Moles are a long-standing nuisance to the garden, known for unsightly tunneling and uprooting favorite plants. Moles are classified as insectivores but will also eat earthworms and other small animals in the soil.  They only rarely consume plant material. Mole activity actually aids the gardener by consuming white grubs and other insects as well as aerating the soil. The garden mole is often unjustly persecuted for the crimes of voles, white-footed mice, and the common house mouse, which adopt the mole tunnels as their gateway to feast on seeds, bulbs, and roots. However, if the unsightly tunnels and uprooting of plants cannot be tolerated, there are several control methods that can be adopted.

Integrated Pest Management Strategies

1. Grow castor beans around the garden. There are several theories as to why this works. One theory is that castor beans’ fast growth rate reduces soil moisture content, thus reducing the amount of insects in the soil along with their predator, the garden mole. It has also been suggested that castor beans or oil deter moles because they are poisonous.

2. Flush the moles out with water. Open the molehill, poke a garden hose into the hole, and turn the water on for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch for the animal to emerge and then dispose of it manually.

3. Buried fencing of small mesh or tightly woven hardware cloth, ideal for small areas, controls moles, mice, and rats. The fence should be slightly above the soil surface and extend 18–24 inches below ground. The underground portion should be bent outward (away from the protected area) in an L shape.

4. Live and lethal trapping is the most successful and practical method for controlling moles. Some models of lethal traps that are available and effective include: Out O’ Sight trap, Victor trap, and Nash trap. If the trap fails to catch the mole after two days, the mole has probably changed habits, or the runway was disturbed too much while setting the trap, and the mole detected it. In either case, the trap must be re-set.

5. Use chemical pesticides. Gopha-rid, Dexol Gopher Gasser, and Scoot Mole Evacuator are just a few of the products available.