How can you get rid of moles? You can trap these furry pests, use repellents, apply DIY methods such as castor oil, and maybe scare them away with ultrasonic noisemakers.

When all of that fails, you can hire a pest control pro to solve your mole problem.

Why moles are unwelcome guests on your land: These adorable pests can damage your lawn, your vegetable garden and plant roots. Their digging can be unsightly, too, resulting in mounds of soil and raised ridges that are the hallmarks of mole tunnels.

But moles aren’t the only critters that dig ripping up manicured yards. Gophers, voles, and shrews could be burrowing tunnels that look like veins in an otherwise green carpet.

Here’s how to tell you’re dealing with a mole:

What is a mole?

You usually wouldn’t see a mole scurrying about the yard as they are nocturnal and spend most of the time underground. If you do see holes around your yard, that’s a pretty good sign of mole activity. These shy lawn pests are rarely seen, but you’ll know if it’s a mole when it has:

  • Velvety fur
  • Small eyes and ears
  • Large front paws
  • Narrow nose, like a snout
  • Tiny body, 4.4 to 6.25 inches in length

What moles eat: Moles are insectivores, feasting on grubs, insects, and earthworms (which are beneficial for a healthy lawn or garden).

A mole pile looks a little like a volcano.
Mole pile / Jana Illnerova / Needpix

Mole hills and tunnels

Mole hills look like little volcanoes. Mole hills, also called mole mounds, are a symmetrical and circular mound of dirt that leads to an underground network of tunnels.

Ever see the movie “Tremors”? Well, mole tunnels can make it seem as if you have some of those nasty monster worms roaming your yard. Their underground tunnels cause raised ridges on your lawn and serve a dual purpose: Tunnels are how moles hide from predators and how they hunt. There are two types of mole tunnels:

Surface runways, slightly raised and brown streaks that don’t have grass, that indicate the tunnels just under the topsoil.

Deep tunnels, usually 3-feet underground, are like complex homes. These include a food storage area and bathroom areas. You can identify them by the mole tunnel entrance and exits.

Mole tunnels are marked by raised trails in your yard.
Mole tunnel / Jomegat / CC BY-SA

How to Get Rid of Moles

Once you’ve identified the digger digging up your yard and building an underground home, Here are a few ways to do send moles scrambling:

1. Mole traps

Use a mole trap (or a mouse trap, since moles are about the size of a large mouse). Some traps will kill moles. Others will catch moles that you can release (at least 5 miles away from your home is best). The goal of traps, though, is mole removal dead or alive.

Pro tip: Wear gloves when handling mole traps, as moles dislike people. Your human scent will scare them away from your trap.

2. Mole bait

Mole baits look and smell like earthworms. Drop these in a mole hole and your pest will take the bait, eat it and die in its tunnel.

3. Mole repellents

These can come in granular, liquid or spray form. Often the key ingredient is castor oil, which is non-toxic.

4. Castor oil and other DIY home remedies

Create a spray that is parts castor oil, water and liquid detergent. Here’s the DIY Mole Repellent recipe from Budget101:

Ingredients

1/4 cup castor oil

6 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons liquid detergent

Combine all ingredients in a blender until you achieve the consistency of whipped cream.

To Use: Add 2 tablespoons of repellent to a regular garden watering can and then fill with warm water. Thoroughly water over areas of greatest damage.

Other DIY mole repellents include cayenne pepper (moles hate spiciness). Smells that get rid of moles include castor oil, coffee grounds, and eucalyptus and mint oil (two smells to get rid of moles). How about mothballs? Their powers of repelling moles are a myth.

5. Go ultrasonic

Ultrasonic noise solar stakes placed near the tunnels may drive away the moles — or may not. Animal damage control expert Judy Loven says these are a waste of money. “It’s a nice idea,” she told Purdue University’s news service. “They don’t work at all, but I wish they did.”

6. Fence them out

Burying wire mesh and erecting in-ground fences will prevent moles from building their homes or tunneling in garden beds.

7. Hire a pest control pro

Call a pest control professional. For extensive mole problems, hire a pest control service or wildlife relocation professional to handle the mole removal.

How to deter moles

Once your yard is free of moles, you can take steps to make your yard less of an attractive mole playground:

Marigolds and daffodils: Plant these in your flower bed or around your vegetable garden to keep away these pests.

Why are marigolds and daffodils said to repel moles? Daffodil bulbs are toxic, which is why moles may avoid their roots. Marigolds may deter moles by extension as the natural pyrethrins in the plant may repel the grubs and insects that are their food source.

Mulch and compost piles: Get rid of these, if you can, as they are a magnet for moles.

Remove their food source: Milky spore and other beneficial nematodes will kill the grubs that moles eat.

Once you have said bye to moles, you want to keep them out. You don’t want a mole hole leading to a mountain of a problem.

Main Image Credit: A common mole / Kenneth Catania, Vanderbilt University / CC BY-SA