How to Remove Moles in a Garden


Moles are small, insect-eating animals that can cause extensive damage to lawns and other garden areas with their tunnels that harm plants' root systems. The best time to get rid of moles is when you first notice their raised runways and mounds, as their population can quickly grow and become a more difficult situation to control. Moles love eating earthworms, which are usually abundant in healthy lawns.

Step 1

Reduce the amount of water you give your lawn and keep it mowed close to the ground so you can more easily see moles' tunnels. Consider replacing some lawn areas with garden beds in which you can grow flowers or vegetables; these habitats are less appealing to moles.

Step 2

Set traps in the spring and fall. Purchase either a harpoon, spear type, scissor-jaw or choker-loop trap and set them according to label instructions. Set traps in active surface burrows and use one trap in each tunnel you find.

Step 3

Protect bulbs from mole damage with the repellent thiram, which comes as powder, pellets, granules and other forms.

Step 4

Place mothballs or moth flakes into runways. The strong aroma of these substances does not kill moles, but it can drive them away.

Step 5

Use fumigants (aluminum phosphide, calcium cyanide and gas cartridges) if your mole problem is severe. Follow label instructions closely and place them into deep burrows--not the moles' surface runways.

Step 6

Apply insecticides to mole habitats to control their food source. Note that these products can cause your eradication efforts to backfire by forcing the moles to dig more tunnels in their search for food.

Step 7

Purchase a grain bait that contains zinc phosphate at your garden supply store. This is the only toxicant that the federal government has registered for use with moles.

Tips and Warnings

  • Moles have sharp teeth and often bite humans, so use caution if you attempt to dig moles out of their tunnels.

Things You'll Need

  • Traps
  • Moth balls
  • Thiram
  • Fumigant
  • Insecticide
  • Toxicant with zinc phosphate


  • Ohio State University Extension
  • University of Missouri Extension
  • The Mole Man

Who Can Help

  • U.S. Dept. of Labor/Thiram
Keywords: mole control, trapping nuisnace, pest animals

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.