Moles are lovely creatures at a first glance only. Those who are already acquainted with these creatures close enough certainly do not want to see them ever again. The users can find all kinds of control methods online from poisoning the moles with exhaust fumes to bring down mole tunnels ... There are even some very resourceful gardeners that suggest eliminating moles by sustaining constant noise near their burrows. Half of these methods do not work on their own, it is necessary to combine them. But some (like poisoning the moles with exhaust fumes) can irreversibly damage the entire garden ecosystem. Today we will describe to you only proven methods and 9 best pest control products: the best mole traps, repellents, and poisons from ~ $6 to $35.
Table of Contents:
- 3 reasons why you should get rid of moles in the yard
- Mole facts: behavior and habits
- How to get rid of ground moles: entomologists’ opinion on trapping, repelling & poisoning
- How to catch moles?
- How to repel moles?
- How to poison moles?
- Moles loosen the soil. Loose soil is useful when cropping or taking care of a vegetable garden, but the moles don’t care what they dig! That is why the plants’ roots, lovingly decorated beds and mowed lawns suffer from moles’ attacks. A wormhole certainly won’t decorate your lawn.
- Moles destroy worms which are beneficial for the soil. It is common knowledge that the earthworms are a kind of underground gardeners maintaining soil fertility. The moles, on the other hand, are voracious and their diet mainly consists of the said earthworms and their larvae. A mole family can completely ruin even the most fertile land in just a sea son.
- Moles are vectors of dangerous diseases ranging from fleas to a pile of nasty diseases including tularemia, piroplasmosis, and even parasites and mites.
Before any war (even the one where a pitched battle will be going on in the backyard) it’s best to study the opponent thoroughly. But if you have long suffered from them and learned all their habits meanwhile, move straight to the How to get rid of moles section.
- Moles are pack animals. Experience shows that moles come in large enough communes (up to 5 individuals), so if you caught one, do not relax as 3-4 others are somewhere in hiding.
- Moles’ activity peaks in spring and fall. It surges because of rain and at that time moles can cause most damage to your garden.
- Moles dig most shallow. As a rule, the depth reaches 10-20 cm, as these layers of soil contain the basic diet of the pests, namely, worms and larvae. There are also deep strokes which are a kind of "emergency" tunnels dug connecting separate sections together.
- Moles don’t feed on roots and fruit. It is a common misconception that moles eat roots and thereby systematically destroy your garden. In fact, the roots are destroyed by mere drying caused by undermining.
- Moles are strong and smart. The first thing that comes to mind after encountering the first molehill is that "Now I will take a shovel and fill up this hole to the ground, thus solving the problem." Once it's done, an unlucky gardener celebrates, but discovers new holes just after a couple of hours. The catch is that the underground predator is not as simple as it seems to be as it is by no means a harmless animal, as a hamster. On the contrary, a mole is very strong, so do not even try to stop it with bare hands. A single mole is able to recover a filled hole with the help of the strong clutches within two to three hours. Can you imagine what a whole family is capable of? You won’t be able to make a pass on their poor eyesight as they offset it with phenomenal smell and hearing.
The Internet is full of traditional mole elimination tips and you can find thousands of products labeled "mole control" on Amazon.com. How to choose really effective methods and products? We have studied this difficult topic and found out what American scientists think in this regard.
For instance, they agree that the most effective way to get rid of moles is to use mole traps. University of Nebraska scientists explained this as follows: “Trapping is the most successful and practical method of getting rid of moles.” Their Californian colleagues are of the same opinion, and consider trapping "The most universally applicable and dependable method of mole control".
As for the mole repellents, the opinions of scientists differ. Nebraska experts make very unflattering comments about this method loved by many users: "No chemical products are registered or effective for repelling moles. Borders of marigolds may repel moles from gardens, although this method has not been scientifically tested." Californian scientists, on the other hand, are not so categorical. They argue that such a control method as flooding the tunnels with water is not effective at all, while castor oils can be highly useful when getting rid of the pests: "Commercially available mole repellents, usually castor oil solutions, are also available. Research on the effectiveness of these castor oil commercial repellents has shown some efficacy for eastern moles."
