Summary: Be careful about bringing out the heavy artillery to use to kill moles in your lawn. Chemical pesticides or poisonous baits might be illegal to use in your state. If you are allowed to use baits to kill moles where you live, then read on to learn more.
Talpirid bait has become the weapon of choice for many pest control professionals. It is easy to use and the moles accept, readily eating what they think is their favorite food, earthworms.
The mole is a solitary animal that spends much of its time underground. It is similar in looks to voles and groundhogs, except that moles have a nose without any hair on it. It has wide paws with claws designed for digging and, just so you know what you are looking at, moles don't have ears that stick out above their fur.
Molehills and groundhog burrows can be identified separately, too. The molehill has a perfectly conical mound of dirt that rises about ground level, while the groundhog burrow is actually a hole, or a sunken patch of earth.
The mole is constantly feeding. It finds food without the use of it eyes. In fact, many moles are actually blind. The mole uses its nose to smell prey and it has specially developed sensors that can detect ground vibrations. The mole feeds on grubs and earthworms that fall down or dig up into the mole's tunnel. The mole will dig deeper tunnels in the winter when the invertebrates descend lower to avoid the frost line, and, conversely, moles will dig shallower tunnels during warm weather when worms and grubs are closer to the surface.
If a mole is terrorizing your lawn then it might be that there is a lack of insects in your lawn. Fewer insects means he needs to dig more tunnels to find food. That is why spraying insecticides that kill grubs won't necessarily drive away moles. In fact, many mole repellents won't work either because the mole can always dig new tunnels that are deeper or further away from whatever is bothering it. They are digging machines capable of digging tunnels fifty to one-hundred feet in a day. That would be equivalent to humans digging Boston's subway system in a week or two instead.
Most of the time a mole will not stay in one place for too long. They like to go where the food is and many reports of a mole infestation being cured by a magical remedy like bubblegum or manure might simply be that the mole has moved on to better hunting grounds. In cases where a mole does not want to leave but is still doing a lot of damage, mole extermination might be the only solution.
If you are bent on killing moles, there are many kinds of mole baits on the market. Talpirid mole bait is shaped like worms and uses the chemical Bromethalin for its active ingredient. Bromethalin attacks the nervous system in moles, but is in small enough concentrations in the baits that it won't kill dogs or cats that accidentally eat a small amount of it. It will, however, kill moles that eat small amounts of the product. We used this product to service our mole control customers and have great success.
Other products can also kill moles. Many mole pellets like Mole BeGone, Mole Go, Mole Patrol, and a variety of others can kill moles. Some of the pellet treatments use Warfarin for their active ingredient, which is an anticoagulant. Some rodents such as mice and rats have a resistance to Warfarin, but most moles do not. The problem will be to get the mole to eat your bait because the mole diet is made up primarily of fresh, live insects, but the mole will eat bait that it thinks is palatable. The texture and appearance of the worm shaped baits might make the mole more likely to eat them.
All baits must be applied to mole tunnels that show mole activity. Before applying bait you should actually see the ground move as the mole moves through his tunnels, or know that the mole is repairing tunnels that you have flattened by walking on them. The bait should be dropped into a small hole made with a stick or rod down into the tunnel. Cover the hole up with a piece of turf or a rock. The mole should not sense that their tunnel has been disturbed. The bait should be applied every ten feet or so along the length of the most active tunnel. The bait should never be applied above ground where another animal might have access to it.
You can save yourself some money if you put out your lawn chair on a nice warm evening, open a cold one, arm yourself with a shovel and watch for the first mole-train to come by.