Star Nose Mole
Moles frequently cause damage, but are also beneficial, as they are insectivores that feed on insects, worms, and other invertebrates. They are most active in spring or fall and on cloudy days. During winter and midsummer, they go deep into the ground. They have a very extensive underground tunnel system, including travel tunnels (which are used daily) and foraging tunnels (rarely re-used). When moles become a problem, the following methods can be used to control the damage.
Principles of Mole Control
Identifying Mole Type
Correct identification is vital to mole damage control. Both species of Michigan moles have large shovel-like front feet with long claws. The Eastern mole has a naked red nose and a short tail; the star-nosed mole has a large red nose with 22 finger-like projections, and a long tail. The Eastern mole makes many shallow tunnels that raise the soil into long, winding 2” high ridges. The few mounds it makes are low, rounded and often have bits of turf on them. It prefers well-drained soils. The star-nosed mole makes many deep tunnels not evident on the surface, but it pushes up soil from these tunnels into many conical mounds of raw earth. Some mounds may be more than 6” high and 12” wide. It prefers moist soils.
Combine Several Techniques for Effective Control
For example, Mole Patrol and lawn insecticide is an effective twosome. Add harpoons for fast effect. You should experiment to find the methods that best suit you and your landscape.
Read and Follow Labels and Instructions
For example, improper placement of bait, or inaccurate detection of travel tunnels, can result in ineffective control.
Practice Good Horticulture
Good horticulture will minimize mole damage and speed lawn recovery. Make sure to water 15 minutes per area, per day. Mow at three to four inches with a sharp blade. Receive Best on Earth lawn care treatments. Respond quickly to new problems such as lawn fungus.
Pesticide Methods of Mole Control
Mole Patrol is a jar of pellets that smell and taste like grubs, a favorite food of moles. Following label instructions, place the bait in the travel tunnels only (see following paragraph). The pellets contain enzymes that slowly dissolve the moles’ digestive system. Moles feed their young via regurgitation, and will in this way supply the poison to their young. After a few weeks, the mole families weaken and die. Begin in the evening by tamping down short sections of the tunnels with your foot or a tamping tool. Tamp the tunnels for several evenings in a row. Flag the tamped sections with tomato stakes or other small sticks. The following mornings, determine which tunnels are reopened. These will be the mole’s main travel tunnels. Other tunnels will appear, but if they are not opened up again they will be temporary foraging tunnels (tunnels used just once or infrequently to find food). Remove the flags from the foraging tunnels, and you will now know where to place the Mole Patrol. Read and follow Mole Patrol label instructions for placing the poison, and the different method for hunting deep tunneling star-nosed moles. Mole Patrol is a great new tool in the fight against moles. The enzymatic poison in Mole Patrol is specific to moles and is not highly poisonous to humans, pets or other wildlife (it’s “caution” label indicates a low order of toxicity). Call us to arrange delivery of Mole Patrol.
If worms, grubs and other insects in your yard area are destroyed, moles will move to other feeding areas. The effect is not permanent, as insect and planaria populations will rebuild; however, insecticide can be an important part of general mole defense because moles will stop feeding in your area almost immediately. As moles return, you can use Mole Patrol (above) to gain permanent control. It is necessary to water in the insecticide, so it can penetrate down to mole feeding depth. Best on Earth often recommends Sevin insecticide because it breaks down quickly in the lawn. Call for insecticide price. If you apply insecticide yourself, follow label instructions and wear rubber boots, long pants, gloves and respirator if asthmatic.
Smoke cartridges are widely available in most retail stores in Michigan. Smoke fumigation is difficult, but can eliminate moles if a sufficient number of smoke cartridges are introduced simultaneously into active tunnels. Locate the active tunnels as described above, and insert smoke cartridges in both directions into the tunnels about ever 5-10 feet. The more frequently smoke cartridges are placed along an active tunnel, the more likely they will be effective. Light all smoke cartridges as quickly as possible and seal the tunnels to prevent smoke from escaping. After lighting, wait 5-10 minutes to see if smoke escapes from any holes along the tunnel. Insert additional cartridges at such points and plug holes with wadded newspaper.
Non Pesticide Methods of Mole Control
Juicy Fruit Gum
Juicy Fruit gum can be an effective mole control. However, success depends both upon careful analysis of mole travel habits and precise handling of the gum. First, locate mole travel tunnels (see above). Wearing fresh rubber gloves, roll the gum into small tubes. BE careful not to touch the gum with your skin, or lay in onto any surface carrying human scent. Use a stick and poke holes about every 5 feet along the travel tunnels. Then drop the rolled-up sticks of gum into the tunnel. Cover the hole with a plug of grass or small stone. Do not collapse the tunnel in the area of the gum or cover the gum with dirt. If the tunnel ridge collapses, move on and bait another tunnel section. While moles can eat gum, they cannot digest or excrete it, and will soon die.
Mole-Med is a blend of castor bean oil and water. Mole-Med must be watered in heavily. Repeat applications may be needed. As Mole-Med is a repellant only, moles are not harmed and may return when the repellant diminishes. Check local lawn and garden stores or farm co-ops for Mole-Med.
Although Eastern moles may burrow at any time, they are usually most active at certain times, depending on the season, Note when most new activity occurs, or when flattened ridges or mounds are repaired. Once you have determined when the Eastern moles are most active, look during those times to see the long winding ridges being pushed up by the Eastern mole tunneling just below the surface of the ground. With practice you can quickly and quietly approach the tunneling mole and kill it by smashing the earth down wit ha shovel or similar instrument just behind where the earth is being lifter up. Repeated application if this method can rapidly remove Eastern moles from an area. This method rarely works for the star-nosed mole because it usually burrows too deeply.
Eastern moles are easy to trap if the trap is placed on a tunnel that is actively used every day. Be sure that problems with function of the trap are noted and resolved. Locate active tunnels as in Mole Patrol instructions above. Traps placed on the ridges of active tunnels should catch a mole every 24 to 48 hours until all moles using the tunnel beneath are caught. If a trap has not caught a mole in 3 days, it is in the wrong location, or has caught all the moles using that particular tunnel and should be moved to a new location.
Of the three types of traps, the choker type seems to be the easiest for moth people to use successfully on the eastern mole. In heavy clay soils, the frame of the harpoon trap will sometimes rise up out of the ground rather than impale the moles. If this happens, use coat hangers and small pieces of wood or metal to stake the trap to the ground. With all types of traps, work the harpoons or jaws of the trap back and forth, or up and down through the soil to insure smooth penetration of the soil. If any trap is sprung prematurely so that the mole is not caught, remove a small piece of sod from under the trigger pan to delay the action of the trap. If moles burrow around a trap, then either the soil has been flattened too tightly, or part of the trap is projecting into the tunnel and alarming the mole.
To trap star-nosed moles, locate active tunnels by scattering the soil of each mound until it is flat. Mounds that are pushed back up in 24-48 hours are active tunnels. To set the trap, it is necessary to dig a hole beneath one of the mounds of earth. The hole should extend to the bottom of the mole’s tunnel, usually 4 to 6 inches below the surface of the ground. Refill the hole with enough earth to cover the top of the mole’s tunnel with approximately 2 inches of earth. Set the harpoon type trap in the hole.
Other Control Methods Effective in Special Situations
Any device that imparts a vibration into the ground repels moles. The range of these devices is limited, making them practical only in small areas such as a small garden or flowerbed. The more vibration the device imparts into the ground, the more effective it will b. Random vibration patterns are the best- moles will ignore repeat vibrations of the same tempo and intensity.