then what is going on?  The main reason for recent mole activity in our lawns is because February is one month that they are mating and are very active – a reason for seeing active tunneling this time of year.  After their mating season, the mole becomes more solitary where they like to be by themselves.

Since you have evidence of moles in your lawn., you may be asking what can be done to eradicate moles to stop any further lawn damage.  Bottom line, it is not an easy task.  Like any other situation, the best defense is education and understanding your opponent.  In this case – the mole.

Moles are burrowing mammals and are members of the scientific order – Insectivora.  Moles live underground.  They are not rodents like a lot of people may refer to them as being. Here are just a few more educational facts on moles:

  1.  There are three species of moles that are native to Virginia, the eastern mole, the star-nosed mole, and the hairy-tailed mole.  The eastern mole is the most common.
  2. Did you know that it is against the law in Virginia to transport and liberate any wild animal captured on your property and take it to another property unless you have a permit to do so.
  3. They construct two types of tunnels – those at or near the ground surface and those deep (maybe a foot deep) underground.  These deeper tunnels are the highways that lead the mole between feeding areas.
  4. Moles are not root eaters ( Voles are root eaters ).  The main food source for a mole is earthworms – along with slugs, grub worms, and snails.
  5. They are most active in early morning and late evening.

I now understand that this is the mating season for moles and this is the main reason for seeing activity.  But how can I stop moles from doing any further damage to my lawn?  Where do I start?  The reality of the situation is that getting rid of moles out of your lawn is not an easy task.
My advice  –  do everything possible to make their residency as unpleasant as possible in your yard.

  • When you see tunneling.  Don’t trap down the soil.  Instead, spread the soil out with your foot in order to expose the tunnel.
  • Use any or all commercial products available.  We sell poison peanuts that you can drop down into the tunnels.  We also sell a granular product that contains Castor oil.  And, we sell sonic spikes that are solar powered.  These spikes pulse the ground, making it an effective form of eradication of moles.  Like I said earlier you may need to use all three products to get rid of moles.  It’s called trial and error.
  •  Trapping seems to be the most effective eradication of moles.  Here you may need to hire out a professional.  But, it may be worth the investment.  You may be able to find a professional by contacting the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

Happy Gardening and Mole Away!!!

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