"...another year of tackling moles in our yard. Any suggestions of how to get rid of them?" - Ray
There are six species of moles living in North America. It may seem like all of them are working your yard at once but the one that makes all of those runs is the Eastern Mole. These pointed-nose insectivores tunnel year around looking for earthworms, grubs and other insects.
Long Term Strategy
If you have a lot of moles, you probably have an oversupply of grubs and bugs. Try spraying your lawns with milky spore disease or beneficial nematodes to get rid of the grubs. This will also rid your lawn of Japanese beetle larvae but it may take a year or two to start seeing results.
For more immediate results:
- Try sprinkling powdered red pepper at their tunnel entrances and coffee grounds where tunnels are starting.
- Mix up a spray of 3 parts castor oil to 1 part dish detergent; use 4 tablespoons of this concoction in a gallon of water, and soak the tunnels and the entrances.
- ·Another mole repellent is 6 oz. of castor oil and 2 tbsp of Murphy’s Oil Soap or dish soap in one gallon of water to make a concentrate. Mix one ounce of concentrate per gallon of water and apply to the lawn. Make sure to reapply the homemade mole repellent after rain or watering.
How to Prevent Burrowing
If moles are in a garden area, dig a trench roughly 6 inches wide and two feet deep. Fill it with rock or line it with wire to prevent burrowing pests from invading.
Most Effective Approach
The most effective and reliable method for controlling moles is to trap them. Traps should be placed in early spring when you first notice tunnels, or after the first fall rains. Determine which tunnels are active by flattening the run, marking the location, and checking to see if the tunnel is raised within a day or two. Traps work well because they capitalize on the mole’s natural instinct to clear an obstructed tunnel.
Use a humane trap, and release the moles at least 5 miles from your home in a rural area away from someone else’s garden.
If you want to protect specific plants, dig a 2- to 3-foot hole and line the sides and bottom of the hole with wire mesh. Fill the hole with soil and plant.
Don’t bother with home remedies such as chewing gum, mothballs, broken bottles, flooding and laxatives – studies have shown that these substances are ignored.
One of the more traditional mole deterrents is planting castor beans. Although very dramatic, and Thomas Jefferson once grew a specimen to 22 feet, there is no proof that these plants deter moles so plant only if you want something exotic growing.
Japanese Beetle Deterrent
Trying to rid your garden of moles can be frustrating so look at it another way. If you have Japanese beetles, moles can be your friend since they eat Japanese beetle grubs that become those little green eating machines. Moles will eat as much as 70-80% of its body weight in insects every day.
One More Benefit
In addition, moles help aerate soil, something that in the Ozarks one usually has to use a pick ax to do.