How to kill moles

September 24th, 2014

I hate moles, really I do. I know there are people out there that probably do not condone killing any animal, even moles, I’m not that type of person, but if you are, I can respect that, though this blog post is not for you.

Personally I like animals fine, I try to encourage animal habitat and would never hurt an animal out of spite, however I’ve hunted in the past, and will again in the future, and when that woodpecker destroys my siding, or that ground hog destroys my garden, or a mole destroys my yard, its game on.

And really, I grew up in the woods, our mailbox was a mile from our house. We lived down a dead end dirt road, at the dead end of the dirt road, this was nature people, and do you know how many moles my parents have crawling under their yard? None. How many ground hogs tore up their plantings? None. (though, deer always did). How many woodpeckers… well until they got vinyl siding those were a problem, but my dad took care of them with a 12 gauge. The point is, I see more rodents on a daily basis living in town than I ever did living out in the forest. Why? Because there are more predators in the forest, they keep the population in check. In town, not so much, so the population gets out of control. So for those who feel that it was their land first and we’re the intruders, remember that if not for us, in fact, there would be less of them. We created the environment in which they thrive, unfortunately.

A Mole Hill

A Mole Hill

So moving on, I’m going to talk about how to kill them. I know of no known live traps for moles, sorry, while there are deterrents they do not seem to work well and will just drive them to your neighbors yard. Still, I will cover them first. Also, I’m going to talk about voles. Voles are like smaller moles (more or less mice). They will both leave tunnels in your hard, but they are different animals. Voles will leave smaller tunnels and not tend to push up big mounds of dirt, they’ll also eat plant roots and kill them potentially. Moles tend to be carnivores, eating grubs and worms, will make bigger tunnels, and push up mounds of dirt when they make a den.

Milky Spore

Milky spore actually seems to work, though I’m not entirely sure because it isn’t something I’m able to scientifically check and study, but to me it seemed to work. What it is is a bacteria that kills grubs, which is a prime food source for moles. One application can last for 10 years in your yard, or more even, as the bacteria thrive and reproduce and continue to kill grubs. Second plus, fewer Japanese beetles. This might be a solution for the more squeamish as it kills grubs and not moles. The good thing about this solution is that it is easy to treat your entire yard at a reasonable price. It can be hard to find locally, I recommend purchasing it online.

Castor Oil

Castor Oil (the same stuff used to make Ricin by the way) is supposedly abhorrent in odor to moles, and can scare them to your neighbor’s yard. This to me did not seem to work, though I’ve used it, it isn’t that expensive but unlike Milky Spore it doesn’t last very long at all. You can get it in sprays to attach to the end of a hose or in granular form. You’ll probably be able to find this locally no problem.

Sound Devices

Some vendors make these sound devices you stick into your yard that create vibrations in the subsoil that supposedly will drive moles away. I’ve seen these used in my neighborhood, but I’ve never used one myself. They’re worth a try I guess if you don’t want to get more medieval, but I cannot personally recommend them having no experience.


I have tried a variety of kill traps over the years, I’ve never once had a confirmed kill. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, maybe I’m setting the traps on the wrong tunnels. They often say “find the main tunnel” but if your yard is crisscrossed who knows which run they’re using all the time. Some traps are plunger based where the mole pushes up on the trap and spring loaded spikes clamp down. Others have a scissor like action where there are jaws open you put down into the hole and when the mole comes through them, clamp shut. Another one I’ve tried was more of a noose like trap, the smallest of the lot, you put down in the tunnel and covered up (and put in a marking flag so you remember where you put it). Again, I’ve never had a confirmed kill. I know professional outfits use traps a lot, so I imagine they do work, they just don’t work for me.

Poison Baits

Here I can buy these at Home Depot, but I understand they’re not legal in all states, I’m not entirely sure why. They come in a little yellow plastic cone bottle and you use the pointy end to poke a hole in the tunnel then dump in some bait. I’ve never ever seen a dead mole from using these baits, but I really think they work for me, as I usually notice less mole activity after using them. I sort of have to take it on faith that they work since there is no little rodent body for proof, but as long as the activity stops, I’m happy, so I’m happy to recommend them. There are also these poison worm baits which supposedly work even better. I will be trying them. I’m a big believer in poison baits for killing rodents.


If you find a mole’s burrow you can put your garden hose down it and drown it out, this might also work to drown any mole babies down there. Sometimes it can help you finding the exit elsewhere as the water bubbles up. Of course the porosity of your soil will effect how useful this is. Also some people think that all you’re doing when you do this is giving them a drink of water up there. Also, if you do this, you should have a shovel (shotgun maybe) ready, because if they flee the water you’ll want to be able to whack them.


Speaking of whacking, if you have a beer and a rocking chair and a shovel you can just mow your lawn, stomp down a few hills, and then sit out there and watch your grass grow… and maybe, just maybe you’ll see a mole in action, pushing up the soil, and you can run over, stick the shovel in, flip it up, expose the mole, and whack it. The benefit of this method is you have a dead mole, so you know it works, the problem is the time needed to do it.


