When you look around your yard and see the destruction caused by moles it’s hard to know where to start to get rid of them. Luckily, there are several different methods you can use to get rid of moles for good.
And you’ll be happy to hear getting rid of moles can actually be easier than you think – and often requires only things you have around the house already.
Moles are interesting looking creatures whose tunnel building practices are fascinating. But they are also very destructive so it’s important to know what you can do to find out why they’re in your yard, how to get rid of them, and how to make sure they don’t come back.
How Do I Know If I Have Moles In My Yard?
Maybe you’ve seen a strange-looking critter pop up in your yard but you’re not sure it’s a mole. Moles have oblong bodies (about 5-7 inches long depending on the type of mole) with soft, smooth looking (typically dark-colored) fur, pink snouts, large front paws with long claws but undistinguishable back paws, and look like they have no eyes or ears when you first look at them. If you’ve seen these unique creatures in your yard, chances are you’ve also seen the damage they cause – or you will very soon.
But, likely, you haven’t ever seen these elusive creatures because they tend to stay under the ground unless they happen to be searching for a mate, which occurs during the springtime. But you have likely seen damage in your yard and are wondering if it was caused by moles. Here are some clear signs moles have invaded your yard:
- Tunnels dug underground
- Small piles of dirt
- Sporadic holes in your yard
- Plants and flowers in a disarray
- Plants and trees rotting
- Your neighbors have seen moles or signs of moles
Moles love to dig tunnels and often evidence like small piles of dirt or flowers which have been disrupted are signs there are tunnels underneath them. And in more drastic circumstances plants, trees, and bushes will start to rot or die because moles have dug through their roots.
Why Do I Have Moles In My Yard?
The main thing on the tiny mind of all moles is to find food. And your lawn typically provides them all the food they love and need.
If your lawn has been invaded by lawn grubs not only will these pesky little creatures kill your lawn – but they will attract moles. Moles love eating lawn grubs.
And even if your lawn is free of grubs, chances are it’s loaded with earthworms and beetles feasting on your healthy soil. And the only thing moles love more than lawn grubs are earthworms!
So, between grubs and earthworms, as well as other insects, moles can hang out and survive in your yard for a very long time.
Moles will go – and stay – anywhere there are bugs and other small insects to feast on. But they especially love large, unobstructed green spaces so they can dig a series of tunnels.
How To Get Rid Of Moles In Your Yard
So, what happens if you suddenly have a mole in your yard? Or if your repelling techniques didn’t help. Now you’ll need to get rid of any moles you have.
Of course, you could always hire someone to trap them, and either relocate them or dispose of them. Or you could do so yourself. But most people prefer to get rid of moles more humanely. And also in a way which is less expensive than hiring a professional.
A few things that moles hate:
- Not having a food source
- Strong smells
- Pet waste
When you take away a mole’s food source, they’re going to leave pretty darn quickly! But sometimes that’s hard to do without killing your lawn or your plants. Plus, as mentioned above you need to work with your neighbors if you want to successfully get rid of moles.
Here are a few things you can do together or your own to drive moles out of your yard.
Make noise. Although they only have tiny ears moles hate noise and will try to get away from it. A lot of people find the noise from windchimes is often enough to repel moles – however, there’s not always wind so you can’t rely on them making enough noise to keep moles away.
Another way to make continual noise which will make moles run away is with a radio. Place a portable radio on a covered porch, or in a water-safe bag and let the music play.
But please keep in mind that your neighbors may not enjoy your taste in music, nor want to hear it all night long.
Spread Some Strong Scents. Moles can smell in stereo. Which means they have an uncanny way of sniffing out earthworms, lawn grubs, and other insects they want to eat. But it also means that strong smells are overpowering to them and they will try to move away from those smells as quickly as they can.
As mentioned above coffee grounds work well (and are extremely to find and use daily) but garlic, pepper, and any other spicy ingredient all work well too. Sprinkle these around the openings of any holes and throughout your garden to chase your moles away.
Another household item you can repurpose whose strong smell will repel moles right out of your yard is dryer sheets. Dryer sheets contain trap which has a strong smell which moles dislike. Simply bury these once or twice a week (after you have done a load of laundry and have the used sheet) in your yard near the mole holes you see.
Now dryer sheets can be harmful to pets and children so only use them if you know they won’t be dug up and handled by them.
