How to deter moles - unwanted visitors

The battle between moles and gardeners is a long running one and likely to continue as long as there are moles and gardeners. Moles can spoil lawns and their runs can undermine plants in borders. They spend most of their life underground and a single family can occupy up to half an acre of land. Burrowing activity is at a peak in the spring while the parents find food for the new litter of baby moles (called pups). The chances are that if you have moles, you will never actually see any of them face to face - just their destructive trail.

Moles are carnivores and feed on worms and grubs that they find in the soil, they don't feed on plants and damage them only coincidentally as they burrow past.

Traditionally moles were removed from a site by a mole catcher in a battle of wits whereby he inserted traps into runs in the evening and returned the next day to see how many he had caught. This is still an option for gardeners though many people find it distasteful today as the mole is killed. There is also the disadvantage that the garden is now missing any resident moles and another family may move in to take the place of the deceased ones.

There are a whole range of chemical deterrents available that can be put down the mole run such as:

  • Mothballs
  • Garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Smoke cartridges
  • Chanel No.5  - I've never believed this one, I mean who would actually try it? surely you'd try some old cheap perfume first.

Castor oil can also be used on the ground. When the moles food is seasoned with castor oil, they will go elsewhere for meals. (Wouldn't you?) Mix up a spray of 3 parts castor oil to 1 part dish detergent; use 4 tablespoons of this concoction in a gallon of water, and soak the tunnels and the entrances. Check your soil for the presence of pests; if you have a lot of moles, you probably have an oversupply of grubs and bugs.

Received by email

A pest man told us to get several packages of "Juicy Fruit" gum. Has to be Juicy Fruit, and cut it in small pieces and put it into the mole area. We could not believe it but had tried so many things. IT WORKS!!!

More modern methods involve the use of a sonic deterrent, which emit bursts of sounds on a regular basis that the moles find off putting and leave. The results of this method however are not instant and devices need to be kept running for 4 to 6 months. There is also the problem that when you stop, the moles may come back.

Picture credit - European mole- Europeischer Maulwurf - published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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