Damaged grass in the yard may be caused by various things, and one of the most annoying ones is the yard moles. This outdoor pest dig tunnels beneath the soil in search of grubs and earthworms they are feeding on. As moles commonly dig these tunnels excessively, they destroy plants’ roots and thus, eventually let the grass die.
Making sure moles is the culprit of all damages in your yard is quite simple, as this pest leave their mounds of dirt resulted from digging the tunnels. Seeing one or two moles foraging in your garden is also a sign needs to be treated soon.
Moles, in fact, provide some credits to your lawn, including controlling Japanese beetle infestation by minimizing its population, because yard moles are feeding on their larvae—the grubs. Yard moles also aerating the soil, keeping beneficial nutrients inside, which is really good for plants. Quite different from folk thought that moles feed on flowers and plants, they do not. These animals, on the contrary, feed on grubs, small insects, and rats. However, they do cause damages to plants because of their excessive urges to dig the tunnels for sheltering.
How to kill moles
If one can live with yard moles existing around the house, they might get the credits moles may provide. However, for some who can’t, moles can be a big nuisance, since the pest tend to dig tunnels beneath the soil, leaving plants roots damaged and eventually kill the plantation. There are some methods of getting rid of moles infesting the yard. However, killing moles is often chosen to get rid of the pest permanently. This method is believed to be effective, especially in yards with large mole infestation. To kill moles, there are some methods to choose:
If choosing to trap moles in your yard, you can either choose a live trap or spring trap—known also as prongs to eliminate moles infesting the yard. Both ways can be effective, as long as you locate proper active tunnels. Either trapping method you choose, you will still need to provide time and energy for the next step—relocating living moles, or getting rid of mole carcasses. For a long time, trapping has been proven effective in controlling mole population, and below are trapping methods you might want to consider trying:
Live trapping is considered a more humane way of controlling moles foraging around the yard. This will not kill the moles, but you will need to relocate trapped living moles into another location far away from the place you are living. To set up a live trap for yard moles, you will need:
- A deep medium bucket
- A gardening shovel
Follow the steps to properly install the traps as follow:
- Locate active tunnels, in which you often see moles wandering around.
- Dig a hole at the active tunnel, which is deep enough to set the medium bucket below the tunnel level.
- Place the bucket inside the dug hole and cover the edge with dirt.
- The mole will fall in and you can relocate it to preferred locations.
Spring traps or prongs are ready-to-use mole traps which can be bought in local hardware stores. Price ranges from USD 9 and above. This is considered as the most effective way of getting rid of moles by killing them. The trap will be activated automatically when triggered by moles, leaving their body parts squeezed. Thus, this might hurt and kill the trapped moles. To set up spring traps for getting rid of moles, here are the major steps:
- Locate active tunnels which need to be treated.
- Flatten the soil in the certain area of the tunnel with bigger size than the base of the trap.
- Set the trap over the flattened soil.
- Arm the trap based on manufacturer’s directions—might vary depending on specific products. Cover with cardboard to reduce light.
- Dispose any dead moles or move the traps if no moles are trapped after 5 to 7 days.
- Be sure these traps do not harm any children and pets.
Mole poisoning should be the last chosen treatment when other treatments do not work. Poisoning can be a double weapon, since it may put children and pets in harms. To kill moles using poison, you can buy a store bought poisoned bait intended for moles. Some of the mole poisons are visually attractive—those poisons look like worms, which moles feed on. Some other poisons are peanut-shaped and should be left on the trails moles left when digging their tunnels. Dead moles should be immediately removed, as pet cat and dog might eat them and get poisoned.
Another way to kill moles is by dehydrating them. To perform the method, you will need:
- A hand spade
- Dry ices
Kill moles by dehydrating them through these steps:
- Find active mole tunnels.
- Remove dirt from the end of the tunnels with the shovel to produce bigger entry point.
- Put a handful of dry ice into the hole. You can do the treatment for several holes at once.
- Dry ice produces carbon dioxide (CO2), which inside the tunnel will dehydrate the moles, causing them to die within few hours.
Getting rid of yard moles
Moles do not eat plants, but large infestation in the lawn or backyard may trigger severe damages. Moles also spread diseases which can be transmitted to humans and pets. Hence, getting rid of moles infesting the yard becomes crucial, especially when they start to cause more damages than giving credits to the lawn. Some methods are used in order to eliminate the rodents from our living places and thus, prevent damages and diseases they might cause.
Considering the most humane way of getting rid moles in the yard? Catching them is the answer. This methodology is not only humane but also simple enough for everyone to do. All thing needed is the courage to approach and have a physical contact with the moles. You will need a medium-sized fish net to help you doing the job and to prevent your hands from getting bitten. Locate active tunnels and carefully approach these tunnels. When moles are spotted, immediately use the net to catch them and relocate trapped moles far away from your yard. This traditional method is beneficial for small infestation, where there are only one or two moles foraging around the garden or lawn.
