We all recognize the signs of moles in the yard…
Mole hills piled up in ugly mounds all over the lawn and dirt buildup from mole tunnels snaking across the grass.
These bits of evidence that you’ve got a mole aren’t just unattractive; a mole can significantly damage the root systems of plants in your yard, opening up the possibility of serious damage from falling trees.
If you’re finding yourself with a problem mole under your property, it may be confusing to know where to begin.
For the lowdown on how to evict this uninvited tenant, keep reading our full guide on the best way to get rid of ground moles in your yard.
If trying to get rid of moles on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table of Contents
Should You Trap Your Mole?
One of the first ideas that may pop into your mind when wondering how to get rid of persistent moles is to use a trap.
But finding the right kind of trap for your situation and knowing how to use one to capture the moles in your yard isn’t that easy.
Take a look below at everything you’ll need to know about this popular method of mole control. If you read through and really want to dig in on the specifics of using traps for mole removal, check out this guide for more information.
Types of Traps Available
Because of moles’ antisocial behavior, the pieces that actually do the trapping are designed to stay underground for most popular types of traps.
See below for a quick demonstration on how to place a mole trap.
A trigger piece and handles normally shoot up above the ground, so that the user can easily set the trap without digging.
The main types of trap are:
- Scissor traps
- Harpoon traps
- Tube traps
Scissor traps and harpoon traps work more or less in the same way: the user will hold the handles and shove the sharp pieces of the trap into a mole’s active tunnel.
A flat piece of metal lays along the surface of the ground and acts as a trigger; when the mole travels through the tunnel, pushing dirt to the surface, the flat piece of metal is tripped. Once this trigger has been disturbed, the trap immediately activates.
Scissor traps have four jaw-like tines which grab the mole, whereas harpoon traps have one spike in the middle of the trap which slams down onto the mole.
Watch this video to learn how to set a scissor trap:
The tube trap works a little differently.
This is a humane trap that is placed by digging into the top of an active tunnel and replacing the tunnel made by the mole.
Two inward-only doors sit on either side of the tube so that a mole can run inside, but not out.
The user is instructed to check the tube trap every few days and take it out if a mole is caught.
This trap pulls apart for easy release of the mole back into the wild, far away from your home, of course.
Benefits of Trapping Moles
Employing a trap (or three) for killing moles in the yard is widely regarded as the smartest decision, given the alternative methods of mole elimination.
Some of the reasons that people gravitate toward traps.
- The hazardous parts are below ground, away from pets and kids.
- Their proven effectiveness speaks for itself.
- They’re designed to be reusable.
- Cleanup after catching a mole is a snap.
- The trap pays for itself after a few catches.
Downsides to Trapping Your Mole
There are a few noted cons to trapping moles.
People might steer away from this method of mole control because:
- Setting the traps can sometimes require some serious strength.
- They can be on the more expensive side of mole removal methods.
- Because the trap is inserted into the ground, a mole might sense the foreign object and avoid using the tunnel in the future.
- It’s the responsibility of the user to check the trap frequently for a mole body.
- The longer the user waits to check the trap, the more unpleasant the disposal of the mole corpse will be.
Should You Poison Your Mole?
If a mole trap isn’t for you, don’t sweat it.
There are other options out there for ridding your yard of these problem pests for good.
DISCLAIMER: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues restrictions on rodenticides due to their effect on protected and endangered species, which may prey on dead rodents. Be sure to check out your state’s regulations before using a poison agent in the ground.
Poison Worms and Grubs
Because moles eat 70%-100% of their weight each day, they’re always looking out for the next snack.
As an animal that subsists mostly on earthworms, the makers of mole poison got the idea to place their product in synthetically-produced worms and bugs.
When a mole mistakes one of these poison worms or grubs for the real thing, the active ingredient begins to kick in immediately. In some cases, moles can die within 24 hours of ingestion.
Setting these worms out for your mole couldn’t be easier.
Simply slap on a pair of gloves, dig a small hole above an active tunnel, and drop a worm down below.
Do this along the runway or within several mole hills for maximum effectiveness.
Watch this video to learn how to use poison grubs to kill moles:
Smoke Bombs and Fumigants
Think about it: the first instinct when someone is cooking something with a strongly unpleasant aroma is to open up the windows and banish the scent immediately.
In-burrow smoke bombs are a popular way to use smells to get rid of moles.
Because these creatures live underground and don’t have the luxury of fresh air, the smoke from these types of toxins can effectively poison the mole by taking over the clean air that they do have.
In some states, adding a poison or toxic agent to the smoke is prohibited.
In this case, the mole is suffocated by the smoke in the air.
For more information on using poisons to kill moles, check out our other guide here!
Moles live in complete solitude, away from other animals and especially people.
If a mole does sense a person, its first instinct is to hop straight back into the burrow. And if a human tampers with a mole’s inactive tunnels, the mole is likely to burrow deeper and may not return to the tunnels that have been tampered with.
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Are There Natural Methods To Get Rid of Moles?
