How To Get Rid Of Moles
Moles wreak havoc on your outdoor space, they build underground tunnels and mounds all over the lawn, damage and kill plants and flowers at the roots, they can cause extensive damage to a beautifully manicured lawn.
However, stay here with us, we have some top tips on how to get rid of moles in the yard.
So What Do Moles Look Like?
These small furry animals are often thought of as being a rodent, they are not, they are very different, they are a mammal that spends most of their life digging tunnels and feeding on insects that fall inside the tunnels, and lives underground most of the time.
Moles may look like rodents but they are more closely related to bats!
Moles are more active in late winter early spring.
Moles have bad eyesight but an excellent sense of touch. Moles have long sensitive snouts, and long claws used for digging.
A moles fur sticks straight up, this helps to stop soil from getting stuck in the fur. Moles are either black, brown or gray.
Their eyes and ears are tiny, and their back feet are also small compared to their large front digging feet.
Male moles are around 10 inches in length, most species do not get any bigger than that, and males are larger than female moles.
Moles do not eat plant roots, or flowering plants; they are insectivores, the reason they build tunnels is to find and eat earthworms and insects that moles love to eat.
Are moles bad for the garden? Most moles are harmless in the garden, on the whole, moles can help with the ecosystem and benefit the yard by eating insects and aerating the soil which will help garden plants grow, too many moles, however, can destroy the landscape.
To be sure of correct identification you could set up cameras in the garden, play the recordings back, remember moles will only come out during the mating season.
The Mole Lifecycle
- Moles mate in late winter, the gestation time is only 4-6 weeks.
- The litter on average is between 2 – 7 pups.
- The pups are mature after 10 months.
- A mole lives on average for 4 to 6 years.
What Is The Difference Between Voles And Moles?
Moles are gray or black, voles are brown.
Moles eat insects, whereas voles are herbivores and eat fruits, flowers and plants.
Voles look similar to mice and you can see their eyes and ears unlike those of a vole. A vole has a small nose whereas a mole has a long snout.
Voles like to live in groups, moles are solitary animals unless they have had a litter.
Voles can cause a lot of damage to crops and ornamental plants.
How To Identify Mole Damage In The Garden
Mole damage can be similar to the damage caused by rodents and voles, however, there are some differences.
Here Are The Signs To Look For:
As a mole digs, the soil gets pushed up to the surface creating mounds or mole hills at the entrance of the tunnel and exit mounds.
Spaced apart mounds
It is easy to mistake a Gopher mound with one made by a mole, Gophers are small rodents that make entrances and mounds like moles, However, Gopher mounds are created closer together and their mounds are not as raised as mole mounds, the mole hills created by a mole can be up to 6 feet apart from one another.
Gophers will eat the roots of plants and grass, they pull them under the ground to eat them.
Image credit: Mick Talbot
Areas of dead grass can be an indication of a mole problem. When moles dig their tunnels they can destroy the grasses root systems and the grass will die off, leaving patches of dead grass.
Lumps of dirt
When a mole digs it throws up to the surface great lumps of dirt, a Gopher breaks up the dirt as it digs, it will appear finer.
When checking for signs of a mole problem look for large lumps of dirt which could indicate mole activity. You may see them doing this in the yard; it looks like little volcanoes erupting.
If you notice your flowering plants and other plants have been chewed by other wildlife, moles do not eat plant matter.
The Ideal Habitat For Moles
What makes the ideal habitat for moles? There are three things a mole likes when choosing a habitat, they are as follows.
Moles tend to prefer cooler temperatures as it keeps them cool, they are not blind or nocturnal as many people think and are very active during the day in cool moist soil.
Plenty of insects
Moles feed on insects, they will consume up to 100% of their body weight in insects a day.
Moles feed on grubs, insect larvae, centipedes, millipedes, beetles and earthworms. If a mole finds an area of high volumes of these it will build tunnels in order to get to the food supply.
Moles will follow the landscape made by homeowners, building tunnels along fences, and paths. They will also tunnel near trees and shrubs so they can get to insects near the root systems.
If you notice water collecting in areas of the yard after rain, have the area landscaped correctly to avoid this.
To get rid of moles you need to be able to control their food source.
Home Remedies And DIY Methods To Get Rid Of Moles
Some states have laws restricting mole removal, you may not be allowed to kill moles where you live. Check it out before proceeding with pest control methods.
We have put together some home remedies which will get rid of moles in a humane way.
Use a mole repellent
A mole repellent is good for mole control, one made of castor oil, moles do not like it, castor oil will not kill moles but it will make the mole’s stomach upset and repel them.
You could also try a repellent made from tar, take a small object and dip it in tar, place it inside the moles’ mound and tunnels.
Here Is What To Do To Prevent Moles Humanely With Castor Oil
Mix up one part dish soap to three parts castor oil, add four tablespoons to a gallon of water and soak the entrance of the moles’ tunnels with the castor oil mix.
Reapply regularly especially after rainfall.
Plant a natural barrier
Here is how to get rid of moles using plants, moles do not like strong-smelling flowers. For mole removal plant some daffodils or allium around the garden, hopefully, it will prevent moles from tunnelling.
Find a section of mole tunnel and open it up, dig enough space so that the bucket fits and is level with the tunnel opening.
Put plywood over the top of the tunnel, and cover it with soil. Hopefully, the mole will fall into the bucket and not be able to get out of it again.
