Mistakes to Avoid When Setting a Mole Trap

As gardeners, there’s nothing more disheartening than seeing our beautiful lawns and flower beds ruined by molehills. Moles are small but destructive creatures that can wreak havoc in our yards. Setting a mole trap is often the most effective way to control the problem. However, many people make common mistakes when setting and using traps, resulting in ineffective or even dangerous outcomes. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to avoid these mistakes and set a mole trap correctly, so you can enjoy a beautifully maintained yard once again.

Why Do You Need to Set a Mole Trap?

Why Do You Need To Set A Mole Trap?
Moles can be a nuisance for homeowners, especially when they start to damage lawns and gardens by burrowing through the soil. Setting a mole trap is a humane and effective way to get rid of these pests. However, it is essential to understand the behavior of moles and how they can affect your yard.

Understanding Moles’ Behavior

Moles are small burrowing animals that live underground. They are usually active during the spring and fall and tend to eat insects and earthworms. These creatures burrow through soil and leave behind mounds of dirt, which can be unsightly and even dangerous if they cause someone to trip and fall.

One of the biggest advantages of setting a mole trap is that it is a humane way to get rid of these pests. Traps do not use any poisons or chemicals, which can be harmful to your pets and the environment. Additionally, traps can be reused, making them a cost-effective solution for mole infestations.

Another benefit of trapping moles is that it is a targeted approach. Rather than spreading chemicals over your entire yard, using traps can specifically target the problem areas where moles are active. This can help prevent damage to your lawn and garden.

Setting a mole trap can be an effective way to control mole populations in your yard without risking harm to other animals or the environment. However, it is important to choose the right type of trap and avoid common mistakes when setting them. For more information on how to choose the right mole trap and how to set it up correctly, check out our mole trap guide and mole trap tips.

Understanding Moles’ Behavior

Moles are small, furry underground dwellers that have adapted perfectly to their tunneling life, which makes getting rid of them a bit of a challenge. These burrowing creatures are notorious for damaging lawns and gardens, and it’s important to understand their behavior to successfully eliminate them.

Moles are insectivores, which means that they feed on insects, grubs, and invertebrates they find in the soil – this is why they tend to cause the most damage in well-fertilized and healthy lawns. They are solitary creatures that, contrary to popular belief, do not hibernate during winters. Instead, they may burrow up to 18 feet deep to escape extreme weather conditions.

It’s important to note that while mole tunnels can be unsightly, they do serve a purpose in aerating the soil and improving drainage. Without tunnels, water can pool on the surface, which can harm plant life. Additionally, moles’ tunneling digests organic material in the soil, which prepares it for future growth.

Understanding moles’ behavior is crucial when it comes to trapping them. Consider the location of the tunnels, as well as the depth – this will help you determine the best location for your trap, which will increase the chances of catching them. It’s also important to be patient when setting traps, because moles can sometimes take a few days to take the bait.

For example, you can set your trap close to the soil surface when you see active mole tunnels. If the tunnel is deeper, you should use a deeper setting or even dig the tunnel down to the depth it was originally formed. This will ensure that the trap is effective and that you catch the mole.

Understanding moles’ behavior can also help you prevent them from returning to your garden in the future. By modifying their habitat, like removing their food source, or planting deterrents, such as plants that they dislike, you can make your garden less attractive to them. Understanding moles’ behavior is vital in successfully and humanely removing them from your yard.

Internal link: Choosing the best location to set your mole trap can increase its effectiveness and increase your chances of catching the mole.

Benefits of Setting a Mole Trap

Setting a mole trap can have several benefits that make it a worthwhile task for any homeowner or gardener. First and foremost, trapping moles prevents them from damaging lawns, gardens, and landscapes. Moles can create unsightly and destructive tunnels and mounds, which can be expensive to repair. By setting a trap, homeowners can successfully capture moles before they cause extensive damage to their property.

Another benefit of trapping moles is that it is a humane way to deal with these pests. Some people may try to use poisons or other harmful methods to eliminate moles, which can be ineffective and dangerous. Trapping and releasing moles back into the wild is a more humane option that ensures that these animals are not harmed in the process.

In addition to being effective and humane, trapping moles can also be a cost-effective solution for homeowners. Instead of hiring expensive pest control services, trapping moles can be done at an affordable cost using the right tools and techniques. This can save homeowners a significant amount of money, while also ensuring that the problem is dealt with effectively.

