There are at least 65 types of traps for moles on the market. Most of them are very hard to use, but four brands are especially useful for home mole control.
And before you use gloves for handling mole traps, you need to “season” them with fresh dirt, preferably dirt that is dug from a flower or vegetable bed that has lots of earthworms. Rub your gloves thoroughly with fresh soil. Use them only for handling mole traps and not for any other purpose, always picking them up by the inside to avoid contaminating them with your scent.
The next thing you need to do to catch a mole is to locate tunnels where moles are active. This is not hard to do. Just look for a mound of fresh dirt or a raised tunnel you have not noticed before. The moister and fresher the dirt in the mound, the more likely you are to trap a mole. It is always best to put out a trap next to the entrance to a tunnel that has been dug just in the last 12 to 24 hours. The best time of day to set out a trap is during the heat of a summer afternoon or the cold of a winter morning, when moles are most likely to be resting in chambers farthest away from the entry point.
If you have trouble finding a new tunnel, you can always obliterate the openings to old tunnels. Shovel off and fill in old openings and stomp down new tunnels. You won’t crush any moles—they will hear you and scamper away, but they will have to dig new openings. The best time to check for new tunnels is in the early morning.
Make sure that the molehill where you will be placing your trap actually leads to a tunnel. You won’t be able to peer directly inside. Usually moles fill in the entryways to their tunnels with fresh dirt that they can dig through easily but that slows their predators down. Carefully remove a little dirt to confirm that the molehill leads to an actual tunnel.
Then you need to smooth out the molehill so that your trap is flush against the surface of the ground and covers the entire entrance to the tunnel. You may need to enlarge the entry—making sure that you have not held your tools with your bare hands—to fit the trap. The trap rests on soft dirt, not over an open tunnel.
Open the jaws of the trap. Set the trigger and lock the hook in place so you don’t trap your fingers. No matter what kind of trap you are using place the trap into the entrance to the tunnel or into the tunnel itself so that the jaws or trap door open in the same direction as the tunnel. Don’t expect moles to dig around to the side of your trap just so they can get trapped!
Once the trap is set, partially cover the trap with loose dirt or bits of sod so the mole will dig down to the trap. Then release the safety latch to activate the trap. Cover the trap with an inverted bucket to keep pets and other animals from disturbing or getting caught in the trap.
That’s all you have to do. Typically you will catch your first mole by the next morning. If you don’t catch a mole in 1 or 2 days, then making sure you are wearing seasoned gloves, remove the trap and reset it in another location. If you don’t catch a mole the second time you set a trap, see the troubleshooting tips in the next section of this article.
When you catch a mole, dispose of it and repeat the process until you no longer have a mole problem. New moles will occasionally find their way onto your property, but you can keep mole problems to a minimum with much less work.
Many models of mole traps have to be set inside the tunnel rather than at the entryway of the tunnel. The more you disturb the tunnel itself, the more likely it is that moles will simply flee the scene. It is important to use sharp digging tools to make a clean cut into the tunnel and to be careful about covering the trap with dirt and sod when it is set. Be sure to note the location of the trap so you can find it easily later.
It may seem obvious that the trap has to be set before it will catch a mole, but it’s easy to forget that the trap has to be sprung before it can actually catch the animal. Be sure to unhook the safety hook before you leave the trap.
Mole traps placed at the openings of tunnels that don’t have any moles inside them won’t catch any moles. If there are many mole hills in your yard, choose the one with the freshest dirt. Dry, clumped dirt that shows evidence of having been rained is not likely to be part of an active tunnel.
Especially if you have clay soil, rain can cause the soil to swell and clump. Moles may choose alternative exits that are easier to dig through. However, a very heavy rain will flood the tunnels and increase activity through the highest point available to the mole.
Most home mole trappers remember to season their gloves with dirt and to reserve the gloves exclusively for mole trapping. It’s more common, however, to forget to rinse the bucket before putting it over the trap. Make sure that bucket you place over the mole trap was not used for some purpose that would contaminate it with human scent.
A. Moles are roughly the size of large mice. They can be caught in release mouse traps and released or disposed of. Since moles don’t eat cheese, bacon, or peanut butter, you will need to capture an earthworm or grub to bait the trap. A mousetrap can be set inside a tunnel rather than on soft dirt at the entrance to a tunnel, but the trap must not be contaminated by human scent. This means you will need to wear seasoned work (not latex) gloves from the very first moment you handle the trap.
A. In addition to shovelling in older entryways to burrows, it can also help to put out garlic or child powder on freshly loosened dirt, causing the mole to choose another point to exit its tunnels, or you can spray a solution of one tablespoon castor oil (to drive away moles) and one tablespoon of detergent (to make sure the castor oil is dispersed) in 4 litres (1 gallon) of water around the openings of tunnels or around plants you want to protect. Blood meal, bone meal, human hair, animal or human urine, and cayenne pepper will all cause moles to detour away from garden beds and shrubs you want to protect.
A. It is best to capture moles in the late winter or early spring before they reproduce. This is especially important if you live in the United States in regions where there are cicadas that hatch in mass numbers every 13 to 17 years. When there are large numbers of cicada larvae, there are large number of moles.
A. Always place the trap in a straight section. The mole has to move directly over the activating mechanism to get caught in the trap. If you place the trap in a bend or curve of the mole’s tunnel, you will only capture moles going in one direction.
A. No. Moles, when they are not mating, are highly territorial. You usually get better results by resetting the trap in a different location every time you catch a mole.