How to get rid of moles in your yard? Trapping is believed to be the most successful way to do this as it exploits natural habits of moles which are driven by an instinct to unblock passageways. Scientists recommend using traps with a spring-release mechanism. When shopping for your trap, consider the quality and durability of the materials used in the product. The ease of use is also an essential factor because it allows you to set traps quickly, immediately after seeing a new mound. And finally, choose a device that is designed specifically for placing into mole tunnels. In our assessment, Wire Tek 1001 EasySet Trap fits these criteria best.
Why have we chosen it? Made in the US, this trap is meant for moles only and is inserted into their tunnels. You will set it without any effort or digging, nor does it require any garden tool. Just step over it and the trap is ready to catch critters! Made from the quality sturdy material, the device weighs just one pound. The item measures 6 inches in length and fits the size of any mole. This is a safe, chemical-free, and effective way to remove these critters from your lawn.
Some people mistakenly believe that moles are rodents. No, they aren’t. They spend a lot of time underground and rarely emerge above the ground surface. Since moles are about the size of chipmunks (approximately 5-7 inches in length) they are often mistaken for these animals. However, they have several distinctions, the knowledge of which will help you avoid that mistake.
While chipmunks also dig tunnels in the ground, they don’t raise mounds and you cannot see their tunnels, which are located deep beneath the lawn. Unlike pocket gophers, moles build more symmetrical and rounded mounds, whereas gophers push the soils mainly to one side. They are small furry mammals that are almost blind and have short but very powerful front feet allowing them to dig burrows. Using their large toenails, the critters literarily slide through the soil. Their necks are short while their heads are elongated, something that gives these animals quite a comical appearance.
The most common species in the USA are eastern moles, however, other species such as the hairy-tailed star-nosed moles can also be found in different parts of the country. Eastern mole chooses lawns and pastures as their habitat, preferring humid and sandy areas. They do not have externals ears, nor do they have vision. However, the latter does not prevent them from detecting the light.
Well, before trying to eliminate these animals, you should determine whether they cause more damage to your garden than it benefits from their presence. The thing is that moles consume plants and vegetables only in small amounts, instead, their menu includes all sorts of insects and their larvae that are real pests. Yeah, a mole can be your personal pest control operator which kills pests without pesticides. Besides, these guys turn over the soil, aerating it, which is beneficial to your garden as well. Due to their activity, essential nutrients move up to the ground surface, feeding the roots of the plants.
And yet, they do cause damage to the garden, building mounds of dirt, known as molehills, and creating shallow tunnels. All this damages the plants and their roots. Scientists from Oregon State University point out that the most characteristic sign of mole presence are the mounds of soil pushed to the ground surface. The problem with these animals is that they are truly hardworking — they are constantly either digging new tunnels or extending the old ones. That said, the number of mounds does not say much about how many of them live underground. You may be surprised to hear that one critter can create up to 100 mounds in a month.
How To Get Rid Of Moles: The Most Effective Methods
Well, if there are moles in your yard and the damage is tangible, you will need to take more drastic measures to control them. Let’s take a brief look at all available options.
Mole Poisons: How To Bait Them Properly
Poisoning moles is quite an uneasy task because their diet differs from that of rodents. Since they rarely eat nuts and grains, this kind of food should not be used as bait. So the problem is that most commercially available poisons contain their flavors as attractants. As for active ingredients killing these critters, the most effective ones against these critters include zinc phosphide and bromethalin.
Researchers recommend Talpirid and Kaput as effective toxic baits for mole control. These are worm-based poisons that have successfully undergone multiple tests. Kaput bait is particularly effective as it is designed in the form of gel and can be injected directly into the tunnels.
Talpirid Mole Bait is a gel-formulated poison which in appearance resembles earthworms that should be placed into the tunnels. If you decide to choose other products, make sure that they contain baits mimicking the natural food of moles — worms and insects.
Mole Traps: Which Ones Really Work
This method is considered to be the most successful way to eliminate moles in the yard. An effective trap takes advantage of habits of moles, therefore, you should opt for devices equipped with a spring-release mechanism. The thing is that these animals are driven by an instinct to unblock passageways, and this is exactly how the trap is activated.
According to specialists from Oregon State University, scissor-jaw trap yield better results. Place such a trap directly into the tunnel through one of the mounds.
These tunnels are generally located no more than 10 inches deep underground, so you can reach them with the use of a metal rod. The mound should be fresh, which indicates the presence of moles in the area. Remove one layer of the soil with a shovel. Create a hole the size of the trap you are going to set. Then, use the moist soil to build a firm plug in the opened runway — this is where the trigger pan will rest on. After that, cover the trap with a layer of dirt. The critter will try to unblock the burrow by excavating through the plug, spring the mechanism and get trapped.
