How to get rid of Moles

moles talpa europaea how to get rid of

A nice garden and lawn takes a lot of work, time and money, and all that work can be undone by moles in no time. They can destroy a nice garden with their tunnels and molehills, affecting crops as well, not just the landscape that you have created. Moles can dig lots of tunnels which have large rooms for food storage, and this can affect the roots of plants or make the soil unstable. Although in small number they can be beneficial to a garden, as the can aerate the soil and eat larvae of destructive insects or slugs, a larger infestation can become a cause of concern.

moles talpa europaea how to get rid of

Signs of infestation

Tunnelling and mounds of dirt are the classic signs of mole presence. They can easily be mistaken with gopher mounds, however, gopher will not dig through grass and kill it, so if you see a mound in the middle of your lawn, it is definitely a mole sign. Sub-surface mole runways are feeding tunnels just below the surface of the soil and can be commonly seen as the raised ridges running through lawn areas. The soil that gets excavated from their deep tunnels is deposited on the surface of the yard or garden through vertical tunnels in volcano-like mounds. The number of such mounds is not an indication of the number of moles, as their deeper tunnels are extensive and moles can come and go as they please to and from a farther area. They also do not live in large communities, so there is a chance that you only have to deal with a couple of them.
Although the presence of moles means your garden soil is healthy, there might come a time when you need to discourage them from digging tunnels on your property. By modifying the soil conditions, you can make the moles feel unwelcome. If the soil is not ideal for digging, the moles will relocate, in search for a better area. They prefer moist earth, as it is easier to dig through and also tends to provide more food.

In order to avoid offering food and shelter through your yard and garden soil:

  • Try to pack down loose soil, as it will be more challenging to dig through it;
  • Replace mulch with clay and gravel;
  • Improve your drainage system in order to reduce the soil moisture;
  • Do not over-water your lawn or garden.

Remember that moles usually appear when they have an abundance of food source. So, if they are present in your garden, it means that earthworms are present to. They are beneficial when it comes to fertilising and improving the soil, so it is not indicated to get rid of them, in order to totally disrupt the food source of the moles.

Repellents

Using insecticide on your lawn, in order to get rid of grubs or earthworms will not be an effective measure in getting rid of moles. On the other hand, you can use repellents for moles, in order to keep them away.
Plants like daffodils, marigolds, alliums, and fritillaries are not the favourite ones of moles. You can plant them around your property, in order to deter moles away. Planting garlic or chocolate lilies is also an effective way of deterring moles, as they also have a strong scent and moles usually try to avoid this. Natural repellents can also be found in the form of dried blood, tobacco, or other solutions that can cause irritation for the mole.
You can also create a mixture of water, dish soap and castor oil and apply it on your lawn periodically, to create an unpleasant smell for the moles. Keep in mind that you need to reapply the solution from time to time, especially after it rains. Mixtures of castor oil and cayenne pepper can also be used, but this also needs to be reapplied from time to time. Castor oil can be purchased in liquid or in granular form, so depending on the type, you can spray it or sprinkle it around the property. The granules can be activated by watering them with a hose, which will send the repellent deep into the soil.
Baits can also be used and applied on the trails where moles dig, or inserted into the mounds they have created. They can look like worms, or others have a peanut form, but no matter the form, mole baits are usually poisonous, so they should be used with care, and only if pest or kids will not be able to reach and come in contact with them.
Ultrasonic repellents are also an option, as they disturb the moles with the help of vibrations. As moles are nearly blind, they rely on their ears and sense of touch to navigate through the soil. Whether they are battery or solar powered ultrasonic devices, they work by sending vibrations and ultrasounds through the ground, disturbing the moles, and causing them to relocate in a quieter place. Remember that repelling moles that have already established their home range on your property will not be that easy, and it might not work immediately. Combining methods will help, as they will complete each other, and where one does not take effect, the second one might.
You can also attract mole predators to your yard, such as owls. By building a nest and setting it up in a tree, you can get the birds attracted to the area. Once they choose to shelter in the nest you provided, they will also search for food nearby, and the moles will be the perfect meal for them.

Traps for Moles control:

Traps are used to monitor or reduce the population of insects or other pests. They can be used against crawling, flying insects, mice, rats, cats, dogs, snakes or other pests. Mechanical traps are ideal for catching foxes, as they can be used repetitively.

Tunnel traps are one of the best ways to get rid of moles, by setting them in the mole tunnels. These are normally used as roads, and while moles will be focused on hunting worms, they will ignore any obstacle in their way. The mole will focus on the catching their food and will get trapped. And just like that, you can get rid of the pest.
The most important aspect of trapping moles is the spot where you place the trap. To be effective, they need to be placed in the traveling tunnels, which are the longest and straightest. It also needs to be an active tunnel, so you need to establish this first. A mound of fresh dirt will most likely be cause by a mole that is still near the area. You can check this aspect by covering the mound and checking the next morning if the bucket or bowl placed on top of it has been moved. Once you have established their presence, you can decide what type of trap do you want to use. Make sure not to handle the traps with your bare hands, as the moles will be very sensitive to your scent and might avoid it.
With the help of a spade make the earth mound bigger, in order to see the tunnel dug by the mole; it’s going to be a circle with a 30cm diameter. When making the hole, take good care not to bother the tunnel. Feel the tunnel with your fingers, while wearing a glove, and figure out the direction of the tunnel, and use this information to mount the mole trap. It should be mounted perpendicularly to the tunnel, and you can make a bridge out of the dirt that will hold the trap. The release points of the trap need to be on that bridge, so when the mole will dig in there, and the trap will be activated.
It is very important that the hole gets covered without covering the whole tunnel, so that no light will pass through. This way the mole will not figure out that something happened, and will keep digging and set off the trap. Check the next day if the trap was set off, and if after 3 days it is still not activated, you need to change the tunnel, because the mole does not use this one anymore.

You can also use mouse traps, by baiting them with some earthworms and placing a trap at the opening of a mole tunnel. Circular rodent traps can be used as well, and placed into the mound. You will need to dig up the mound carefully, to be able to fit the trap there, and after doing so, you will need to cover any cracks giving away light with dirt.
Special traps made specifically for moles do exist on the market, and they can be used the same way. Placing them in an active tunnel and activating the trigger device is all you need to do. Some have dual springs, which ensure maximum catching power, and once the mole touches the trigger, the trap closes and catches the pest inside. You can then relocate the mole away from your property, and reuse the trap.

Fencing

When it comes to building barriers to protect your property from moles, you can dig a trench about 0.7 m deep and fill it with rocks or line it with wire. This will prevent burrowing pests from invading garden areas, including moles. Make sure to use a metal sheet or steel mesh and to bend it at the bottom, at a 90° angle, to prevent the mole from digging underneath. Bury this barrier completely, so that it’s top is at the same level as the surface of the ground.

Keep in mind that moles can dig up to 5m of tunnels per day, so take control of the situation at the first sign of damage. Also make sure, that once you have managed to remove the moles from your property, you should fill in the tunnel entrances as other critters can take them over. Maintain a regular and persistent repelling regimen, and make sure you constantly apply preventive measures, to make sure the presence of moles does not get too high on your property. Make sure to follow the tips and trick detailed in our article about ways in which you can ‘Prevent infestation with Moles’, and keep in mind that they can be beneficial to your garden, if found in a small number.

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