Moles spend most of their lives in underground burrows and you'll probably not see them. There are six species of moles in North America and while they tend to hide most of the time, they can wreak havoc in your landscape when there are enough of them. Sonic pulsing is advertised as a method of mole control but its effectiveness is not proven.
Moles have enlarged, paddlelike forefeet and long toenails that allow them to dig through soil. They have short necks and their elongated heads don't have external ears. Because you’ll rarely see a mole in your yard, identification of an infestation requires looking for signs of activity. This typically appears as ridges of soil where moles have built runways to move through when foraging for food. Burrowing will occur all year, peaking during warm, wet weather. Moles also build visible mounds of soil as they dig permanent tunnels and nest burrows.
Moles don’t typically cause the serious damage squirrels, voles and gophers are known to cause. They’re more of a nuisance because their tunnels and burrows make mowing a lawn difficult and their mounds ruin the appearance of your yard. Their digging can also uproot plants in their search for food, and their digging provides runways and cover for other rodents that will feed on your landscape plants. When plants are physically disturbed by mole tunnels, growth and vigor can be affected.
How Sonic Pulse Devices Work
Sonic pulsing refers to devices that are inserted into the soil where they emit sound waves beneath the ground. These waves of sound are unheard by human ears but they are supposed to be extremely irritating to moles. The goal of a sonic pulse device is to vibrate through mounds and tunnels to make the area in which they’re placed unappealing to moles, encouraging them to leave your yard.
Sonic Pulse Effectiveness
Devices like sonic pulses that use sound to frighten moles from your yard are largely ineffective at controlling moles. There is no research to support the effectiveness of sonic pulse repellents or other vibration or sound devices. None have been successful in driving moles from an area. While the moles may temporarily leave initially, they simply relocate to neighboring areas and will return to tunnels and burrows later.
Effective Mole Management
You can temporarily protect plants by burying 1/4-inch wire mesh in a 6-inch-wide trench at least 2 feet deep into the soil around the garden. Bend the top edge of the mesh at a 90-degree angle away from the planting. Trapping is the most effective way to remove moles from your landscape. Pack down short sections of mounds and visible runways and watch these each day. The moles will re-dig active runways and mounds. Press them down again and you’ll soon see which areas are frequently used. Set traps at least 18 inches from an active mound and in frequently used runways. Use a garden trowel or shovel to remove a 6-inch-wide section of soil from the mound or runway and insert the trap 8 to 12 inches below the soil surface. Place a plug made of moist soil in the center of the opened runway or mound and rest the trigger of the trap on this. Cover the trap with loose soil to block light from the opened burrow.