How to get rid of moles in your backyard and garden

How to get rid of moles in your backyard and garden

Tiny, volcano-shaped dams of soil are a very common image in many gardens. If you notice them recently too, you have a problem with moles. Moles are about 6-8 inches long with gray to black fur, tiny eyes, and ears. Moles have huge front feet with long claws for digging. Except during the breeding season in spring, moles usually live alone, so all the damage you see in your garden is probably caused by one mole. Getting rid of these pests can be very frustrating. In this article, we will present to you some methods on how to deal with them.  

How to recognize moles in your garden?

Moles live below the surface and most of their excavation remains unseen but when they delve tunnels in search of food some of the soil gets shoved out into the surface. Damage is the is most noticeable in the spring and summer, and then again in the autumn. In that period, moles are nearest to the surface. Throughout the summer their excavations are at a deeper stratum into the ground. 

Moles or voles?

It's important to know the difference between moles and voles. The damage they left behind is not the same. Moles will leave raised crests of soil in the garden while voles will make traveling roads on the surface and eat tubers and roots. Voles won't leave dams of soil behind, they are like mouses with an extended snout. They are active over the ground during the day and night but you will see them mostly in spring. Another big difference is that voles live in a huge group while moles are lonely. So if you have to choose between two evils, it's much easier to deal with moles. 

What do moles eat?

Voles and moles have different feeding routine as well. Voles mostly eat plants and can be very ruinous in your backyard, moles, on the other hand, have a completely different diet which includes grubs and worms as their primary food. So, it's of great importance to understand a mole's diet in the battle against them. Some people believe that putting a piece of chewing gum inside mole-hills can be effective, a mole will go for it and choke, but that's not true. The mole will just get around it and continue his search for real food. 

Drive moles out of your garden

Moles don't eat your plants or roots but the damage they leave behind is aesthetic. Constantly pushing down the loads of soil can be a strenuous job and nightmare for every gardener. When people find out that moles aren't a threat to their plants, some of them will just let them live, but if you want to find out how to deal with them, we will give you some suggestions. 

The first line of defense should be repellent. There are two kinds of repellents, granular mole repellent, and liquid repellent. Granular mole repellents distributed over surface soil with hand or spreader. Mole-Max, Repellex, Sweeney’s, and MoleScram are well known and will create an undesirable situation for every mole inside your garden. A great advantage of these repellents is that they won't harm or kill the mole, only force pests to go away. 

Liquid mole repellent is also one of the options. They are based on castor oil, so you can make your own by using clean castor oil to save some money. They are much easier to effuse than granular repellents. For that you will need a sprayer to spray the area. 

Mole traps

If repellents didn't work for you or it was just too expensive for you, mole traps could be an option as well. While voles can be trapped in a trap using for mouses baited with cheese, moles traps are a little bit different and you’ll need to use something like a scissor trap. These traps are placed into the ground on the roads where moles use to go. When the animal approaches the trap, it will be killed instantly. Before this method, make sure to check laws in your state because in some of them these traps are forbidden. In some states you will need trapping license to trap moles.

Mole baits and ultrasonic mole spikes

Bromethalin is one of the neurotoxins that are most frequently used in mole baits. Just like any other mouse poison, it can be dangerous for your pets and wildlife. These baits often are formed like earthworms to attract the mole. Once the mole eats it, the bait will kill him within two days. Just like with traps, before setting these baits, you will need to check state laws because it's illegal in some states. 

Another method could be ultrasonic mole speakers. They use sound waves in order to deter moles out of your garden. The stronghold of these spikers is placed down into the soil to emits waves. However, the efficacy of these devices is very questionable and most experts agree that they are not so good and effective.

Remove grubs?

Some gardeners recommend getting rid of grubs in your garden in order to deter moles. Moles eat grubs, that's true but by removing grubs you won’t get rid of moles that easy. By removing the grubs you will take away an important food source for moles and they will dig even more in search of another food. They also could eat more earthworms and other insects and in the end that can bring even more damage. Think twice before you go with this possible method. 

Final thoughts

Mounds of soil all over your backyard and garden is a very unpleasant sight, everyone will agree abut that. As we said earlier, moles won't do any harm to your plants, and all the damage will be aesthetic for your garden. It takes a little effort to deter these little pests away and try to use non-violent methods. Some gardeners look at this situation differently where moles help ventilate their lawn with digging. It's up to you to estimate the situation in your garden and act accordingly.