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Killing Moles With Marshmallows

Moles are small tunneling mammals that can transform a once-pristine lawn into a chaotic network of unsightly dirt mounds and tunnels. If moles have been tearing up your lawn you might be desperate for a solution. Using marshmallows to kill moles in an unconventional technique that has recently been gaining popularity for its low cost and simplicity. In this article, we’ll look look at the method used to kill moles with marshmallows, as well as if it is effective and any negatives associated with it.

Killing moles with marshmallows

First let’s go over the method you would use if you wanted to try this technique.

1. Look for mole signs on your lawn

Molehills
Molehills

Moles can pose a significant challenge for lawn owners who put in considerable effort to maintain a good looking lawn. Moles aren’t often seen above ground, so rather than seeing them directly you’ll have to look for the effects they leave on the environment. If you suspect the presence of these animals in your yard, it’s advisable to search for raised mounds of soil resembling miniature volcanoes, accompanied by a small hole situated at their center. 

They typically create these molehills by pushing up the soil as they tunnel. You may also notice some ridges or raised lines in your yard from the underground tunnels they create.

2. Identify their entry and exit points

After you have confirmed the presence of a troublesome mole in your yard, you must identify its entry and exit points. Look for the small openings in the ground or raised mounds of soil that indicate tunnel entrances. Moles usually have several access points that help them in their tunneling activities. 

Identifying and pinpointing these spots will give you valuable insight into how they move and their strategic locations. To help determine if a molehill is active, step on the soil and flatten it, then check again in 24 hours. If the soil you flattened has become raised again or obviously dug back out, that means the mole is still using that as an active entrance. 

3. Get your marshmallows and put them in the holes

Once you find the entry and exit points, it’s time to place marshmallows into these openings. Use the standard or jumbo size marshmallows, not the tiny ones. Plug up the hole with a few marshmallows so the hole is completely blocked.

Marshmallows supposedly serve as both poison and an effective trap for these creatures. By strategically placing the marshmallow in the entrances and exit points, they’ll be forced to consume the marshmallow blocking their path. 

4. Wait and see if mole activity decreases

Mole hills
Mole Hills | Image by meineresterampe from Pixabay

Once you have placed the marshmallows in the mole holes as a potential method to eliminate these creatures, it’s important to be patient and always monitor their activity in your yard. 

If the approach proves effective, you’ll notice a significant decrease in the number of molehills and tunneling activities. If you don’t see a difference in your yard, you can repeat the process until you observe some changes. 

5. Remove the dead mole in your yard

When you perform this procedure, you may encounter some deceased mole in your yard. Be sure to dispose of the body to prevent them from luring in other unwanted pests. 

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6. Deter moles from coming back in the future

If you want to keep them out of your yard, it’s also essential to take the necessary preventative actions. Moles search for food and stick around in places they find it. If they are becoming abundant in your yard, you likely have lots of grubs in your soil. Talk to a lawn treatment company about anti-grub treatments.

Moles also eat earthworms. Earthworms are good for your soil and you don’t want to kill those. However if you water your lawn often, you may want to cut back to just one good watering per week. This won’t kill all your earthworms but may bring down the population to some degree.

Are Marshmallows effective at killing moles?

Currently, no scientific studies have been conducted to explore the effectiveness of using marshmallows as a means to eliminate moles. So there is really no hard evidence here, only anecdotal. This method seems to have been going around the internet for maybe 10 or so years, it is hard to say where it originated from. 

The theory is that marshmallows contain two ingredients that are deadly to moles, carrageenan and tetrasodium pyrophosphate. These are both food additives used as emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are added to foods to keep the oil components and water components from separating. It is believed by those who use this method that these ingredients plug up the moles digestive system to the point where they will eventually die from being unable to process and excrete food.

This assumes that moles will even eat the marshmallows. Remember they eat grubs and worms, there isn’t any evidence that they would be attracted to sugar or sweet foods. Also as we stated, there is no scientific evidence that marshmallows would have a negative effect on a moles digestive system. However, it is a cheap thing to try, and some people swear it works.  

Benefits of using marshmallows for moles

1. Safer compared to pesticides

Captured Mole in the garden
Captured Mole in the garden | image by J Marsh via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Choosing marshmallows to control moles may be viewed as a safer alternative to poison bait or other toxic chemical, as it removes the possibility of accidental ingestion or exposure to toxins by other creatures. By opting for this approach, you can ensure the safety of your family and pets.

2. Much cheaper alternative

When comparing the use of marshmallows as a method of killing moles in your yard to the hiring of professional exterminators, it becomes obvious that marshmallows are the more affordable option. Professional exterminators can incur significant costs, often reaching hundreds of dollars. However, you can easily obtain marshmallows from the market for just a few bucks. 

3. Anyone can do it

You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional to use marshmallows, as anyone can try killing moles by placing marshmallows in their holes. However, it’s important to manage expectations because severe mole issues could greatly benefit from the expertise and assistance of professionals. 

Negative effects of using marshmallows to kill moles

While the jury is still out on if moles are even interested in marshmallows, you could very well end up attracting other animals. Rats, raccoons, mice, ants and opossums are all critters that are known to be attracted by these sugary treats. So you may end up with a situation where you end up attracting a lot of unwanted attention by putting out a bunch of marshmallows. 

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Also, depending on your personal feelings about being humane, this method may not feel very humane to you. A slow death by malnourishment and a non-functional digestive system may cause more suffering than a quick-kill trap. If a humane death is important to you, you may want to research other options first to see which you are most comfortable with.

Sources:

  • “How to get rid of moles in your yard”, University of Minnesota Extension, Reviewed in 2019, extension.umn.edu
  • “KILLING MOLES WITH MARSHMALLOWS: A SURPRISINGLY EFFECTIVE WAY TO GET RID OF PESTS!”, L. Watkins, Moles Control, February 9, 2023, molescontrol.com