How to Get Rid of Moles in Your Yard (2024)

By Amanda Lutz Updated June 28, 2024

  • Signs of Moles
  • Mole Behavior
  • Mole Damage
  • Natural Repellents
  • Mole Traps
  • Professional Removal
  • Mole Prevention
  • Our Recommendation
  • FAQ

Moles are rarely as cute or charming as cartoons suggest and can cause widespread damage across your lawn. Mole tunneling disrupts your turf, destroys grass, and can leave a network of ridges across any homeowner’s yard. Our guide will help you identify moles in your yard and lead you through the most effective ways of removing moles from flower beds, garden beds, and other outdoor areas.

Signs of Moles in Your Yard

Moles dig beneath the earth’s surface for their food, which includes bugs, grubs, and earthworms. Common signs of moles include the following:

  • Lines of brown grass or grassless areas where digging has disrupted plant roots
  • Mole hills, which are symmetrical mounds of loose, fluffy dirt
  • Slightly raised ridges through your lawn where vegetation turns brown

Homeowners frequently confuse moles with pocket gophers or voles, but moles are meat-eaters, and produce tunnels that are more raised than other creatures’ tunnels. You must positively identify the specific invader that’s destroying your lawn so that you can address the problem accordingly.

Understanding Mole Behavior

Moles create extensive tunnel systems in search of food and living spaces, and most of the damage moles cause is related to their search for food. Moles can eat 70% to 100% of their weight each day in grubs, worms, and insects. They dig long surface tunnels that can extend by 150 feet each day to find more food and may never revisit the same tunnel twice, making mole-removal challenging.

Mole Damage to Lawns and Gardens

Moles are notorious for the damage they cause to lawns and gardens. They frequently burrow along fence lines and beside different structures, leaving soft soil, large dirt mounds, and dead grass behind. Molehills at burrow entrance and exit points can be several inches in diameter and present tripping hazards.

Moles are solitary creatures, but they can still cause much damage individually. In fact, moles don’t travel in colonies, so only a few typically inhabit a single acre of land. However, their tunnels can attract other species, such as voles and field mice, which travel in colonies and spread quickly. Mole activity can also make lawns more susceptible to weed growth.

Natural Mole Repellents

To begin the process of removing moles from your property, start with natural mole repellents, which are safe for pets and children, eco-friendly, and humane. Below are some effective options.

  • Castor oil spray: Saturate the ground where you notice moles and molehills with castor oil, which can reduce mole activity. You can prepare your own castor oil repellent by mixing 6 ounces of castor oil with 2 tablespoons of dish soap and a gallon of water. Irrigate the area with a half inch of water before you start applying, and add another inch or more of water to allow the repellent to sink into the soil. Apply weekly, as rain can leach away the repellent.
  • Plant barriers: The scent of certain plants can repel moles. Moles dislike the smell of daffodils, marigolds, and allium plants. Plant mole-repelling plants in raised beds or pots where they can mature without interference.
  • Ultrasonic devices: Ultrasonic repellents are spikes that release small vibrations into the ground. These vibrations and sounds irritate moles, which are sensitive to noise, and cause them to leave. Ultrasonic repellents may be battery-operated or solar-powered and are available in different strengths. Read customer reviews before choosing a device to determine which brand is best for your needs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the best placement and frequency for getting rid of moles.

Mole Trapping Techniques

Unfortunately, natural methods aren’t always effective for getting rid of moles. If you don’t have any success with these, move on to do-it-yourself (DIY) mole traps, which are the most effective method for controlling moles. You’re likely to have success with these traps in spring and fall when moles aren’t as deep into the soil as they are during hotter or colder months. Wear gloves when handling any type of mole trap.

Below are several different types of mole traps that are available for purchase.

Live Traps

Live traps are the best option for homeowners who seek a humane way to remove moles. They’re designed to trap moles without harming them so that you can release them away from your property.

