Moles are small animals, between 4.4” and 6.25” in size, but the North American mole can grow to be as big as seven inches in length. The tail of the mole is about 1” to 1.5” in size, and you’ll find that moles are often found in gardens or a person’s yard.
And homeowners often want to know how to get rid of moles because they’re afraid that they’ll eat their produce.
Moles, while they will interrupt your garden, are often found in the garden because they’re in search of worms. These moles eat almost half of their weight in worms per day, so they have a ravenous appetite that they need to satiate.
Since moles are in search of worms, they will make underground tunnels where they not only travel, but they will also create chambers where they can sleep at the start or end of a tunnel. Scientists have also observed moles creating their own eating chambers where they will deposit worms for later feeding.
The worms are incapacitated by the mole so that they remain alive but still can’t leave.
The good news is that you can get rid of moles using natural methods.
You also have the option of using mole traps, but you will need to buy the traps online or in stores. The good news is that there are a lot of natural methods that work just as well as traps.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Rid of Moles Naturally
- How to Get Rid of Moles in the Yard Using 4 Unique Steps
- Physical Barriers to Keep Moles Out of Your Garden
How to Get Rid of Moles Naturally
1. Start With Mole Repellents
Moles are not dangerous, but they can carry some forms of disease. Mole repellents are available that you can buy online. These repellents work great, but you might not have them in your home.
One repellent that works exceptionally well is castor oil.
You’ll find that castor oil has a lot of household uses, and the oil can be placed around your lawn and garden. You should place castor oil near the tunnel openings, too.
A lot of the leading mole repellents that are made commercially will have castor oil as their main ingredient.
2. Dawn Soap Works Well
- 1 tbsp. dawn soap
- 4-ounces of castor oil
- Garden sprayer
You’ll want to place the soap and castor oil into the garden sprayer. Add in water until it reaches the top of the sprayer and then shake it up well to make sure that all of the ingredients have mixed well.
It’s important that you shake well so that the repellent is potent enough to keep moles out of your yard.
Once you’ve mixed up properly, it’s time to spray and soak the area of the yard where you’ve found mole tunnels or holes. You want to soak the dirt thoroughly with the mixture so that it will repel the moles.
If you need more repellent, simply refill the sprayer using the same steps outlined above.
It will take time for the moles to start leaving. Keep a close eye on your lawn, and if the mole population does not decline, you’ll want to repeat the yard soaking every week until they do. In the meantime, you can follow the additional tips we outline to speed up your mole removal.
3. Start Planting Natural Mole Repellents
Moles live in your yard, and one of the key methods of getting rid of moles is to make the habitat less appealing. Animals, including moles, will be attracted to the “ideal” lawn. The plants and vegetation that you plant will be able to deter moles.
Vegetation barriers that work well are:
- Castor beans
- Mole plant
The mole plant is believed to act as a mole repellent. The plant has been in use for centuries, and aside from working well to repel moles, the plant also has a lot of medicinal properties.
4. Slow Your Watering Habits
Watering your land is a good idea, and while your lawn may be begging to be watered, overwatering will cause more moles to surface. A lot of people claim that watering the yard will cause moles to move closer to the surface.
Moles make tunnels that are deep or at the surface.
Watering may impact the shallow tunnels, and this can be beneficial for a short period of time. But watering the yard will not cause any harm to the deep tunnels where moles are known to traverse.
Moles will use these tunnels for several generations, so they have likely been there for years before you’ve watered them.
Watering to remove moles is counterintuitive. When you water the yard too often, it will also increase the number of worms for moles to eat. Moles are known for abundance, so if your lawn is extremely moist and ideal for worms, moles will go on a feeding spree.
Worms will come to the surface when it rains because they start to become oxygen deprived when the soil is soaked making them far more accessible to moles.
It’s best to keep your lawn’s watering at a minimum while you’re trying to get rid of moles.
5. Introduce a Natural Predator
Cats are amazing predators, and if you have an outdoor cat, he will pounce on a mole if he sees one. Moles are lucky to note have many predators, but they do have some that can be “attracted” to your lawn.
Hawks, or birds of prey, are the most common animals that eat moles.
Foxes are known to dig out moles as well as coyotes. The last thing you want to do is attract coyotes, so I do not recommend trying to introduce coyotes as a natural predator. A few hints are as follows:
- Open fields and pastors will attract hawks.
- Water will attract eagles.
