Skip to main content

Moles and Raised Grass Trails In Lawns

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
Mole mounds

Mole mounds

It's not too hard to realize when a mole has invaded your yard. You will see your once pristine lawn look like a trail of raised grass with volcanic dirt mounds at the end. For many homeowners, controlling or getting rid of a mole can become an actual battle between the insectivorous mammal and man. So how do you get rid of these destructive beasts?

Before I get into the different “get rid of that #%@& mole” methods that man has tried, I would like to give you an insight into the mole’s appearance, his eating habits and his lifestyle. This will help you to better understand why certain methods of getting rid of this mammal may not be working.

The Mole

A mole is not a rodent, but a small insectivorous mammal. The adult weighs approximately four ounces, has velvety fur, a pointed nose, no neck, a small mouth opening, very small eyes, and internal ears with strong forefeet for throwing dirt out of his hole.

Many believe that the mole is blind. It is not blind, but its vision is poor. However, it does have an acute sense of hearing and touch which more than compensates for its poor vision.

It's food source comes from the soil. He will devour daily, insects, spiders and earthworms that are equivalent to his body weight. This mammal would be a good friend to man because it does eat grubs and insects that man does label as lawn predators. The problem, in it's quest to satisfy it's enormous appetite, it must dig up your lawn.

A mole can dig up your soil at a rate of 12 to 15 feet per hour. Moreover, if you have an acre of land, you can assume he is not alone. Usually the average mole population per acre is three to 5 moles. Sad to say, their benefits of eating soil insect pests and improving the soil do not outweigh the damage your lawn will see in the short run, which may include the yellowing of the grass, the sinking in of your ground as you walk, the ugly runners and the dirt mounds.

In the end, the lawn caregiver only wants one thing, to get rid of the nasty, insectivorous mammal(s) in their yard. As you look at all the runners and mounds in your yard, you may be wondering if you can get rid of this destructive mammal. You can, but it takes work.

Hit or Miss Methods of Getting Rid of Moles

The following methods are what I call "hit or miss methods" of getting rid of the mole. As you will see, some of the methods tried are crude, dangerous, and ineffective.

Shovel/Hammer Method
The shovel/hammer method requires a good eye, quick reflexes, lots of patience, and for some a can of beer.

Your job is to take a seat, and with a beer in hand, periodically scan the lawn for signs of a mole. While sitting on your perch you will need to keep an eye out for a suspicious trail or movement within the trail. If you detect movement of grass, you will need to place the shovel an inch behind the mole's working area, toss it in the air and hit it with the shovel or hammer.

This method only works periodically, or at best, with pure luck. If the individual has been drinking beer, you can assume accuracy, agility and a good eye is loss. In some cases, an unexpected accident could result.

Chewing Gum Solution
Though many people have tried the chewing gum method, I will attest to the fact that it does not work. Why? Let's examine the mouth of this mammal. The mole has narrow mouth parts making it difficult biting into a piece of gum. Furthermore, I really cannot imagine that the odor emitted by the chewing gum is strong enough to stop the animal from digging, alone causing it to leave.

Gasoline in Hole
Pouring gasoline in the hole is more dangerous for man than the mole. Moreover, gasoline can contaminate the soil and kill the grass.t does not work.

Cats and Dogs
Some cats and dogs are good mole killers. I had a cat that was my husband's mole and rabbit catcher. He was quicker than lightning when he was young. Nevertheless, as he got older, he became more interested in being a lap cat. Cannot blame him.

We now have a forty pound Schnauzer that loves to go on mice and mole hunts. I must say, she is a good mouse hunter. As to the insectivorous mammal, I would say her persistence is not paying off. She did catch one, but I think that was a fluke because the mammal looked rather fat. Obviously being fat slowed it down enough for the dog to catch and kill it.

Mothballs in Tunnel
Some people have put mothballs in the mole's tunnel, hoping that the mammal will leave its home and the owner's lawn. Granted, the first bunch of mothballs you put down in the mole's tunnel, he will avoid the smell. However, he will not leave his home or your lawn, instead, he will leave by building a tunnel in a new direction. Remember, they can dig 10 to 15 feet of new tunnel in an hour.

Poison Baits
Most of the poison baits for moles that are out on the market are really aimed at mice. Yes, you may read that it is good for mice and moles, but a mole is not in the same family as a mouse. Since a mole eats grubs, earthworm and insects, you can assume they are not much on eating the peanuts that is in most poisonous baits.

Tunnel Flooding
It is possible that you can flood the tunnel of the mole, but you have to remember that they have already thought ahead, and have made escape routes in the event an natural or man-made disaster occurs.

Castor Oil Mixture
A castor oil mixture for getting rid of moles only works as a repellent. Once the scent of the castor oil mixture goes away, the mammal will be back. If you want to try the castor oil mixture solution, here is the recipe:

Castor Oil Mixture for Moles

Scroll to Continue

Combine the following:

1. 6 ounces of castor oil

2. 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent in 1 gallon of water

Mix well. Then dilute to spray on the entire lawn at a rate of 1 ounce per gallon of water.

Two Methods That Effectively Controls Moles

According to the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, two methods do effective control moles:

(1) Use bait that the mole will consume. A fairly new bait that has proven effective, is a bait that offers an attractive smell and taste in the form of a worm, and with Bromethalin (the active ingredient that poisons the mole) it makes for a lethal cocktail for the mole. I had good success with the worm bait.

(2) Physically remove them with mole traps. Two effective mole traps that you can use are the scissor trap and the harpoon trap.

  • A mole scissor trap works better in subsurface or deep mole runs.
  • A harpoon trap works best when the tunnels are near the surface.

Whether you are using traps or worm-shaped bait, placement is critical. You will have to observe the mole runs, and place the bait or trap in the run that the mole uses regularly. Look for the run that is in a straight line, that will be his regular run. The squiggly tunnels are runs generally used for food foraging.

To conclude, you know now that there is light at the end of the tunnel, not so much for the mole, but for you. Granted, it may cost you a little to get rid of those annoying insectivorous mammals, the lawn moles, but if you want a manicured lawn once again, it is worth it. Don't you think?


Mole-Animal -

Related Articles