To use a live trap, find an active mole tunnel and set the trap at the mouth of a tunnel. A mole’s motion or weight will trigger the trap. Release a mole at least 5 miles away from your home after trapping it so it doesn’t return. Wear gloves while releasing the mole, and turn the trap away from you when you open it.

Choker Loop Traps

Choker loop traps include spring-loaded mechanisms that detect a mole’s movement and use a choker loop that tightens around a mole’s body. You must dig a hole across a mole tunnel to set a choker trap. Use a garden trowel to dig a hole that’s a little bit deeper than the tunnel and just as wide. Place the trap so its loop encircles the area along which moles travel. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you place the trap correctly.

Scissor Traps

Scissor traps are designed to kill moles instantly, but in the most humane way possible. They typically straddle the runway of a burrow to catch a mole during travel, and close jaws in a scissor-like grip as a mole passes through an active tunnel.

Using a scissor trap requires finding an active mole tunnel. The easiest way to tell if a tunnel is active is to flatten it and its molehill. If the tunnel is raised again in a day or two, it’s active. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placing the trap over the tunnel and activating the set mechanism.

Professional Mole Removal Services

If DIY mole-removal strategies aren’t working, or you prefer someone else to handle the job, hire a professional. Pest control professionals will know how to identify moles properly and will use a variety of tactics to remove them from your property. Your pest control specialist may use live traps or lethal traps depending on your preferences and the layout of your property. A professional might also recommend tactics such as removing moles’ food sources.

Professional removal of a mole infestation costs $300–$500, depending on the severity of the infestation. Services may include fumigation, trapping, and the removal of food sources.

Ask a company the following questions to make sure you get the best professional for the job:

  • Are your exterminators licensed and trained?
  • Are your mole control services safe for pets and children?
  • Can you offer advice to keep moles from returning?
  • Can you provide a written estimate for services?
  • Do you have experience in mole removal?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • What methods will you use to get rid of my mole infestation?

*Cost information provided sourced from Fixr.

Preventing Future Mole Infestations

Once you have successfully removed moles from your property, you must take action to prevent them from returning. Consider the methods of prevention below.

  • Barriers and fencing: Use aluminum sheets, hardware cloth, or mesh to create barriers beneath gardens and landscaping features. Bury barriers 24 to 30 inches deep, and allow only 6 inches to protrude upward from the ground’s surface.
  • Correct drainage issues: Moles prefer damp soil and cool temperatures. Correcting drainage issues can eliminate areas in which moles want to live.
  • Lawn maintenance: Moles like to feel sheltered and protected, and overgrown lawns provide a sense of security. Routine mowing, dethatching, and insect control can help deter moles from making your property their home.

Reducing food sources: Moles mainly feed on grubs and insects. Lawn treatments to get rid of grubs and insects can eliminate the food moles eat. Consider using a dish soap and water solution, diatomaceous earth, beneficial nematodes, milky spore bacteria, or neem oil.

Our Recommendation

Moles can cause substantial damage to lawns and gardens, and their tunnels can attract other critters, such as voles and pocket gophers, to your property. Try DIY mole removal methods to get rid of these pests, and if those aren’t successful, move on to traps. Finally, contact a pest control specialist if your mole infestation is out of hand.

How to Get Rid of Moles in Your Yard FAQ

What is the fastest way to get rid of moles in your yard?

Using mole-specific traps is the fastest way to get rid of moles in your yard. You can get aboveground or belowground traps. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

What scent do moles hate the most?

Moles hate castor oil the most, but you must use it generously, as moles can escape its scent by digging deep into the ground.

Why do I suddenly have moles in my yard?

You might suddenly have moles in your yard because the creatures are in search of food. Their primary food sources are earthworms, grubs, and lawn insects.

Will Dawn dish soap get rid of moles?

A small amount of Dawn dish soap mixed with castor oil can help get rid of moles. The smell of castor oil repels moles and eliminates their food sources.

How deep do moles tunnel?

Moles can tunnel as far as 40 inches. Moles typically only tunnel deeper for shelter from severe weather.

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How to Get Rid of Moles in Your Yard (2024)


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