How to Kill a Mole in Your Yard


Moles are often considered to be beneficial to gardeners and farmers because of their insect consumption. Moles do not eat plants and vegetation. There are six species of moles in the U.S. All live underground and dig a vast network of tunnel-ways in their search for food. The mole can prove destructive to lawns due to the separation of grass roots, which can cause the lawn to die. Moles are drawn to lush green lawns for the abundant earthworms, grubs and mole-crickets.

Step 1

Trap moles in the spring or fall for the greatest success rate. During the hot summer months, most moles live deep within the ground in underground tunnels. These tunnels are hard to reach with mole traps. Setting traps after heavy rains often prove quite successful because moles move to the surface tunnels when deeper underground tunnels fill with water.

Step 2

Use either scissor jaw mole traps or harpoon mole traps. Scissor jaw mole traps work like a large pair of scissors. The mole steps onto a plate (often called a trigger pan) that activates a set of large scissor jaws to snap the mole and break its neck or back. Harpoon traps work when the mole steps onto a plate and actives a sharp harpoon type killing instrument to snap down and stab the mole to death.

Step 3

Walk around the lawn where the moles are active. Stomp down the tunnels using your booted feet. When you stomp the tunnels down, you will cause the soil to fall into the tunnel. Wait until the next morning and then check the areas that you have caused a cave-in to occur in the tunnel. Moles will only tunnel out the tunnels that they use often. The areas that they choose to tunnel out are where you should set the traps. Moles often choose to dig their main runways along fence poles or walkways.

Step 4

Dig out the area where the moles dug out the cave in. Dig the hole large enough to accommodate whichever trap you purchased. Form a small flat section of earth at the bottom of the hole for the trigger plate to rest upon. This is the plate that the mole must step on to activate the trap.

Step 5

Set the safety on the trap and gently lower it into the hole. Make sure the trap straddles the tunnel and the trigger plate lies flat on the dirt. Gently fill the hole in with soil to the fill line on the trap. The mole will think another cave-in has occurred and begin to tunnel it out. The mole will inadvertently step onto the trigger plate and cause the trap to activate. The trap will kill the mole.

Step 6

Release the safety mechanism on the top of the trap. Check the trap in the next morning to see if it has been sprung. If the trap is sprung, then dig it up and remove the dead mole carefully, using gloved hands. Reset the trap to see if there are more moles. Moles often live singularly or in families.

Tips and Warnings

  • Several mole bait poisons are available that have limited success at killing moles. They should not be used around children or pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissor mole trap or harpoon mole trap
  • Shovel
  • Gloves


  • University Of California: Moles
  • University Of Missouri: Controlling Nuisance Moles
  • The Ohio State University: Effective Mole Control

Who Can Help

  • NCAP: Moles
Keywords: moles, mole control, trapping moles, killing moles