It can be incredibly disheartening to see your carefully manicured lawn littered with unsightly mole hills. If this happened to your yard, you suddenly have to figure out how to get rid of moles. However do not panic, there are a number of ways to get rid of moles in your yard.
It’s tough to figure out what to do about a mole problem. You don’t want to be cruel towards animals so it can make you approach the situation a little halfheartedly if you’re an animal lover. Whatever your thoughts on the situation are, it’s imperative that you find a quick solution to the problem.
Best Mole Trap:
Best Mole Repellent:
- What Are Moles?
- Common Mole Species in North America
- What do Moles Eat?
- How Do Moles Reproduce
- Do Moles Have Benefits?
- How To Get Rid Of Moles In Your Yard
- Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Moles
- Using Mole Repellents to Get Rid of Moles
- Best Mole Repellent:
- Best Mole Traps (That Work)
- Other Ways To Get Rid Of Moles
What Are Moles?
Moles are small fossorial mammals. Fossorial simply means they spend the majority of their lives living underground. It also means their bodies are adapted to digging. They have strong, hoe-like front paws that face outward for efficient digging.
Moles have eyes, but they are tiny and overgrown with fur. This means their eyesight is practically non-existent, only allowing them to sense light. This does not matter too much though, as they live in total darkness most of the time.
It is quite interesting to know a little more about how moles live. Moles are constantly digging new tunnels. The mounds visible in your yard are merely entry and exit points. They also let oxygen into the underground tunnel system. Below the surface, there is an intricate web of tunnels about 12 to 18 inches deep.
Moles do not need as much oxygen to breathe as most other mammals. They are able to withstand much higher levels of carbon dioxide than other mammals. Their blood cells have evolved to be very sensitive to oxygen, due to a special form of hemoglobin. This basically means they can extract more oxygen out of the same amount of air. They are also able to breathe the same air more than once and still get oxygen out of it. As a result, moles can live underground for prolonged periods of time using very little air.
Common Mole Species in North America
- Star-Nosed Mole
The star-nosed mole can reach a length between 150 and 200mm head to tail. They weigh between 35 and 75 grams. They feature about 16 tentacles around their nose, which makes them quite freaky-looking. These tentacles are highly sensitive. The star-nosed mole is only found in wet areas, and does not like lawns and gardens. They are found in the eastern states and midwest of North America.
- Hairy-Tailed Mole
This mole is most common in the eastern coastal states of the USA. They prefer dry soils. They grow to about 175 mm and 85 grams of bodyweight.
- American Shrew mole
This is the smallest type of moles in North America. They weigh only about 10 grams, and grow to about 120mm in length. These moles do not create mole hills. These are a common mole in California.
- Eastern mole
This is the most common ground mole in north america. It is very similar to the Townsend mole and Coast mole. They can weigh between 70 and 130 grams and can reach a length of up to 200mm. They live mostly in the south-eastern part of the USA.
- Coast mole
As their name suggests, these moles live in coastal areas predominantly in the pacific north-west of the United states. They weigh between 50 and 80 grams and grow to about 140-200 mm.
- Townsend’s mole
These are very similar to the Coast mole, but it is larger in size. They grow to about 240 mm and can reach a weight of 160 grams. This is the considered the biggest type of mole. They also predominantly live in the PNW region of North America.
- Broad-Footed mole
This mole is the most solitary living types of moles, as well as being primarily nocturnal. They can grow to about 170 mm and 90 grams of bodyweight.
What do Moles Eat?
The tunnels moles dig are in fact designed to catch their food. Moles primarily feed on invertebrates like earth worms. The worms will dig through the soil, and sooner or later fall into a burrow dug by the mole. The mole will notice the worm falling in the burrow, and quickly make his way toward it.
The saliva of a mole contains a toxin that paralyzes earthworms. The mole uses this paralyzing toxin to store the worms for later consumption. They construct special underground larders to store their paralyzed worms. Researchers have found mole larders with hundreds of worms in it. Before the mole consumes the worm, it uses its paws to squeeze out the dirt from the worms gut.
Other foods moles eat are grubs, larvae, slugs, and beetles. Basically anything that lives in the soil. To keep up their energy levels, moles must eat the mass of their bodyweight on a daily basis.