Repurpose Your Pets Waste. The next time you take your dog for a walk scoop up their poop and keep it. And the next time your cat uses their litter box, scoop that up and keep it as well. Then take this waste and bury it near your mole holes.
Moles will be overpowered by the smell and move out of their tunnels, and your lawn and garden will get a nice little fertilizer boost.
Mole repellents. There are several commercial repellent sprays you can buy which put off bad smelling chemicals which will irritate a mole’s nose and draws them out and away from your yard.
There are also the DIY options mentioned above which not only will keep moles away from your yard but should make them leave even if they’ve already moved in.
Poison. Poison is always an option to get rid of the mole(s) you have living in your yard. This is best left to a professional to control the areas it’s put into – and to remove the deceased mole(s) once the poison has done its job.
And since poison can be so dangerous it’s not typically recommended unless absolutely every available option has already been exhausted. It can seriously harm and even kill humans, pets, and other necessary creatures. As well as it causes serious damage to the ecosystem of your yard. Your soil and nearby water sources will very likely be contaminated which could lead to health problems if anything is grown in the soil.
Traps. Professionals are more likely to set traps to capture moles, and this is an option you can take as well. Most of these traps will kill a mole quickly and efficiently as soon as it enters to get the bait.
These will usually be buried underground, but you still need to watch out for any animals or children finding them and injuring themselves.
Talk To Your Neighbors. Your neighbors may have a solution in mind and since you’ll likely all need to work together to rid your acre space of the mole(s) you should make a plan.
What Kind Of Damage Do Moles Cause?
As mentioned above, moles love to dig tunnels and they can dig a lot of tunnels – zigzagging around your yard – in a very short period of time. They will displace the dirt and ruin your lawn to build these tunnels.
You may also see damage to your plants and other vegetation. This is likely because their roots have been damaged from moles burrowing and building. Moles won’t generally eat plants and other surface flowers – but may make an exception if there are bugs on the leaves.
So, your property can suffer from extensive surface damage even though the moles live exclusively underground.
In more extreme cases you could see trees and large bushes rotting and dying because moles have burrowed through their roots and caused permanent damage.
Do Moles Ruin Lawns?
Since moles can dig so many tunnels under your lawn and garden,they can ruin roots and damage lawns beyond repair if they’re not dealt with quickly.
Plus, since moles feast on earthworms, which provide your lawn with nutrients and keeps it lush if they systematically rid your lawn of them your lawn won’t be as lush.
Why Do Moles Build Tunnels?
Since moles are solitary creatures, they dislike seeing any other moles or any creatures or humans for that matter. So, they build tunnels to travel around and live in.
Moles build tunnels which are roughly 2 inches around and are located about 8-12 inches below the ground.
Moles will make themselves right at home, living in the same tunnels they build as long as possible – or until their food supply runs out. And fascinatingly, they don’t only dig tunnels but also special areas off these tunnels to use as feeding rooms, sleeping areas, and birthing areas.
They’ll continue to dig new tunnels to find more food. And when they find their favorite food, earthworms, they bite their heads off which keeps the worms alive but makes them unable to move so they will stay put until the mole is ready to eat it. They then will then bring the worms back to keep in the area they’ve carved out to be their “eating chamber”. They spend all day doing this and can end up with quite the hoard of worms. In fact, the Mammal Society reports that as many as 470 earthworms have been found in just one mole’s chamber!
Can Moles Damage Your House Foundation?
While moles will cause a hefty amount of damage to your yard and surrounding areas of your property, they will not generally affect your house foundation in any way.
Moles can’t break through concrete and usually won’t be bothered to tunnel through anything that isn’t dirt. So, unless your structures are very weak already, moles shouldn’t be able to damage them.
Are Moles Beneficial In Any Way?
When moles build their tunnels, they are naturally aerating your lawn and garden by mixing up your soil and regenerating the nutrients. And since moles eat lawn grubs and other insects which notoriously ruin your lawn you may start to notice your lawn looks healthier.
So, unless you or your neighbors are truly bothered by moles or they are doing more damage than good – which is what happens more often than not – moles could technically remain in your yard indefinitely.
How Many Moles Can Live In A Yard?
Moles are solitary creatures who don’t enjoy having other moles around – except during breeding time. Usually, only 2 or 3 moles occupy an acre of space. Occasionally you’ll find up to 5 on an acre, but this is rare.
