That is the million dollar question!
The answer is an easy one, and many of you already have some in the garage rusting because it didn't work. Your right. It is the infamous Mole and Pocket Gopher traps. Oh I know! I have heard it a million times. "Traps or trapping doesn't work. I've already tried that." Ask yourself this question. "If you had to trap a muskrat and I gave your the right equipment, would you be able to succeed?" Now ask yourself "why?".
Mole & pocket gopher trapping is not like trapping a mouse in the garage. First and foremost you have to truly know as much as you can. From what they eat to how they travel their territories and why.
What ever trap you select, you will need to be able to run a high trapping average. And if you hire a professional, they should be able to easily run at 90% to 95% average. These percentages are based on the amount of critters caught to the number of times you missed, another critical thing to note when figuring your percentage, Is to make sure your on the right tunnel or tunnels to begin with. Depending on your population per acre, you may be able to get by with a smaller average. But I would not advise it, considering an Eastern Mole can dig up to 140+ feet of new surface tunnel in a days time. A Pocket Gopher can put up 5 to 7 mounds per day. After all, the damage is what we want to stop.
I know that a lot of info out there suggests that you have an average of 1 to 3 Moles per acer. This is not always true. I have plenty of customers and documentation to prove that on 2 acres depending on your area I have removed as many as 30 Moles until I got it to go quite (no activity). I have also taken 50+ Moles out of 3.5 to 4 acres from April to October. Now granted a % of those came from close by territories out side the area being trapped. Bottom line. Don't worry, my average runs around 6 to 7 moles per yard. The high mole count yards are extremes that I do run into each season.
There are several Mole and Gopher traps to choose from, 7 types of Mole traps. And 9 types of Gopher traps that I'm aware of. And of course I have my favorites.
I realize that a lot of you just do not have the time to devote to this. Or maybe you might have some other reasons. And that's were I come in. We are more than happy to control them for you. This is not a Hobby or just something for me to do. I love what I do. And enjoy helping people to get back to enjoying there yards. Of course paying the mortgage helps to.
The selection of a professional that can get the job done, is easier said than done. Simply being able to trap the critter is not good enough. They need to be able to not only trap them but keep them under control as well. Just because they are getting a couple, doesn't mean the yard is under control. One of the ways you can screen a potential contractor is to ask lots of questions. Don't be afraid of asking a stupid question. A stupid question is the one you did not ask. A professional will be more than happy to answer all of your questions. This is when knowing as much as you can about the critter in your yard can help you thin them out.
Pricing is the next thing to consider. Each company charges a little different. It is common practice to charge a set-up fee plus a per animal fee. Some charge per week, per month or per season. You need to be aware of what the minimum and maximum charges will be to clear your yard, and keep it that way. My minimum charge is 0. If I cannot control your Moles or Pocket gophers I will apologize and walk away. Don't worry this will not happen. Be cautious when some one tries to limit their service, other than limiting what the cost will be. Things like. A fixed amount of time on there service, Other than a seasonal, is unacceptable. Remember we are dealing with mother nature. She tell's me when I'm finished. A proper clearing can take between 2 weeks to several months, depending on the severity. Ask how many times per week the traps are serviced, and don't let them convince you that putting out a lot of traps will make up for a poor trapping average, or the amount of days serviced per week. I check 2 to 3 times per week depending on the situation. I don't force my customers into contracts. I let my work speak for itself. I will provide you with a copy of the pricing prior to setting up.
When it comes to the number of traps being placed, people have a variety of thoughts on this. You don't need a dozen traps to be effective. If they are using that many traps to get the job done (unless it is couple acres) they are either running a low trapping percentage or trying to skimp on the numbers of days of service. Either is not acceptable. I will place as many traps as I have to. To get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, without turning your yard into a war zone. All mole and gopher traps are concealed by dirt or small bucket for safety.