How to Get Rid of Moles in Yard (and Keep Them Away)

If you’re waking up to molehills and unsightly mounds in your backyard, this guide on removing moles is for you.

Moles are pesky underground creatures, making it tricky to get rid of them at first. But fear not! This guide covers effective home remedies for controlling moles starting today.

While moles don’t eat plants, their tunnels can cause issues by disrupting root systems and creating mounds of earth. Additionally, their subterranean lifestyle and musky odor make them less susceptible to natural predators like snakes, owls, and foxes.

In this article, we’ll delve into what moles are, their appearance, what causes them, and nine methods to eradicate them.

What are Moles?

Moles are small insect-eating mammals, typically 6 to 8 inches long, with brown to gray fur and slender, hairless snouts. They have small eyes and ears hidden by fur, along with large front feet ideal for digging.

In the US, there are seven species of moles, including the common or eastern mole, star-nosed mole, hairy-tailed mole, and shrew mole. The eastern mole, for instance, can consume a significant portion of its body weight in insects daily.

While moles can be beneficial by controlling insect populations and aerating soil, their burrowing habits can wreak havoc on lawns, leaving raised ridges and mounds.

Despite the misconception that moles eat plant roots, they mainly feed on insects, though their tunneling behavior can still disrupt plant roots.

Mole Life Cycle

Moles lead a mostly solitary life, only interacting with others during mating season. Breeding typically occurs in the spring, ranging from early February to late March, depending on your location.

After a pregnancy lasting 4-6 weeks, a single litter of usually 3-5 hairless pups is born. By mid-summer, these young moles become self-sufficient.

Female moles reach sexual maturity during the following growing season.

Are Moles Dangerous?

Generally, moles aren’t a direct threat to humans since we seldom encounter them. However, they can sometimes harbor parasites like fleas and ticks. In extremely rare instances, moles have been found to carry rabies.

Top 3 Reasons Why Moles Are Present

1. Abundant Food Supply

Moles are voracious eaters, consuming a significant portion of their body weight in insects daily. They feed on various insects such as white grubs, beetles, earthworms, and larvae.

When there’s a plentiful supply of insects in an area, moles are more likely to establish their burrows there.

2. Excessive Moisture

Moles thrive in moist soil, as it helps them regulate their body temperature. Over watering your garden creates ideal conditions for moles, making it more appealing for them to inhabit.

This is especially true if the surrounding areas are relatively dry, as moles are attracted to areas with consistent moisture levels.

3. Landscaping Feature

Moles often follow man-made landscaping features like fence rows, paths, and borders. They also burrow beneath shrubs and trees to access insects residing in their root systems.

These features provide convenient pathways and food sources for moles, encouraging them to establish their tunnel networks in these areas.

3 Clear Signs of Mole Activity in Your Yard

Concerned about moles in your yard? While their damage might resemble that caused by other creatures like voles or rodents, there are distinct indicators of mole presence.

Here are the top signs you have moles in your yard:

1. Molehills

A prominent sign of mole activity is the appearance of molehills. Moles spend most of their time digging tunnels underground, ranging from just beneath the surface to over 25 inches deep.

When they push loose dirt up to the surface through tunnel entrances, it forms molehills.

2. Patchy Dead Grass

Noticing patches of dead grass in your yard? This could be a sign of mole activity. As moles tunnel beneath the surface, they often disrupt the root systems of nearby grass, leading to patches of dead grass at the surface.

3. Spaced-Out Mounds

Mounds are another indication of mole activity, although gophers can create similar mounds. The key difference lies in the spacing: molehills are typically spaced about six feet apart, whereas gopher mounds are usually closer together.

Effective Home Remedies for Mole Removal

If you’re dealing with a mole problem, there are several home remedies that can help you tackle the issue. Let’s explore them:

1. Trapping

Trapping is widely regarded as the most efficient method for dealing with nuisance moles. Place mole traps in early spring when you first notice tunnels or after the initial fall rains.

Identify active tunnels by flattening the run, marking the location, and checking for raised tunnels within a day or two.

Traps work effectively by exploiting the mole’s natural instinct to clear obstructed tunnels.

2. Baiting

Another approach is to use bait to eliminate moles while they’re in their burrows. Common mole baits are shaped like worms or grubs, attracting moles to consume them.

Moles typically perish 12-24 hours after ingesting the poison. However, caution should be exercised with this method due to the risk of poisoning pets that might accidentally consume the bait.

