Moles

How to Identify and Get Rid of Moles

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Here are tips on how to identify and get rid of moles in the garden or yard.

What Are Moles?

Moles are ground–dwelling carnivores that prefer to eat insects instead of your garden plants. However, their underground tunnels can ruin your garden and lawn and make an easy access to your plants for other rodents.

If you have a significant invasion of moles or similar pests, it may be a sign of trouble. Moles are usually found where soil is rich in organic matter. Their presence in unusually large numbers might be due to a high population of soil pests. It therefore serves as a warning that all is not well with the soil life.

Identification

How to Identify Moles in your Garden

Moles are surprising little mammals with pointed muzzles, tiny eyes, and bodies shaped like Idaho potatoes. In motion they actually swim along underground, using wide front flippers to part the soil as they go. They prefer moist, loamy soil and are most active in the early morning or evening in the spring or fall; they also come out after a warm rain.

Moles have the distinguishing characteristic of a hairless, pointed snout. Their small eyes and ear canals are concealed by fur, and they do not have external ears. They have very large and broad forefeet with webbed toes. Their hind feet or more narrow and have slender claws. They are usually about 7 inches in length and weigh about 4 ounces.

Mole Damage

  • Moles usually feed on insect pests, grubs, and soil organisms, including beneficial ones like earthworms.
  • Unlike vegetarian voles, moles dig deep. Their tunnels are usually at least ten inches underground, unless they’re scanning the surface in search of a mate. Check your soil and lawn for their tunnels. They will look like raised volcano-shaped swellings in your yard.
  • Surface tunnels or ridges also indicate mole activity.

mole-damage-tunnels.jpg

Control and Prevention

How to Get Rid of Moles

  • Sprinkling dried blood, tobacco or a similar repellent on the ground is effective. Remember to re-apply after a rain.
  • Owning a cat that enjoys walking through your flower beds is a very effective deterrent to rodents.
  • Moles are carnivores that make themselves at home in lawns rich in grubs and insects. When their food is seasoned with castor oil, they will go elsewhere for meals. (Wouldn’t you?) Mix up a spray of 3 parts castor oil to 1 part dish detergent; use 4 tablespoons of this concoction in a gallon of water, and soak the tunnels and the entrances.
  • Dip an ear of corn in roofing tar and place it in one of their tunnels. Moles hate the smell of tar, and you’ll block their escape.
  • Try sprinkling powdered red pepper in their tunnel entrances.
  • Sprinkle coffee grounds on the soil to keep moles from tunneling.
  • You may have luck using wind power—setting up vibrations in the ground that will bother moles and send them away. Low-tech methods include kids’ pinwheels placed here and there on the lawn, or a homemade thumper: Cut fins in the sides of a bleach bottle and place it on a stick driven into the ground near a mole entrance.
  • If you have a persistent mole problem, the best solution is trapping. Frankly, this is often the only way to get rid of moles. Use a humane trap, and release the moles at least 5 miles from your home in a rural area away from someone else’s garden.

moles-in-yard-ground-moles.jpg

Prevent Moles

  • Check out your soil for the presence of pests; if you have a lot of moles, you probably have an oversupply of grubs and bugs. Try spraying your lawns with milky spore disease or beneficial nematodes to get rid of the grubs. This will also rid your lawn of Japanese beetle larvae, which is a great benefit!
  • If you want to protect specific plants, dig a 2- to 3-foot hole and line the sides and bottom of the hole with wire mesh. Fill the hole with soil and plant.
  • Where you are determined to try bulbs, make a small “cage” of ½-inch mesh screen. Place several bulbs inside, root plate down and bury the entire cage at the proper depth. Rodents won’t be able to chew through, but roots and stems can grow out. Note: moles are often blamed for the damaged caused by field mice.

Learn more about moles and what they do in your yard. Do you have comments or questions about moles? Let us know below!

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Reader Comments

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Moles OUT!

I put my cats litter down the mole holes - esp. the POOP! They leave is a very short time. Don't cover the hole when you fill it - the smell of the cat litter is drawn down into their tunnel. I have no mole problems.

moles

We have had good success with human urine!

Groundhogs

I live in the northeast and have trouble with groundhogs. Nothing seems to work . Any suggestions on how I can get rid of them. We have tried everything .

Groundhogs (Woodchucks)

Buy some Havahart traps. Bait them with cabbage leaves, put a tarp or blanket over the top of the trap to simulate underground. Take them far away from your house and dump them in a wooded area.

Groundhogs

Check out our page on Groundhogs for tips on keeping them out of your garden!