Scare mole away
Some ultrasonic devices are also believed to be able to get rid of moles in the yard by scaring them off. Various things do scare moles, making them go away to find another place to live. Try some of these things below to do this:
- Ultrasound devices
Store-bought devices work by producing a high-pitched sound which moles cannot endure to hear. The idea is that this high-pitched sound will be mistaken by moles as other colonies of moles. This territorial rodent will then leave to find another place to dwell. However, ultrasonic devices might not be effective in a very large yard.
- Water hose
Spray water into mole’s tunnel also scares the critters. Strong water debit gives a better effect to get rid of these rodents. You can also use water to help killing moles. Place mole traps near the tunnel exit point while spraying it with strong water.
There are some ingredients which can be used as mole repellents. Some of those are even organic and natural so that they are non-toxic and will not harm some other ecosystems. Effective repellent to get rid of yard moles include:
- Coffee ground
Moles are irritated by the smell of the coffee ground, and they will choose not to forage around the areas where the coffee ground is spread. Maintain the lawn by spreading coffee ground regularly. This will not only keep moles away but also give the soil additional nutrients.
- Botanical repellents
Some plants are effective mole deterrents. Planting castor beans, rosemary, lavender, or oleander in your garden will minimize the possibility of mole infestation. Once moles dig the soil up to make their tunnels and come to these plants, they are going to run away from the garden because of the irritating smells.
Putting mothballs around mole’s active tunnels is another effective mole deterrent. In addition, mothballs do not only discourage moles but also their food sources—smaller insects and worms. To deter moles using mothballs, place some balls around and inside mole’s holes. This will repel them from the existing holes to find another place to reside.
- Pets litter
If you are keeping a house cat or dog, you might have held an extremely cheap, but effective mole deterrents. This deterrent is your pet litter. Their urine and poop can be sprinkled near mole’s holes to scare them. They sense the smell as approaching predators and hence, will run away from the treated holes.
- Castor oil
Moles cannot stand the smell of this oil. Hence, this will be an effective mole deterrent. To do this, you will need to mix 500 ml castor oil, 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap, and a bucket of water, and shake well. Apply this concentrate directly to your garden to scare the moles. You will need to reapply the concentrate, especially if it is washed away by heavy rains. If it is not, reapply every two days.
Cutting off their sources of food
In order to eliminate moles permanently, you will need to eliminate its whole population. All treatments which include poisons and other media for getting rid of them might be effective, but eliminating their sources of food is the most effective among all. Moles come to your garden primarily in seeking of foods and shelter. Hence, eliminating these will deter them and encourage them to find a new place with more food sources.
Moles feed on grubs and earthworms, and sometimes, rats. To eliminate mole population, you need to eliminate these critters. To eliminate grubs and earthworms, you can do some simple methods, such as:
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or grounded egg shells regularly to the susceptible areas regularly. Grubs live beneath the soil and their presence makes the soil bed easier to roll up. Diatomaceous earth will tear their exoskeleton and let them die eventually.
- Mulch the soil regularly.
- Do not over-water the soil and plants, as it may trigger moist soil, which will be a favored place of living by grubs.
- Keep the trash can enclosed to avoid rats from foraging near it and thus, build nests around the house.
- Maintain your house cleanliness and moisture by cleaning and vacuuming regularly, and use a dehumidifier, especially in the attics and basements.
- Remove piles of decayed organic matters in the garden to minimize grub infestation.
- Sprinkle powdered cayenne pepper to the areas where grubs, worms, and even rats often found.
Eliminate water source
Moles also seek for water supply when residing around your house. Hence, make sure you do not provide an excessive supply of water which is needed by moles to live. To eliminate the source of water outdoor, you need to:
- Avoid watering the plants excessively, causing some water gutter in the soil. This will encourage moles to build their tunnels around the gutters, and hence, may cause your plants to deteriorate after the roots are damaged by mole activities. Over-watering the soil will also trigger excessive moisture to the soil bed, causing worms to gather. It is better to water the garden every three days, rather than doing it every day.
- Fix leaking faucets and other water sources outdoor. Moles are attracted to leaked faucets and might decide to use it as their primary source of water.
If you are experiencing more credits caused by moles rather than all negative aspects, you might decide to leave the yard moles alone. To avoid moles from destroying your plants, use bucket or pot method for protecting the plants. To do this, you will need:
- A bucket or plastic pot
- A sharp utility knife
Follow the directions on making the plant protectors:
- Remove the pot bottom by cutting it off using a sharp utility knife.
- Set the protector pail on the ground, covering around the plants you want to protect. If the plants grow near existing mole tunnels, move and replant them in the middle of this plastic pail.
- Water the plants once in a couple or three days to avoid over-watering.
- The pail will protect the plants from damages moles can cause when digging their tunnels.