What are moles?
Moles are mammals that spend their lives underground, constantly digging to hunt. They are typically 4-10 inches in length and can have black, brown, or grey velvet-like fur.
A mole’s hindlimbs are short and somewhat underdeveloped. Their forelimbs are strong with long claws used for digging.
Because they spend the majority of their lives underground, moles can’t see well. However, with its 22 tentacle-like protrusions, a mole’s nose is six times more sensitive to touch than a human hand.
What do moles eat?
Contrary to what you might think, moles don’t eat plants. They eat insects. Lots of insects!
On the menu for these insectivores are grubs, earthworms, and other small invertebrates. Their preferred fare can be found in moist, fertile soil that is rich in organic matter.
Mole activity can be summarized in one word – digging. Using wide flipper-like forelimbs, these critters locomote underground in an almost swimming motion as they hunt for insects. Their “flippers” part the soil as they move along.
You are most likely to see a mole in the early morning or evening during spring and fall. They are particularly active after a warm rain when soil is moist, and insects are plentiful. Don’t look for moles in dry areas – they prefer cool soil because it helps them regulate their body temperature.
Most moles don’t live in colonies. They tend to be antisocial and solitary, except for when it’s time to find a date. Breeding season is generally February through May. Families don’t stick together long – pups leave the nest after only 30-45 days to begin tunneling on their own.
Signs of moles in my yard
If you have a mole in your Missouri yard, the signs are obvious.
- Raised volcano-shaped mounds (molehills) about 6 ft. apart
- Crisscrossing ridges on the surface of your lawn
- Spots of discolored or dead grass following a specific path
- Areas of lawn with loose soil
Why are moles bad for my yard?
If you have just one mole, it can be a natural aerator for your soil and eliminate excess populations of harmful insects. However, if you have a yard that is particularly inviting, you might find yourself with a mole infestation.
The hunt for bugs encourages these carnivorous pests to dig deep. Mole tunnels are typically at least 10 inches underground. Because they forage day and night, it’s possible for them to dig up to 15 feet per hour. They don’t do their work neatly but instead dig up the earth in chunks.
Their digging habits notoriously destroy lawns, landscaping, and gardens, frustrating Missouri home- and business owners alike. Mole activity disrupts the root systems of nearby grasses. This can quickly kill a lawn at the surface level and leave unsightly dead patches in your yard.
In addition to wreaking havoc on your landscaping, moles can invite other pests into your yard. Mole tunnels give easy access to rodents who DO eat plants. When a mole run is abandoned, it dries up and leaves small holes in the ground. These are an ideal harborage for yellow jackets and other stinging insects.
Mole holes also present a potential hazard for people and pets. Ever stepped into a mole hole? Think twisted ankle or broken bone.
What attracts moles?
In a nutshell…food. Not people food, mole food.
If you have an issue with soil pests in your yard, you’re asking for a mole invasion, as this is prime feeding. An overpopulation of grubs or earthworms in your Missouri yard basically equates to hanging up an “All You Can Eat” sign for the moles in and around your neighborhood.
Obviously, no yard can ever be completely bug-free. This means that you’ll need to take some action above and beyond limiting their food source to get rid of moles.
Getting rid of moles
Here are some DIY treatment options for getting rid of moles:
- Trap & release (at least 5 miles away in a rural area).
- Install ultrasonic devices or noisemakers such as spinning daisies.
- Treat your lawn with castor oil – Mix up a spray of 3 parts castor oil to 1 part dish detergent; use 4 tablespoons in a gallon of water and soak the tunnels and entrances.
- Place an ear of corn dipped in roofing tar into the opening of their tunnels. Moles hate the smell and won’t be able to get out.
- Sprinkle dried blood, tobacco, powdered red pepper, or coffee grounds near tunnel entrances. Remember to re-apply after it rains.
- Use plants as a barrier around your yard or garden – Moles don’t like plants with strong smells (daffodils, marigolds).
- Have a well-kept lawn – Moles feel safe when they can hide so be sure to mow regularly, remove organic debris, and cut back on watering.
- Apply bait for moles – Closely follow directions and pay attention to correct placement.
McCarthy Pest for local mole extermination
If you have the tell-tale signs of moles in your Missouri yard, call McCarthy Pest & Termite Control. We offer local mole extermination and small animal control in ST. LOUIS, St. Charles County, and the surrounding areas.
Our 6-Point Pest Control Inspection Process helps us identify, treat, and prevent future mole infestations of your residential or commercial property. Let moles know you mean business. Call us today and take back your yard from these destructive invaders.