The West Coast is in the heat of MOLE trapping.

All breeds of moles reproduce once a year. February is mating season for the West Coast. Those property owners in the Mid-West and East Coast have another month. Notice all the fresh mounds? The male is searching for females. Moles are active throughout the year and can be trapped at any time, but using the mating instincts to our advantage is a must. Moles are tough enough to trap. Let’s get started.

Before setting mole traps, determine which runways are currently in use and/or where fresh excavation is occurring. Moles dig a system of deep tunnels that are more or less permanently used as well as a network of surface runs used for feeding. Some of the surface tunnels are only temporary so they may not make a good trap set. Moles are more likely to be trapped in the deep runways, which they reuse almost permanently.

To determine where moles are active, clear the freshest looking dirt mound. Fan the soil equally over the lawn area around the mound with your shovel. Probe for the exit tunnel about the center of the area, and gently open the earthen plug. Observe the area 2-3 times daily. Locating fresh activity, either new excavation, a return to previous excavation, or finding a frequently used runway is very important to the success of your control efforts. You will set up to 4-traps only in the area that you cleared. Here’s how:

Cut a 14”x14” cardboard template. Lay the cardboard on the ground you have cleared so the tunnel opening is in the center of the square template. Use an irrigation shovel with a 7-inch flat nose blade and no angle. Make two cuts on each side at a 45 degree angle. Grass roots will hold the square sod together while you expose the area for setting traps. Gently lift out the square piece of sod and wrap with plastic while you are trapping. After you have finished trapping, return the sod, gently tamp, watering if necessary. I promise. You won’t see a scar in a few weeks. ++++++You will not achieve the same angle and cut with a digging shovel. Do not disrupt the area by digging more or deeper. Be gentle.

The 3D trapping site should now be approximately 14”x 14”x 6”. Using the digging tool, probe along the 4-sides of the square and each corner – 360 degrees. You will feel a release when the spoon finds less dense soil. Pop open the earthen plug of each tunnel. The tunnel will be about 1 ½” in diameter. The first set is your best chance of trapping the mole. Set a trap in each exposed tunnel. Insert the jaws of the trap gently into the tunnel up to the sheet metal, open the lever arm so the jaws are fully open inside the tunnel and set the trap wires. Check the trigger wire is sliding freely; no roots or rocks obstructing the trigger. Setting the wires AFTER inserting maintains the smallest amount of space needed to get the jaws inside the tunnel.

Perfect 2-way Mole Set in Cut Out Turf

Why 14”x14” and why 4-traps? Picture the location of the mound before you cleared the fresh soil. Now the sod is set aside. The mole will dig an entrance (1-trap) and an exit (2-traps). However, the new excavation could have 2 more tunnels. If you miss setting a trap in any of the tunnels leading to the exposed area, you risk a missed opportunity. Moles are extremely cautious and will abandon activity. Moles are almost blind, but light and air will enter the tunnels causing havoc for the mole.

My mole traps are $10 a piece. Some people tend to buy only one or two. Although one trap may catch the mole, increasing the number of traps to FOUR will increase the speed and overall success of your trapping program. Maintain the traps and they will last your lifetime. My $10 digging tool will aide you in finding the earthen plugs and clearing debris inside the tunnel with only slight disturbance to the trapping site. The mole tunnels are still under your property. Each year the tunnels remain vacant, gravity and erosion will collapse the tunnels. Be diligent in trapping. Watch for fresh activity.

Hire an exterminator $200-$400? Ask if he uses poison worms? There will be no guarantee. Trapping? Ask for the carcass. Or DYI for $50 and keep all the equipment.

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