Moles… are the worst. You can see marks of their destruction all over St. Louis. Whether you’re walking through Forest Park or your own artfully managed lawn, you see those dreaded tunnels and feel the soft soil under your feet. We’ve seen moles drive people crazy, and we’ve even had people tell us they felt like they were chasing a ghost. Just like you, we hate moles. But we’re very good at killing them.
Talpids (the mole family) are small dark-furred animals with cylindrical bodies and hairless, tubular snouts. In other words, they are ugly pests ranging from about 1 to 9 inches in length and weighing no more than a pound or two – often much less. The fur is always dense and short.
The forelimbs of moles are highly adapted for digging. They feature powerful claws that are turned out to help push dirt away from the body. If you’ve ever had a mole in your yard you probably know that “highly adapted” might be an understatement. Moles dig tunnels at a rate of 1 foot per minute and commonly dig 100 feet of tunnel every day! Thanks to their unique body structure they can even dig 32 times their bodyweight.
Moles also have exceptionally poor eyesight, although they aren’t actually blind. They can see light. But for the most part moles rely on their sense of touch to dig around and find food. They’ve got whiskers on their faces, legs, and tails. Their flexible snouts are even more sensitive and help navigate a complex underworld of tunnels.
Moles don’t dig tunnels because it’s fun. They dig because they’re hungry. And, they dig a lot. As you can imagine, the never ending excavation efforts are pretty demanding. Moles have a high metabolic rate and must consume large quantities of food to keep going. A mole can eat 70-100% of its body weight every day!
To feed the machine, moles primarily eat earthworms. However they’ll also eat other subterranean insects such as grubs, larvae, beetles, snails, and slugs. You might think that moles are also eating your bulbs and terrorizing your garden plants, but that actually isn’t the case. Moles are insectivores and may only consume vegetation on accident. It isn’t an actual staple of their diet, so if your hostas are under attack it might not just be because of a mole.
One of the most important things you need to understand to be an effective molehunter is the habit of a mole’s tunneling. When you understand how and why moles dig their tunnels you’ll develop a sixth sense for anticipating your prey and setting traps accordingly. Moles excavate complex tunnel systems, but we can distill the madness into two basic types – shallow and deep – each made in the pursuit of food.
Shallow tunnels are the obvious ones – the mushy and sometimes elevated tunnels that wreak havoc on your lawn. (The elevated tunnels are just connectors.) These shallow tunnels are created when moles are searching for worms and grubs just below the surface of the ground. They’re a bit haphazard and therefore rarely revisited. Unfortunately, your lawn will suffer long after the mole is done with a shallow tunnel. This behavior separates the grass root structures from the topsoil and initiates a slow death of your lawn.
Shallow tunnels are typically short-lived. They are also only prevalent when topsoil is warm and moist. Deep tunnels, on the other hand, are more intentional and utilized year round. Just because you can’t see the moles tearing up your lawn on the surface doesn’t mean they aren’t doing some dirty work down under.
Deep tunnels are created to provide access to food year-round. You’ll be able to spot a network of deep tunnels on the surface by identifying large mounds in a confined area. They’re usually located near trees which offer access to larvae feeding on roots. The mole habitually patrols tunnels in search of insects that have burrowed in its passageway.
Did you know? A mole’s blood cells have a special and unique hemoglobin protein which enables moles to reuse oxygen inhaled when above ground and therefore survive in low-oxygen environments, such as deep tunnels.
How to Get Rid of Moles
There are dozens of wives tales about how to kill a mole. You’ve probably tried some of them yourself. There’s no shame in that because I know how easy it is to be emotionally affected by moles. But don’t buy in to the hype because quick-fix myths will only make the problem worse. The only way to get rid of moles is to set a trap and kill them.
Some of the wives tales include: putting chewing gum in tunnels, poison, human hair, razor blades, car exhaust, flooding, and so much more. They’re all crazy and none of them work, even if someone you know swears by them. At best these ideas do nothing, but at worst they make it even harder for you.
Your homebrew remedies make the situation worse because moles are adaptive creatures. The pesky little jerks are observant and sensitive creatures. The moment they spot something suspicious they’ll abandon the tunnel and go elsewhere. They’ll learn to be skeptical of whatever idea you throw at them and only become harder to catch. Think about the consequences: a single piece of gum, for example, stimulates the mole to dig a whole new system of tunnels. You just trashed perfectly good tunnels ripe for killing and instead just made the mole rip up your yard even more.
There isn’t anything we love to do more than kill moles. In fact, we love killing moles so much that we founded the National Molehunters Association. If you have a mole problem in St. Louis, make sure you stop by the NMHA. We’ve got a kill counter, national leaderboard, gear reviews, and even a three-course University where you can train to become an elite molehunter!
We get rid of moles in St. Louis by understanding how they behave and why. We study your property to understand exactly where they are and what they’re interested in so we can set our proprietary traps with precision and effectiveness. We make sure your mole problem is solved and not just concealed because we know dead moles don’t come back! If your property and peace of mind are under assault by unwanted moles, call Holper’s today (314-732-1413) and discover how our revolutionary molehunting process can save your yard today.