It’s also not advisable if you have young children around, as they might unknowingly come into contact with the bait.

3. Remove Their Food Source

Moles primarily feed on soil-dwelling insects, such as Japanese beetle grubs, found in lawns. To reduce mole activity, target their food source.

Use products like Milky Spore or beneficial nematodes to eliminate these pests, which can decrease tunneling and feeding behavior.

Even with a healthy soil ecosystem, moles may still feed on earthworms after the grubs are gone. Employ various methods to repel these insects and thereby control the mole’s food supply.

4. Use Repellents

Natural castor oil repellents are effective in deterring burrowing animals from lawns and gardens. Castor oil disrupts their digestive tracts, making your lawn less attractive to them.

Apply castor oil when you notice tunnels or cone-shaped mounds in the soil, from early spring to late fall.

Additionally, other natural repellents like red pepper, cayenne pepper, tobacco, or coffee grounds can also be used to discourage moles.

5. Create Barriers with Trenches

Constructing a trench approximately 6 inches wide and two feet deep can serve as a barrier to prevent burrowing pests from invading garden areas. Fill the trench with rocks or line it with wire to deter moles and other pests.

While this option requires time and effort, it can prevent future infestations by discouraging burrowing creatures from entering your yard.

6. Planting Barrier Plants

Moles dislike plants with strong scents, such as daffodils and marigolds from the allium family. Utilize these species to create a natural barrier in your garden.

Plant them along borders or in raised beds to safeguard root systems and discourage mole activity.

7. Using Ultrasonic Devices

Sonic Mole Chasers emit a penetrating underground sonic pulse that disturbs underground rodents like moles.

While pets remain unaffected, moles find the noise irritating and tend to relocate to quieter surroundings. It’s akin to playing “Heavy Metal” for someone who prefers Lawrence Welk.

8. Creating Drier Conditions

Moles thrive in moist, soft soil, so altering your lawn’s moisture levels can make it less hospitable for them. Avoid overwatering your lawn, as excessive moisture attracts moles. Contrary to common belief, lawns only need around an inch of water per week to stay healthy.

By limiting watering, you can create a “drought” condition for moles, making your lawn less appealing to them. This approach also helps control their food source by reducing earthworm activity.

However, it’s important to note that this is a long-term solution and may not provide immediate relief for existing mole problems in your yard.

9. Maintaining a Neat Lawn

Moles seek shelter under cover, so keeping your lawn tidy can reduce the hiding spots available to them.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Regularly mow your grass to keep it short and neat.
  • Keep your garden beds well-groomed and free from overgrowth.
  • Remove any wood stacks or piles of debris that could provide hiding places for moles.

Preventing Moles from Returning

You’ve bid farewell to your mole problem, but now it’s crucial to keep them from coming back. Here’s how:

1. Protective Plants

Certain plants like alliums, daffodils, fritillarias, garlic, marigolds, and shallots naturally repel pests, including moles. Planting these in your flower beds or around your vegetable garden acts as a deterrent, keeping moles at bay.

2. Manage Mulch and Compost

Mulch and compost piles can be enticing to moles. If you’re composting, consider using enclosed bins to deter them.

Avoid piling thick layers of mulch against tree trunks or plant stems, as this can attract insect pests and lead to decay, which in turn may attract moles.

3. Eliminate Their Food Source

Use products like Milky Spore or beneficial nematodes to eliminate the grubs that moles feed on. By removing their food source, you make your yard less appealing to moles.

4. Address Drainage Issues

Areas where water collects in your yard can attract moles, as they prefer soft, damp ground. Correct any drainage problems by leveling your lawn. This not only prevents damage but also makes your yard less attractive to moles and the bugs they feed on.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why do Marigolds and Daffodils Repel Moles?

Daffodil bulbs contain toxins that moles may avoid, while the natural chemicals in marigolds could deter the grubs and insects that moles feed on.

2. How Deep are Mole Tunnels?

Mole tunnels can extend up to 3 feet underground, resembling complex homes with food storage and bathroom areas.

3. What’s the Quickest Natural Way to Get Rid of Moles?

You can set mole traps, use bait or repellents like castor oil, install an in-ground fence, or seek assistance from a professional mole control service.

4. What Does Mole Damage Look Like?

Mole damage typically appears as raised linear ridges and volcano-shaped mounds in your lawn, formed by soil pushed up from underground. If you notice multiple lines of ridges entering and exiting your yard, it’s a sign of mole infestation, requiring professional intervention.


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