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How to Get Rid of Moles Without Killing Them

By Jack Busch ; Updated September 21, 2017

Moles can be a bothersome pest in your yard or garden. They eat the roots of your precious plants and flowers, leave unsightly holes in your pristine lawn and, on top of all that, can carry rabies and other diseases. But for all of their peskiness, moles are living creatures, too–they are simply filling their niche in the animal kingdom. Nevertheless, most homeowners and gardeners would love to have them fill their niche elsewhere.

Create a Mole Pit Trap

Locate an active mole runway. These are the tunnels the moles build to traverse your lawn or garden. One easy test is to cave in a tunnel by stomping on it. If the tunnel is rebuilt the next day, then you can be assured that the mole is still using the runway.

Dig carefully into the tunnel. Next, dig a hole in the tunnel floor where the mole will walk. Dig a hole large enough to place a glass jar or coffee can into the tunnel so that it sits flush with the tunnel floor. Now, cover the exterior hole (what would be the tunnel's "ceiling") with a board or piece of tile.

Wait a few days. Pry open the board occasionally to see whether you have caught the mole. If you have, simply remove the jar and put a lid on it (with some air holes). Take the mole somewhere far away and release it safely.

Eliminate Food Source

Identify whether you have a Japanese beetle problem. Japanese beetles have copper-colored wing covers and green heads. Before they mature, Japanese beetles take the form of a grub. This is a mole's main food source.

Remove the beetles from your garden by hand. Beetles can be found in the early morning. Simply pick them off the leaves and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. This will prevent them from breeding. This is labor intensive but is the most eco-friendly method.

Spray your plants with a solution of castor oil and water. This will keep the beetles from visiting your garden. Be sure to get the tops and bottoms of the leaves.

Spray your plants with Neem oil. This is a more natural solution than in Step 3 and will kill beetles on contact.

Purchase an insecticide. Your local lawn and garden store will carry an insecticide that targets the beetle grubs. Once the mole loses its food source, it will move on to someone else's yard.



  • You can also flood moles out by filling their holes from a garden hose. However, you will need quick hands to catch them once they vacate their hole.
  • You can also plant "skunk lilies" or chocolate lilies in your yard to repel moles naturally.


  • Applying insecticides and soaps to your plants will also drive off beneficial insects, such as mites and bees.

About the Author


Jack Busch graduated from University of Iowa in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with honors and has been publishing web content ever since. He has contributed to groovyPost.com, 7Tutorials.com, PrimerMagazine.com and various other tech websites. He also co-authored "Network Your Computer & Devices Step by Step" (Microsoft Press).