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The pest control professional told me that there may be moles in my yard. Some parts of the lawn were torn up, especially in small areas where the lawn did not grow well and was bare. They told me that removing moles can be quite expensive.

Are there effective ways that I can remove moles by myself?

10 Answers 10

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You did the right thing in hiring a professional with local expertise. However it is also a good idea to check that the answer you received covers all the symptoms you mention.

  • Why your lawn?: They are there for the food: Moles eat grubs, insects and their primary food, worms. Voles eat a wide variety of plant material and seeds.
  • Identification:
    • Here is a site with a picture of typical mole damage. If you see long lines of dead grass and little mounds of earth you can be fairly certain you have moles.
    • You might have voles which are smaller and can damage plant material. Their runs are commonly found in the grass at surface level. There are various species but none of them make little mounds of earth. More detailed description is found here
  • Solutions: trapping is the most effective way.
    • Voles can be trapped using mouse traps. Bait with peanut butter and cover with a little box with an entrance hole to prevent squirrels and birds from setting off the trap.
    • Moles are larger, chipmunk size, and require special mole traps placed over their main runs. If you can rent or buy mole traps and identify the runs they use everyday you can do this yourself. I see that the renowned pest control manufacturer,Victor sells mole traps but you still need to identify the best spots to trap.
  • Do not bother trying these ineffective and possibly dangerous remedies from the Ohio State site mentioned above:

Pickle juice, broken glass, red pepper, razor blades, bleach, moth balls, rose branches, human hair balls, vibrators, ultrasonic devices, castor bean derivatives (Castor Oil), and explosives may relieve frustrations, but they have little value in controlling moles and may harm you or the environment.

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    The quote is dead on. +1 for trapping, in the long run a mole wrench (tee handled stick), observation to determine the main thoroughfare runs and traps paid off the best. Being as they are insectivores, moles attack lawns that are loaded with insect larvae and worms. So it's a good indicator that you either have a lot of grubs and an unhealthy lawn or lots of earthworms churning up your soil and a healthy lawn. How's that for "D'd if you do, d'd if you don't"? – Fiasco Labs Feb 22 '14 at 17:44
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    I know everyone likes trapping and killing or relocating but it is a short term solution. If you don't eliminate the food source another mole will move in and take over where the last one left off. – hortstu Feb 25 '14 at 18:25
  • Just a note about ultrasonic devices (since you mentioned those). I hear they sometimes attract other animals, like rats or snakes (so if that bothers you, I'd look elsewhere), although I don't know if that was true or mere coincidence. I've heard they work for a while, sometimes, but they generally don't sound like a real solution. Some people have no complaints about them. However, they do seem a little risky, considering the other things. I've never tried them. – Shule Oct 2 '14 at 0:09
  • The reference from Ohio State University indicates that they do not work. If you haven't tried them and only heard about them then I'm not sure your comment helps readers. – kevinsky Oct 2 '14 at 10:16
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I've done a bit of research, and this is what I've learned,

  1. Vibration devices don't work.

  2. Poison can work (Talprid Mole Bait on Amazon). It's expensive and requires you to get the bait into an active run.

  3. Traps can work (Victor Mole Trap on Amazon). Cheap and reusable, but requires quite a bit of trial and error to get it setup right. The amazon page has a user-supplied video that is very helpful.

  4. Castor oil and other "natural" solutions don't work.

  5. If you can catch them tunneling, you can plug a hose down into their run. The water can overwhelm them and they'll come to the surface. I remember my dad doing this when I was a kid. Personally I've never caught them tunneling. Not sure if it isn't apparent to me or if I just haven't been lucky. Regardless, if you pour 50 gallons of water down through their mounds (which indicate the deeper tunnels where they live), seems like it'd give them a pretty hard time. Just speculation on my part though.

Most of all, I learned there's no easy fix. The only solutions that work require a lot of time and patience devoted to the task. Not like setting out a mousetrap with cheese.

Happy hunting.

EDIT: Finally, I found a method that solved the problem fairly easily. There's a product called "gopher gasser". They are basically flare-like sticks that burn and produce sulphur smoke. There are probably similar products.

When you see the mole mounds, start by flushing them with water. Jam a running hose into the center of the mound until the water starts draining easily into the burrow. Now stop with the water. You just cleared a path into the mole's inner sanctum. Light the gopher gasser, and wait until it's spewing smoke well. The smoke it produces is heavier than air so it sinks into the burrow, and suffocates the moles. Be careful not to extinguish the gasser as the hole will of course be wet. If you did it right, all of the smoke should be flowing down the hole.

Repeat this for every mound you find where you can flush to open a clear path into the burrow. If you can't get water freely flowing, don't bother. I have about a 75% success rate getting the water draining. You want to push a running hose into the middle of the mound. Sometimes you have to fish around with the hose to get it flowing. That kind of makes a mess of your lawn, but it's worth it.

I did this over 2-3 weeks, using about 6-8 gopher gasser sticks, repeating every time I found a mound. Moles are completely gone for 2+ months now, after a year of them wreaking havoc with my lawn.

This is by far the simplest removal method I've found. Way easier than trying to set traps. The gopher gasser sticks cost around $6-8 for a pack of six. I found them at my local Lowe's. Looks like Home Depot carries them also.

