Proven Mole Control Tips

 Mole control in the landscape is a matter of patience and persistence. Since moles have an excellent sense of smell and are picky eaters, mole control products like poisoned baits have little effect. Other methods are so extreme (like fumigation) that most homeowners are repelled. But take heart, there are ways to control moles in your yard.

The Most Effective Mole Control Method
So, what options are left for controlling moles? Trapping has proven to be the most effective method of controlling moles in the landscape. To understand how trapping works, you need to understand a bit about how moles live.

Moles live in burrows under the ground. They sleep, store food and raise young in deep burrows, but they gather food in shallow tunnels (called runways) near the surface. The runways are what you see in your yard-long trails of raised earth winding through your grass.

Traps work by straddling the runway and capturing moles as they travel back and forth. The most common types of traps are called harpoon or scissor traps. To use one of these traps:

  • Locate an active runway. Active runways typically found along fences, walls or hedges. Active runways are usually straight and have freshly disturbed earth near them. To identify an active runway, compress the soil over the tunnel with your foot and check it after 24 hours. If the runway has been repaired, it is active.
  • Compact the soil over the runway. Press the soil down over an active runway with your foot. The compacted area should be just wider than the trap you'll be using.
  • Set the trap. Using clean gloves, the trap should be pressed into the ground over the compacted area and set following the manufacturer's instructions. Commonly, this means setting a spring-loaded mechanism and placing the trigger against the ground. When the mole disturbs the earth repairing the hole, the trap is sprung.
  • Check the trap. Check set traps often. If you haven't seen activity in 2 to 3 days, it's time to move the trap to a new location.

A More Humane Approach
Harpoon and scissor traps will kill the mole as it traps it. If the idea of removing dead moles from your yard makes you squeamish, you should consider a live trapping method. To capture moles alive, follow these steps:

  • Locate an active runway. Active runways typically found along fences, walls or hedges. Active runways are usually straight and have freshly disturbed earth near them. To identify an active runway, compress the soil over the tunnel with your foot and check it after 24 hours. If the runway has been repaired, it is active.
  • Dig up a section of the runway. Dig up a small section of ground across the active runway.
  • Add a pit. In the opening, dig a hole that will snugly fit a 3-pound coffee can or a large glass jar. Make sure the container is clean and place it in the hole with the opening facing up and level with the floor of the runway.
  • Cave in the edges of the runway. Place dirt over the runway openings on either side of the pit.
  • Cover the pit. Cover the trap with boards so that all light is blocked from the pit. As the mole repairs the runway and moves forward, it falls into the pit where it will not be able to crawl out.
  • Check the trap. Check set traps often. If you haven't seen activity in 2 to 3 days, it's time to move the trap to a new location.
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