How to Get Rid of Moles in Your Yard Easily (Top 9 Methods)
9 SAFE and effective remedies to get rid of moles in your yard — without using toxic baits and gases!
If you’re been waking up to unsightly mounds and molehills in your backyard, this guide on how to get rid of moles is perfect for you.
Moles tend to stay underground so it can be tricky at first to get rid of them. But this guide covers all the leading home remedies you can use for mole control starting today.
Getting rid of moles is not always necessary, as they do NOT eat plants.
However, their tunnels can be a problem as they push up mounds of earth and often harm the root systems of growing plants.
In addition, there are few natural predators of this burrowing mammal because of their subterranean habits and musky odor. Snakes, owls, and fox are probably their biggest threat.
In this article, we will cover what moles are and what they look like, what causes moles in the first place, and the 9 ways you can get rid of them.
What are Moles?
Moles are small burrowing insectivores that are around 6 to 8 inches long. They are usually brown to gray with their characteristic slender, hairless snouts.
They have small eyes and ears, which are concealed by fur, and large spade-like front feet that serve them well for digging.
In the US, there are seven species of moles including the common or eastern mole, the star-nosed mole, the hairy-tailed mole, and the shrew mole. The eastern mole is a big eater and can consume 70-80% of its body weight in insects every day!
Moles aren’t always bad to have around; if you can tolerate their burrows, moles will eliminate many insects while aerating your soil.
Classified as insectivores, they tunnel year-round in their below-ground network (often using each tunnel only once) searching for earthworms, larvae (grubs), and other insects on which they feed.
But understandably, for homeowners that want to make their lawns look beautiful, moles are a real pest. They leave raised ridges and small mounds everywhere with their mole tunnels which can definitely ruin the look of your yard.
Though there is a general myth surrounding moles that they eat plant roots, that’s not true but they can still manage to disrupt the root system of your plants while they’re looking for insects.
Life Cycle of a Mole
Moles live a solitary life, only tolerating others during mating season. Breeding takes place during the spring between early February and late March depending on your locale.
After a 4-6 week pregnancy, the single litter is born usually consisting of 3-5 hairless pups. By mid-summer, the young are able to care for themselves.
Females reach sexual maturity the following growing season.
Are Moles Dangerous?
Fortunately, moles generally aren’t dangerous to humans since we rarely come into contact with them. But they can sometimes carry parasites such as fleas and ticks, and in very rare cases have been found to also carry rabies.
Top 3 Causes of Moles
A mole’s tunnel system is where it lives and spends its entire life. For this reason, they look for certain things to make up their ideal conditions. Let’s look at what these are:
1. Access to Food
Moles tend to eat quite a lot. As we mentioned above, some moles can eat up to 70-80% of their own body weight in insects every day. The types of insects they eat include white grubs, beetles, earthworms, and larvae.
If there are a lot of insects around for moles to eat, they are more likely to start burrowing their.
Moles tend to be active throughout the day and prefer living where the soil is moist which helps them regulate their temperature.
So, if you’ve been overwatering, it might make your garden more attractive to moles. This is especially important if the surrounding areas are dry.
3. Certain Landscaping Elements
The moles’ main runways tend to follow landscaping features like fence rows, paths, and other manmade borders.
Moles also burrow under shrubs and trees in order to find the insects that live in their root systems.
3 Signs You Have Moles in Your Yard
Worried you have a mole problem? Their damage might be similar to that caused by voles, rodents, or mice but there are definitely some key things that differentiate a mole’s behavior and damage.
Here are the top 3 signs you have moles in your yard:
One of the top signs you have moles is if you start noticing molehills. Moles spend nearly their entire lives in tunnels that they dig themselves, ranging in depth from just beneath the surface to 25 inches or more.
A molehill is formed when loose dirt is pushed up a shaft to the surface at the tunnel entrance.
2. Dead Grass
Have you started noticing patches of dead grass in your yard? It might indicate a mole problem.
This is because as moles make their tunnels, they tend to disrupt root systems of grasses nearby which kills them at the surface level.
3. Mounds That Are Far Apart
Mounds are a telltale sign of moles, but gophers do something similar too. But the key difference is that molehills are usually about six feet apart while gopher mounds are usually closer together.
9 Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of Moles
There are many home remedies that can help you if you’re currently facing a mole infestation. Let’s look at what these are:
This is generally considered to be the most effective and reliable method for controlling nuisance moles. Mole traps should be placed in early spring when tunnels are first noticed, or after the first fall rains.
Determine which tunnels are active before setting traps. These can be located by flattening the run, marking the location, and checking to see if the tunnel is raised within a day or two.
Traps work well because they capitalize on the mole’s natural instinct to clear an obstructed tunnel.
Another method is to use poison to kill moles while they’re in their burrows. A common way is to use mole baits that are shaped like worms or grubs. Moles are attracted to it and they eventually die 12-24 hours after eating them.
The reason why this isn’t a preferable method to use often is that it can be a risk of poisoning for your pets who might end up accidentally eating them. It’s also not safe if you have young children.
3. Eliminating Their Food Source
In lawns, moles feed heavily on soil-dwelling insects, including Japanese beetle grubs. Milky Spore and/or beneficial nematodes can be used to eliminate these pests and will generally decrease tunneling or feeding activity.
However, if your soil is healthy, moles may still feed on earthworms after the grubs are gone. Use various methods to repel these insects in order to control their food source.
4. Applying Repellents
Natural castor oil repellents work well to keep burrowing animals from lawns, gardens and other planting areas. This is because castor oil will upset their digestive tracts which will make your lawn less appealing for them to live in.
So apply castor oil when tunnels or cone-shaped mounds appear in soil from early spring to late fall.
Other natural mole repellents you can use include red pepper, cayenne pepper, tobacco, or coffee grounds.
5. Digging a Trench for a Barrier
Dig a trench roughly 6 inches wide and two feet deep. Fill it with rock or line it with wire to prevent burrowing pests from invading garden areas.
This is definitely a time-confusing option, but it will help future ones from also burrowing their way into your yard.
6. Using Plants as Barriers
Moles don’t like daffodils, marigolds, and other plants in the allium family because of their strong scents.
So you can create a natural barrier in your garden by planting these species along the borders, or you can put them in raised beds to protect root systems.
7. Using Ultrasonic Devices
The Sonic Mole Chaser doesn’t play music, but instead produces a penetrating underground sonic pulse that drives underground rodents crazy.
Pets won’t be affected but moles find the noise irritating and move to quieter surroundings. Kind of like playing “Heavy Metal” for your grandmother who loves Lawrence Welk.
8. Stimulating Drought Conditions
Moles prefer moist, soft soil. So make your lawn less mole-friendly by avoiding any overwatering. Many people believe our lawns need a lot of water to stay nice and lush, but that’s actually not true.
You only need an inch of water per week to keep your lawns looking good and healthy. But that would stimulate a ‘drought’ condition for the moles, making your lawn less appealing to them.
It will also limit earthworm activity, helping control their food source simultaneously. The only issue is that this is a long-term solution and not one to help the existing mole problem you might have.
9. Keeping Your Lawn Tidy
Moles prefer the safety of being under cover and, so, if you keep your lawn tidy it will eliminate a lot of the shelter they can use.
Do this by keeping your grass mowed and garden beds manicured. Remove any wood stacks or debris piles you might have.
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