How Do Moles Reproduce
For the majority of their lives, moles live solitary lives. They only meet with other moles at the start of breeding season, which is in spring. Other than that, moles will avoid contact with other moles. If male moles meet, their encounter will likely result in a fight to the death.
In breeding season, the male moles will start to look for females. They do this by exploring new territory, and squealing high-pitched mating calls. They will be on the move for several weeks. Moles are known to use each others tunnels to move about underground.
The gestation period for the common North American moles is 42 days. Generally, 3 to 5 young are born in March or April. After 30 to 45 days the pups leave the nest to start their solitary life and find a territory of their own.
Do Moles Have Benefits?
At first sight this seems like a rather strange question. It seems moles only cause destruction, but that is not entirely true. Moles are natural aerators of the soil. Their underground tunnels allows for air to circulate, and provide oxygen to roots of plants and trees. Moles do not feed on roots (gophers do), as they are insectivores, meaning they feed on insects.
Even in the bigger picture, moles do not harm the environment or farmers crops. The only time moles can be a nuisance, is when they invade lawns and gardens. They push up soil into mounds, destroying your lawn. We can hardly blame the moles though, as they aren’t aware of humans relation with lawns…
How To Get Rid Of Moles In Your Yard
There are a number of ways to get rid of moles. Some methods will be more effective than others. The best way to kill moles will depend largely on your situation, abilities and whether or not you are willing to kill the moles or not. Remember that unless the moles are completely digging up your lawn, perhaps the need to kill the moles is not as big as you think it is. Moles are great natural aerators of the soil, and they also eat insects that may be harmful to you or your yard.
Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Moles
One of the more obvious ways to get rid of moles, but often overlooked, is to take away their food source. If there is no food available, the mole will naturally move away from your yard and find a better territory to make its home. One of the major food sources of moles are lawn insects. By using organic lawn insect killer, you will kill 2 birds with one stone. Firstly, kill harmful lawn insects that are damaging your lawn, and posing a threat to you, your kids, and your pets. Secondly, you will take away a major food source for moles, prompting them to find new ground.
Read our review of this product here
Another natural way to get rid of moles is to not let the soil get too moist. Moles prefer soft, moist soil, as well as earthworms (another major source of food). So the advice would be not too over-water your lawn. If moles are an issue in your yard, keep your lawn on the dry side. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If you irrigate the lawn and a few hours later it’s raining, you are over watering, and inviting worms and moles into your yard. Read how to water the lawn here. Most lawns only need about 1 inch of water per week.
Using Mole Repellents to Get Rid of Moles
Another way to get rid of unwanted moles is to make use of mole repellents. If you don’t have the heart for exterminating the moles outright, this can be a good option for driving the moles away from your property. These methods are slightly more aggressive, but still are a natural way to get rid of moles.
Repelling means to force something away, so we have to look at things moles dislike, to force them to take up another territory. It is important to note that repelling moles is a temporary measure, and you will have to keep doing this, as when the repellant stops working, the moles have no reason to stay away. Let’s dive in and find out what is the best mole repellant.
Castor Oil For Moles
A common ingredient in mole repellents is castor oil. There is a general belief that moles hate castor oil, and will stay as far away from it as possible. You can buy brand-made mole repellents containing castor oil, but that can be quite expensive. Therefore, a common question is how do you use castor oil to get rid of moles?
You can mix your own cocktail of mole repellant following this recipe:
- 2 tablespoons (dawn) dish soap
- 1/3 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of castor oil
- 1 cup of oil soap wood cleaner
- 1/3 of a red pepper
- 1/3 cup of castor oil
This concoction would need to be applied at least once a month, or after rain. You can simply pour it down the opening of the mole mounds. Some people suggest that if you alternate between a few different recipes, you prevent the moles developing immunity to the repellant.
Vegetative Barriers to Repel Moles
Vegetative barriers can act as a sort of mole repellent as well. A completely natural way to get rid of moles, is to make use of the repelling qualities of some plants. The first one that springs to mind is of course the aforementioned castor bean plant. Other plants with mole deterring qualities are Marigolds, alliums, fritillarias and daffodils.