And what about the mole poisons? The Oregon State University scientists conclude that "Because moles are insectivores, eating mainly earthworms and insects, toxic baits are not readily eaten". Therefore, the poisons producers have only one way out: to place mole poison bait in a shell that mimics these insects and worms. They also suggest that you should use poison gas a.k.a gas bombs, as they are an effective mole control method. However, there is a "but": if the moles have already dug up an extensive tunnel system, the method will be useless since the moles can easily "depressurize" the gassed part of the tunnel, and the gas will simply be released through the hole, and rodents will spread further.
We trust the scientists’ expertise as they identified the best pest control methods, and now let’s get down to business. We’ll show you how to choose the most suitable mole control products. Below you’ll find:
Catching a mole with bare hands is beyond the power of even an experienced scout, as these animals are too brisk and nimble. On market there are dozens of mole traps. They work under the "one dead pest per trap" principle so that if you plan to get rid of the entire brood, you’ll have to install a whole system of such devices.
All three traps reviewed are quite cruel and lethal. So far, no one has yet invented the same quick and relatively humane electronic traps that exist for rats and are nicknamed “the electric chair" for electrocuting the animals instantly. So here we’ll focus on the 4 mechanical traps of those 3 types, which scientists consider the most effective, namely the scissor-jawed, harpoon and chocker loop traps.
Before you is the most popular scissor-jawed mole trap for ~$11.34, which will not leave the moles a chance to survive. It is also, incidentally, the most cut-rate one. It works like this: find a tunnel, set the trap on both of its sides and bring it to alert by stepping on it to cock the mechanism. Once a mole falls between the two panels of the device, the latter will work instantly and collapse like a mousetrap. The mechanism operates like a press; it doesn’t make any open wounds an animal and kills instantly, like a bullet . And no bait is necessary!
“Patience is the key” – say those who have already tried this mole trap. "I've been waiting for three days and on the morning of the fourth day the trap finally worked successfully!". You do not think that a mole will fall into the trap within couple of hours, do you? Do not forget about the possible tunnel network. If there are 10 alternative ways, a mole would never go in the passage that has been recently excavated.
Price: ~$11.34 Check the current price
Wire Tek 1001 EasySet Mole Eliminator Trap
This is another mole trap by Wire Tek which is also scissor-jawed. Here the blades are replaced with a small "hammer", which should theoretically break the rodent’s spine. In reality this is not always the case. The trap is popular, but it is much more expensive than others.
Price: $34.99 Check the current price
Sweeney's 9015 Deadset Precision Mole Trap
This is a harpoon trap that looks more compact, but works harder, as instead of two plates here are the blades. Similarly, set it in the tunnel, cock and trigger by pressing to pierce a trapped rodent. When cocking the trap, be careful as it is necessary to do everything manually, rather than by pressing the lever with a foot. And you can safely call this method the dirtiest as blades do their job.
Price: ~$16.50 Check the current price
Nash Choker Loop Mole Trap
The mole chocker loop trap is a yet another mole-catching device. Unlike other models here instead of a hammer or a blade there are two loops compressing when an animal enters the active zone. The only caveat is that it is recommended to dig the trap in as stably as possible for it to work properly. Some users complain of the difficulty of the trap setup, that’s why there is less positive feedback than there could be.
Price:~$21.22 Check the current price
There are several popular ways to repel moles. Among all castor oil and ultrasound are considered the most effective repellents so we’ll tell you more about them.
Above we’ve mentioned that when it comes to repelling the moles, the scientists still give a chance to such means as regular castor oil. But they unanimously repeat that "This method, albeit humane, is barely effective for large-scale disasters». In this case will the castor-based repellents help?
