Moles in the Lawn

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mole coming up from the groundMoles have been a consistent problem this spring as mild winter temperatures have accelerated their activity. Tunneling by moles affects rooting and turf growth, and can lead to scalping of turf during mowing. If your yard is sandy and less compacted, then mole tunneling can be quite destructive.

Moles primarily feed on worms, insects, grubs, and snails. They typically have little interest in your plants or flowers. However, their tunneling activity disturbs plant roots and exposes them to drying air. Control of moles is a laborious process with no consistently reliable options. Since moles are constantly feeding and moving around, it is difficult to deduce where they will be at any time. Lethal trapping and legal pesticide control products are the only means to reduce the population of moles in your yard. However, this will not prevent other moles from entering the area and resuming activity.

Physical trapping can be successful, but multiple traps are recommended and these traps should be rotated constantly to intercept moles. Look for the most recent tunneling activity and place your traps over these tunnels. Depress the tunnel with your foot, then set the trap in this depression. As moles move through the tunnel and encounter this depression, they will trigger the trap as they attempt to reopen this space.

mole trap shown on a lawn

Poison mole baits are available for use, but you must follow the directions carefully. These products are short-lived but have shown effectiveness in some locations. Mole repellents may also provide temporary reduction in activity but environmental conditions (rain) will ultimately determine how long the product remains effective.

Control of insects or grubs might reduce activity in some locations but rarely provides the level of control most homeowners’ desire. Products like “Milky Spore” may be promoted as an alternative control measure that reduces the white grub population in turf. However, this bacterial product only controls Japanese beetle larvae and takes several months to develop.

For more information on controlling moles in turf, review this NC State Extension Mole note. You may also contact Daniel Simpson at 252-745-412 or