The benefits of setting a mole trap are numerous. It is an effective, humane, and cost-effective way to deal with pests, prevent property damage, and achieve a healthy and beautiful landscape. By choosing the right trap and following the correct steps, homeowners can successfully capture and remove moles from their property, without causing any harm to these creatures.

How to Choose the Right Mole Trap

How To Choose The Right Mole Trap
When it comes to mole traps, choosing the right trap is crucial to successfully catching the mole. There are various types of mole traps available in the market, and it can be overwhelming to select the right one. However, it is important to understand that choosing the right trap depends on various factors such as the type of soil, season, and the severity of the mole infestation.

Types of Mole Traps:
One of the most commonly used types of mole traps is the scissor trap, also known as the harpoon or choker trap. This type of trap is inserted into the mole’s tunnel and is designed to snap shut when the mole triggers the pressure plate. Another type of trap is the baited trap, which uses bait to lure the mole into the trap. When the mole tries to retrieve the bait, it triggers the spring and closes the trap. Oxygen deprivation traps are also becoming popular, which use a gas to kill the mole.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mole Trap:
When choosing a mole trap, it is important to consider the size of the trap, the type of soil in your yard, and the severity of the mole infestation. For instance, if your soil is clay-heavy, then a harpoon trap will work better than a scissor trap. Similarly, the size of the trap depends on the size of the mole, and you should ensure that you choose a trap that is suitable for the size of the mole infestation.

It is essential to keep in mind the season during which you are trapping the mole. During spring and summer, when the soil is dry and hard, it can be difficult to set the trap correctly. You may need to use alternative methods such as baiting the trap with worms or using carbon monoxide to force the mole out of the tunnel.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best mole trap for your situation and increase your chances of success. Remember, trapping moles can be a challenging task, and it is important to approach it with patience and perseverance.

Internal link: For more information on different types of mole traps, click here: /mole-trap-types-choose-yard/.

Types of Mole Traps

Setting a mole trap is no easy feat. You have to choose the right type of trap that will efficiently capture and get rid of these pesky critters. There are two main types of mole traps that you can use – the scissor-jawed trap and the harpoon trap.

The Scissor-Jawed Trap

This type of trap is also known as the choker trap or the scissors mole trap. It has a pair of spring-loaded scissor jaws that close when triggered. This trap is designed to trap the mole in the tunnel when it passes through the trigger pan. You can identify a scissor-jawed trap by its distinctive V-shaped metal jaws. Once the mole triggers the trap, it will clamp down on the mole and kill it instantly. Scissor-jawed traps are considered safer than harpoon traps because they do not have exposed spikes.

The Harpoon Trap

A harpoon trap has a trigger pan and a harpoon blade. The blade looks like a harpoon, with a sharp spike at the end. Like the scissor-jawed trap, the harpoon trap is set in the mole’s tunnel. When the mole passes through the trigger pan, the harpoon blade is thrust into the mole’s body. Harpoon traps are considered effective, but they present a safety hazard since they have sharp spikes that can harm you or any other animals that might come in contact with the trap.

When choosing between scissor-jawed traps and harpoon traps, it’s important to consider which one is safer for you, your pets, and your children.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mole Trap

Aside from the type of trap, there are other factors that you need to consider when choosing a mole trap. These include:

1. Effectiveness – the trap should be able to efficiently capture the mole
2. Safety – the trap should not cause harm to you, your family, pets, or other wildlife
3. Durability – the trap should be made of high-quality materials that can endure repeated use
4. Ease of Use – the trap should be simple and easy to set up, use, and dispose of

Consider these factors carefully to ensure that you select the right trap for you. If you’re unsure which trap to use, you may want to consider consulting with a pest control professional or reading reviews online.

When trapping moles, it’s important to dispose of them safely, which is why choosing the right trap is crucial. Alternatively, consider alternative mole trapping methods or even hiring a professional mole trapping service to ensure that the job is done safely and effectively.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mole Trap

When it comes to choosing a mole trap, there are several factors that you need to consider to ensure that you make the right choice. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Size and Type of Mole: The first factor to consider when choosing a mole trap is the size and type of mole that you are dealing with. Different traps are designed to capture different types of moles, so it is important to choose a trap that is suitable for the species that is causing the problem.

Trap Material: The material of the trap is another important consideration. While some traps are made from metal, others are made from plastic. Metal traps are more durable and long-lasting, but they can also be more expensive. Plastic traps are more affordable, but they may not last as long.