- Owls and sharpies are found in thickly wooded areas.
- Garden settings will attract sparrowhawks.
Attracting birds of prey is difficult, but it’s still entirely possible. You’ll be able to keep control of the entire rodent population: rats, mice and moles. But you’ll also be eliminating rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels, too.
Attracting these natural predators is difficult. You already have a food source available, but you can do more to attract birds or prey.
I recommend seeing what natural birds of prey exist in your location. It’s easier to attract birds that are native to your region. Some of the tips to attract these predators include:
- Create and place nesting boxes for birds in your yard. These nesting boxes will attract birds and encourage them to nest in your yard.
- Research the birds and make your yard as inviting as possible to keep the moles away.
Natural predators are the go-to way to get rid of moles, but it’s a lot of work and should be a long-term solution rather than an immediate solution. An immediate solution will be to follow through with the tips already outlined so that you can begin to thin out the mole population.
How to Get Rid of Moles in the Yard Using 4 Unique Steps
Moles will live for generations in your yard, using the same tunnels that their ancestors dug. If you try to flush them out, you’ll find that they’ll just create new tunnels and take over your yard again.
Getting rid of moles in your yard is possible using the tips above, but you should be taking a strategic approach to mole removal.
Step 1: Identify the Rodent You’re Dealing With
Moles eat insects, they can be up to 7” in length not including their tails. When you see a mole, you’ll notice that they have velvety fur that is gray to black and color, and they have small eyes and ears.
The front claws of the mole are long and are meant to be able to help the mole dig through the ground.
Moles traditionally live alone, but you will see them with other moles during early spring when they breed. The tunnel that you initially locate is often only home to one mole, so if you find that you’ve sealed one tunnel and killed one mole but still have a mole problem, it’s time to search for more tunnels.
Runways are underground, 12 to 18 inches deep, and the runways connect to the main mounds.
Feeding tunnels have exit and entry mounds, and these tunnels may or may not be used more than once. These mounds have round, symmetrical shapes and have the dirt pushed up similar to a volcano.
This is the first sign that you’re actually dealing with a mole and not pocket gophers.
Pocket gophers dig tunnels, but the tunnels of the pocket gopher are flatter You’ll also find that gophers spend a lot of time in your garden because they eat plants and roots. The gopher will pull down your produce’s roots to eat it in the tunnel.
It’s important that you mark these tunnels so that you can try to trap the moles effectively in the coming steps.
Step 2: Start Using Your Repellents
Repellents will work to put an end to your mole problem, but this needs to be done annually. You need to make sure that you’ve planted the right plants or used the castor oil or dawn soap method that we listed previously.
There are a few tips here that will help:
- Start planting all of your deterring plants and flowers early on before Spring when mating begins.
- Place the plants strategically, in areas that are the wettest and worms tend to be available for moles to eat.
- Place plants in your garden, too as a means of deterring moles and other rodents.
- Sprays, such as the castor oil or dawn soap spray listed above should be placed when trying to get moles to leave their tunnels. You can use this strategically to force a mole to leave an exit and go to the entrance of the tunnel right into a trap that you placed.
During this time, you’ll also want to work on attracting birds of prey. You can also use insecticides to try and eliminate the moles’ food source: worms. Since moles eat insects, you can make the lawn less inviting by trying to control the insect population.
But there is a downside to this, too.
When you use harsh chemicals, you may be impacting the ground’s soil and may also cause many of the natural wildlife in your yard to disperse. It’s important to try and control the moles prior to spraying harsh insecticides on your lawn.
There are also ultrasonic repellents which you can purchase to repel moles.
Step 3: Place All of Your Traps
It’s time to start placing all of your traps out and catch a few moles. The good news is that moles typically travel alone, so you don’t have to catch dozens of moles. Commercial mole traps are available, and they come in several different types:
- Spring traps which will snap on the mole and kill it. These traps are inexpensive, and they’re easy to set. The one issue with these traps is that they will kill most any rodent or outside animal that gets into the trap, including squirrels.
- Poison baits can be placed which are designed to mimic the moles natural food source. These baits will often look like worms, so they attract moles that will eat the poison and die. An issue to consider when using poison is that any predators that may eat the body of the mole can be poisoned, too. The poison will eventually go back into the ground, so it may poison insects in the process.
- Lasso traps are another option which are buried and will capture the mole. The traps are designed to allow the mole to be released right back into their hole so that you never have to touch the mole’s corpse.
