After all the hard work you put in to make your lawn shine, the last thing you want are moles tearing it up. Moles are particularly attracted to the most lush, well-manicured lawns—the ones with thriving ecosystems, and lots of food in the way of worms, and other insects. In this article I’ll talk about why your lawn may have moles, and tell you how to get rid of moles in yard and lawns once and for all.
Moles are primarily insectivores and eat their way through the plum earthworms your lawn is home to. While they don’t harm your grass or root systems, they tear up the ground, leaving tell-tale mounds of dirt.
While it’s typically a good sign your lawn is healthy enough to attract moles, you don’t want their population getting out of hand. The presence of moles could also indicate your lawn has a grub problem.
Remember, a small population of moles is beneficial to your yard. Their tunnels help aerate your lawn, and they control your insect populations to keep your grass healthy.
But the trick to living in harmony with moles is keeping their populations down. There are many deterrents, however, that you can use to keep moles out of your yard.
How to Get Rid of Moles in Yard: 6 Strategies
Below I’ll outline the 6 best approaches you can take to get rid of moles in your yard.
These include (click to jump to that section of the article):
- Eliminate Their Food Source
- Use Sound Devices to Drive Them Away
- Incorporate Plants that Deter Moles Into Your Landscape
- Spray Your Lawn with Natural Mole Repellants
- Poison the Moles or Use Carbon Monoxide Gas in their Runs
- Trap Them (Fastest & Most Effective)
Each of these ways to remove moles from your yard has pros and cons, and some approaches may take more time and cost more money than others.
If you’re fed up with moles in your lawn, jump right to my favorite technique to remove them.
Get Rid of their Food
Moles love insects. Things like grubs are delicious treats for them. If you’re getting moles, there’s a likelihood you have a healthy grub population too.
Taking measures to get grubs out of your yard with yearly grub treatments, you’ll make your lawn less attractive to moles. If they don’t find enough food, they’ll leave sooner or later. But when you apply grub treatment matters – you have to hit them during the right time in their life cycle.
The bad news is that once moles arrive, even if you get rid of grubs you may find that is only partially effective.
Once they’ve made themselves at home they may stay and feed on other insects, like worms. This mole prevention strategy is good, but it’s not usually an effective mole removal strategy.
Make a Ruckus
Moles are highly sensitive to noise and will leave if you have enough noise in your yard. The simplest, and most natural way to introduce this is to get some windchimes (shop windchimes on Amazon). They’ll deter moles, while also adding some welcome sounds into your yard.
Alternatively, you could set out a radio and let it play (or do what I did and have some kids … though that’s a time-consuming and costly strategy).
You can take the radio strategy a step further by taking a small, handheld radio and put it in a plastic bag, then place it into or near the mole’s hill. If you find their active run (the straight tunnel near their nest) this will persuade them kindly to leave. Especially if you play one of the worst songs of all time on repeat.
Hardware stores also sell sonic mole deterrents. Amazon does too.
Most often, these are spokes you put in the ground that emanate sound into your yard. They send out electronic pulses that disrupt moles and keep them out of your yard, or they may use a sound that resembles a rodent in distress (which will scare moles away).
Use Strategic Plants
There are certain scents and plants that moles particularly dislike. Planting them in your garden, or strategically around your yard, will make your lawn particularly unattractive to moles and other rodents.
They hate the smell of daffodils and marigolds, as well as plants in the allium family, like onions, garlic, chives (if you like cooking, those last ones can be a great addition to your kitchen too).
Other plants, like the castor bean, will also deter moles. However, those are toxic, so be careful planting them if you have children or pets. The crown imperial and narcissus also make great natural mole repellents.
Spray Your Lawn with Natural Repellents
Just as moles hate the smell of planted castor beans, they hate the smell of castor oil.
Applying castor oil won’t kill the moles, but the smell can effectively drive them away. If you mix three parts of castor oil (Amazon link) with one-part dish soap, then dilute four tablespoons in a gallon of water, you have a natural, homemade mole repellent spray. Either spray it or pour it at mole tunnel entrances. If you have a smaller yard and a big mole colony, you may want to spray the whole yard.
Moles are sensitive to other smells too, particularly feces. If you have a dog, drop those droppings right into the mole hills and seal it up.
The smell will drive the moles away. If you don’t have a pet, you can also leave leftover fish in the mole’s tunnels. Moles hate the smell of fish, and it will naturally drive them away … but this may just attract other animals to your yard.
While I love natural remedies, I’ll be honest and say that castor oil and other strategies like this only work in the short-term. You may only cause the moles to move to a different part of your yard.
Use Poison or Gas Their Tunnels
This is a lethal solution, but one that can be effective given the proper circumstances, or if your issue is persistent enough. Make sure before use that you can keep poison away from pets or children.
You can purchase poison mole bait at any hardware store or online at Amazon.
The standard poison baits are Zinc Phosphide. You could also use Talpirid Mole Bait. This product mimics a worm in size and texture. The mole will think the bait is food, then will be poisoned after it eats it.
You can also use carbon monoxide gas from a small engine or your car. You’ll need to use a hose and cap the exhaust on either a car or a lawn mower. Then lead the hose into one of the mole hills. Block off or plug the other holes.
This technique will only be effective if the mole tunnels are sealed. Otherwise all of the gas will escape quickly and the gas will be ineffective.
Using pesticides as a means of killing insects will deter moles by cutting down on their food supply, and I recommend treating for grubs at the same time that you remove the moles so that the problem does not reoccur.
Trap The Moles
Deterrents are a better preventative solution than they are at dealing with a full infestation.
If your mole problem is already full-fledged and/or persistent, then trapping them is the next thing to try, and it’s what I recommend to those wondering how to get rid of moles in yard and lawn spaces.
How to Trap Moles in Your Lawn
Before trapping them, you need to figure out where the active run is.
The active run is the tunnel that leads from the mole’s nest underground. Moles live entirely underground and only come out to mate.
How to Find the Active Mole Run
To determine the active run, flatten the mole tunnels and mark them. Check your lawn periodically throughout the day. A raised run (after you’ve flattened it) is the active one and where you’ll set the trap.
Once you’ve found the active mole run, insert a trap into the active run. Moles become active in early spring, and it’s best to set the traps then, once you notice the tunnels starting to form. You can either use a humane trap to release them elsewhere, or a kill trap to get rid of them altogether.
If you decide on a humane trap, you’ll need to release the mole after catching it. Take it at least 5 miles from your home before setting it free. Let it out in a rural area, where the mole can thrive without causing damage.
I’ve tried using a humane mole trap, but it’s frustrating and much more difficult than using a good kill trap like the one I mention below. Kill traps can be purchased at any hardware store, but some traps are safer than others (and more effective).
My Recommendation for Killing Moles in Your Yard
Traps like the Wire Tek 1001 EasySet Mole Eliminator Trap are highly effective with little risk on the setter’s part. It’s the trap I recommend and I have used it myself.
These traps do not require any digging, and there are no above ground hazards, so it’s safe to use without closing on you. And it’s safe for kids and pets once set.
You step on the setting lever to trigger the trap. Set it on the active run and check every few hours. Move it 1-2 times per day for the most effective use.
How to Get Rid of Moles in Yard & Keep Them Out
After you’ve solved your mole problem, one effective way to keep moles out of your yard is simple, and it’s a strategy that farmers have used for years to keep pests away from their property.
A good outdoor cat who loves to hunt chipmunks, moles, and other critters will be an incredible defense system against moles and other critters that can invade your yard, outbuildings, or house.
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