Placing Gas Cartridges Into Mole Burrows
This method is considered to be the least effective one and there is a number of reasons for that. First, their tunnels are generally extremely long while the soil is porous and dry, which significantly decreases the effectiveness of gas. Secondly, these animals have the ability to detect gas quickly and can easily plug the tunnel’s section where gasses have penetrated. They are smart, yeah.
If you still insist on fumigation, you can give it a try, though. There are some registered fumigants for moles like The Giant Destroyer (GAS KILLER). They are easy to use, just ignite a cartridge and insert it into the burrow. Such cartridges release carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, killing the animals in the tunnels by suffocation.
To maximize the chances of success, place fumigants as deep as possible and make sure you have sealed all the entrances. However, in addition to low effectiveness, this method has one more significant weak point — you cannot throw gas cartridges into underground networks that are situated close to buildings and other human-made structures.
Mole Repellents: A Humane Way To Keep Moles Away
Experts note that there are no registered chemical repellents that are designed to ward off moles. There some solutions that are claimed to be able to repel these animals, including products containing castor oil as an active ingredient.
Specialists at the University of Missouri advise homeowners to apply Thiram, a registered repellent that will protect bulbs from mole damage.
As for castor oil-based products, you can make them more effective by watering them into the soil. Before spraying the repellent, irrigate the ground thoroughly and then, generously apply the solution around the area where mounds are located. Alternatively, you may plant the caper spurge which is believed to be a living mole repellent. There is no scientific evidence confirming its effectiveness, but the plus is that you are not missing anything as this is a totally environmentally-friendly approach.
Applying repellents is a humane way to keep these animals away from your yards, but the efficacy of this method is questionable because instead of getting rid of moles, you just force them to move to the neighboring area. And there is no guarantee that they will not come back in a while.
TOP-3 Best Products For Mole Control
Below, you will find a review of the best products that will allow you to remove moles from your yard. They cost from $30 to $70 and represent the three most effective methods of mole control: trapping, poisoning and repelling. All these products are designed specifically for these critters and are popular among customers.
Wire Tek 1001 EasySet Mole Eliminator Trap
This trap was designed specifically for catching moles in their tunnels, with their behavioral customs and habits being taken into consideration. What I like about this trap is that it can be placed into the tunnel effortlessly and does not require digging. No garden tools are required! All you need to do is locate the tunnel and insert the closed trap into its central part. To set the trap, step on the setting lever and it is ready for operation!
While being made from quality sturdy material, this item is pretty lightweight. With a weight of one pound, it measures 4 x 5 x 6 inches, which is exactly the size needed to catch these animals. Customers rate the product highly and say that it works even for large-size properties, you just need to purchase several traps to always have them at hand.
However, some of them complain that the trigger sensitivity cannot be adjusted and their moles just run under the device. Bear in mind that these animals have an excellent smell while the trap could have some foreign odors. To avoid this problem, boil the device in water before installing and do it with gloves on your hands.
Wire Tek: Check the current price
Talpirid Mole Bait-1 Box BELL-1052
Unlike most poisons designed to control rodents, this one was designed specifically to control moles. One pack contains 20 worm-shaped poison baits with Bromethalin as an active ingredient. They resemble real earthworms that are the most delicious food of these animals. The efficacy of this solution has been proven scientifically and is produced by a brand-name company that has established itself as a trusted manufacturer of pest control products.
The poison does not work fast, killing the animal within a day or so. Such poisonous “fake worms” should be placed directly into the tunnel so that a mole could easily mistake them for real earthworms. Make sure that you wear gloves while dealing with the bait, otherwise, the human smell will frighten off your target.
Over half of the customers gave this product five stars. They recommend cutting each “worm” into thirds and placing them 3 feet apart in all tunnels at once. The main downside they point out is the price which is too high for poison, but it works!
Talpirid: Check the current price
Baar Lawn Mole Castor Oil
This bottle contains specially processed castor oil, which is highly concentrated so make sure that you apply the repellent in accordance with the label. In particular, you must not spray it directly on the water. Still, the product is based on natural ingredients and does not contain harmful pesticides, so you can safely spray it around vegetables and flowers. One gallon of the solution will cover up to 20,000 square feet, meaning this amount is enough for repeated applications and treating large areas.
