COLUMBIA, Mo. - Homeowners may see some unwanted excavation in their lawns and gardens this time of year-the work of moles.

Homeowners should forgo homespun remedies such as razor blades, bleach, lye or human hair, said Robert Pierce, University of Missouri Extension wildlife specialist. Repellents and toxicants also often fail to provide adequate control.

"Trapping is still the most effective method for removing nuisance moles," Pierce said. "Although there are a few relatively new products on the market, such as castor-oil-based repellents and new 'mole baits,' trapping remains the most cost-effective and proven method for controlling moles."

Mole litters are born in March through May. They leave ridges of upheaved soil as they tunnel in search of food. The ridges can make mowing difficult and create brown spots in lawns due to disturbed roots, he said.

Traps are equipped with a trigger-pan device that springs the trap to harpoon, choke or trap the mole as it tries to reopen blocked passageways.

Select a place where there is evidence of fresh work and where the burrow runs in a straight line. This often indicates that the mole uses the tunnel each day as a travel route, Pierce said.

"After two days with no results, move the trap to a new location. The mole likely has changed its habits, the runway has been disturbed too much or the mole has detected your trap," he said.

Moles prefer moist, sandy loam soils found in lawns, gardens and pastures. Their high energy requirements give them a voracious appetite. Moles prefer to eat earthworms and grubs but will also feed on insects, spiders and snail larvae. Moles feed day and night, eating as much as 70 to 80 percent of their body weight daily, Pierce said.

To learn more about dealing with moles, refer to MU Extension publication "Controlling Nuisance Moles" (G9440)

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