What are Lawn Moles?

Shannon Kietzman

Lawn moles are animals that live underground. They are about the same size as a chipmunk. They are typically six to eight inches long (about 15 to 20 cm) and weigh only three to six ounces (about 85 to 170 grams).

Lawn moles eat earthworms.
Lawn moles eat earthworms.

Usually, the first signs of moles are the tiny mountains and pathways they form on the surface of the ground as they burrow and create tunnels beneath the surface. Many people believe that these animal eat the roots of their grass and plants. For this reason, most homeowners want to eradicate any living in their yards.

Moles eat millipedes.
Moles eat millipedes.

In reality, lawn moles are insectivores, which means they eat insects rather than the roots of plants. Their diet mostly consists of grubs and earthworms, with one mole being capable of eating in excess of 140 insects per day. Moles can be beneficial to the garden, as they eat destructive insects such as beetles, snails, and millipedes. Although they do not eat plant roots, their tunneling action can be destructive because it causes the roots to separate from the soil. In some cases, however, this action improves the soil, as it aerates it and helps mix the nutrients within the dirt.

Lawn moles often eat snails and insects considered destructive to lawns and gardens.
Lawn moles often eat snails and insects considered destructive to lawns and gardens.

Despite the benefits that moles can bring to the lawn or garden, many people still do not wish to have them digging through their lawns. Finding a permanent solution for getting rid of these animals can be tricky, because new moles often move in after the original residents are removed. For this reason, it is usually best to find a way to live in peace with them.

For the most part, lawn moles prefer to stay deep underground where their tunnels are not evident from the surface. A lawn that is overwatered, however, will cause the insects to move to toward the surface. As a result, the moles will build new tunnels that are closer to the surface in order to hunt for food. Keeping the lawn properly watered helps keep lawn moles far below the surface, where they can benefit the yard rather than damaging it with tunnels.

Lawn moles eat destructive insects like beetles.
Lawn moles eat destructive insects like beetles.

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Discussion Comments

jfusco

I live in Syracuse NY. I have tried GrubX and in-ground Vibrating tools and every spring I have Mole paths or this year Mole mounds of dirt in my Yard. It seems to be in the low spots or after the snow melts in the spring.

I read in your article that moles actually improve the soil!!

My question: Should I just understand that I cannot eliminate the moles and just over seed my lawn in the spring?

It's really frustrating, any advice is appreciated.

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