How to Trap a Mole? Best Bait and Mole Trapping Tips

How to Trap a Mole

Moles appear to be utterly innocuous, harmless creatures, with the only possible species being worms begging to differ, since they consist the bulk of those tunnel diggers’ diet. Humans, however, have recognized the damage which moles pose to our lawns for many centuries.

Set the trap with the jaws’ ends about 1 inch below the runway’s opening. Align the trap with the runway to ensure the mole passes through the jaws. Adjust the trigger mechanism to spring easily.

As a species, moles have proven to be particularly successful and hardy, as they’re found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. They don’t hibernate and hardly ever cease their digging, so the chances of your neighborhood dealing with mole mischief is a very real possibility.

How to Trap a Mole (Step-by-Step Guide)

Trapping is a very effective way to remove moles causing trouble in your yard or garden.

Purchase the Proper Trapping Equipment

Having the right trapping gear is key to your success. Here are the recommended supplies:

Scissor-jaw mole trap – Traps with sharp, scissor-like jaws, like this style, catch moles quickly.

Work gloves – Use thick leather or rubber gloves to keep your hands safe while you set traps and handle moles. Gardening gloves work well.

Small shovel or trowel – You’ll need a compact shovel or trowel for digging holes to place the traps in. Choose one with a sharp edge.

Bait – Use bait that has strong smells and tastes that moles find attractive. The top choices are peanut butter, nuts, seeds, or fresh earthworms.

Marking flags or stakes – Use marking flags or stakes to label where you’ve set the traps for easy location later. Avoid losing or disturbing traps.

Plastic bucket – Have a bucket ready to safely relocate live-caught moles away from your property.

Identify the Active Underground Tunnel System

Moles dig and patrol in the large underground tunnels they create. Your trapping success relies on focusing your efforts on the most active tunnel sections. Here’s how to find them:

  • Slowly walk across your lawn and flower beds. Look for raised dirt ridges that show where moles tunnel just below the surface. These are the main “runways”.
  • Poke holes in these runway lines with a stick. If the tunnels cave in, it means moles are using that section
  • Also look for fresh dirt mounds, molehills, or other signs of new digging. These spots give away active tunneling.
  • Pay attention to the main runways coming from the central mole burrow. These runways usually have the most mole activity.

Set Traps Strategically Along Active Tunnel Lines

With your trap locations identified, it’s time to start trapping. Use the following methods:

Set traps under the raised ridges of shallow runways. Make sure the trap jaws are centered under the tunnel.

If tunnels are deep, use a stick to check the depth. Then dig a hole for the trap.

Dig a hole that reaches the active tunnel. The trap jaws should be centered and fit inside the tunnel.

Place the baited trap in the hole and gently cover the edges with soil. Be careful not to collapse the tunnel.

Improve your chances by setting several traps in the active main runways. Moles often use these tunnels.

Check and Reset Traps Frequently

  • Check your set traps daily.
  • Use the bucket to move live moles quickly off your property. Let them go unharmed in a forest or natural place.
  • Put the traps back in the same holes with new bait on the trigger pan. Moles often reuse the same tunnels.

Best Bait for Trapping Moles

Using the right bait when trapping moles is crucial to your success.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is an ideal trapping bait for a few reasons:

  • Strong scent – The rich, nutty smell of peanut butter attracts moles from their tunnels.
  • When baiting with peanut butter, stick with plain, low-sugar natural peanut butter. Use a small spoon to lightly coat the trigger pan on the trap.

Nuts

Whole nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, and pecans make excellent trapping baits too:

Chopped nuts work best to expose more scent. When baiting, scatter one or two tablespoons of chopped nuts around the trap’s trigger pan.

Seeds

Various seed varieties also work very well for trapping mole bait:

  • Sunflower seeds – These nutty-flavored seeds attract moles well. The small size surrounds the traps nicely.
  • Pumpkin seeds – Both the pulp and seeds contain smells and textures moles love.
  • Millet – The crunch and grassy aroma of this seed makes excellent mole bait.

Use a seed mixture or stick with 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen seed around each trap.

Earthworms

Fresh, live earthworms are an irresistible bait due to:

  • Movement vibrations – Moles find and catch worms underground by sensing their movements.
  • Common prey item – Worms are a regular part of moles’ diets in the wild.

Spear 1-2 live worms onto the trigger pan of each trap set in holes.

Scent-Boosting Additives

You can make any bait even more enticing by adding:

  • Peanut oil – Adding a few drops of peanut oil enhances the bait’s nutty smell.
  • Anise or maple extract – These strong scents attract moles well.
  • Molasses – A teaspoon mixed in adds thickness and sweetness.

Mole Trapping Tips

  • The prime seasons to be trapping moles are the Fall and the Spring. The earlier you start from these seasons, the better, as warm rain draws out the worms which moles so fervently cherish.
  • Before storing away a trap, it should be cleaned so that dried mud does not interfere with further usage and effectiveness.
  • Do not make an overly big mess during the process of locating a mole’s runways as too much tunnel disturbance can cause a mole to relocate, causing your trap to fail.
  • Don’t be discouraged if your trap fails to capture a mole after two or even three days. Simply move the trap elsewhere.
  • It is very rare for more than one mole to frequent a tunnel due to how territorial they are, the only exception being mating season.
  • Yes, you can use your pet to assist you with the trapping process as their noses and digging abilities are indispensable when it comes to excavating moles!

Is it Legal to Kill Moles?

Yes, it is legal to kill moles in almost every jurisdiction in Euro-America. You may be interested to learn that in Britain, hunting Moles for their fur (and even drying them for their meat) is currently being revived again!

However, some methods are prohibited in some locations, and it is your responsibility to look up the lawful usages of the method of dispatchment with your local area and state/nation. For example, while in the state of Washington it is legal to kill moles, using traditional body-gripping designed traps are no longer legal.

Firearms are probably the least effective method of control, as the homeowner has to wait at the exact right spot for hours for the mole to pop its head out unto the surface. Firing the weapon itself would attract the attention of the neighbors, if not the police, so if you absolutely must use firearms, make sure you have the proper licensing as  permissionfrom local law authorities.

Perhaps you may want to use insecticides to kill the mole’s supply of food, which, as advised earlier, is not a recommended course of action to take. Some insecticides are even illegal to use in certain areas. Vermifuges, which kill worms, are not recommended simply due to the beneficial nature of worms for the soil.

The easiest method to kill moles, as stated earlier, is the implementation of lethal traps and waiting overnight for the results.

Are Moles Dangerous to Humans?

If you are wondering if a mole can somehow come above ground, actively seek out and pursue a human in order to bite him/her, or in general pose any physical threat to the family, the answer is: no.

Nor would they ever wander into your house through an open door by accident (unless a flooding flushes them into your living room). Moles are already asocial animals that barely see members of their own kind; they rarely come into contact with humans, and are intelligent enough to try to stay away from them.

As any toothed mammal has the ability to, however, moles have the potential to bite, particularly when it becomes an issue of self-defense. Their sharp little teeth can pierce the skin on our fingers and hands. Therefore always wear thick gloves when handling live moles.

Mole-borne diseases usually only come from the bugs hitching a ride on their fur, such as ticks responsible for lyme diseases or fleas. Moles can become infected with rabies, as well, but since their contact with humans is already low as possible, it’s highly unlikely that a mole can transmit rabies or parasites to your pet or its owner.

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