Moles can present big problems in a lawn. As insectivores, moles dine on earthworms that flourish in healthy lawns. When a mole has taken up residence, raised burrows or "runways" will appear in the lawn, around flower bulbs and other areas. Many folk remedies are thought to be effective, but the experts say trapping moles is the best answer to keeping your lawn pristine.
Three types of traps are effective in controlling moles. They are the scissor-jaw or choker loop trap, the harpoon trap and the spear type. All are available at garden centers and through online sources. For best results, set the traps in active runways in spring and fall. To determine if a runway is active, collapse a visible runway and check back in two days. If the moles have repaired the damage, the creatures are active in that runway. Always follow manufacturer's instructions for using traps of any type because they contain sharp parts and can cause injury.
Several types of repellents kill moles or drive them away from an area. A product called thiram is an approved pesticide that is effective when inserted into the moles' tunnels. Mothballs will drive moles away from the runways, but they cause no harm to the moles.
The United States government approves aluminum phosphide, gas cartridges and calcium cyanide as fumigants to kill moles. These products are recommended for severe infestations and are most effective when placed deep into burrows rather than surface runways, according to the University of Missouri.
Zinc phosphate is a toxicant used in grain formulas and is the only product the U.S government has approved for mole control. It is sold at garden supply stores but is not 100 percent effective as a killer of moles because, as insectivores, the moles prefer worms and grubs over grain products, according to the University of Missouri.