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How to Get Rid of Moles and Keep them Away for Good

curious mole
juefraphoto / Getty

What do moles look like?

Including its tail, the average mole is between four and 11 inches long. They typically have black, brown, or gray fur and resemble rodents, though they’re technically small mammals. They have tiny ears and eyes, small hind feet, and larger forefeet used for digging. Even though moles look similar to rodents, they’re more closely related to bats.

Moles are insectivores and prefer to feed on centipedes, earthworms, insect larvae, and millipedes. Their tunneling wreaks havoc on gardens and lawns and provides easier access for other rodents to feed on your plants. Moles typically tunnel where the soil is abundant with organic matter. If you see a high population of moles in a specific area of your yard, that may be a red flag for high populations of soil pests. Because they can tunnel up to 15 feet per hour, that leads many homeowners to want the moles gone for good.

mole snout and claws sticking out of the molehill

How do you get moles?

When researching how to get rid of moles, your first step is to identify where they come from and what attracts them to your yard. Their main motivation? Food. Moles love to eat earthworms, grubs, and other insects that live deep within your lawn, so you may want to invest in products that can help control these insects. If you cut off the moles’ food supply, they will lose interest.

Moles may be small, but they cause plenty of damage as they dig through root systems.  If you see small mounds of dirt in your yard that look like little volcanoes, those might be molehills. These are entry and exit ways created by moles to lead to their tunnels. Some of these tunnels make three- to 30-inch protrusions or ridges on lawns and in gardens which cause major inconveniences if you’re trying to grow flowers, garden vegetables, lawns, and small trees.

How to check for moles

Learning how to get rid of moles involves knowing how to check for them on your property. Moles rarely come to the ground’s surface unless it’s time for them to mate. And while they don’t cause a significant amount of damage to large open spaces, moles are problematic to yards because they destroy bulbs, grass, and plant roots.

Checking for moles involves inspecting your yard and along walkways. If you see mounds of soil or ground protrusions near walkways, that’s a telltale sign of moles digging. The best way to determine if you’re looking at a molehill is its size. They’re typically small, but can be up to one foot in diameter. You’ll also find that the majority of mole damage occurs in moist and shady areas where the ground is abundant with earthworms, grubs, and other insects.

How to get rid of moles, step-by-step

Let’s look at how to get rid of moles in your yard with a home remedy. There are several options you  can try:

  • Use castor oil

Moles don’t like the taste or smell of castor oil, plus it contaminates the ground for insects. Create a spray using three parts castor oil, one part dish soap, and three parts water. Spray it wherever you see tunnels and molehills. There is also mole-repellant smoke available to release in your yard.

Salad and marigold rows in a garden
Getty/Philippe S. Giraud
  • Plant deterring flowers

Pick up bulbs or seeds or plant starters for marigolds and daffodils, which serve as natural mole deterrents. Any plant from the allium family also repels moles.

  • Use household items

Sprinkle household items, like cat litter, cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, or red pepper, wherever you see signs of moles. Prevent moles from returning by sprinkling these substances in your gardens and on lawns.

Products you can use to fix a mole infestation

  • Granular repellents: Spread granular repellents where you see molehills and ground protrusions. These repellents contain ingredients moles don’t like, including castor oil, cinnamon, and garlic.
  • Humane mole traps: There are a number of lethal traps on the market including cinch, scissor and snare styles. Some of these methods do not kill the mole quickly and animal rights groups have lodged protests over their use. If you prefer a non-lethal method of trapping, there are live mole traps available that are also safe to use around your children and household pets.
  • Insecticides: Look for safe and natural insecticides. Because moles eat what’s lurking beneath the surface, getting rid of their food supply is an ideal remedy. Select products that eliminate pests without harming plants or animals. These products should also be safe to use around children and pets.
  • Non-lethal sprays: The active ingredient in many non-lethal sprays is castor oil. These sprays treat up to 10,000 square feet. As the spray soaks into the ground, it kills off the mole’s food source and repels the moles themselves. These repellent sprays are safe to use around pets and children.
  • Ultrasonic spikes: Install two ultrasonic spikes every 100 feet in your yard to drive moles away. These are shock-proof devices that send electronic pulses into the ground, which claims to drive away moles, though effectiveness has proven to be inconclusive.

When to call a professional to get rid of moles

Many factors lead to deciding if you should learn how to get rid of moles yourself or call a professional for help. If you’ve tried most of the methods above and they don’t appear to be working, a professional will know how to solve the problem. They’ll inspect your property thoroughly and provide you with an assessment regarding the size and scope of your mole issue. Professionals not only use the best equipment for eliminating moles, but they can also help prevent them from returning.

According to, professional non-lethal mole removal can cost around $400. If you are dealing with a family of moles, count on “about $50 to $80 per mole, compared to if you’re dealing with just one pest.”

How to keep moles out of your home

Though it doesn’t happen often, some homeowners might find moles in their houses. Moles can enter homes through foundation cracks near the soil line, as well as through damaged basement windows. If you see a mole in your home, your best option is to contact a wildlife professional for safe and humane removal. They’ll also look for baby moles and help you determine where the infestation occurred. The best way to get rid of moles in your house and prevent them from returning is by fixing broken windows and repairing foundation cracks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are moles dangerous? 

Moles aren’t dangerous to humans and rarely come into contact with them at all. However, they can cause significant and expensive damage to yards and landscapes. Even though they aren’t dangerous, don’t be tempted to feed or interact with them.

What’s the best home remedy for getting rid of moles? 

Natural home remedies to spread onto your yard and in molehills include using castor oil, cayenne pepper, garlic, and red pepper — or plant flowers like daffodils and marigolds, which are natural mole deterrents.

How can I humanely prevent moles from infesting my yard? 

Non-lethal mole prevention includes installing ultrasonic spikes, spraying areas with liquid mole repellents, or spreading granular mole repellents. You can also sprinkle substances found around your home, including cat litter and coffee grounds, to help drive the moles away.

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