Trap Design: There are several different trap designs to choose from, including scissor-jaw, choker-loop, and harpoon traps. Each design has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose a trap that is well-suited to your needs.

Ease of Use: The ease of use is another important factor to consider when choosing a mole trap. Some traps are more complex and difficult to use than others, so make sure that you choose a trap that is simple to set up and easy to operate.

Price: It is also important to consider the price of the mole trap. While you may want to save money, it is important to choose a trap that is of high quality and can effectively capture moles. In many cases, a more expensive trap may be worth the investment if it works better and lasts longer than a cheaper alternative.

By considering these factors when choosing a mole trap, you are more likely to make an informed decision and select a trap that can effectively help you get rid of your mole problem.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting a Mole Trap

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Setting A Mole Trap
When it comes to setting a mole trap, there are several common mistakes that people make. Avoiding these mistakes can increase your chances of trapping the mole effectively. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Wrong Trap Placement
One of the most common mistakes when setting a mole trap is placing it in the wrong location. You should identify the most active mole tunnels first and place the trap near them. If you place it in an inactive tunnel, the mole may never come across the trap. It’s crucial to observe the mole’s behavior and tunnel patterns before setting the trap.

Mistake #2: Not Wearing Gloves
Moles can easily detect human scent on the trap, which can scare them away. It’s important to wear gloves to mask your scent when setting the trap. Otherwise, the mole may avoid the trap altogether.

Mistake #3: Using the Wrong Bait
Another common mistake is using the wrong bait. Moles are insectivores and prefer to eat live insects such as grubs and earthworms. Using vegetables, fruits or any other plant-based bait is not effective. You can also use traps that don’t require bait and instead rely on the mole’s natural behavior.

Mistake #4: Failing to Check the Trap
Once you set the trap, it’s important to check it frequently. Failing to do so may result in the death of the mole due to starvation or dehydration. You should check the trap at least once a day and remove any moles that have been caught.

Mistake #5: Using Poor Quality Traps
Using poor quality traps can also be a mistake. Cheap traps may not be effective, and you may end up harming the mole rather than trapping it. It’s important to invest in a quality mole trap to increase your chances of success.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase your chances of trapping the mole effectively.

Mistake #1: Wrong Trap Placement

One of the most common mistakes that people make when setting a mole trap is placing it in the wrong location. Placing the trap in an area where moles are not active is a waste of time and effort. It is important to identify the location of mole activity before setting the trap.

Moles create underground tunnels and mounds of soil on the surface, indicating their presence. Look for these signs before placing the trap. If the trap is not placed in the right area, moles will simply avoid it and continue to cause damage to your lawn or garden.

Another mistake to avoid is setting the trap too close to the surface. Moles typically travel deeper underground, so it is important to set the trap at the correct depth. If the trap is too close to the surface, it may not be triggered when the mole travels underneath.

On the other hand, placing the trap too deep is also a mistake. The mole may not be able to trigger the trap if it is too far down in the tunnel system. It is essential to find the right depth to ensure that the trap is triggered when a mole passes through.

Ultimately, finding the right location and depth requires some patience and observation. Take the time to study the mole’s behavior and movement patterns to identify the best location for the trap. By avoiding this common mistake, you can increase your chances of successfully trapping the mole and protecting your lawn or garden.

Mistake #2: Not Wearing Gloves

Another mistake that a lot of people make when setting a mole trap is not wearing gloves. It might seem like a small detail, but it can actually make a big difference. Moles have a keen sense of smell, and if they detect human scent on or around the trap, they are more likely to avoid it altogether.

So, always remember to wear gloves when setting a mole trap. This will eliminate any human scent and increase the chances of the trap being successful. Additionally, wearing gloves is also important for your own safety. Moles may carry harmful bacteria and diseases, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

When selecting gloves, choose a pair that is thick enough to protect your hands, but also flexible enough to allow you to manipulate the trap. Some people prefer using disposable gloves, while others prefer reusable ones. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your situation.

Wearing gloves when setting a mole trap is a crucial step that should never be overlooked. It eliminates human scent and minimizes the risk of disease transmission. So, make sure you have a pair of gloves handy before you start setting your traps.

Mistake #3: Using the Wrong Bait

One of the common mistakes people make when setting a mole trap is not using the right bait. Moles are notoriously picky eaters and have sensitive noses. Using the wrong bait can lead to the mole ignoring the trap or even avoiding the area altogether.