How to use this repellent? Mix one cup of the solution with one cup of detergent and put it in a sprayer with a garden hose. Spray at a rate of one quart per 5,000 square feet. But before anything else, generously irrigate the infested area of your lawn or garden or wait until it rains. Spray the solution in places where you have seen these animals at least twice a month. Purchasers like the product and many of them note that it is easy to use and has a nice flavor, which moles hate so much. The solution does not work immediately as it generally takes a day or so to be completely absorbed.
Baar: Check the current price
Or you can use ready-to-use granules like Bonide (BND692150) - Molemax Mole & Vole Burrowing Animal Repellent.
Bonide: Check the current price
How To Prevent Moles From Digging Your Lawn?
Scientists say that making the environment unattractive to moles is a great way to prevent them from emerging in your yard. What can you do?
- Less moisture. Reduce the soil moisture as it is the environment that attracts most moles, especially the eastern mole.
- Crackdown on insect pest. Since grubs and worms are their main food, moles will not remain in the area where these insects are in scarce supply. Apply pesticides to the soil to eliminate them, nut keep in mind that at an early stage the absence of food is likely to prompt the critters to dig more aggressively, which will result in more damage to your garden.
- Install fences. A simple and effective way to keep moles away from your garden is to create physical barriers. But you will obtain the desired result only if you get it right. To construct such a fence, you will need a wire mesh or aluminum sheeting more than 30 inches in width. Bury the fencing about 30 inches below the soil surface, with approximately 6 inches left above the ground. While this method is generally considered to be effective, specialists from Nebraska-Lincoln Extension warn that it will work only for small areas, for example, to protect certain valuable plants.
How To Get Rid Of Moles In Your Yard Naturally
Let’s start with the fact that all home remedies are not considered by experts to be effective and should not be relied on. However, you may want to know some of the most recipes.
- Castor oil. You can prepare your own repellent based on castor oil. Mix 6 ounces of castor oil with 2 tablespoons of a cleaning liquid and a gallon of water. Pour the mixture into a bottle with a sprayer and generously spray the infested area. The solution is enough to cover approximately 300 sq ft.
- Flooding. You can use a garden hose to flood the tunnels as a way to remove moles. However, this measure will work only if you manage to do it quickly, flooding the whole underground network of tunnels at once. This is hard to achieve while partially flooding the tunnels will neither kill nor repel moles. Instead, they will dig more aggressively, extending the network into the other part of your yard.
- Pets. Some homeowners train their dogs to dig mounds, exploiting them as natural predators. Once the dog sees any movement in the ground, it starts digging. I do not recommend this method as it is fraught with more damage than the moles could inflict because your beloved pets will more likely damage plants and roots.
- Mothballs. Placing mothballs in the burrow is perhaps the worst thought to cross your mind. The thing is that they contain chemicals that are harmful and carcinogenic. These substances quickly evaporate, contaminating the soil and everything growing on it. This happens within an hour or so, which makes the solution totally ineffective.
Is it legal to kill moles?
In most states, these animals are not specifically protected by the law and you can kill them on your property. However, there are some exemptions, for example, in Washington D.C, it is illegal to poison moles.
Are mole poisons dangerous to humans and pets?
Any poison is toxic enough to harm or even kill any mammal. That is why you should not use poisons if you cannot keep your pets and children away from the area when the toxic substances have been spread. Also, pets may consume eat a mole killed by the poison. Manufacturers of such branded products as Tomcat claim that their poison does not have a secondary effect and do not put non-target animals at risk.
Can I get rid of moles humanely?
There are several ways to keep moles away from your garden without harming them. In some situations, they work but in others, they may turn out to be ineffective. The first option is to install a fence, most portion of which should be buried below the ground. The second option is using repellent sprays and the third one is to eliminate grubs and worms using pesticides, which will force the critters to leave the area in search of food.
How long do moles live? Can they leave the area on their own?
They are long-lived animals, living for up to 6 years, depending on the environment. If your yard is abundant with their food, i.e. worms and grubs, they will never go away on their own.
How large can moles be?
These critters can be as large as 7 inches in length, plus a tail length of up to 1.6 inches.
When do moles sleep and when are they active?
Moles are a typical example of shift relief workers. They dig and sleep in four-hour shifts, so the process of excavation simply does not cease. However, these critters are quite cautious and reduce their activity when they feel vibrations produced by people, animals or vehicles moving above the ground. That is why they are most active either early in the morning or late in the evening.
When should I call a professional mole exterminator?
The problem with mole control products is that they can make the situation worse if applied improperly. As a result, you may damage more plants than moles could do. For this reason, I recommend that you should seek out professional pest control services in case the tunnels are located deep underground and cannot be seen or you have valuable or sensitive plants in the garden.