Like shop-bought live traps, you will need to check to see if the bucket contains a mole and if it does you will need to release it somewhere else far away from your property and in a nice new habitat, a forest would be good.
How To Get Rid Of Moles With Cat Litter
Sprinkle used cat litter in the mole hole the scent will repel moles if they think a predator is around.
Get rid of moles by removing their food source
Moles will stay in your garden if there is a good food source, you can change that by adding beneficial nematodes to the ground, this will remove their food supply by killing grubs and other insects.
If moles cannot get enough food they will go elsewhere. Moles need to eat around half their body weight in insects each day to live.
Beneficial nematodes can be bought online, and are fairly reasonable price-wise.
How To Get Rid Of Moles With A Deep Trench
Dig a trench around the area you want to get rid of moles from and put in an underground fence. The trench should be two feet deep and at least six inches wide.
Put in the trench, some rocks or wire mesh with small holes only so the moles cannot get through it. The moles will not be able to tunnel through rocks or wire.
This is a long term solution to get rid of moles in the yard and prevent moles, and therefore well worth doing.
How To Get Rid Of Moles With Ultrasonic Spikes
Moles do have ears and ear canals, they are covered by fur and not very obvious. You can buy these ultrasonic spike mole repellents online or in stores, place them in the yard and they will give off electronic pulses into the ground reaching to where the moles live and repelling them. The pulses will also get rid of other rodents.
Humans cannot hear the pulses thankfully.
Trim the lawn
Moles feel safe in their mole tunnels, if you keep the lawn cut you will cut away the moles shelter and they may go somewhere else instead.
Keep areas tidy, remove mulch and log piles. Rake up piles of leaves and get rid of them, the leaves will retain moisture in the soil if not cleared up.
Keep bushes and trees trimmed back this will allow more sunlight into the yard allowing the soil to dry out. Invest in a roller and use it on the lawn to press down on the soil, this will make it much more difficult for the moles to dig through and it will keep the moisture levels down in the soil.
If possible do not water the ground too much this will attract moisture-loving insects and moles who love the moisture.
Store-bought poisons and baits
These poisons should be used following the special instructions carefully.
You can buy in-store or online fake worms that contain a poison called Bromethalin, which is made up of Bromine and fluoride, these two combined will affect the mole neurologically and physically leading to death. These are below ground traps and the mole will die underground. This will be of benefit to anyone not wishing to see or remove dead animals.
There are other poisons available like Warfarin and Zinc phosphide the instructions should be followed carefully and too much will affect wildlife and outdoor pets!
You can buy repellents to use alongside other methods, some are called granulated repellents. They contain things moles do not like at all, such as castor oil, citronella and garlic.
Always read the instructions before using them in the yard.
Liquid repellents are also available to buy online or in stores. They often contain castor oil, along with other things like eggs, garlic, fish oil and onion.
They are great to use as you do not have to make your own blend; it is already done for you.
How To Get Rid Of Moles With A Live Trap
You will need to buy a mole specific trap, they are cylinder-shaped chambers with a one-way door, they should be filled with earthworms or grubs which attract moles, they will find them irresistible.
The moles get inside to feed and become trapped, you will need to check on them and release the mole somewhere else in the countryside.
How To Get Rid Of Moles With A Spring-loaded Trap
The type of traps designed to catch moles are larger than those used to catch small rodents. They can have spikes on them or use force so the mole is either spiked or crushed.
You will need to check the traps often to remove the dead mole.
Place the gas bombs at the entrance of the mole tunnel, once set off they will kill the mole in the tunnel and chamber. The bombs can be bought online or in stores.
When Should I Call A Professional To Get Rid Of Moles?
If the moles are taking over, call a professional pest controller who will be able to get rid of the moles safely. They will inspect your property and come up with a treatment plan for mole control.
You can ask for the moles to be removed humanely.
Frequently Asked Guestions
How can you trap moles?
Use a spade to dig away the soil from the mound, place the trap on top of it and cover it with soil, check the trap the next day for results.
How can I prevent moles in the yard?
There are some mole repellents worth a try, sprinkle cayenne pepper, red pepper, coffee grounds or tobacco around the mounds.
A barking dog will repel a mole in the garden as will a cat waiting for its prey.
Are moles dangerous?
Moles are not dangerous, they just spoil the look of the grass. They could nibble at you if they feel threatened so it is best not to try to feed them or interact in any way with moles.
Do moles carry diseases?
You are more likely to catch a disease from the fleas in a mole’s fur than from the mole directly.
Moles are solitary creatures and stay underground away from other pests. However, they have been known to transmit rabies.
It is probably, therefore, wise to keep your pets inside as much as possible if you have moles around, just until they have gone.
How deep do moles dig?
A mole will dig down to 40 feet in search of food.
Where do moles sleep?
Mole tunnels lead to chambers deep underground, moles will sleep in the chambers where they feel safe.
What should I do if I find a mole in my home?
It is rare for this to happen but we recommend that you contact a wildlife professional, they can remove the mole humanely and check for any baby mole litter.
To prevent moles in the home repair any faults such as damaged foundations or broken windows etc.
We do hope we have answered how to get rid of moles in your garden?
Our advice will help you to get your garden back to its former glory.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop us an email. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible.
Why not take a look at the rest of our website, you will find helpful information and advice on all sorts of pests from bed bugs and many other insects to groundhogs and rats.
Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.