These granules are not suitable for getting rid of mole packs, but are handy for creating a kind of a barrier for arriving moles. You are to scatter them along the border of your territory, and the moles (as well as gophers, voles and other related rodents) won’t disturb you as long as the odor lasts. Therefore, these repellents may be used either if the mole infestation has just begun, or as a preventive measure. Among the mole repellents there are 2 best-selling products: Bonide 692150 Mole Max and Vole Repellent Granules and Sweeney's Mole & Gopher Repellent. They are identical, except that the p Bonide product is heavier and his alleged 10lbs are able to cover up to 5 000 sq ft (while the While 4lbs of Sweeney's granules cover up to 2000 sq ft). Accordingly, the price of the first product is superior. It is up to you to decide what the best fit for your case is.
Price of Bonide Repellent Granules (10 lbs): ~$21.30 Check the current price
Price of Sweeney's Mole & Gopher Repellent granules (4lbs): ~$10.14 Check the current price
NB! If the moles have long settled at your place and you have some expensive plants, this method is definitely not for you. Maybe that is why the granules are not very highly rated, or maybe they are used too late. Due to the scattered granules the moles won’t be able to escape and so they will start to dig tunnels randomly under the influence of the foul smell. As a result, numerous plants will perish under crazy mole pack pressure. So in case of massive and prolonged mole attacks, refer to more powerful means, mentioned above, i.e. to traps and poisons.
Electronic Mole Repeller
Hoont Powerful Solar Battery Powered Ultrasonic Outdoor Animal & Pest Repeller - Motion Activated
Using an ultrasonic repeller is debatable. According to the scientists, it is an absolutely inefficient method. As practice shows, it is effective, but for a short term. Yes, all of the pests flee a few days because of the sound wave. After that the effect of habituation is triggered and the moles will be back to their daily excavation of your lawn and the fancy device won’t have any effect on them.
Do you want to use repellents effectively? Mix and match! For example, combine this solar ultrasonic repeller and the granules from the previous section. As soon as the ultrasound takes effect and the pests flee, do not hesitate and fence your place using mounds of granules on its borders. In this case the moles definitely won’t be able to return.
Price: ~$34.95 Check the current price
One of the popular mole control methods is the use of poison baits and gas. Many people prefer them to other methods because of their simplicity. After having tinkered with the installation of traps and not having caught any pests, many go ahead and buy poison, which becomes a salvation, they say. Many scientists do not consider toxic baits a serious mole control product due to the fact that the moles are not so easily attracted by food. But poison manufacturers have begun to produce bait imitating natural mole food, which works. Also the poisonous gas is effective against moles only if there are few excavated tunnels.
The poison harvested in a special envelope simulating larvae or worms is a favorite treat of these pests. The active substance of Tomcat Mole Killer is bromethalin, which is widely known as a powerful component of poisons acting on the nervous system.
Since moles are rather voracious, it’s enough to fill the soil several times with this fragrant poison by Tomcat for ~$14.99 in the key tranches, and the result won’t take long. The only drawback noted by the large area owners is the following: «There are only 6 worms in the box and I would recommend cutting the worms into thirds (1/3). I have a pretty big yard and this seems to work perfectly!». If the situation has gone out of control, the persecution of the unwelcome pests might take quite some time.
NB! The poison is not stated to be able to damage soil or pets not because it’s not toxic, but because the bait is placed deep down the soil where pets can’t reach. But if your dog likes to dig the lawn, keep it away from the treated area; otherwise you'll have to drive to the vet if it eats the bait..
Price: ~$14.99 Check the current price
The Best Gas Bomb – The Giant Destroyer, 4 tubes, 2 oz
This is a smoke bomb, easy to use and relatively safe. So, you take one of the four The Giant Destroyer gas cartridges, insert a wick, and set it on fire. Here the hurry and fear are out of place. If you purchase it at an appropriate place, it is unlikely to explode. After waiting for the wick to have burnt a little, put it into the burrow. Wait until a dense smoke begins to belch from the hole, and bury it. All openings must be sealed, at least, those known to you. The smoke will fill all passages and poison moles. The product has been made in the USA and has recommended itself as quite an efficient one, especially considering its very low price.