Another popular option is to take the exhaust from your lawn mower or car, put it into a garden house (so you stick the hose up the exhaust pipe while the engine is running – and that’s very dangerous for you so don’t breath that in) then stick the other end into the mole hole. The carbon monoxide will filter down into the mole area and they’ll die of suffocation. This might also work with dry ice. The problem is that you don’t know how extensive the burrow is and the gas might be coming up out somewhere else in the yard before it gets to the moles. Definitely keep animals, children, and even adults, out of the area while you try this. If the gas ended up emanating up under someone’s lawn chair that could be dangerous. Same thing with the water method, have shovel or shotgun handy. You can also do this with a little propane canister, like what you’d use for plumbing, remember many gases are heavier than air so they’ll sink down into the tunnels.

Flame On

This one is my favorite, though I’ve never tried it. You definitely should be a professional to do this, or at least, I’m saying, do this at your own risk. What you do is pump propane down into the mole hill like the suffocating method, and then… and then… you light it on fire. Boom! You burn them up or burn them out. This seems to me like it would be a very effective method, but as I said, I’ve not tried it. I do have a nice big propane torch which is actually a good gardening tool as I’ve blogged about earlier.


Any of my “shovel” options above you can also try with a pitch fork, in which case you can just try stabbing into the ground if you see the dirt moving. I’ve also heard of things like juicy fruit gum or human hair being repellents but I think those are likely old wives tales. One good idea I heard was getting worm oil from a fishing bait shop, and then coating your traps or holes or poison peanuts with it to attract the moles to their last meal.

What has worked best for you for dealing with these rapacious rodents? Leave a comment and let me know.

17 Responses to “How to kill moles”

  1. Carol  Says:

    I don’t kill just for killing but I need to grow my own food. I found a sure way to kill them is very simple. Since they are in the rat family sort of along with chipmunks, etc. just get some rat poison and put it down each hole you can find.
    I have use that method for years as soon as I saw any activity it cleans up the problems in a heart beat.
    Rat poison isn’t just for rats anymore!
    The best thing I have found for deer is an invisible electric fence it doesn’t hurt them but they can’t figure out what bits them in their legs. I have never had one jump over because they can’t see it. Almost the same thing you use for dogs, I kept my goats, geese, my pig and my cow in with it. Good luck.

  2. Johnny B  Says:

    I have used the flame-on method many times, and effective seen by the absence of activity afterwards also being a guy, I like the small explosions. I also use poisoned millet (0.5%), and to use this I dig up the fresh mound until I am about 6 inches below the tunnels I find, then clear the tunnels, put about 2 tablespoons in each, and leave the tunnel open for a week. if they refill the tunnel, reopen then redeposit poison and leave open, repeat until they no longer refill the tunnel, then fill in the holes.
    I also will sit in the early morning watching a hole holding my .22 rifle, and blast them as they push up the dirt, I have killed many this way, and you are positive when you get them.
    Hope this helped those that want the little pests gone.

  3. I HATE MOLES  Says:

    I would always recomend the flame on becausse you can see them come running out and they will be on fire. then you can shoot them with a deasert eagle or whack them with a shovel. sometimes i catch them and put them in cages and let them out and watch my cat catch and eat them or i hook them up to my wood burning stove and watch them burn. I hope this helpful info helps you catch these assholes

  4. Mike  Says:

    One other option is to plant Castor beans in the ground. The plant, growing will put off more odor to repel the moles than just the oil. Now of course the beans look edible but are in fact poisonous. Best to plant the plants around the border of the area you are trying to protect. Best of luck to you. I sympathize with you greatly. My problem tends to be raccoons and when I start talking about how much I hate them and how hard I try to eradicate them, it makes people uncomfortable. Oh well, most folks don’t need to squash as much animal activity as we do. Good luck.

  5. Jeffrey  Says:

    Lawn chair, a beer, a 12 gauge and patience. I’ve tried the hose down the whole. It’s great for watering your lawn. I talked to my friend at the local hardware store and got some peanut shaped “pills”. They have been working just fine.

  6. Rick  Says:

    I like the beer method, those little bastards will show their activity while chilling with a cold one. I have caught two and killed them with this method, it takes patients and a cooler of ice cold beer. I also heard that if you do kill the little bastards this way by either cutting them in two with a spade, which is my tool of choice or spiking them with a pitchfork, leave there bloody little bodies in the mole trail so there little bastard buddies know you mean business and they will hopefully move out. Good luck this season, its upon us.

  7. Bob Zwicker  Says:

    We have a house on some land in Puget Sound area. Moles were driving me nuts. I did have some luck over the years with Victor Outa Sight traps (one time I even caught two at once in one trap) but my hit rate was low. I thought there might be a better way and I am an electronic engineer. I had an idea and designed something…….

