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Published on: Apr. 2, 1998

Last revision: Oct. 28, 2010

long supporting stakes straddle the run. Push the stakes into the ground until the trap pan is near the flattened tunnel. Select another location if the trap stakes cannot be pushed all the way down.

With the trap stakes pushed into the ground and the trap pan nearly touching the surface, fire the trap a few times to open holes for the spears to travel. It is important for the spears to move with minimum resistance through the soil when the trap is sprung.

Finally, cock the trap and push it into position with the pan close to the surface, so the mole puts pressure against the pan when opening the tunnel. Make certain the trap spears do not stick down into the tunnel and alert the mole.

Check the trap daily. If the trap is sprung, do not pull it out of the ground. The mole may only be pinned down and will scamper free when the trap is removed. Use a small tool, not your fingers, to dig down on each side of the trap to find out if the mole is there. A mole's bite has been compared to that of a mini pit bull, so be careful.

Once you catch a mole, move the trap to another run. Moles are solitary critters, so it usually is not productive to continue trapping in the same spot. If the trap does not catch a mole in two or three days, move it to another location.

Mole traps are dangerous only when out of the ground, so always fire the trap before removing it. If you trap moles in the vicinity of children or pets, it's a good idea to cover the trap with a bucket or a circle of wire.

Trapping moles may take a little practice, but it's a skill you can master. Go about it in an organized fashion and don't get discouraged. Remember, the commercial operators who remove moles for pay use traps exclusively. If they can do it, so can you. triangle

Popular Mole Buster Methods

Windmills-Flower-shaped windmills punched into the ground where moles are active. The spinning windmill is believed to cause a vibration that frightens moles.

Limited success as long as the wind is blowing.

Vibrators-A battery powered vibrator attached to the top of a metal probe pushed into the ground.

Limited success as long as the flashlight batteries are working.

Water-Flood the runs with a garden hose.

Most effective during the winter months. Success depends on the length of the runs and how much water the mole buster is willing to invest.

Chewing Gum-Juicy Fruit gum (no other flavor will do) placed in the run will be ingested and plug the moles' digestive tract.

Really now! Chew the gum yourself while thinking of a sensible idea.

Fumigation-Gas cartridges or piped-in exhaust from an automobile or lawnmower.

Not reliable because the runs are often too extensive.

Poison-Toxic peanuts or grain placed in the runs.

A quick-fix favorite, but moles are insectivores that do not readily eat plant material.

Chemical Spray-Chemicals sprayed on the soil kills the moles food supply.

A drastic measure akin to cutting down the tree to get an apple. The soil needs invertebrates to provide aeration, add organic matter and allow water to seep down.

Repellant-Spray the lawn with castor bean oil.

This sometimes works, but repeat treatments are necessary. Keep in mind that castor beans are poisonous to humans.

Plants-Plant a border of marigolds or castor beans around flower beds or small areas.

May repel moles, although the method has not been proven scientifically.

Live Trap-Bury an open container below the run.

Some success but moles often die from the stress of being captured.

Kill Trap-Use harpoon or scissor-style traps.

The most reliable method of removing moles.


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