Moles are small mammals (not rodents) that live underground in burrows and mostly eat earthworms and insects. They are active day or night, tunneling underground to find food. Sometimes, their tunnels breach the soil, especially in the spring and fall, or during rainy periods in the summer, when higher soil moisture pushes their prey up towards the surface. Shallow tunnels create ridges in turf and can injure grass roots, turning the surrounding turf brown. Moles also create hills of soil pushed up from deeper tunnels.
The most maintained turf may have the worst mole problems due to irrigation and fertilization, which promote their food supply. Also, turf located near natural woodlands tends to get populated by moles. Moles spend a lot of energy digging tunnels and are voracious eaters. Their home ranges are larger than most animals that live underground.
Trapping is the most effective method for mole management. Surface tunnels are indicative of mole activity, not mole hills. Do not set traps on mole hills. Find a straight section of a shallow tunnel, straddle the runway with a scissor-jawed trap, and push the jaws into the ground. The trap must be positioned parallel to the runway with the trigger pan touching the soil. If a trap doesn’t catch a mole within two days, it should be moved to another straight section of surface tunnel. Extensive surface tunneling will require several traps.