    This year I finally built two copies of an electronically controlled trap. Basically 10 x 75 mm glass test tube filled with gunpowder and plugged, and my electronic circuit board on a plywood platform over top. A few wires interconnect through a small hole. Sounds dangerous but the platform is an easy and effective shield. I feel that it easy to use it dangerously if you want to do so, but it is also easy to use it safely.

    First time out I set up over a mole hole (not a mole hill) and had confirmed killed a mole that night. Two other times within a few weeks; overnight results seemed similar (it triggered) but did not find the dead mole those last 2 times. Very little digging is required; mostly if you want to find the mole afterwards. It has been 2 months since doing this and I do not remember seeing so little sign of mole activity around the yard, except when we first bought the house and had no mole problem.

    Originally this contraption was for my own use but I now (seriously) am thinking of patenting this design. I am unsure as to whether people would really want to buy it.

    Any comments?

  8. pamela  Says:

    I had good results with using moth balls.
    I would find their tunnels and poke a couple moth balls in them.
    It discouraged them from moving into my garden, they seemed to go the opposite way.
    I don’t think it killed them, just made it smell bad and they didn’t like that.
    Also, I grew some castor bean plants as well.

  9. Robert  Says:

    Something ate the bulb off a gladiola 2 days ago and this morning the glad, about to bloom was wilting. I lifted the stalt to find the bulb missing. Have been running water in the hole for well over an hour with no sign of where it runs out.
    Guess I’ll get some poison for the varmints.
    Thinking of making a dam of fencing surrounding the glads. Will moles and voles chew through plastic fencing?
    Anyone had success with potting up full grown gladiolus?

  10. Administrator  Says:

    They make metal cages you can plant bulbs in to stop this – but you need metal, not plastic.

  11. Fire Fancy  Says:

    “because if they flee the water you’ll want to be able to whack them.”

    “Speaking of whacking -”

    This made me laugh, and I wasn’t even stalking the site to read about moles. xD

    Nice blog! I’m glad to see it’s still active. Started stalking it a while ago (2014?) when I was doing grain growing research.

    Glad to find the time to drop a comment.
    Cheers. ^.^

    – Fire Fancy

  12. clint  Says:

    That was headache for me too. But after I tried lawn mover there is no more problems in my garden. Here is short video how to configure it.

  13. Bob  Says:

    Okay…. I just got lucky.

    After reading about main tunnels vs. feeding tunnels, I went to the end of a newly formed raised feeding tunnel. It was curved in nature and an offshoot of the main travel tunnel.

    On my very 1st attempt, I put a steel landscaping rake (pointed side facing down) on top of the tunnel (at the end point of excavation), and stepped on the back of the rake, driving the pointed steel fingers into the ground with force. When pulling up the rake vertically, up came the mole, impaled by the rake tine. Call it luck, but I was quite pleased by the outcome.

    Guess the mole was too intent on feeding and didn’t know what was in store? 🙂

  14. Mel  Says:

    We have a German Shepherd. We showed her a mole. The next morning when we woke up, it looked as if it had rained dead moles on our property and Gretchen was covered with mud.
    We still chuckle about it from time to time, especially when our cat owning neighbors complain about having moles. Then….we showed her squirrels.

  15. Brian  Says:

    I have used a pitch fork a knife and the “Mole Pole” I made to kill at least 120 moles, they come out of the woods like the Chinese Army.
    Tamp down the tunnel, check back occasionally, if you see it has been raised wait quietly and you will see the ground lift up as the mole is digging. Quietly step closer until you are right over the spot. Lots of times they stop,when he starts again let him have it.
    To make a Mole Pole cut two 5×5 inch blocks of 3/4 in plywood, drill 16 evenly spaced holes threw one piece. I use 16 six inch spikes and insert them in the holes, then put the other piece on top over the heads of the spikes. Then bolt the two pieces together. At Home Depot get a good size pipe threaded on one end about 5 feet long, they sell threaded “cups” that can be attached to the top of the plywood then screw in the pipe.
    Use heavy duty stuff so it lasts.
    Mine works like a charm, one shot one kill. You usually have to pry the mole from between the spikes.
    Good luck, I hope this helps.

  16. Icabod  Says:

    Had most of my luck with traps. Trick is to find new tunnels that are just under the sod.
    One thing. Moles travel a lot. You can put in anything and it will seem to work. However, the mole has just moved on yard over. It will come back.

  17. Paul Morsch  Says:

    I have lived on this 1-1/2 acres for 28 years and never had a mole, it started last year and got bad enough, quick enough that I hired a professional, complete with a diploma from an actual school. he didn’t let me see how he placed the pellet, but he also sold me a scissors trap. He told me that a mole eats for 4 hours and sleeps for 4 hours and runs back and forth. he told me to step on the run and mark it. When I check back over 4 hours later, if the ground is pushed up, set the trap. Either I have been lucky or this works, but I have had a real good kill rate

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