Did you know that Planet Earth is home to more than 40 known species of moles? Several of these, such as the Broad-footed mole, the Eastern mole, and the star-nosed mole, are all in the US. However, the Eastern mole is the most common.
Either way, it’s best to get rid of moles from your property ASAP, whichever species you may have in your garden. For starters, they are powerful excavators, and their digging habits can demolish landscapes. Moreover, studies found some moles carry pathogens, such as hantaviruses.
To that end, we created this guide on how to get rid of moles in your yard to keep their destruction at bay. Read on so that you can start with these pest control methods before the diggers ruin your prized plants.
Know Your Mole
It’s common for property owners to mistake moles with voles or gophers, as they all create tunnels. However, voles and gophers are those that actually eat plants or plant parts. Voles like grass, shrubs, and stems, while gophers can pull down entire plants and feast on them.
By contrast, moles are insectivores, and some species, such as the star-nosed mole, even eat fish. Most of the time, though, these earth-throwers feed on grubs and earthworms. In fact, they love earthworms so much they can eat them in quantities comparable to their body weight.
With that said, you must know what pest you’re dealing with, as their successful removal depends on it.
Voles, also called meadow mice, are rodents that can grow 4 to 6 inches in length, about the same size as moles. However, they have prominent black eyes, unlike those of moles you can barely see. They also have noticeable ears, whereas moles don’t; their heads are usually smooth.
Gophers are bigger than moles and voles; they can be as small as 5 inches, but they can grow up to 14 inches or more. They also have visible beady eyes, and they usually expose their incisors (front teeth).
Early studies found that castor oil has some efficacy as a mole repellant. As such, you’ll find some natural mole repellants using castor oil as an active ingredient. The theory is that the somewhat pungent smell of this oil is repulsive to moles.
For the same scent-related reason, some repellants also have a garlic base. Others come with citronella oil, cinnamon, or all these ingredients. However, while some gardeners swear by them, no studies prove their efficacy.
Still, dropping these repellants in mole holes may be worth a shot to try and deter the critters.
Zinc phosphide is an ingredient found in rodenticides that serve as attractive baits. While moles aren’t rodents, they find these pesticides great-smelling, too.
As such, baits containing zinc phosphide may also be effective in eradicating moles. Once ingested, the chemical mixes with stomach acid, creating a gas called phosphine. Phosphine gas, in turn, is extremely toxic to moles and other rodents.
However, this ingredient is just as deadly to other animals, such as dogs and cats. So, practice extreme care when setting such mole baits on your lawn.
Exclusion fencing for moles involves burying a fence or a wire mesh two feet underground. The bottom six inches of the material should bend at a 90-degree angle, away from your plants. This design may help prevent the moles from digging deeper to bypass the fence.
On the surface, the fence or the mesh should also be at least six inches tall. This exposed part may help prevent moles from entering your lawn’s plant-filled area.
Do note that while exclusion fencing may be effective, it may only provide a temporary fix. Like any living that goes hungry, moles may find ways to dig around the fence or mesh.
Mole traps, such as the harpoon and scissor-jaw types, are the most common mole control methods. They can be effective and reliable, so long as suspended or set to straddle or surround the active tunnel.
However, please note that these devices do not use the trap-and-release method. Instead, they involve extermination through death. As such, you may want to factor in your moral compass before you decide to use these devices.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all states in the US permit trapping devices. After all, many states regard moles as non-game animals, so killing they may be illegal. Moreover, some states also have laws on humane pest control methods.
So, check your local laws before buying mole traps, which can also be on the expensive side. In addition, you may have to get a special permit to use mole trapping devices on your property.
Professional Mole Trapping
According to Trapyourmoles.com, moles can be beneficial, too, as they help aerate the soil. Aeration, in turn, promotes better soil nourishment.
For that reason, you may want to consider live trapping, which may be more humane than killing the moles. However, this requires special skills, as moles spend most of their time underground. In addition, the improper use of trappers can be a safety risk for you, your family, and your pets.
For that reason, it’s best to hire professional mole trappers who know exactly what they need to do. Aside from capturing the moles alive, they also know where to release the critters. This involves setting the moles free but far from your property and other homes, too.
Get Rid of Moles the Safe and Humane Way
As you can see, there are several ways to deter and get rid of moles. However, some, especially the harpoon or scissor-jaw traps, may make you uncomfortable. On the other hand, baits, while effective against moles, are also deadly to household pets.
So, if your goal is to remove them from your property alive, go with professional mole trappers. They’re your best bet for the humane and safe removal of these insectivores.
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