Moles may look harmless, but many homeowners know all too well how destructive these underground creatures can be! You’ll know they’ve visited your property when you notice the telltale hills, ruts, and trails they leave behind. If you don’t do something right away, they’ll quickly wreak havoc on your beautiful lawn and garden.
In fact, damage done by moles in your yard is one of the most frustrating problems gardeners face. As these small creatures tunnel through your yard, they destroy plant roots, bulbs, and grass, leaving a wake of dead or dying vegetation in their paths. Since moles can dig at a rate of up to 15 feet per hour, it’s no wonder most homeowners want them gone for good!
If you’re dealing with moles in your yard, don’t fret! We’ve created the following round-up of all the best tips to help you get rid of moles quickly and keep them off your property.
How to Get Rid of Moles
There are many theories regarding the best ways to get rid of moles. Unfortunately, some are little more than old wives’ tales. If you’re looking for an effective way to eliminate moles in your yard, your best option is going to be trapping the mole, using bait, or applying mole repellents.
The right choice for you will depend on how comfortable you are with getting up-close and personal with moles, whether you’re concerned with treating them humanely, and whether children or pets spend time in our backyard. Here’s a closer look at each option.
Spring-released mole traps are likely the most effective solution. You can purchase them online or from your local home store. To use them, you’ll want to place the trap directly in one of the mole’s active tunnels.
Not sure whether a tunnel is active? Try loosely covering the nearest molehill with dirt. Wait a day or two, then go back and see if the hole has been uncovered again. If so, that’s a fairly good indicator that the area you're looking at is active.
When setting a mole trap, it’s a good idea to wear gloves. If you get your human scent on it, it may not work as effectively. Follow the instructions that come with the trap, then be sure to check it often.
It’s also important to note that this solution does have a few potential drawbacks. Since the purpose of a standard mole trap is to kill the animal, this is an aggressive solution that some homeowners may not feel comfortable with. In addition, some states have made it illegal to set traps that kill moles. Also, remember that catching one backyard mole doesn’t mean you’ve eliminated the problem. Other moles may quickly take up residence in the tunnels left behind. You’ll likely need to trap several moles before a tunnel goes dormant.
Trap and Release
If you’re looking for a safe, effective, and humane way to get rid of moles in your yard, the trap and release method is an excellent option. However, this is not a great solution for homeowners who are squeamish about coming into contact with a live mole.
To humanely trap a mole, start by using a shovel to flatten down all visible molehills. Then, move away from the area. Ideally, you’ll want to find a location that’s downwind from the holes you’ve covered over and where you can still see the trails.
Stay as still as possible and wait patiently until you see the soil start to move. This will be the mole returning to the area to repair the hill you’ve covered. Quietly and quickly approach with two shovels in hand. Plunge them into the ground on either side of where you saw the ground move. If you do this correctly, the mole should now be trapped.
Next, dig the mole out of its tunnel, place it in a cardboard box, and take it at least five miles away from your home before releasing it. Keep repeating this process until you’ve captured and relocated all of your moles in your yard. You can also simplify the process by purchasing a humane mole trap and setting it in an active mole tunnel.
Repellants will not kill moles, but they will make them feel ill by upsetting their digestive tracts. This will make your yard less appealing, and, hopefully, convince the moles to move on to greener pastures.
You can purchase store-bought mole-repellant in either liquid or granule form. Simply follow the directions on the label. Most of these mixtures will last a few weeks and are safe to use around children and pets. Just make sure you double-check the label to be sure.
If you prefer a more natural option, you can make your own homemade mole repellant using three parts castor oil and one part dish soap. Add four tablespoons of the mixture to a gallon of water and use it to soak all visible tunnels and entrances.
You may have also heard of other home remedies like placing tea tree oil, mothballs, or cayenne pepper into the mole holes. However, these solutions not effective, so it’s best not to waste your time.
Mole bait is a poison that looks and smells like earthworms, which is one of a mole’s favorite foods. To use mole bait, you’ll simply drop a few pieces inside a mole hole next to an active tunnel. When the mole eats the bait, it will die.
While this is an easy and convenient option, poisonous mole bait is generally not safe to use around children and pets. There's also a chance that the bait you place could inadvertently kill another type of animal instead. For these reasons, mole bait will generally be one of your last resorts.
No matter which solution you choose, make sure you have a high-quality shed or other enclosed outdoor storage space so you can keep everything you need on hand. This way, if your backyard mole problem returns, you’ll be able to stop it in its tracks right away.
How to Keep Moles Away from Your Yard
Once you get rid of moles, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep them away. While no method is 100% effective, there are a few that have been proven to work.
Eliminate Their Food Source
One of a mole’s favorite foods is grubs, so using grub killer may help encourage them to move on to a new location. However, since they also eat worms and other insects, you’ll need to take a more holistic approach.
You may find that insecticides will eliminate enough of their food supply to keep them from making themselves at home in your yard. If you have children or pets, don’t forget to look for a natural insecticide that’s deemed safe for use around them.
Fence them Out
Disrupting a mole’s ability to dig will frustrate them, leading them to move on to other locations. To do this, dig a trench that is approximately two feet deep and six inches wide. Line it with hardware cloth that has holes no more than ¾ inches wide. This will effectively create an underground “fence” that prevents moles from digging into your garden or lawn.
Plant Marigolds and Daffodils
Certain plants can make your lawn less comfortable for these underground foes. Marigolds release natural pyrethrins that repel the insects and grubs moles like to eat. Daffodils also have toxic bulbs, which moles naturally avoid.
Planting these flowers around your vegetable garden or in your yard will add a fun splash of color and can also help keep moles in your yard away.
Moles prefer living in areas where the soil stays moist. If you’re able to improve the drainage on your property you may discourage them from living on your land. Combining this with some of the other prevention options listed above will go a long way towards making your property as unappealing to moles as possible.
Minimizing Mole Damage to Your Yard
While you’re trying to eliminate moles in your yard, you’ll need to do some extra maintenance to help protect your grass and plants. However, it's easy to do. When you come across raised tunnels and molehills, gently press the soil back in place with your foot, then water the area thoroughly. This will help keep the roots from drying out.
If it takes longer than you would like to eliminate your mole problem, you may also find some comfort in knowing that they’re not all bad. Moles can help aerate your lawn and circulate nutrients in the soil. They also eat grubs and other pests that can damage your lawn.
Enjoy Your Mole-Free Yard!
Once you’re able to successfully get rid of moles in your yard, you can enjoy your yard in peace. You may even decide that you want to invest in a few other backyard upgrades. If you do, you can find what you need at Shelter Logic. We have everything from gazebos to storage sheds and more. Take a look through some of our high-quality, affordable outdoor structures today!