Have you spent a fair amount of time and money to maintain a lush outdoor space? Unfortunately, all your effort can go to waste thanks to moles and their digging.

These burrowing animals dig through the soil in search of food, leaving unsightly mounds of earth on your lawn and garden. Their digging can also put grass and other vegetation in peril.

So how do you get rid of these pesky creatures? The good news is there are several effective ways of catching moles. This comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to remove moles from your lawn or garden successfully.

How to Catch a Mole

Many people find caching moles to be a frustrating and time-consuming process of trial and error. That’s because these furry creatures are intelligent and sensitive.

They can smell your scent and sense the vibrations your footsteps send into the ground. These subterranean animals also spend most of their lives in their tunnels, so you’re unlikely to see them above the ground.

Human scent is a danger sign to moles.

For you to catch them, you’ll have to use your smarts.

What is the best way?

As is the case with other pests, there are many traditional ways of getting rid of moles. Unfortunately, most of these techniques are ineffective.

For instance, placing mothballs or lye outside or inside molehills often doesn’t work. The effectiveness of smoke bombs and gas cartridges is compromised by the extensive tunnel systems that moles build. Moles also rapidly seal off their tunnels when they detect gas or smoke.

Trapping remains the only reliable way of controlling moles.

Choosing Your Mole Trap

Mechanical mole traps are eco-friendly, and they work. Level of effectiveness varies from one trap to another. Therefore, you’ll need to do research and choose the right trap to eliminate moles successfully.

Finding active tunnels
Traps have to be set in active mole tunnels. There are two easy ways of determining whether a tunnel is active. The first way is stomping a molehill with your foot to compress the soil. If it’s active, the mole will repair the tunnel and raise the soil within a day or two.
Alternatively, use your finger or a small wooden dowel to poke a hole in the top of a mole surface runway. Take care not to crush the runway. Mark this hole with a stick or lawn flag. Repeat this on other runway locations. Revisit the runways after 24-48 hours.
Holes that have been resealed indicate mole activity and are excellent locations for setting traps.

Let’s take a look at some of the best traps you can use.

1. Tomcat Mole Trap

This is a heavy-duty trap that you can use to catch moles on its own or in conjunction with bait. The hands-free setting option makes this trap easy to set and reduces the risk of injury.

Cost: $19.75

Where to buy: available on Amazon

Mole Trap by Tomcat

How to use: Once you’ve found an active mole tunnel, follow these steps to set the Tomcat Mole Trap:

  • Make an indentation of about an inch deep on top of the mole tunnel using heel. The trap has an inbuilt depth gauge you should fit in to verify the correct depth.
  • Mark each side of the indentation using the trap jaws.
  • Cut and widen 5″ slots across the tunnel using a square spade or lawn edger. These slots will allow you to insert the trap easily.
  • Insert the trap jaws into the slots. Place your foot on the high end of the yellow pedal and push straight down. Take care not to cover the slot in the pedal.
  • Work the pedal down until the trap latches and the trigger post goes through the trigger slot.
  • Use your finger or foot to press the trigger post flush with the top of the foot pedal. You’re now done setting the trap.
  • To remove a captured mole, set the trap on bucket and compress pedals with hands to release the creature.

How it works: The trigger activates as a mole moves through the tunnel. The trap closes and kills the mole without drawing blood.

Catched mole in Tomcat trap

2. Victor Out O’Sight Mole Trap

This scissor-type trap provides quick mole trapping and is suitable for use in any soil type. Its iron jaws are durable and weather-resistant. It comes with two setting tongs for opening the trap and compressing the powerful spring.

Cost: $11.99

Where to buy: www.victorpest.com

Victor Out O'Sight Mole TrapHow to use: Here’s how you should set the Victor Out O’Sight trap:

  • Once you find an active tunnel, dig out a part of it that’s almost the same size as the trap.
  • Create a channel inside the dirt hole using the trap jaws. That will enable the jaws to close easily if the trap is sprung.
  • Use the tongs to open the trap and then set the safety hook to help prevent injury.
  • Set the trigger latch that’s on the trigger pan. Your trap is set.
  • Next, scoop out most of the dirt from the tunnel you dug. Just leave a little mound at the center of the tunnel. The trigger pan will rest on this mound.
  • Place the trap inside the tunnel with its jaws in the middle of the tunnel.
  • Back fill the hole with loose soil, leaving a small portion of the trap above the ground so that you can easily remove it.
  • Lastly, remove the safety hook.

How it works: The trap should align with the tunnel in such a way that the mole will have to pass between one of the jaws. When the mole encounters the small blockage in the middle, it will have to burrow past it. As it does so, it will lift the trigger pan. The jaws will close around the mole and kill it.

Catched mole in O'Sight trap

Want to learn more about how to kill moles? This article will be of great value to you. Click here to find out more.

Other Traps You Can Use to Reclaim Your Yard from Moles

Moles can make a terrible mess of your yard. Their underground tunnels appear as unattractive hills, bumps, and humps in your yard. Trapping helps you successfully eliminate these disruptive underground pests and go back to building a beautiful yard.

Traps kill moles by taking advantage of their natural habits.

Here are some traps that can help you deal with your mole control problem in your yard.

Live Mole Traps

A live trap catches moles without killing them so you can later dispose them of or relocate them elsewhere. While it’s more humane than lethal traps, it’s also less efficient.

You can make your own live mole trap.

Live trap for moles

Catching moles yourself can be a frustrating and thankless task. You’ll need to arm yourself with the right information to be successful in DIY mole removal. Go here to get more tips.

