If you're a homeowner, and like me, love to have a nice green lawn, then you've probably asked yourself or wondered how to kill moles. A few years ago I noticed some soft patches in my side yard while mowing. I didn't really think that much about it as there's a big open field next to our house and just figured a mole had wondered into our yard. A few days later I found one dead floating in our pool. I thought... cool, no more mole problem. Wrong.
This just happened to be the same year that I started trying Miracle-Gro on my lawn as an experiment and was on a quest of having the smoothest and greenest lawn in the neighborhood. This meant I watered regularly (which moles love the soft soil) and continued to find mole tunnels and a few mounds in my side yard. From the one I found floating the last fall (which I thought must have just gotten lost) to what seemed like a small army invading my side yard. I remembered as a kid my grandfather having those victor plunger type mole traps set up all over the yard; which was my first idea or exposure and experience of how to get rid of moles.
Amazing mole fact: Did you know that a single mole can eat up to 50 pounds of worms annually? That includes grubs which we all know can wreak havoc on a lawn.
Be sure to continue to read my "killing moles by attrition story" below but I also encourage you to check out the Gophinator traps, these SIMPLY WORK! The creator is Trapline Products, and owner Steve and field tech Angel have been trapping and controlling moles for over 17 years and man, have they got some traps that works. And their traps are proven (just click on the product and read the reviews on those that have used these traps)!Vole runs
UPDATE: Spring 2011. This spring I found several mole holes and a ton of vole trails. So, great, I have moles and voles. If you're not sure what the difference is, voles eat veggies and moles eat meat. Or more precisely what they do to your lawn; voles burrow just under the grass and not in the ground. However they do burrow holes (usually under sidewalks or bushes) but don't push dirt out like moles. They eat the immature grass that they find all winter just under the snow. You won't know you have them until spring and you start noticing all these little tunneling systems all over your yard. The crappy part is that these runs kill the grass so I've had to rake up all the dead grass in these runs and am in the process of filling them with a calcined clay chip. The good news is voles are pretty easy to kill with just a few simple mouse traps - ready my post on How To Get Rid of Voles. So I've already gotten them taken care of. I also discovered a few mole holes this spring and was armed and ready with the Gophinator traps. I set the trap one Saturday afternoon and by Monday morning I had my first mole! I'm hoping that's the only one I have as again it was on the side yard. My main vole problem is in the front yard. Whatever the rodent is however, I've got it covered with a few simple techniques here. Gophinator traps for moles and this simple trapping technique for voles.
Now back to my story...
OK, so I went out in search of the best way to get rid of moles much like you've probably done if you searched for "get rid of moles" like I did. Now remember, this was before I learned the right way to use traps. What I found was a lot of conflicting information. Not to mention the shelves filling up Home Depot or my local hardware store with all the products touting to "get rid of moles in yard!" Looking back it's actually funny as I always saw all those products on the shelf and wondered how there could be so many different products for such a small and seemingly harmless mammal. I mean, how hard could it be to kill a mole? What I found was many different types of devices (besides the old spring loaded traps I remember my grandfather had).
Basically you have baits, traps, deterrents and a bunch of other "shiny objects" that claim to get rid of moles or for those wondering how to kill moles. I say shiny objects because there's always something new coming out that either takes batteries and you bury in the ground, vibration wind-mills, or some type of fumigation or home-remedy that's "guaranteed to kill moles." I initially tried the bait that comes in a cone (poison peanuts) simply because that was the first thing I saw and honestly didn't want to deal with trapping and throwing out a dead mole.
Reality is, moles eat worms, and they like mushy things and don't even have bottom incisors! So why the heck would they want some small little hard peanut or poison? I know, makes no sense. The consensus from every resource I found was that trapping worked the best and was the most effective long-term.
Now I'll tell you what my solution eventually was... it's called attrition and something I learned about from a lady at a local nursery. The important part of my mole problem was they were in my side yard; which is between this field and our pool which has mostly cement around it. Between our side yard and front yard is our driveway; so I had a little time to experiment with different methods, but if they had moved into my front yard... WAR ON!! Which is what I was prepared for and figured would happen when I found and purchased some better traps. UPDATE: Spring 2011. As stated above, I used the Gophinator trap and technique and got my mole! woohoo!
So what's the attrition method or how to get rid of moles in your yard by attrition?
at·tri·tion: a wearing down or weakening of resistance, esp. as a result of continuous pressure or harassment: The enemy surrounded the town and conducted a war of attrition.
What I did was, every morning I'd go outside and stomp down the mole tunnels and sometimes use a heavy dirt hand tamper. On weekdays I did it after work and weekends at least twice a day and sometimes three times. Often I would even use a garden rake and rake out the tunnels sort of breaking them up and stomping them down. The idea is that each time you flatten a tunnel, the mole will just come back and raise it up again, but the mole will dig a little deeper this time. Eventually they'll be deep enough you won't really notice them. The idea is that you can live with them this way. Granted this takes a ton of patience and at this point I didn't feel like I really had an infestation; yet. But I was prepared.
Now I'm not sure if the moles went away or if they're still there just deeper but I haven't had too much trouble with them since; at least not this last year. I did have one tunnel against a privacy fence near the back of our property but I raked it out ASAP and haven't seen one since. I'm hoping they don't come back but I'm pretty sure they will. At least now I'm ready with Gophinator backing me up in case “operation patience” fails to perform as well as it did.