Damn moles, get off my lawn!
August 24, 2009 7:28 PM   Subscribe

We've been getting molehills in our front garden lately, and we want them to go away. Which anti-mole technology is best for us?

* Our garden is about 500 square ft. Only part of it is lawn, the rest being flowerbeds and some planters with vegetables. No sign of moles outside of the lawn so far though. The soil has recently been aerated, which seems to have started our mole problems.
* We have a cat, he catches them occasioanly, but as far as we know does not eat them. Anything which might harm the cat is out.
* Those neat looking plunger traps that skewer have been vetoed as too cruel. Anything that actually harms the moles directly is probably out. Boo.
* So we're probably looking at repellent sprays or some kind of audio device, which of those work best? Any particular brands that are more effective?
* The solar molechasers looks sort of interesting, but it is frequently overcast here, are they going to do anything?
* I kind of like the idea of the windmill mole chasers, but are they going to work with only moderate wind?
posted by Artw to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you sure they're moles, and not gophers? (Have you actually seen any of the ones your cat has caught?)

If you're not willing to kill them, whatever they are, you're probably going to have to get used to having them around. Would instant, painless kill be OK for you?

One of the more effective ways of getting rid of them is to pump a mixture of propane and oxygen into their tunnels, then detonate it. The concussion usually kills the animals immediately, but if not, they'll die rapidly of suffocation because all the oxygen in the tunnels will be consumed by the blast. There are several brands of this kind of thing (e.g. this one and this one) and there are also companies which will come do it for you. (There's one in Woodland WA.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:58 PM on August 24, 2009

I got a Jack Russell Terrier. After a week my neighbors had moles, but I didn't.

And they're great dogs, if you can spend the time training them or rescue one that is already well trained. But that's a different topic.

Seriously. Get a dog. My dad's tried everything and nothing has really worked. The explosion thing might work (he never tried that), but new ones can still come.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:20 PM on August 24, 2009

Everyone I know using a repellent such as this one or this one. Doesn't hurt them, just chases them out of the treated area.
posted by justlisa at 8:46 PM on August 24, 2009

At some point during my teens my father waged war on moles for about two summers - traps and poison and God knows what else. And in the end he won. The next summer you could just pull up whole sections of the yard as the grubs had pretty much eliminated it's root system.

So check for grubs and spray for them if you have them. The moles will follow the food.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:14 PM on August 24, 2009

Moles hate urine. How it gets on the lawn is your business.
posted by JV at 3:55 AM on August 25, 2009

I second Kid Charlemagne - check for grubs.
posted by evening at 4:24 AM on August 25, 2009

Here's a recipe that I have shared with many people who invariably return and tell me it worked wonders (I used to own a plant nursery). First, make sure you have moles and not gophers. Moles tunnel just under the surface so you can see where they have been tunneling. Gophers, on the other hand, leave large dirt mounds on the lawn but you can't see where their tunnels go. This recipe works on moles only.

Using a hose end sprayer, mix 4 oz. of castor oil (available at pharmacies but you'll probably have to have someone help you find it) and about the same amount of liquid dish soap. Attach the hose and spray the concoction all over your lawn until it is saturated (so the castor oil soaks in). Your moles will disappear. You have not, however, killed them. They don't like digging through the castor oil so they will just move over to your neighbor's yard - but you will be mole-free.
posted by eleslie at 7:00 AM on August 25, 2009

Response by poster: A couple of extra data points:
* yes, they are definitely moles. The corpses we have seen have been quite small, about 5 inches long, completely intact and very defiantely moles. Though they are small they may just be the babies of some mega-mole that's down there, for all I know.
* No, we are not getting a dog.
* Did I mention we have a toddler? Any solution must leave the lawn in a toddler freindly state.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on August 25, 2009

Response by poster: eleslie, does your treatment have any noticable effect on the grass?
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on August 25, 2009

Kid Charlemagne has it right. Get yourself some milky spore (which is not as dirty as it sounds and is all-organic-y and toddler safe).
posted by qldaddy at 12:32 PM on August 25, 2009

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