Moles

My grandfather used to grow a Castor bean plant or two every year just to get rid of moles, When he found a new hill he would put a couple of the castor beans sown in it and soon the moles were gone. I dont know why, but it worked.

Mole removal

2 years ago I came across a product called Gopher Out. It is a liquid that is poured in the mounds of gophers, moles, and voles. Then 10 gallons of water are put in the mound. The moles have not been back since. It does NOT kill them it only repels them. And it is safe for all animals and people. I don't remember where I bought it but I'm sure Google can help.

Moles etc

The person who rents my farm does me no favors as he uses sulphur and then a weed burner to chase them out of their tunnels or kill them. The results are that they end up in my yard area and I have to do the same.

So much nonsense.

Everyone here talking about "humanely" getting rid of moles on his or her property, listen up: it isn't possible.

Even if it *were* possible to deter moles from tunneling your lawn or garden by tarring corncobs, planting gum in the ground without touching it, or setting up pinwheel wind-farms—which it most definitely isn't—all you've done is solve your problem at the expense of introducing a problem for your neighbors. Which is a crappy thing to do to someone who lives next door to you.

So, the "humane" solution would be to trap and re-home the critters, right? Wrong.

The reason why moles do so much damage is because they have to _constantly_ be actively searching for prey. Moles must eat 60-100% of their body weight DAILY in order to survive. If you were to trap a live mole (good luck!) and then drive it to the woods to "re-home" it, you've more than likely already signed its death-warrant.

Moles dig those incredibly complex underground systems of tunnels for one reason: to maximize their chances of catching enough food to survive. If you take an established mole out of the ground and force it to start over in a new place without its existing tunnel system, it has to start completely over by digging a new tunnel system. The chances of the mole being able to sustain itself without its existing tunnels and the food they provide (mainly by way of earth worms) is just about zero.

So: you either 1) love moles enough to leave them alone, in which case they'll constantly dig up your yard/ruin your garden, or 2) you like your lawn/garden without mole tunnels and mounds MORE than you love moles, which means getting rid of the moles by either trapping/re-homing them (which, as I said, will kill them 99 times out of 100) or setting kill traps.

Those are your only options. If you love your yard/garden, suck it up and exterminate them yourself. If you can't bear the thought of killing a mole, then you'd better get used to having your yard tilled up at random by blind, subterranean rodents.

thanks .. don't have time or

thanks .. don't have time or desire to spend time catching and actually never seen one --- only massive damage doing to lawn and beds. Ruining my lawn which is too large to micromanage, and now attacking front yard and mulch beds full of plants -- all turned over to dirt mounds.
Is there a Chemical treatment that works?

moles, armadillos,////////// what else

cayenne pepper castor oil what big holes in front yard with dirt mound what

Minty Mole deterrent

I am having very good luck with dried peppermint or spearmint sprinkled over active areas. When it runs them farther into other areas, I follow with the mint. Water it in or do before rain. You'll see! I buy the mint from Penney.
Kathy

Burrowing rodent in my medical marijuana Garden

I used 2/3 a bottle of extract and mixed it with some gallons of water and spread it around my plants then later on that night because I didn't think I had enough to do it for another time I mixed it in with my plant food. And I saw absolutely no activity all the way up until this morning and I started doing the mint somewhere around Tuesday or Wednesday but yes I hope I end up having the faith you do in it because it seems to work okay now I just hope that it keeps working. The question I have though is I have seen no Mounds around my house I know my dogs have been digging around the base of my shed and you don't like my pathway and stuff but there's been no Mounds or anything the first sign other than my dogs digging I've seen was in my garden and then there was no Mounds in there either the only evidence I had of them being in there was that my littlest plant was completely pushed up like it had been pulled up on the stock but I know that not to be the case so it had to be some sort of rodent I'm hoping a mole that way they won't mess with the roots anyway.

Neighbor has moles and now we do too

We started noticing that our neighbors had surface trails and mounds in their yard, Now, I am noticing that we are getting more and more mounds (but no surface trails). I'm assuming they are moles since the neighbor was talking about them. Does it make since to treat my yard for them if they don't (not sure if they will or won't, we just moved in)? Will they just come back to my yard?

moles

It might help to treat for moles in your yard, such as with repellent, to discourage them from crossing over, but likely you would need to repeat the treatment every so often as more set up shop or the treatment’s effectiveness fades. An underground barrier around the perimeter of your yard might be more effective, but might not be practical, depending on the size of your yard. Although the tunnels/mounds are unsightly, and occasionally mole tunneling can remove soil around the roots of plants, causing problems, the moles help to aerate the soil and eat grubs and other pests. If you can stand it, you might prefer to let them alone, or pack down the hills and tunnels as they appear. If your soil is moist, cut back on watering your lawn a bit, as the drier environment discourages moles.

moles

i was wondering how to do the gum thing do you put the gum down in the hole/ tunnel /.. and does it ruin the vegatables can you still eat the produce if the moles have been tunneling thru it?

