Problems with Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, VA Moles
Holes and trails that run throughout your lawn along hedges, sidewalks and walls may be caused by rodents called moles. Moles are 6” - 8” (15-20 cm) in length with a thin tail. The mole's eyes are concealed by hair. They have pink feet that are able to dig rapidly with broad (fingernail-type) claws.
During early spring and autumn, moles build an extensive network of both deep and surface tunnels. The tunnels act as the mole's living quarters. Deep tunnels may be from 6 to 24” below the surface. The mole, creating molehills, may push up these tunnels. Shallow tunnels are often long winding pathways throughout the surface of the lawn. These pathways are used during damp weather when much of the mole's food is near the surface. Moles are active all year round and can tunnel underground at a rate of 12-15 feet per hour with surface tunnels being built at 1 foot per minute.
Mole populations usually remain stable throughout the season. Moles produce their offspring in the spring averaging three to four in a litter. The young remain with their mother for one month, and then begin tunneling. The young grow to adult size in four to eight weeks. Moles lead an extremely active life, eating their weight in food daily. They feed on insects, grubs and slugs found during tunneling, but their main source of food is the earthworm.
Proper cutting practices may discourage moles from invading your lawn. When mowing your lawn, mow in a different direction every time. This encourages your grass to stand up and prevents it from lying down and creating a perfect habitat for moles. Moles are also discouraged from invading your lawn if the lawn is maintained at a height of 2” (5 cm).
Trapping is the best method for short-term control, however, it is not permanent. Areas will quickly be reinfested because of the wandering habits of moles. Traps should be placed in primary runways and around holes that are continuously re-opened.