In our DIY culture, getting rid of moles using home remedies is at the top of most everyone’s list.
However, the likelihood of being able to remove the moles by natural or homemade means is slim to none.
Keep reading for a few facts about the way moles live, shedding some light on why you’ll probably need a poison or a trap to get the job done.
Moles Don’t Like People
The mole lifespan is only about two to three years, and in that time, they will hardly ever rise up to the surface.
It’s been documented that even when moles are spotted, their ascension to the top of the burrow is purely accidental.
Moles live in complete solitude, (normally only living one mole to a burrow), away from other animals and especially people. If a mole does sense a person, its first instinct is to hop straight back into the burrow.
And if a human tampers with a mole’s inactive tunnels, the mole is likely to burrow deeper and may not return to the tunnels that have been tampered with.
These Animals See With Their Snouts
One of the first questions that most people think to ask when they see a photo of a mole is the classic, “Are moles blind?”
This is because the mole’s eyes are hidden behind a layer of velvety fur, almost completely invisible to the casual observer. Though moles aren’t blind, their eyesight is severely lacking. Mostly, their ability to “see” is being able to tell dark from light.
Moles are able to sense things and understand their surroundings with their snouts, which are equipped with special nerve endings and sensory controls.
These receptors allow the mole to collect data about the world around them, and immediately register danger as a foreign scent.
Long story short: when a mole smells a human, it immediately tunnels the other way.
Cutting Off the Food Supply
There’s a lot of information online about using dish soap to kill a mole.
While this can be effective, it’s not really such a straightforward process.
Here’s what we mean: the dish soap itself doesn’t actually kill the mole via ingestion or poisoning the ground.
Instead, the soap causes the earthworms in the soil to react; they’ll rise up to the surface in droves.
As mentioned earlier, earthworms are the cuisine of choice for moles. Without worms in the soil, a mole will starve.
In the meantime, you may be doing more harm to the environment this way than actually getting rid of your mole problem quickly.
How Can I Control Moles In My Yard?
When you successfully remove a mole, its burrow remains intact, waiting for a new mole to find it and take over.
Because it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see a mole (just its ugly after-effects), it’s imperative to stay on top of protecting your yard from a new mole looking to move into an old burrow.
So, what can you do to keep it mole-free?
Read on to find out…
What Are Natural Mole Repellents?
Repellents are a little-used tool by property-owners, simply because moles are an “out of sight, out of mind” pest.
If no runways pop across the yard and no mole hills sprout up, it’s natural to forget that moles can lurk underneath.
However, an underground burrow (even an uninhabited one) will live on after your mole, beckoning new tenants.
Protect your yard by treating old mole burrows with repellents at regular intervals. Mole repellents will work to spread a concentrated irritant that will create an unpleasant atmosphere to moles looking to reside under your property.
The good news is, at this face of mole treatment, using natural ingredients can do the trick to oust future moles from your garden, items like:
- Granular castor oil
- Garlic and/or cayenne powder
- Pure peppermint oil
By irritating the snouts of moles, you’ll effectively deter them from taking over a burrow and creating unsightly dirt piles in your yard.
Vibrating Stakes For Moles
In recent years, sonic wave-blasting devices have been introduced to the pest control market.
For moles, these devices come in the form of spikes that a property owner will lodge into the ground and work to vibrate the dirt. The vibrations cause distress to a mole by triggering their sense of hearing and creating a tense, pulsating environment below the surface.
This method comes at a price.
Depending on the size of your yard, it may be required that you buy a few spikes at a time to increase effectiveness.
One set of two spikes is advertised to cover 15,000 square feet, but this may not be the case in areas with heavy and consistent rainfall. And these can be costly.
Killing Moles With Chewing Gum
Some people swear by a wacky claim: Juicy Fruit kills moles.
Yes, Juicy Fruit; the gum we all smacked on as kids.
Does it really work, or is this just a tall tale?
Here’s how to get rid of moles in the yard with Juicy Fruit gum (allegedly):
- tear up a few strips of gum and deposit them in the active runways along the surface of your yard.
- The mole will come into contact with the gum, ingest it, and become constipated after not knowing how to process it.
- When fecal matter can’t pass through the mole’s body after a few days, the constipation will kill the mole.
While we can’t debunk this claim for those that have seen success with it, we can list of a few of the reasons that this may be just a myth:
- The mole’s snout would register the gum as inedible and pass it up.
- This gum isn’t in the shape of a preferred food source, which is another reason that a mole might tunnel right past it.
- The fruity fragrance would actually repel a mole’s keen sense of smell.
Again, this might have worked for some people. If you’ve got nothing to lose, you might as well give it a shot.
But there’s no scientific evidence that juicy fruit gum is an effective method for killing moles, so we don’t recommend relying on this tactic.
Final Thoughts About Mole Removal
Due to the seemingly invisible nature of this pest, it can take a little bit of time and a lot of your energy to successfully rid your yard of moles.
Oftentimes, using just one of these methods won’t work at first. You’ll need to try a combination of solutions.