Do You Need to Use Bait to Trap a Mole?


Every mole eats 70 to 100% of its body weight in earthworms and grubs every day. Eating is so important to the mole that most of its brain is literally hard wired to its teeth and mouth.

Just to avoid starvation, a mole may need to capture as many as 2000 earthworms in its brief lifetime. The simple fact about trapping moles is that you aren’t going to get moles into your mole trap without bait. But it is not hard to find bait that moles will find hard to resist.

How to Find Earthworms

Where there are large numbers of earthworms, there will also be large numbers of moles. Catching an earthworm is a simple matter of turning over earth and letting worms wriggle out if you dig where you see fresh earthworm castings. These are the small pellets of soft earth that the worm has excreted after it has digested the dead leaves and stems of plants that are mixed in the soil.

You are most likely to find earthworm castings where leaves or grass has been left to decay on the surface of the soil. Earthworms prefer soil that is mostly dirt rather than organic matter. They do not care for pure compost or peat, and they usually avoid acidic soil such as can be found in bogs and under acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries. Nitrogen fertilizers kill worms.

Don’t forget that you must not handle the earthworms you use for bait with your bare hands. Use gloves that you reserve for handling tools and traps you use for moles. Don’t wash your gloves aftet you handle earthworms. The worm smell will transfer to traps you use to catch moles.

Some species of earthworms are protected. The Giant Palouse earthworm of eastern Washington state in the United States is protected as endangered species. This albino worm burrows as deep as 5 meters (16 feet) in the soil and grows up to a meter (a little more than a yard) long. Moles won’t eat this worm, and it might give you a start should you happen to dig one up. If you sight a member of this species, the US Fish and Wildlife Service would appreciate your giving them a call so they can note its location.

The Oregon Giant earthworm is even larger and longer than the Giant Palouse earthworm. It can grow up to 130 cm (4 feet) long and achieves a diameter of about 25 mm (1 inch). Oregon giant earthworms are most often encountered in undisturbed forest litter underneath Douglas fir trees, although they are sometimes sited in the Williamette Valley of Oregon between Portland and Eugene.

How to Find Grubs

Grubs are the larvae of beetles, bees, and wasps. Since you really don’t want to be digging around in a bee hive or a wasp’s nest, most of the grubs you will use to bait mole traps are the larvae of beetles.

Some predatory beetles have predatory larvae that travel through the ground seeking food. Other beetles lay their eggs in the plants on which they feed as adults. In much of North America and Europe, “June bugs” lay their eggs in well-tilled garden soil that is rich in humus. If you have beetles emerging every June, then May is the perfect time to turn the soil and look for the larvae of the beetles that will grow up to eat your plants.

You can also locate grubs by the damage they cause. Strips of brown lawn are often caused by grubs chewing away at the roots. Lift the dead sod to look for live grubs. Japanese beetles are especially fond of rose bushes. Japanese beetle damage begins to show up in periods of drought. Remember to handle grubs with gloved hands.

And If You Don’t Want to Dig?

Earthworms are sold on You can buy red wrigglers from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm through—just be sure to get overnight or 2-day delivery, and don’t try to ship worms during the heat of US summers. In the UK, earthworms are also available from Amazon. Chapelwood Earthworms sells them by the liter. Grubs are available in pet shops as Tiny Wigglers, a supplement for turtles. Because the grubs are freeze-dried, however, most moles would pass them up for worms.

There are also earthworm-shaped mole poisons made by several North American manufacturers. Some are pre-formed in the shape of a worm. These tend to melt when they are shipped during the summer. Others are squeezed out into the shape of a worm. Both are designed to trick a mole into consuming poison.

Usually, poison baits are not a good idea. They will definitely kill a mole, but there is no guarantee that the mole will eat the bait. More often than not, moles will come up from their burrows at locations where you have not put out bait.

Dogs and cats, however, are also attracted to mole bait. You may kill your pet, or a neighbor’s pet, without killing even a single mole. And if you do kill a mole, you will never know for sure. Even if the poison bait works, a new mole may just move in from the neighbor’s to take the dead mole’s place.

We at Pest Control Products suggest you read this article to learn more about how to get rid of moles.


Mark has a strong background in Engineering and a huge interest in Pest Control as a way of getting rid of rodents and other unwanted pests who can cause a nuisance in your home and garden. You can subscribe to his free daily paper on Pest Control Solutions and follow him on Facebook or Twitter

View Comments

  • I estimate my mole infestation to be about 7k to 10k, what would you suggest for a plan of attach?

  • Over the past ten years I have killed over 550 moles in my lawn and flower beds, Yes, that's right 550+.
    I use Victor mousetraps baited with peanut butter.
    I prefer the Victor traps simply because they have my name on them and I want the critters to know who's responsible for their demise!
    I simply poke a hole in their existing tunnel and place a trap there.
    Sometimes I place a plastic pot over the trap and hole, if rain is predicted.
    I have tried repellents, smoke bombs, flooding and met with little or no success.
    The Ohio State University, Dept. of Agriculture recommends lethal control as the best method to remove moles from your landscape and I agree.

    • Wow, I need to learn from you! I have moles running amuck in my yard and have caught 2 so far with Sweenys deadset mole trap. Do you think i should put peanut butter on the spears to attract them?

  • We have a mole under the house in the crawl space. Something ate two worm baits and we actually heard a distressed creature about an hr after the bait was put there. It is only under our bathroom that we hear it but by the next day, we could hear a creature again. A pest guy from Orkin thinks it's a mole. This has been about 2 months now and very unnerving to listen to daily. Any ideas?? We can't really access the crawl space easily so just throw the baits down there as well as poison peanuts, mouse traps, etc. Orkin said they would just be putting stronger bait there and that we may be able to handle it ourselves. Please help with any suggestions. We haven't tried worms so maybe that would be the trick!

    • I'd look for and access point outside the crawl space. Poke around and see if you can discover a a hole.
      If so, place a trap at the entrance to the hole. You can also wrap the poison peanuts in peanut butter and put it on the trap.

    • Hi Casey,

      If you can't access the crawl space, then your options are very limited.

      Vic.... can you suggest anything to help Casey?


© 2021

This website uses cookies.