Photo by Larry L. Strand
Click on images to enlarge.
Moles are small mammals that live almost entirely underground
in a vast network of interconnecting tunnels 3 to 30 inches (7.5
- 75 cm) deep. The main runways are usually less than 2 inches
(5 cm) in diameter, and may be 16 to 18 inches (40 - 45 cm) below
the surface. Moles dislodge turfgrass plants as they push up through
the soil from just below ground level looking for worms, insects,
and other invertebrates. Surface feeding burrows appear as ridges.
The mounds formed by moles are pushed up from an open center hole.
The soil may be in chunks, and single mounds often appear in a
line over the runway connecting them.
Prevention and management
Trapping is the most dependable method of controlling moles. Various
mole traps are available at hardware stores or nurseries. Traps are
generally set straddling or encircling the runway. Before setting
traps, determine which runways are in current use. Moles dig a system
of deep tunnels as well as a network of surface runs that may only
be temporary. To determine which ones are active, stamp down short
sections of surface runways and observe daily for signs of activity.
Set traps at least 18 inches from a mound and only in runways used
daily. Deeper tunnels can be located with a probe. Remember to fill
the portion of the tunnel under the trap's trigger with loose soil.
Your county UC Cooperative
Extension office can direct you to agencies or individuals that
control these animals.