Q. Over the winter months, we have noticed mounds of soil beginning to appear in our yard. The mounds are about a foot in diameter and about 6 inches in height. What is causing this?
A. It looks like this could be a banner year for moles based on the reports we have received at the extension office. The mounds of soil you are observing are when the mole tunnels straight down into the soil to reach the den deep below. The mole pushes soil behind it as it digs. That is why you see the mounds of soil on the surface.
This is the time of the year when moles forage for earthworms and insect larvae when the ground is not frozen. The mole mom is feeding her kits now but will eventually banish the teen moles from the den in late spring to find their own backyards to inhabit.
There are many myths regarding mole control in backyards, and so many products on the market that claim to work. In reality, the only research-based methods to control moles are trapping and worm-based poison baits. Grain based poison baits, castor oil, electronic devices, whirligigs, chewing gum, gasoline, and other cures have no research to back their claims.
Many folks try these products and believe they work when mole activity decreases in the summer. They don’t know that mole activity naturally decreases in late spring and early summer.
This frustrates homeowners who are looking for quick easy fixes to rid the yards of moles. Moles actually do not damage or eat any plant material. The major issue is that their barrowing activity will result in an unsightly bumpy lawn that is difficult to mow. Sometimes the soil can be pushed up enough so that in drought situations – the grass could die.
Some homeowners just give up and accept the bumpy raised areas in the lawn. They might lightly roll the lawn occasionally to flatten things out a bit. Other folks seem determined to rid the lawn of the moles. To do so, one must invest time and energy to set mole traps or place Talprind baits in active runs – or hire a critter control company to trap or poison the moles.
If one has the resources, a registered and bonded critter control company may be a good option. They assume all the responsibility and liability to control moles – and have the expertise to do so more efficiently than you.
If you insist on doing the job yourself, then make sure to locate active runs (the ones the moles fix when stamped upon).
Moles can be crafty, so there is never any guarantee of 100 percent control.