Anyone who has ever said, “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill” does not understand the frustration, angst and despair moles inflict on homeowners. These underground critters can turn a beautifully manicured lawn into something resembling a war zone, seemingly overnight.
Contrary to popular belief, moles are not rodents. They are insectivores. These small mammals spend their entire lives below the surface of the ground, tearing up suburban lawns and gardens in an endless quest for food.
Mole damage is often confused with damage caused by other underground critters such as gophers and voles. Knowing which enemy you’re battling is the first step to winning the war with these underground destroyers.
Moles’ burrowing habits can damage grass, flower beds and tear up tree roots, causing extensive cosmetic damage to lawns and gardens. Mole tunnels can be classified into two basic types, shallow and deep. Shallow tunnels create surface runways whereas deep tunnels create surface mounds. Both cause unsightly damage that is hard to miss and has been known to drive otherwise sane people to extreme behavior in their quest to rid their yards of moles.
As moles tunnel beneath the earth in search for food, they create extensive networks of surface feeding tunnels at an alarming rate of up to one foot per minute. In their hunt for earthworms and grubs just beneath the surface of the ground, they excavate soil from their tunnels and deposit the dirt on the ground. These shallow tunnels result in surface tunnels that are identifiable by the areas of raised ground which appear as long ridges in the soil. Shallow tunnels feel spongy and soft when walked on and can cause people to trip, fall, sprain an ankle or worse. Mole runways often follow along a house foundation, driveway or lawn border. Open holes to the surface are rarely seen.
Moles also dig deep tunnels to provide a yearlong food source. They monitor these tunnels for food sources burrowed within them. These deep tunnels appear on the ground surface as conical or volcano shaped mounds that are uniform in shape, though they may differ in size. Mole mounds, which are the result of deep digging, quickly kill grass.