Key to Mole Control is Finding Active Run, Not Killing Grubs, Says MU Extension Specialist

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two moles per acre is considered an infestation and ridding a home lawn of moles can seem like a never-winning battle.

But the odds of success are increased when the right scouting techniques are used according to Kelly McGowan, field specialist in horticulture for University of Missouri Extension.

“No matter what the control method — granular or gel baits, repellants, or traps — scouting techniques are the key,” said McGowan.

Moles will feed on earthworms and grubs every two hours, 24 hours a day. Once a mole has eaten the food supply throughout a run, the mole will stop using that run and start a new one.

“Mole traps and baits must be placed in the active runs to be most effective. That makes good scouting essential,” said McGowan.

To find active mole runs, McGowan recommends poking a hole through the top of the run. Mark the location with a flag a few inches to the side of the run or by using a landmark that is memorable.

“In about 2 hours, check the run and if the hole is repaired or plugged back up, the run is active and will be a good location for baits and traps,” said McGowan.

Moles can smell human scents on some types of bait. Using gloves while handling mole baits can help increase product success and reduce possible chemical exposure to the applicator.

Mole baits are pesticides and can be harmful if not properly used as directed by the label.

“Grub worm pesticides are used to kill grub worms and, unfortunately, can kill up to 70 percent of earthworms as well. Grub worm pesticides should only be used to kill grub worm infestations, not to control moles by reducing their food supply,” said McGowan

For more information, contact one of MU Extension’s field specialists in horticulture serving southwest Missouri: Patrick Byers in Webster County at (417) 859-2044, Kelly McGowan in Greene County at (417) 881-8909 or Robert Balek in Jasper County at (417) 358-2158. Or, call the gardening hotline operated by the Master Gardeners of Greene County at 417-874-2963.