Need to trap a mole?
Good, this article breaks down everything you need to know when buying a good mole trap that works.
But picture this for second:
You walk out to your car one morning, and your lawn has been overtaken by piles of soil for seemingly no reason.
The old adage from your youth bleeds back into your brain: "Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill."
When your property is littered with these mole hills, it's hard NOT to make a big deal out of it.
If you're looking for an easy set mole trap that'll do the trick and do it fast, you've come to the right place. Keep on reading for some crucial info about the best way to trap a mole, as well as our top five recommendations for mole traps.
The Top Mole Traps At A Glance
Short on time? Take a look below for the top 5 in our list. Otherwise, check out our buying guide
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your mole problem?
What Do Moles Do?
Moles live alone, they're not known to carry diseases or rabies, and they probably won't bite you (or will they?).
So what's the big deal?
Why should you care if they're hanging out below your ground?
We've got to give credit where credit's due: moles can be a pretty big help if you've got too many bugs in your yard.
This is especially true if you have a tick or flea infestation. Moles tend to vacuum up insect larvae as they plow through the dirt creating tunnels.
Their primary source of food is the earthworm because its body shape aligns perfectly with the mole's snout. Also, the earthworm is full of water, which serves as a hydration agent for these below-ground dwellers.
Mole Hills and Runways
Any way you slice it, mole hills are ugly.
The last thing you want when you look out at your beautifully-landscaped backyard is to see piles of dirt freshly unearthed overnight.
A mole hill forms when the animal digs a tunnel beneath the ground and the resulting dirt pushes itself up, breaking the "seal" of the surface.
A mole runway occurs under the same premise, but in a much more extensive fashion. If you see a series of vein-like lines of dirt in your yard, you've spotted a runway: a tunnel system that's close enough to the surface to extract the dirt above the length of the tunnel.
Why these dirt piles are dangerous: Aside from the hazard of tripping over them, they're indicators of a hole in your yard. Step the wrong way, and you could find yourself on the receiving end of a sprained ankle at best, or a broken leg at worst.
The Root of the Problem (pun intended)
Human hazards on the back burner for now, let's take a look in another direction: your plants.
Moles burrow so relentlessly all day, every day that they often cause destruction to the root systems of plants above. Plants die, and can even fall over without support in the ground.
Why this is an issue?
Think about which plant roots are going to be most densely-populated with invertebrates lurking around.
That's right: strong, long-living trees.
If there's a mole creating a network of tunnels near the roots of a tree day after day, you're at risk for having that tree plop right over, potentially damaging your home, you neighbors' homes, your vehicle, and so much more. People in the vicinity are put at a mortal risk, as are pets and other animals roaming around.
The below video demonstrates how to place and use the Out of Sight Mole Trap (one of our favorites). Take a look as this method has helped thousands of homeowners.
Is There A Good Time to Catch a Mole?
The seasons can play a huge role in whether or not your trapping endeavors work on the first few tries.
Of course, this advice doesn't exactly represent some environments which don't see a significant change in temperatures year-round.
However, if the seasons are distinct in your neck of the words, give the next few sections a read for optimal trapping.
Summer and Winter: The Deepest Burrows
Moles don't hibernate like chipmunks do, but they DO utilize burrowing nests that run further down into the ground during the cold months.
These guys go to the bottom of their nesting sites in inclement weather, be it hot or cold.
In both the summer and the winter, it's significantly more difficult to trap a mole for this very reason: the moles simply aren't reachable by humans.
The upside of this fact is that during these months with extreme temperatures, you probably won't see as much damage from moles (if any at all). They'll be too deep in the ground to bother you in summer, and the yard will probably be blanketed by snow in winter.
Spring and Autumn: Surface Tension
In the transition seasons when the weather outside is significantly more pleasant, you'll find a lot more mole activity, which means...
...more mole damage.
Fortunately, this is when you're going to be the most successful at catching these nuisance animals.
Understanding the Tunnel System
Most professional mole traps should be placed in "active tunnels" to catch moles causing problems in the yard.
What's an active tunnel, and how can you locate it?
"How Do I Know It's Active?"
Fact: Moles can propel up to 40 times that of their body weight, and they spend this exorbitant amount of energy digging tunnels.
Their underground burrows are a network of intersecting pathways with several different uses. A mole will dig out one nesting spot to sleep, another wing of the burrow to feed, and more tunnels for transportation between these areas.
These "transportation tunnels" are the active tunnel systems.
Some dead giveaways that you've got an active tunnel:
- It's capped by a mole hill or a mole runway. This is where loose earth is pushed up and protrudes from the grass, indicating that the ground below is getting some traffic.