  • Vibration devices don't work. So called "Mole Plant" is a noxious member of the Spurge family that will start growing everywhere and has a latex sap that burns your skin so you need gloves if you pull it. Predatory animals have to dig for them and they tend to hate the taste and smell of moles; however, they will go for the poison baits. Find the established run, not the side tunnels and set several traps. As to the water method, it takes time and patience. Also, moles are insectivores, so poisoned grain is inappropriate, has to be something like you mention. – Fiasco Labs Feb 22 '14 at 17:40
  • Instead of the gopher gasser flare type smokers, you could also try to gas them with your tailpipe emissions with something like this youtube.com/watch?v=eqQOulNvmro – WebChemist Sep 29 '14 at 17:20
  • You'll probably want to be careful about the gas. It might put things in your soil that can get into food you grow in it (if you grow anything in it). So, I would research if this is a problem if I were you. – Shule Oct 2 '14 at 0:13
  • Carbon dioxide gas, from dry ice pellets, should work. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 15 '16 at 13:22
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I've never used it on moles but predator pee has worked for me in the past, in the case of other unwanted animals. I believe the one you want is bobcat urine. Moles may not be your problem but if you use bobcat urine properly you should be able to get rid of any rodents in the area.

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    On gophers which depend on their sense of smell for warning, yes, this would work. On moles which spend very little time on the surface where predators can get them, smell has little effect. I've had them burrow right over the top of so-called repellants. – Fiasco Labs Feb 22 '14 at 17:53
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Something people in germany do to get rid of moles is to bury empty bottles (e.g. beer bottles) so that only the neck of the bottle sticks out of the ground. The wind blowing over the opening will create a sound the moles apparently do not like.

  • Do you know of any references to this working? – kevinsky Jan 23 '14 at 15:38
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I think the Rodenator should take care of your problem. This device fills tunnels with propane and oxygen and then detonates the mix. The shock wave kills all tunneling or burrowing animals.

enter image description here

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    Holy Mole! Do you need some kind of licence to use this thing? – kevinsky Sep 30 '14 at 22:28
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    I'm wondering what would be worse? The burrowing rodents or destroying your lawn the old fashioned way ... with explosives! Still, I like the Tim "The Toolman" Taylor approach to this thing :D – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Feb 4 '15 at 12:00
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A neighbour recommended that I plant wild garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) along the borders to my garden. Apparently moles hate the smell of it and it chases them away.

http://www.plantzafrica.com/planttuv/tulbaghviol.htm

That's the plant I'm talking about, and on the site, they even mention using it as a mole repellant.

I like this solution. Not only is it natural and does not kill the moles, but it's an attractive and useful plant.

As for efficacy, I can't comment on that. I moved away from where the mole problem was before I could effect this.

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This may sound unreasonable and ridiculous.. but it worked.

I got two barn cats and they hunted like CRAZY.. I used to have a mouse and chipmunk problem... HAD the problem. Cats took care of them within the first month.

  • The most optimistic site I found said that cats and dogs could discourage moles. healthycanadians.gc.ca/environment-environnement/pesticides/… Unless the cats are willing to go into mole runs I think trapping is more effective. – kevinsky Jan 16 '14 at 14:23
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    Well my cats fought racoons and caught squirrels too... Must be a Maine Coon / Barn cat thing :-) My dog on the other hand is as useful as a bag of hair! – Phlume Jan 16 '14 at 14:46
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    Cats themselves can be a nuisance to a garden. My neighbor's cats sometimes cause trouble in my garden. They clawed at the soil in my raised flower beds, probably because it looks like a litter box. They also dug out food scraps I buried under the mulch. – JoJo Feb 22 '14 at 8:37
  • lesser of two evils I suppose... – Phlume Feb 22 '14 at 13:10
  • I've watched a runt calico female take out a digger squirrel larger than she was to feed her young. What you have probably are gophers which are herbivores that feed both on the surface and subsurface. Moles are insectivores that have a peculiar taste and a smell that drive off most predators. Except for pushing up dirt from the tunnels and migration, they spend no time on the surface so only a digging predator like a terrier will go for them and that's a worse problem than the moles. I had to finally trap the moles out as the cats couldn't be bothered on such prey. – Fiasco Labs Feb 22 '14 at 17:50
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Get a spray bottle and spray straight ammonia in the entry holes. The next day you will see the dead rodents on your lawn.

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    Have any references for that? – kevinsky Apr 17 '16 at 18:11
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  1. The moles are there because their food is there: mostly likely grubs. Put down grub killer per directions.
  2. Plug all holes but one and light a large smoke bomb (farmer sized, at farm stores, sold for gophers), and put it in the final hole. Close up the hole and wait. It should kill them.
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I've tried everything ever conceived to get rid of gophers. I set traps until they were worn out, and not worn out from catching anything either. I used Gasser's until the bank called and said if I didn't stop, I'd have to file bankruptcy The only truly reliable and consistent way is to start shoveling. I find the runway, and get right in there and dig until I find a gopher. This method makes a hell of a mess, but when the day is done you can feel proud that you out smarted a pesky gopher. And the next day you can spend filling in the trench, which may be up to a quarter mile long, or more. But best of all, it's free. Even if you don't own a shovel, you can always find someone to borrow one from. Good luck, the sun and fresh air will do you good.

  • Digging up a quarter mile of gopher trench does not seem like a viable solution to me. – kevinsky Oct 15 '16 at 22:01

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