What do we need to do to control those pesky moles tearing up our lawns and gardens?
The first thing we need to do is make sure it is a mole. In eastern North Carolina moles have a long tapered snout, no visible ears and very small eyes. They also have large front claw like feet used for digging underground. Moles are dark grey to black in color and 5 to 8 inches in length. They tunnel to feed on subterranean insects such as earthworms, white grubs, ants and beetles, and this creates raised tunnels in our lawn and gardens.
Most people are unaware that a permit is required to kill moles in North Carolina. Wildlife Damage Control agents are licensed to provide this service to landowners experiencing problems with moles and other wildlife. A list of agents by county can be found on the NCWRC Web site at www.ncwildlife.org. Individuals wishing to trap moles on their own would need to obtain a depredation permit from the Division of Wildlife Management. Use of rodent or other poison is not labeled and legal for mole control in North Carolina and by using an insecticide to kill the grubs and beetles, the moles feed on, we are killing the beneficial insects needed to provide our plants with the nutrients to grow.
With all that being said, trapping seems to be the most effective way to control moles in our yards and gardens.
Here are three traps that seem to be effective: Trapline Mole Traps, Mole Trap Plunger and Mole Trap Scissor. These can be found at local hardware stores and online.
Please share with me your experiences so that we can all become better gardeners.
(Editor’s Note: Tom Hroza is a Horticulture Extension Agent covering Sampson and Duplin counties.)