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Moles and Gophers

Dundee Fact Sheets

Moles and Gophers                                 Print This Sheet


The gopher diet consists mostly of grasses and weeds. Moles mainly eat adult insects, insect larvae, and earthworms.

Gophers lead solitary lives, for the most part. They push soil to the surface during burrow building. Gopher mounds are usually fan shaped, 12”-18” wide and 4”-6” high. Very new mounds will show the entrance hole as a slight horseshoe shaped depression. Older mounds do not show the entrance. Gophers burrow deep enough that their runways do not leave pressure ridges on the surface.

Moles also tend to be solitary creatures and usually only one animal is found in a runway system. Mounds built by moles are considerably smaller and less prevalent than gopher mounds. Moles leave pressure ridges that can be seen on the surface. Moles will repair collapsed tunnels. To determine if a tunnel is active, walk heel-to-toe along the runway, flattening it as you go. If the runway is still being actively used, there will be fresh soil mounded up again within 24-48 hours.

Although moles and gophers can damage lawns and gardens, they also are beneficial in that they eat weeds and harmful insects. They also aerate the soil and improve moisture penetration. If damage to lawns and gardens becomes too great, the following control measures can be taken:

1. Arm yourself with a shovel in the early morning or late afternoon after a soaking rain. Quietly look around for new soil being heaved up. Quickly insert the shovel blade behind the point of activity and flip up the soil. The mole will be exposed and can easily be killed.
2. Traps can be used in active runways. Keep children and pets away and carefully follow directions.
3. Prepared poison baits can be placed in the runway. Wear gloves and cover the entry point so sunlight doesn’t shine into the tunnel. Keep children and pets away.
4. Pinwheels fastened to 2’ long metal stakes placed in the lawn produce vibrations that scare moles away. This is an unproven theory, but one study did show some effectiveness with this method.

1. Prepared poison baits applied in the fall are most effective. Follow label directions carefully and keep away from children and pets.
2. Trapping in the spring is also an option. Again, keep children and pets away.


Try using Bonide’s MoleMax or Repellex Mole, Vole, and Gopher formula. Both are 100% natural. They absorb quickly into the soil and dis-flavor their food source. More activity may be seen for a few days following application as the animals burrow out of your yard.

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