Learn / Ask The Landscape Professional
Before my lawn got covered with snow, I was noticing the damage from last summer's mole tunnels. Do moles go away once the cold weather comes?
Unfortunately no. Moles do not die or even
hibernate in the winter; they just burrow
deeper and wait for the ground to thaw. So if
you had mole issues last year, there is a high
probability they will be back this year. Moles
mate in February and March and generally
have one litter of young 6 weeks later. A
month or so after birth, the newborn moles
head out to their new territory. So by the time
mid- May to June rolls around, you will have
the older mature moles digging their tunnels
looking for food, joined by a new group of
young ones. Moles are solitary animals so they will
each have their own territory.
Their primary food is earthworms which moles follow by digging their tunnels deeper when the
soil is dry and shallower when the soil is wet and soft. You will not see moles in hard, dried-out
soil. Because they eat earthworms and insects, moles belong to a group of mammals called
insectivores- they are not rodents.
Moles are strong, amazing creatures with voracious appetites. They can tunnel up to 18ft in an
hour and travel (either forward or backward) 80ft a minute through existing tunnels. They eat
over half of their body weight each day and in Connecticut they can get to be up to 7 inches long.
So how do you combat them? Research and many experts agree that the only effective way to
deal with moles is to "trap" them- using traps set in or on the ground that pierce the mole's body
when the trap is triggered. Virtually all other methods are a waste of your money. There are
sonic and electronic devices, ground vibration machines and the like on the market as well as a
host of homegrown recipes like crushed glass, castor oil, razor blades and chewing gum that just
do not work. There are even toxic baits and poisons in various forms that are non-selective and
very risky- they kill cats, dogs and other animals too. Setting up and using the traps requires
some practice and patience, but there are number of models readily available with complete
instructions. You are fighting a war of attrition and now is the time to get prepared, because
once the ground thaws, you'll start to see those tunnels again!
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.