The eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is valuable because its tunneling activity permits air and moisture to penetrate to deeper soil layers. Further, about 85 percent of its diet consists of animal foods, such as earthworms and white grubs and even destructive cutworms and Japanese beetle larvae. Moles dig two types of tunnels: temporary feeding tunnels just below ground surface, and deeper, permanent tunnels below the frost line. The temporary feeding tunnels can cause unsightly damage to lawns, golf courses, and cemeteries. However, if you can tolerate their tunnels, you may find moles help protect your garden and landscaping from the insect pests mentioned above.
The Wildlife Code of Missouri specifies that damage-causing moles may be trapped or shot to prevent further damage. Refer to 3 CSR 10-4.130 Owner May Protect Property; Public Safety of the Code for details and restrictions.
Exclusion. Not a practical option except for small areas. Use 24-inch roll sheet metal or hardware cloth to create a fence from ground level and buried to a depth of at least 12 inches to prevent burrowing.
Habitat Modification. Not a practical option. Use of insecticides to eliminate insect larvae and other mole foods results in an unhealthy lawn ecosystem.
Fumigants/Repellents. Moles normally do not consume grain, so toxic grain baits such as ”poison peanuts” are seldom effective. Gas cartridges can be effective when placed in the deep burrows but are not effective in the surface feeding tunnels. Mothballs contain toxic naphthalene, and the vapor is harmful to humans. No repellents are known to be effective.
Trapping. Traps are the most effective and efficient way to remove moles and several types are available. See the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management under External Resources below for extensive information on trap types, setting of traps, etc.
Shooting. Not a practical option.