Moles don’t like these plants for whatever reason and won’t want to stay in your yard if they’re present. Some of these plants, like marigolds, will have the added benefit of attracting butterflies. Talk about two birds with one stone! Some herbs can also help repel moles, like onion, garlic and chives.
Can You Drown a Mole?
One method often thought of by many people is to simply stick a garden hose in the molehill, and flush the mole out by flooding its tunnels. This might seem like a good idea, but in reality it is not very effective. The mole will simply stay away from the water. He (or she) will always find a way to stay away from the water, as their system of tunnels is so intricate. As soon as the tunnels dry out, the moles will be back. Because the soil is now nice and moist, it will provide the mole with even more food like earthworms.
Best Mole Repellent:
Solar Powered Mole Repellents
In my opinion solar-powered mole repellers are the best mole repellent. They are charged by the sun, so do not need batteries. Furthermore, once installed, they don’t need any tending to. The manufacturer of the below displayed product, claims that one 3 hour solar charge will last up to 7 days of mole repelling functionality.
- Clean and Safe-- The mole repeller is harmless to...
- Weatherproof-- Suitable for all weather conditions. But...
- Easy to Use--Just take it out, connect the head and spike,...
- Solar Powered- A high-tech solar panel is built in the solar...
- Effective-- Send out a burst of sonic waves in every 20-30...
They work by sending out sonic pulses and vibrations every 20-30 seconds at 400Hz. Moles are highly sensitive to these vibrations and consider it a form of danger. They will soon rush their way out of your yard as quick as they can burrow.
These devices are a great way of natural mole removal. They do not rely on any chemical to do their job. Furthermore, there is no need to kill moles in any way with this method, so this can be considered the most humane way of repelling moles.
These solar-powered mole repellers are very easy to use. Just take the product out of the box, and stick them into the wet soil. If the soil is too dry it will be hard to stick in the ground.
Best Mole Traps (That Work)
If you are more adamant about killing the moles, you would have to look at getting yourself some mole traps, and you will be asking yourself, what is the best mole trap. We have done our research, and selected the best mole trap on the market. The benefit of using a mole trap is that you do not have to use any chemicals or poisons in your yard. It kills the mole, giving you the confidence that the mole is definitely gone.
In the long run, mole traps are the best way to kill moles. All other methods of getting rid of moles are mostly repellents, which means the moles will either come back after a while, or grow accustomed to the repellent. If you use mole traps to get rid of moles, you will kill the mole meaning it won’t come back.
Since moles are solitary animals, once you killed the mole, your mole problem is solved. However of course another mole can take residence in your yard after a while, in which case you will simply have to utilize your mole trap once more.
In my opinion this is the best mole trap on the market. It does the same job as most mole traps, but it has one important advantage. To set this trap, you do not have to worry about setting sensitive springs or sharp prongs that might hurt you. This mole trap is the only trap that can be set without any dangerous actions required. Simply find the mole tunnel below the ridge, and insert the trap into the ground in the middle of the mole tunnel. To set the trap, simply step down on the setting lever. That’s it.
- Includes 2 Traps and Is used for safe & effective Mole...
- Easy foot stepping motion to set trap safely underground;...
- The only mole trapping device that can be set into the mole...
- Takes the guesswork out of trapping and eliminating moles...
- Eliminates the use poisons or chemicals and is effective on...
How To Trap Moles
Trapping a mole is not an easy feat. This is mostly because they spend their lives underground, and we are unable to see their web of tunnels in which they live. These tunnel systems are a lot more complicated than you may think. Therefore, the biggest issue in how to trap moles is the placement of the traps.
A molehill is a sure sign of the presence of a mole in your yard. Try to look for the ridges on top of the tunnels. There will be a slight difference in the color of the grass. Underneath there, it is very likely to be a mole tunnel. Another sign can be raised tracks of earth.
You will block the tunnel by inserting the mole trap, and the moles natural instinct will want to open the tunnel back up. This will be its demise. Make sure there is nothing between the trap and tunnel that will prevent the trap from closing around the mole. Examples of this are rocks and roots.
Different Types of Traps
There are three typical types of traps that people buy when dealing with moles. There are loop choking traps where the mole will get ensnared but there are also lure traps and traditional circular rodent traps. All three will work well to remedy your problem.
