Moles are always a hot topic in the Lowcountry. I try to write about them only once a year, and after walking through some neighborhoods, looks like the time has come. Brown patch (Large Patch) has been worse than I was hoping since it has been so dry. The disease is out there where it seems to be every year.
The weekly mowing (noise, vibration, wheels of the mower) of your yard during the summer and the tight, actively growing grass seems to lower the mole activity some during the summer; however, the moles are out tunneling for food now.
I still recommend a 3-prong approach when controlling moles for the less adventurous people that do not want to trap and look at a dead mole. These 3 steps are:
- Kill the mole
- Manage its food source
- Repel other moles from your yard
Moles tunnel through your yard looking for food. They usually have several main runs through your yard as well as secondary tunnels. The secondary tunnels are where they collect their food, and once they have a gone down a secondary tunnel, they will not return to that tunnel. In order to kill a mole with bait or a trap, you must be able to locate the main tunnel.
The best way to locate the main runs is to take a stick and poke holes in the tunnels in your yard. Next, mark where you made these holes. The next morning come and check to see if the holes are plugged. If they are plugged, then you know you have a main tunnel. The mole will only plug holes on the main tunnel. That evening, open up one of the holes that the mole plugged the night before and place bait (or trap) 5 feet on either side of the hole that you reopened. When the mole comes back to re-plug the hole it will have to walk right over the bait (or trap). These baits are very tasty to the mole, so the mole will usually eat the bait and die.
Three baits that we regularly hear good results about are Mole Patrol, poison worms and Talpirid. I prefer Mole Patrol because it is one third the price and has 6 times the amount of bait placement as Talpirid. Stay away from poison peanuts. Moles do not eat peanuts. They eat insects and worms.
Controlling the food source is the next most important factor in managing moles on your property. Depending on which doctor (PHD) you believe, the mole eats 85-125% of its body weight every day. In human terms a 100 lb. person would eat 85-125 lbs of food per day. That is a lot of food! Think of Michael Phelps and all he eats from swimming in water. A mole is swimming in soil!
Using a product like Sevin on a regular basis will do a good job in managing the mole’s food source. Monitor your insect populations with a soap solution to determine how often you need to apply insecticides. Use two ounces of lemon dish detergent in a five gallon bucket of water and pour it slowly over your soil in the areas where you think you might have insects and see what comes to the surface. Some products get tied up in the thatch to kill surface insects (like ants), so be sure to get a product for sub-surface insects.
Castrol products (Mole Repellent, Repellex Mole, Vole and Gopher Repellent) and other repellents (Mole Stopper) work good as perimeter treatments to keep moles from re-infesting your property. Be sure there are not any moles on your property before you put out this barrier or you will trap them inside your landscape. Make a 10-20 foot band treatment around the perimeter of your property. Reapply these repellents as the label recommends.
If you yard is free of moles right now, you can skip #1 and just manage their food source and repel them at the perimeter of your property. Be sure your yard is free of moles before you skip #1 in this process. If you take away the mole’s food source and he is in your yard already, he will really tear up your yard looking for food!
If all this sounds like too much work, try the mole and rodent smoke bombs or hire a professional!
Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.