Polk County Conservation

Moles in the Yard

  • This past fall, moles ruined my yard. When spring comes what can I do about this problem? Thank you for any advice or help you can provide.

    The eastern mole is common throughout Iowa. It is not a rodent but rather it belongs to a group of mammals called insectivores. They live most of their life underground and feed on earthworms, white grubs, insects, centipedes, millipedes, and spiders. This makes up 85-90% of their diet. The remainder of the diet is young plant shoots, and oat, corn, and grass seeds. Moles dig tunnels in soil that is moist but well drained, loose for easy burrowing, and contains plenty of food. Believe it or not but moles can be very beneficial. Their deep tunnels allow air, moisture, and organic material to penetrate into deeper soils. Their burrowing helps aerate and mix the soil. Their feces contribute organic material to the soil. Moles also eat destructive insects like cutworm and Japanese beetle larvae that cause serious damage to lawns and gardens.

    What you need to decide is if the problem is bad enough to outweigh the benefits. If moles are causing problems, Iowa law permits their removal. Control of moles can be difficult if there is good habitat and a large mole population nearby. Other moles often move into vacated areas. Trapping is the most reliable way to control moles. But keep in mind that moles are not easy to trap. Trapping is most effective in the spring and fall when moles are most active. First you must locate active runways. To determine if a runway is active, poke two small holes in the top. If it is active, moles will repair the holes within a day’s time. A harpoon trap is most commonly used for moles. They can be found at most hardware, farm or garden centers. Follow the instructions and place this trap in the active runway. If you don’t wish to do the trapping yourself, contact a local pest control company for their expertise and advice. Professional pest control operators agree that trying to kill moles with poisoned baits and gases are undependable and ineffective.

  • Contact Us

    Administration Office
    11407 NW Jester Park Drive
    Granger, IA 50109

    P: (515) 323-5300
    F: (515) 323-5354
    pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov

    Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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