How to make your own live trap

For you to build a live trap, you’ll need the following tools:

  • shovel,
  • 2-5 gallon bucket,
  • protective gloves.
Important tip
When setting a live or lethal trap with bare hands, you can transfer your scent to the trap. A mole can distinguish your scent and avoid the trap.
You can prevent this by wearing safety gloves before setting up a trap. Rub the outsides of these gloves with fresh dirt to make them better suited for the job.

Follow this procedure to trick moles into burrowing their way into your trap:

  1. Take off the roof of an active tunnel. Dig a deep hole under the tunnel runway. The hole should be deep enough to accommodate your bucket.
  2. Set the bucket inside and pack soil around its edge to block the runway.
  3. Cover the roof with sod or plywood to block sunlight from the tunnel runway. This will fool the mole into thinking that everything is as it should be.
  4. Keep checking the hole every day.

How it works: The soil you pack around the bucket will block the tunnel. A gullible mole will dig through this obstacle. Once it breaks through the packed soil, it will fall into the bucket. You can then safely deport the intruder away from your yard.

Mole in trap

Nobody wants a yard with dirt mounds scattered all over. Get useful information on yard mole removal here.

You can also purchase a prefabricated live trap.

Here’s what you can get:

  1. Humane Tunnel Mole Trap
    This trap captures moles alive as they move along the tunnel. It’s equipped with two doors and a special lock that allows it to split into two. It’s easy to set up and requires little maintenance.
    Cost: $8.99
    Where to buy: aspectek.com
    How to use: Once you establish where there’s an active mole tunnel, dig down and put the trap in the tunnel. After you’ve buried the trap, check it at regular intervals.
    How it works: The two doors only swing inwards to allow a mole into the trap. Once it gets in, it’s unable to get out. You split the trap into two to quickly and cleanly release the trapped mole.
    Tunnel live trap
  2. Harpoon traps

    Harpoon style traps are the most readily available traps. They have sharp spikes that kill moles when activated. They’re also referred to as plunger traps or spear traps.

    How to use: This is the general procedure for setting harpoon traps:

    • Position and secure it above the mole tunnel runway with the legs straddling the tunnel.
    • Push the legs further down.
    • Place the trap’s trigger pan slightly over the soil surface.
    • Pull up the setting tee.

    How it works: When a mole exerts an upward force, the trigger pan is set off. This lowers a spike towards the mole.
    Effectiveness: Harpoon traps are most effective in shallow tunnels.

Let’s look at some examples of harpoon traps on the market:

  • Sweeney’s 9015 Deadset Precision Mole TrapSweeney's Deadset Mole Trap
    Cost: $17.06
    Where to buy: available on Amazon
    The slightest underground movement triggers this harpoon trap. You can set it by hand or foot thanks to its oversized activator plate.
  • Victor Plunger Style Mole TrapPlunger Style Trap by Victor
    Cost: $18.99
    Where to buy: www.victorpest.com
    This trap is suitable for use in all soil types. It’s equipped with weather-resistant spears for long-lasting application and a safety clip for safe operation.

Other lawn mole traps

There’s no mistaking a mole invasion on your lawn. The raised grassless streaks disturb the pristine grassy surface.

Besides the traps we’ve already mentioned, there are many others that you can also use to stop moles from making your lawn their new home. Let’s focus on a few more options.

  • Wire Tek 1001 EasySet Mole Eliminator TrapWire Tek 1001 Trap
    Cost: $30.68
    Where to buy: available on Amazon
    The trap has a hammer that’s theoretically meant to break a mole’s spine. You can set it underground using foot stepping motion. It’s a popular option, but it’s more expensive than other traps.
  • Nash Choker Loop Mole Trap
    Cost: $19.75
    Where to buy: available on Amazon
    The choker trap has two loops that compress when a mole enters its active zone. It’s safe near pets and children.
    Choker Loop Mole Trap
  • Beagle EasySet Mole Trap
    Cost: $29.99
    Where to buy: available on Amazon
    All the working parts of this trap are in a sealed box design, making it safe to use. You only need to press down on a plunger to set it. The red plunger will revert to the “up” position to let you know the trap has been triggered.
    EasySet Mole Trap

Baiting: Making Trapping More Effective With Mole Baits

Bait can be used to augment mechanical traps. Moles eat earthworms and other soil invertebrates, so the bait has to mimic these food sources for it to work.

Let’s focus on the mole baits you can use together with your trap:

  1. Bromethalin mole baits
    Bromethalin is widely used in poisons. It capitalizes on a mole’s high energy requirements and acts on its nervous system.
    Baits containing this lethal ingredient usually have the shape, size, and scent of worms or grubs.
  2. Worm-shaped mole baits
    Moles primarily feed on earthworms. Worm baits mimic the earthworm and are specially designed to kill moles.
    These baits have poison harvested in them.

You can buy one of the following baits:

  • Talpirid Bait
    Cost: $40.50
    Where to buy: www.domyownpestcontrol.com
    This worm-like bait usually kills moles within 24 hours. It contains bromethalin. Its special enhancers attract moles.
    TALPIRID for kills moles with Bromethalin
  • Tomcat Mole Killer Grubs
    Cost: $16.30
    Where to buy: available on Amazon
    This scientifically tested grub-shaped bait imitates natural mole food. You can use it together with the Tomcat Mole Trap.
    Mole Killer Grubs by Tomcat

A mole-free lawn or garden doesn’t have to be unattainable. All you need to be successful is a little patience, planning, the right traps, and knowledge, which we’ve given you in plenty. Use one of the above solutions to eliminate those underground neighbors and take back your outdoor space.

You can find further details of Moles Control here.