So, unless your yard is extremely big you should only have to deal with one mole. And often that one mole will run their tunnels through several yards – so if you have a mole problem, it’s very likely they’re not stopping at your fence, they’ll be digging up your neighbor’s lawn as well.
Since your neighbors are likely having the same problem you should talk to them to make sure they’re onboard with mole removing techniques.
Is Mole Removal Expensive?
The cost for mole removal can vary greatly depending on if you are employing DIY techniques or if you are hiring a professional pest removal service.
DIY mole removal techniques can cost little to nothing, however getting a professional in to do the job can be quite a bit more. This will vary from region to region and the exact services needed but could run anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
As mentioned above, moles will often inhabit more than one yard so mole removal is something that all affected neighbors will have to be in on as well. And sharing the cost of the removal may make it a bit more reasonable.
Do Mothballs Get Rid Of Moles In Your Yard?
Mothballs are commonly used to get rid of moles and other unwanted pests. However, they’re not likely to work – and they’re quite dangerous.
Mothballs contain toxic ingredients (either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene) which are meant to turn into vapors to repel – or kill – any critters which come in contact with it. These toxic vapors are extremely dangerous for pets and children to breathe in – and can be deadly if they’re ingested. Plus, the toxins from mothballs can invade your soil and nearby water sources if they’re placed in your yard – creating a dangerous environment.
Do Coffee Grounds Keep Moles Away?
Coffee grounds are surprisingly a very effective way to keep moles out of your yard and garden. The strong smell repels moles – and quite a few other creatures too.
You can either sprinkle fresh coffee grounds throughout your garden every day or make the most of your brewed coffee grounds and add those to your garden after brewing up your morning pot. For this to remain an effective mole repellent, it does need to be reapplied most days.
As a bonus adding coffee grounds to your garden has shown some benefits to aiding the soil and helping your plants thrive. Although the smell can be quite strong, most humans find it rather pleasant and it will not harm anyone.
How Does Dawn Dish Soap Get Rid Of Moles?
Surprisingly, dish soap (more specifically Dawn Dish Soap) has shown significant evidence that it truly does repel moles.
Using a combination of 4 ounces castor oil to 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap create a mixture in the bottom of a garden sprayer. Fill the rest with water, shake gently to mix well then attach to your garden hose.
Coat your entire lawn with the mixture and focus on saturating any visible mole holes. You may need to re-make this mixture a few times to cover your lawn efficiently. Repeat after a week to ensure you continue to repel any moles in there. And repeat this process after another few weeks if you continue to see evidence of moles.
It’s a good idea to do this proactively early in the spring.
Now, this mixture isn’t all that great for your lawns and plants but it shouldn’t permanently damage it. And although it’s not poisonous, you’ll want to keep your pets from walking on the area you sprayed with this mixture as it could cause them significant gastrointestinal discomfort if even a little is ingested.
How Do You Repel Moles?
There are several things you can try to prevent moles from coming into your yard in the first place. All of these things should be done in early spring. Some things you can try:
- Dawn dish soap
- Coffee grounds
- Certain plants
- Removing food sources
- Commercial mole repellent
- Use rocks and stones
There are certain plants you can place in your garden which are effective in deterring moles from your yard. Mole plants (also commonly referred to as gopher spurge), as well as castor bean plants, are highly effective in keeping moles away from your yard however they are highly poisonous to humans and can be deadly to children and pets.
Some safer plants you can use in your garden to repel moles are:
There are quite a few commercial mole repellents available to buy online and in stores however they can be quite expensive, and several of them contain harsh chemicals which could damage your ground and be dangerous for your health. Or you can use the Dawn dish soap/castor oil mix or coffee ground idea mentioned above. All of these mole repellents are effective and inexpensive ways to repel moles, but they will take quite a bit of time and you may need to repeat them a few times.
And although it’s quite the hefty task, removing the grass in your yard is a great way to keep moles away. Their food sources (grubs and bugs) thrive in the grass so removing grass will likely remove their food sources.
If moles are still returning to your yard after trying the above methods replace your grass with stones or gravel. Not only will this remove the food sources for a mole, but it will create a barrier that moles will be unlikely or unable to dig through.
Erika Palmer is a Mom and freelance writer located in Beautiful British Columbia. She is currently working hard to create a home for her new family and is stumbling hilariously down the road to becoming a domestic goddess. In addition to her love of family, and reading and writing, she enjoys exploring new interests with friends, shopping for just about anything, and cuddling up with a great cup of tea and some sort of chocolate treat.