Humane traps that allow you to capture the mole and release it. If you’re looking for a humane method of mole removal, this is a good option. The only issue is that you cannot release the mole back into your own yard. One method is to release the mole in a public or national park where it will be able to safely live its life without interrupting anyone else’s lawn.
Homemade traps can also be made, and these traps are a cheap, effective way to capture a mole. You can create these traps for cheap, and the entire process of creating the trap is outlined below.
Traps my or may not need bait. The trap that you make at home won’t need any form of bait because you’ll be tricking the mole into the trap using their underground tunnels. Follow your respective trap’s placement instructions for the best results.
Step 4: Start Filling Mole Tunnels
Mole tunnels can be filled, and this will be done with soil. You’ll want to catch the moles before filling the tunnel because they will just create tunnels. Their large claws are perfect for digging through soil, and your minor interruption will do little to deter them from simply tunneling through the soil again.
But if you want to interrupt the mole’s tunnel or even trap them in the tunnel, you can do so with sheet metal.
The idea is that the moles will only dig so deep, so you can make the mole evacuate a tunnel by placing sheet metal through the tunnel’s hole. Sheet metal can be placed straight into the earth, one to two foot deep and then stick up about six inches from the earth.
You’ll effectively be trapping the mole into the tunnel using this method.
A lot of people will also use this method to trick a mole into leaving out of the opposing end of the tunnel. If you want to go a step further, you can pour your Dawn and castor oil repellent into the tunnel as a way to keep the moles from wanting to come back up through the tunnel.
It’s a fast and effective way to ensure that the future generations of moles do not go through the tunnel in the future.
Creating Your Own Mole Trap
Creating a homemade mole trap is possible, but it takes a lot of work. You’ll need to know where the mole tunnels are, and then you’ll need to construct your own trap. You’ll need a few things to get started:
- Large coffee can
- Board to cover the can
- Shovel to dig into the mole tunnel
When you interrupt the tunnel, you’ll want to “cave in” the tunnel on each side of the can. Normally, this will happen on its own when you start digging. But if it does not, you’ll want to do the caving in yourself.
The idea is that you’ll cave in the tunnels to the coffee can so that the mole quickly clears the tunnel and falls into your trap.
Follow these quick steps to get started:
- So, you’ll need just a few items before getting started. Once you have all of this, you need to dig into the mole tunnel using your shovel. The hole you make will be used to place your coffee can.
- Place the coffee can far enough into the soil so that the tunnels are flush with the top of the can. The mole will need to run right into the can which will trap it. A very large coffee can or even a bucket will do the trick due to the large size of the mole.
- Place a board on the top soil to completely cover the hole and all sunlight that may enter.
- That’s it! You’ll then have to wait for the mole to enter into their tunnel and get trapped. Remove the board daily to try and determine if you have any moles trapped.
- Cover the top of the can, and you’ll be able to transport the mole to a new location. It’s important to remember to leave air holes for the mole. The air holes will allow the mole to breathe and not die while trapped in the can.
Physical Barriers to Keep Moles Out of Your Garden
If you have moles in your garden, you’re probably tired of filling in their holes and them interrupting your vegetation in the process. It’s a hassle, and it’s a hassle that you can correct if you want using physical barriers.
Moles are expert diggers, and their claws are designed to make going through soil a breeze.
You’ll want to make sure that any physical barriers you create go deep enough into the dirt that the moles cannot dig their way into your garden. Wire mesh works best, and you’ll need to place the mesh 30 inches or more into the earth.
The mesh should stay about six inches out of the top of the earth for best results.
Another tactic is to dig a hole to create a trench. The trench will often be placed to interrupt the tunnel or trenches can be placed at the tunnel’s entrance and exit. Dig a large hole and fill in the trench with gravel.
Moles will not be able to dig through the trench.
You can create an entire trench around your garden, filling with gravel and covering the gravel with soil so that it’s not unsightly. If you follow this tip, you’ll be able to keep your garden completely free of moles.
A final option, if you cannot successfully get rid of your mole problem using these natural methods, is to call on a professional exterminator to help you. Exterminators will be able to create a plan to free your yard from moles.
Trapping and filling of the mole tunnels will likely be offered along with other long-term improvements to keep moles from coming back.
If given enough time, you’ll be able to clear your entire property of moles, but always be on the lookout for a return. Animals and rodents will always come back if there is a water and food source that they have available to them.