Talpidae Scalopinae spp

Moles (Image A) become active when temperature rises in the spring and can cause damage until late fall.

Notes: Their primary food source are earthworms. They will feed on grubs if they are present, but an insecticide application to remove grubs may not cause them to leave.

  • Crops Affected: turf


    Distant: Raised burrows in the turf that kills the grass growing over the burrows, or pushed-up mounds of soil 6 to 12 cm in diameter (Image B).

    Up close: Raised burrows in the turf with dead grass where the burrow are pushed up (Image C).

    When damage would be found: March - November

    Host: Any species of grass

    Site: Any

    Description of damaging stage: The moles are furry and look like large mice with short tails, small eyes, a long snout, and have forelegs modified for digging


    Sampling: The burrows are very obvious. Press them down with your feet and check to see which ones get raised in the next 48 hours. This will indicate which burrows are being used.

    Management of Moles: Moles feed on earthworms, grubs and other insects. Using an insecticide on your lawn may not have any effect on moles because most insecticides have little effect on earthworms. Growing a dense lawn is again a good way to avoid unacceptable injury because mole tunneling under a dense lawn is barely visible unless soil is pushed above the surface into mounds. Mole activity may be more of a problem when lawns border meadows or woodlots. Other than growing a dense turf, trapping moles may be the best approach to avoid unacceptable tunneling and mounding. However, trapping moles requires good traps, proper technique, and considerable skill. It is best to read extensively on how to trap moles before you begin.

    Chemicals applied to control grubs may not reduce the mole activity as most insecticides will little effect on earthworms. Trapping is the most effective method. However, moles have a very well developed sense of smell and it is important to wear gloves to avoid spreading human scent or a chemical or rubber scent when setting traps. They are also very sensitive to their burrows being uncovered when traps are set. They can detect air currents in the burrows and light around where the traps are set. Put a dark, plastic storage tub over the trap after you have set it. This will also keep other animals out of the trap.