Indianapolis Animal Removers Work to Control Menacing Moles

Matthew Brady
Written by Matthew Brady
Updated June 15, 2021
Mole
Moles can cause significant damage to lawns. (Photo by iStock)

Adult moles dig in search of food and create unsightly, raised tunnels and mounds, which can kill a yards in Indianapolis.

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The No. 1 nuisance wildlife complaint fielded by the Purdue Extension-Marion County office doesn't involve squirrels, raccoons or mice, but rather the half-blind, lawn-destroying critter called the mole, according to Steve Mayer, Purdue Extension educator for consumer horticulture.

And for good reason. An adult mole is a 4- to 7-inch digging machine whose unsightly, raised tunnels and mounds can kill a yard — almost always one of the nicest yards on the block because it has the best soil, says Robin Wilkes, co-owner of highly rated Critter Control of Indianapolis, a nine-time Super Service Award winner.

"It's kind of a catch-22," Wilkes says. "Nice, healthy dirt has lots of worms. When you have so many earthworms, you have moles."

Such was the case with Angie's List members Elizabeth and Peter Sprinz of Geist, Ind. Despite having one of the nicest lawns on their cul-de-sac, they had a serious mole problem, Elizabeth says. Eight-time Super Service Award winner Mole Mountie Inc. of Fortville, Ind., solved her problem in four visits. "You would think for all the damage there'd be a lot of moles," she says. "There were only two."

That's a typical number for a lawn, says Chris A. Hemphill, owner of highly rated Mole Mountie. "They are not social at all, other than twice a year for breeding," he says.

Contrary to popular opinion, moles don't eat plants, but rather earthworms, grubs and other bugs, he says. But, in their pursuit of worms, they disrupt grass and plant roots and kill them.

All that digging can be beneficial, Mayer says, because it aerates the heavy clay soil common in central Indiana. On the other hand, he says earthworms also aerate soil and moles decimate the earthworm population. "The damage moles cause really outweighs what good they would do in a person's yard," Hemphill says.

Critter Control and Mole Mountie both use kill traps, which they say is the most effective way to remove moles.

Hemphill sells mole control packages starting at approximately $200 for three months, $300 for six months and up to $500 for an annual package. A one-time visit isn't cost-effective for him or the homeowner, he says, but he also doesn't charge per carcass.

"With the three-month contract, you are buying a service visit with a three-month warranty," he says. If he finds evidence of mole activity on the last day of the contract, "I'm not leaving until we get that mole," he says.

Critter Control charges $199 per service call, plus $75 per carcass, Wilkes says, or $249 for an annual contract with no service charges but still a per-carcass fee.

Hemphill says homeowners can take a few steps to prevent moles by looking at problem areas such as flowerbed mulch and scattered seed under a bird feeder. These areas are "full of moisture and they will have ants and all kinds of larvae," he says. "That is basically what attracts a mole."

Using rock in flowerbeds will help because it doesn't decompose, he says. Also, "try to locate that bird feeder on the very edge of your property," he says. "If you catch that birdseed so it doesn't go into the soil, you are going to be way ahead of the game as far as moles are concerned."

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