Mound-creating pests can quickly convert beautiful lawns into unsightly dirt piles and struggling grass. Putting an end to their soil-moving endeavors depends on accurately identifying the pest involved. Mounds reveal signs of the pest behind the damage.


Gophers are the largest common mound-producing backyard pests. These burrowing rodents can create large mounds from the dirt they excavate. These signs help identify gopher mounds:
  • Fan- or crescent-shaped distribution of coarse soil
  • Hole at the side of the mound, at the fan's base
  • Soil slopes up to one side, away from the hole
  • No visible tunnels in lawn


Moles are smaller than gophers, but their lawn-damaging handiwork covers a lot of ground. They create mounds, or "molehills," as they burrow and tunnel near the soil's surface. These signs help identify mole mounds:
  • Round, cone-like distribution of coarse soil
  • Entry hole centered in the mound
  • Soil slopes equally on all sides
  • Visible raised tunnels, just below the soil surface

Fire Ants

Depending on how long they've gone undisturbed, fire ant mounds can grow quite large. In lawns, they're usually just a few inches tall before they're recognized. These signs can help you identify fire ant mounds:
  • Irregular, rounded shape
  • No visible entry hole in center or sides
  • Fluffy, finely textured soil
  • Often appear after heavy rains


After effective treatment, use the mound's soil to fill any visible openings. Then rake the remainder into a thin layer on the surrounding turf. If grass under the mound is still green and healthy, it should bounce back. If grass is yellow, brown or missing, simply repair the bare spots in your lawn. An all-in-one combination grass seed, mulch and fertilizer product will have your lawn green again fast. Until you're certain you've identified your mounding pest properly, err on the side of caution. Fire ants swarm, bite and sting when their mounds are disturbed, so take care when inspecting and treating them.