The most common type of trap is the spring-loaded scissor trap. These work as follows.
- Locate the tunnel (underneath a yellow ridge line of grass going towards the molehill)
- Spring load the trap and push into the soil
- There is a trigger ring hanging in the middle of the scissor trap
- When the mole touches the trigger ring, the trap will be activated and kill the mole
Other types of traps are barrel type traps and spear type traps, but they are less effective.
Handling Moles Dead or Alive
Once your mole trap has sprung, it is time to take out the trap and find out if you have caught it or not. It is advisable to wear gloves when handling moles, as they might carry parasites or disease like leptospirosis. Live moles should be handled with extreme caution, as they will absolutely try to bite or scratch you.
Other Ways To Get Rid Of Moles
Let Mole Predators Do the Deed
A way to let nature handle the problem for you is to attract the natural enemies of moles into your yard. One of the most prevalent predators that prey on moles is the owl. Attracting an owl to your property is actually pretty simple. You can climb a tree in your yard and place something known as a nest box.
Put some straw inside of this nest box and eventually, an owl will get curious. The owl will make the tree its new home and will begin eliminating the moles for you. They’re going to feed off of the moles and you won’t have any more issues going forward. This is an effective and inexpensive way to get rid of the headaches that the moles have caused you.
Gas the Moles
This method is something people like to go to as a last resort. Using gas bombs in the mole tunnels can be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, if you have pets or small children, this method can be especially dangerous and it is not recommended. If you have decided that this is the easiest method for you to get rid of your moles, then please exercise extreme caution while using gas bombs.
You can purchase these gas bombs at most stores that carry pesticides and rodent traps. The bombs need to be placed in the mole tunnels and set off. Just remember that this gas is harmful. It can be fatal and you could harm yourself if you don’t take all of the necessary precautions.
Eliminating moles may seem like a big hassle at first but really there are a lot of ways to go about it. Some of the easier methods involve driving the moles away from your yard. Other techniques will exterminate the moles completely. Whatever you decide to do, just remember to be careful while you’re taking care of this problem.
Getting rid of your mole problem won’t be too difficult when you use the above advice. It’s smart to choose the method that will lead you to the simplest solution. Soon enough, you will be able to mow your lawn without having to deal with mole holes. Having this knowledge will allow you to swiftly handle any future mole infestations that pop up as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do moles have teeth?
Yes, moles can have a total of 44 needle-like teeth , which they use to chew their prey. It is however unlikely they will bite humans, unless being provoked with nowhere to go. If bitten, please get it checked out by your healthcare provider.
How do moles see?
Moles have tiny eyes, which are mostly covered with fur. Their eyes can only see the presence of light, which will tell them they have reached the surface and are in danger.
How deep do moles dig in the ground?
The mole hills you see in your yard are just there to let air into the tunnels. Also, the moles like to get up closer to the surface to feast on different types of insects not found at deeper levels. Most the tunnels are dug between 12 and 18 inches deep. This of course also depends on the type of soil, moisture levels and availability of food sources such as earthworms.
Do moles make good pets?
Moles are unable to sustain themselves for long periods of time above ground, and will die fairly quick in captivity. So no, moles do not make good pets at all, and keeping them in a cage can be considered animal torture.
Do moles carry any diseases?
Although very rare, moles can carry leptospirosis. More commonly they can carry parasites. Moles do not carry rabies. If you have caught a mole, wear gloves when handling them. Make sure not to be in direct contact with the mole. If the mole is still alive, exercise caution as it might try to bite you. If bitten, you should get it checked out by a health care provider.
Do moles sleep during the day?
Moles are not nocturnal per se, except for the Broad-footed mole, which is primarily nocturnal. Moles are primarily active during the quiet periods of the day in which there is not much activity going on in your yard. This naturally is the time when you are not there. Moles are known to work and sleep in 4-hour periods.
Can moles ruin your foundation?
Yes they can. When the tunnels dug by moles underneath your foundation fill up with water and then freeze, they will expand. If this happens directly underneath your foundation there may be cracks developing in the concrete. In subsequent winters these cracks may fill up with water, freeze, expand, and further the damage.
Last update on 2018-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API