If you've noticed a network of tunnels and patches of spongy earth marking your landscape, then it's likely that you have moles. Since these subterranean creatures engage in making these unsightly, zig-zag "runways," they are classified as pests. While moles generally don't harm plants and other vegetation, they can turn an entire yard upside down in short order. Various yard mole removal strategies exist to eliminate them, but only a few are truly effective.

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Mole Repellants

These range from plant deterrents to homemade formulas using soap, hot peppers and even bleach. However, many of these methods are problematic for people, not moles. For instance, the castor bean plant is noted for its pest-deterring qualities. As an added bonus, these plants have attractive foliage and flowers. However, they are poisonous and may not be a suitable landscaping plant if you have small children or pets. Pouring super spicy or corrosive liquids into mole tunnels also presents some difficulties. Aside from the fact that these materials can also be harmful to children and pets, most people make the mistake of using them on inactive tunnels and never reach the moles.

Mole Menu Modification

One popular method of attack for removing yard moles is to remove the mole's primary food source, which is Japanese beetle larva, commonly known as grubs. This can be accomplished by using a spreader to put down a fine layer of diatomaceous earth, which consists of the powdered fossilized skeletons of ancient fresh-water organisms. This substance will dehydrate the grubs but is considered safe for humans and other animals. While this tactic often meets with a degree of success, you'll need to be diligent in terms of reapplying the material after each rain.

Mole Bait

According to Purdue University, one of the most effective baits is a product designed to look and smell like an earthworm, another common mole appetizer. The methodology here is to entice the mole to take the bait, which is laced with bromethalin, a powerful neurotoxin.

Mole Traps

The experts at Purdue also maintain that the only effective yard mole removal method other than poison is the use of traps. Unfortunately, these are not of the capture-and-release variety. In fact, the three types of traps to choose from are engineered to strangle the rodent, slice it in two or impale it with a miniature harpoon.

Structural Deterrents

Digging shallow trenches around gardens, patios and walkways may serve as protective barriers against moles. Moles have a hard time digging through dense materials, so filling in the trenches with a layer of clay topped off with gravel should keep them away from these areas.