Price: ~$6.50 Check the current price
Traditional Mole Control
At the beginning of the article we mentioned some common ways of killing moles. It is now high time time for the useful and useless people's tips, which are really worth of your attention. Forewarned is forearmed, off we go!
Silly and Ineffective Ways of Not Getting Rid of Moles In the Yard *
*You’d really better not try them
- The most harmful amateur method
We cannot ignore the popular among careless users method: poisoning the moles with exhaust gases. The hose is connected to the vehicle's exhaust pipe; the free end is immersed in the wormhole, then turn on the engine. You’ll probably eliminate the pests together with all the useful microorganisms in soil. After these procedures, it can become completely unsuitable for growing anything. Use only ready poison gas bombs.
- Alternative use of cat granules
You’ll need wooden granules from your cat’s tray. Some portions are to be sipped into the wormholes and then covered with earth. There are lots of jokes and memes around this method, as few find it useful while you’ll definitely be able to smell this unforgettable odor. Some more exotic variations involve naphthalene or rotten eggs, but lead to exactly the same bad result.
- Alternative use of sinister howling
Dig an empty wine bottle in the tunnel in a windy spot at 45 degrees. When the wind blows the bottle begins to "howl", thus scaring off moles. By the way you will hear howling as well if you choose to relax in the backyard, and no scientific evidence of efficiency of the method has been found.
- Alternative home poison
Add some arsenic to the porridge and lay the resulting substance in the tunnel. Most often, this method does not yield the desired results as the moles just rake poison together with the land. In the worst case, the poisonous treasure could be dug up by your dog.
Truly Effective Ways of Eliminating Moles
- Alternative two shovels advice from experienced users
Dig up a fresh hole so that after a while the pest arrives to eliminate the opening in its shelter. After that immediately block the exit with a shovel and dig out the pest with another one. Bear in mind that the sinewy beast will be difficult to hold with bare hands, and the wait for its arrival can be long. It can also bite you.
- An effective method with a net
First, scare the pack with noise, then dig a round section of 10-15 cm, placing a galvanized net in the trench. Thereafter, the trench is to be filled and forgotten about as now no mole will get through, while worm movement won’t be prevented.
- Humane Nebraska University Method
Take off the tunnel roof, dig to a sufficient depth to set the bucket, and then put a bucket greased with petroleum jelly in the trench. Cover the roof with the board. Sooner or later, the moles will penetrate through the tunnel, which has become a trap and will fall into the bucket. The walls smeared with petroleum jelly will not let them climb out. After the catch, you will be able to safely deport the intruders away from your place.
If the moles have recently infested your place, it is best to combine a repellent and a galvanized net. However, if the infestation has become disastrous, and it feels like you are the one who is intruding, it’s time to use more serious methods, i.e. acquire traps and poison, and not waste time on gentle ways!
For your convenience let’s summarize our guide with a comparative table of all products.
Mole Traps, Repellents and Poisons Comparison Chart
|Photo||Product||Product Type||Is It Safe For Kids And Pets?||Price|
|Victor Out O'Sight Mole Trap 0631||Scissor-jawed trap||Yes, because the moving parts of the trap are underground|
|Wire Tek 1001 EasySet Mole Eliminator Trap||Scissor-jawed trap||Yes, because the moving parts of the trap are underground|
|Sweeney's 9015 Deadset Precision Mole Trap||Harpoon style trap||Yes, because the moving parts of the trap are underground|
|Nash Choker Loop Mole Trap||Choker loop trap||Yes, because the moving parts of the trap are underground|
|Bonide 692150 Mole Max and Vole Repellent Granules||Natural repellent||Yes|
|Sweeney's Mole & Gopher Repellent||Natural repellent||Yes|
|Hoont Powerful Solar Battery Powered Ultrasonic Outdoor Animal & Pest Repeller||Electronic ultrasonic repeller||Yes|
|Tomcat 4-Count Mole Killer||Poison bait||Yes, because the poison is buried underground. But it’s toxic, so keep the kids and pets away from it|
|The Giant Destroyer, 4 tubes, 2 oz||Poison gas||Yes, the gas is directed underground|