Best and Easiest Way

Wrong. The best way to get rid of moles is to kill their food source. Treat your lawn with a full spectrum insect killer like Triazicide. Moles promptly move out. Plus it's good for your lawn too.

Be careful with Triazicide around pets, etc..

There have been instances where small dogs and other pets have been poisoned by Triazicide. It is also toxic to Bees and fish. Be careful of runoff to storm drains. I was going to try it but my wife alerted me to her findings on this product. I guess I will be trying the Juicy Fruit method.

moles

I have mole(s) and was told of the mixture using castor oil, and was told to use "scented" castor oil. No where was I able to find "scented" castor oil until a neighbor told me to try a beauty supply store. Low and behold they have all kinds of "scented" castor oil.

Best place to plant?

A kind person dropped off a few "mole plants" while we were away. I've discovered they are poisonous so I don't want them planted in the flower bed. A side walk is between the flower bed and the lawn anyway. I do want the moles gone! They need a new place to hang out other than my front and back yard. How far from the lawn do the plants need to be planted? Does Juicy Fruit gum actually work?

Mole Plants

Hi, Laura. Unfortunately, mole plants have not been proven to definitely deter moles. Their odor is what supposedly keeps the moles away, but you would have to plant them throughout your lawn and flower bed to effectively get rid of the moles (most people don’t love to do this because of the poisonous plant qualities). Juicy Fruit gum has been an effective method, but keep in mind that it will kill the moles, and others will probably come back. Consider trying some of our organic methods above, especially trying to lower the number of grubs in your lawn. If the moles don’t have anything to eat, they won’t come back. Good luck!

Armadillo's

Why are they so distructive to my yard? Each morning I wake up to deep holes and small holes and my carpet grass ripped out. What can I do to get rid of them? HELP.

No powdered red pepper

Please don't advocate using powdered red pepper to deter rodents. If you've ever seen a squirrel scratch it's eyes out from the pain of red pepper, you would think twice before using it. There are much more effective and humane ways to deal with rodents.

Red peppet

Sounds like a good two for one deal get rid of the moles and get rid of squirrels

How to kill a mole

I had a mole issue, and used every conceivable method to try and kill them. I finally found an article online that said to stick a piece of Juicy Fruit gum in the hole and cover it up. Sure enough, no more mole. Moles eat the gum but cannot digest it, leading to their death. Cost...25 cents!!!

How to Kill a Mole

Tell me, after 14 months after using the J F gum, are the moles still GONE? I have tried several 'cures' and not working so far.
BTW what state are you in? I am in FL. Seems certain methods work in one part of the county & not the other. Tks

Great article - I was having

Great article - I was having problems with a mole in my garden for many years, and tried various methods of getting rid but with no such luck! So a neighbour recommended that I used a traditional mole catcher, and called this guy www.lancashiremolecatcher.com

Couldnt recommend him enough!

Don't forget mole crickets.

Don't forget mole crickets. Very destructive to gardens and a real problem in Florida..even the pythons won't touch them (lol).

last year I had something

last year I had something eating my cantaloupe , for every 6 it got I got 2 not good odds there. I thought it was a mole because there is a hole in the garden box (fenced in) and inside of the fence are 3 12x12 garden boxes . there are what I had always been told are mole trails through the yard kind of a country setting with creek down over the hill. But I see you say they primarily eat insects and grubs so what would be eating my cantaloupe ? If it didn't eat so many I wouldn't mind oh tomatoes too, but the ratio me to them is not even close to fair, and what ever it is has to go. what do you suggest is eating everything and what should I do? also could it be rabbits and the mole trails are just coincidental?

What animal it might be will

What animal it might be will depend on your location. It is likely not a mole, because of its diet. Voles (similar to mice) dig shallow tunnels that run along the lawn, as moles do; these rodents can be destructive in the garden. Other small rodents, such as mice might be a possibility as well. Chipmunks also dig tunnels, although you might not see the tunnels running along the surface. Gophers leave mounds of dirt at tunnel entrances, but not tunnels along the grass. Large holes could be a woodchuck, but they don't have shallow tunnels. Rabbits, crows, raccoons, squirrels, coyotes, deer . . . just about any animal that eats fruit as part of its diet will take advantage of a melon. Raccoons like melons (and corn) especially. What animal it is will affect how you protect the fruit. Good luck!

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