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Safe & Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ground Moles

By Wanda Thibodeaux

Moles are small, burrowing animals that are common in North America, Asia and Europe. Even though these creatures measure only about 6 inches long, they can wreak havoc on gardens and lawns because they tunnel underneath the surface of the soil. If using killing traps or chemicals on animals seems too cruel for removing moles, there are safe and natural mole removal methods available.

Non-Killing Traps

Use jars to trap the mole without killing it. There are two basic ways to do this. For both methods, you'll need to first find the mole tunnel. Finding the tunnel entrance gives you a starting point. Find the actual tunnel by poking the ground with a pencil or metal rod. The tunnel is wherever the pencil or rod suddenly pushes through.

To do the first method, dig into the tunnel base, as inconspicuously as you can, far enough so you can put a medium to large jar in the ground. The top of the jar should be level with the bottom of the mole's tunnel. Return the tunnel to its original dark state as best you can. (The easiest way to do this is to place a board over the area you've excavated, but be sure to place something heavy on the ends so that the board can't be upturned by the family dog, a stray raccoon, or other wildlife, and so that small children won't remove the board and accidentally twist an ankle.) When the mole crawls through the tunnel, it will fall into the jar and be trapped. For the second method, dig into the tunnel and set two small jars on their sides so that the bottoms touch. Moles cannot go backward, so when they get into the jars by moving forward, they will be trapped. You can dig up the jars in both methods and then simply transport the trapped mole to a different area where it won't be problematic.


Flush the tunnels with water. This method is effective for getting the moles to scram in the direction of traps, but it can cause the tunnels to collapse, resulting in landscaping issues. Flooding also doesn't stop the moles from burrowing new tunnels. Thus, this method is best if you only have a few moles.


Starve the mole out. Moles eat invertebrates such as earthworms, so if you can control the population of whatever the mole has for lunch, the moles may go elsewhere to find better feeding areas. Some invertebrates are impacted by pesticides and herbicides, but the earthworm is fairly resistant. In fact, much of what people do to keep a lawn healthy (e.g., irrigating properly, returning grass clippings to the lawn) create prime conditions for the earthworm to thrive. Although it's not the greatest solution, you may find that letting your lawn and garden go for a while helps the mole problem by reducing these conditions.


Trick the moles into thinking they're in danger. Moles are virtually blind and thus rely heavily on smell to tell them about their environment. If they smell what they think is a human or other predator, they'll go away. Try burying something halfway into the ground that has a heavy human scent on it, such as a few strips of an old workout t-shirt or the hair from your brush. You also can fool moles into thinking there is a problem by creating vibrations in the ground with pinwheels, half buried bottles (the air flowing over the top of the bottle creates vibrations), sprinklers and motors.


About the Author


Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.