- You can stomp on the ground above the mole hill/runway and it'll be rebuilt soon. When your foot makes a hole in a tunnel that's used regularly by a mole, the mole will rebuild the damage within a few days.
A Straight Shot
If you're looking at two mole hills in your yard, chances are that there's an active tunnel extending in a straight line between them.
Moles are efficient and tend to create their active tunnels in straight lines without a lot of curve or zig-zag.
This is an invaluable piece of knowledge when setting a few traps out in your yard. Remember to align them in an orderly position through the tunnel, and you should see success in catching a mole.
Make It Count: Important Mole-Catching Tips
Sometimes, it's not just about finding mole traps that work, but also taking advantage of the right way to use them.
When you set your mole trap, you're going to want to do everything in your power to make sure it's as effective as possible.
Keep reading below for some pointers on how to maximize the results and catch those moles quickly.
Tip 1: Wear Gloves
Moles are loners; so much so that they live most of their lives as the only resident of their burrows.
This being said, these creatures can detect a foreign scent right off the bat.
If you handle your trap with your bare hands, you're spreading the scent of a human to the area that will come into direct contact with the mole. Upon smelling a foreign aroma, the mole will likely run the other way, rendering your trap useless.
Also, when you're removing your trap, it's not always readily apparent that you've actually caught a mole. Wear gloves just in case; you could find yourself with a mole corpse to dispose of.
Tip 2: Clean Your Trap Thoroughly
If you think you're going overkill on cleaning your trap, you're probably cleaning it exactly the right amount of times.
Because of the point illustrated above regarding moles and scents, it's important to clean your trap as often as possible. Optimal cleaning times include:
- When you first get it, before use
- If you or someone else has physically touched it
- After a mole has been caught
The most effective smell you want to have on your trap is the smell of earth. You can achieve this by setting your trap in the dirt where you know you don't have a mole burrowing.
After a few days, remove the trap and set it for use in a mole's active tunnel.
Tip 3: Irrigate Your Soil Before Use
Because mole traps are designed to affect only the surface tunnels, you'll need a little extra something to entice the mole to head up to the upper tunnels in the network they've created.
When you spray your soil with water, it loosens up the dirt and becomes attractive for the mole to traverse.
In the below section we break down each of our product recommendations in a little more detail.
This trap is sturdy, reliable, and comes from a top name in the rodent- and pest-trapping business.
How it works: The user will clamp the trap together on its top handles using the setting tongs. This allows the jaw-like snapping parts on the bottom half to remain open and wait for a mole.
There's a small trigger attached to the trap which rests directly on top of the mole's path. When this piece is touched by the soil that the mole moles up as it creates a tunnel, the "jaws" of the trap will quickly shut and clamp onto the mole, killing it.
This Wire Tek mole trap is often called the "scissor trap" due to its pincers that look like the blades of a pair of scissors.
Setting this trap is easier than others: First, walk along an active tunnel to crunch some sort back inside.
Next, lodge the trap into the dirt with your hands, making sure the tines are parallel to the tunnel. Step down on the top level to open the tines within the dirt and set the trigger lever.
Your mole will burrow through the soil you tossed into its active tunnel and activate the "scissors" to snap shut.
This trap utilizes a the same type of trigger system as the previous two, but delivers a different sort of trapping style.
This plunger trap is sometimes called a "harpoon trap" because of its single spike that comes down on a mole that activates the trigger.
Place the trap in a cinch: just force it into the surface of an active tunnel, and check back in a few days to see if a mole has been caught.
This is a completely different take on the same problem, coming in from another angle to rid your yard of moles.
This mole trap sets itself apart form the rest in terms of both design and objective.
While the main point of most mole traps is to kill a mole in an area, this trap works to simply trap a mole within its tunnel so that it can be released away from your property.
How to set: simply dig along the active tunnel and create an opening. Place the chute within the tunnel and check back for moles in a few days.
While it may seem ineffective to look to gopher box traps to solve your mole problem, we recommend the Black Box due to its versatility.
How it works: You can place this small, pocket-sized box inside a mole's active tunnel once the trap springs have been set.
The mole will run right through the box, getting caught in the springs and clamped to death immediately.
The Bottom Line About Mole Traps
Our top recommendation would have to be the Wire Tek 1001 EasySet Mole Eliminator Trap.
It's easy setup really can't be underestimated; in reviews across the web, people with a mole problem in their yards have bemoaned the difficulty in setting an average mole trap.
However, Wire Tek has designed an effective mole trapper that is effective in the tunnels and a snap for trappers to use.