So, what is the right bait? The answer is worms. Moles primarily feed on earthworms and grubs, so it’s no surprise that worms are the most effective bait for mole traps. You can usually find worms in your yard or garden, but if you’re having trouble finding them, try digging in a moist, shaded area.

Avoid using:
– Seeds or nuts: Moles are not attracted to these and will ignore your trap.
– Poison: Using poison as bait is dangerous and can harm pets or other wildlife that may eat the poisoned bait.
– Food scraps: Moles are not attracted to human food scraps, so using them as bait is a waste of time.

How to use worms as bait:
– Take a handful of earthworms and place them in the mole trap, making sure that the worms are visible and accessible to the mole.
– Cover the trap with soil and pack it down firmly. This will prevent the trap from moving and alerting the mole.
– Check the trap frequently to see if it has caught anything. If not, replace the bait every few days to keep it fresh.

Remember: The key to successful mole trapping is to use the right bait. Using worms as bait increases your chances of catching the mole and is more humane compared to using poison.

Mistake #4: Failing to Check the Trap

One of the most common mistakes people make when setting a mole trap is failing to check it regularly. This can lead to a number of issues, such as the mole suffering needlessly or even worse, dying inside the trap and causing a terrible odor.

It is essential to check the trap at least twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. This will minimize the time the mole is trapped and suffering, and it also increases the effectiveness of the trap.

When checking the trap, it is important to approach it with caution. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the mole’s sharp claws and teeth, as well as any diseases it may carry. Hold the trap away from your body to avoid being scratched or bitten.

If the trap has successfully caught a mole, carefully release it into a nearby field or wooded area. Be gentle, as moles are delicate creatures, and handle the mole as little as possible to avoid causing it unnecessary stress or injury.

By following these steps and checking the trap regularly, you can increase the effectiveness of your mole trapping efforts while also minimizing harm to the trapped animal. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the trap will do its job without any intervention from you. Take the time to check it regularly, and you’ll have a better chance of successfully catching the mole.

Mistake #5: Using Poor Quality Traps

Using poor quality traps is one of the common mistakes that people make when setting a mole trap. This mistake can be costly as it can result in the trap not functioning properly, leading to a wasted effort in trying to catch moles. Poor quality traps may not be strong enough to withstand the forces of the ground or may easily break, making them ineffective.

It is important to invest in high-quality traps that are made of durable materials such as metal or sturdy plastic. These traps can withstand the rigors of the ground and ensure that the mole is caught quickly and effectively.

Choosing a trap that is specifically designed to catch moles is crucial. Traps that are meant for other animals may not be effective in trapping moles, as moles have a unique anatomy and behavior. Using a trap that is designed for moles increases the likelihood of success in trapping them.

Using poor quality traps is a mistake to avoid when setting a mole trap. It is important to invest in high-quality traps that are designed specifically for moles to ensure success in trapping them.

How to Set a Mole Trap Correctly

How To Set A Mole Trap Correctly
Setting a mole trap correctly is essential to catch the moles causing damage to your lawn or garden. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting a mole trap properly.

Step 1: Identify the mole tunnels in your lawn or garden. You should be able to see raised ridges or raised soil along the tunnels.

Step 2: Dig a small hole into the top of the tunnel with a trowel or shovel. The hole should be big enough to insert the mole trap into.

Step 3: Set the trap according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The trap should be placed in the hole with one end of the trap touching the bottom of the tunnel.

Step 4: Cover the hole with a piece of wood or a bucket to prevent light and air from entering the tunnel. This will make the mole think that the tunnel is undisturbed and encourage it to pass through the trap.

Step 5: Check the trap regularly and remove any caught moles. Be sure to wear gloves when removing any trapped moles to avoid the spread of disease.

Step 6: Reset the trap and repeat the process until you have caught all the moles causing damage to your lawn or garden.

Remember to set multiple traps around your lawn or garden to maximize your chances of catching the moles. Also, be patient as it may take a few days or even weeks to catch all the moles.

By following these steps, you can effectively catch the moles causing damage to your lawn or garden and prevent them from returning.

Step-by-Step Guide

Setting a mole trap may seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be done correctly and effectively. Follow these steps to ensure success:

Step 1: Identify active mole tunnels – Look for fresh mounds of dirt or raised ridges in your lawn, which indicate that the moles are actively tunneling in that area.

Step 2: Choose the right trap – There are different mole traps available in the market, such as scissor-jaw, harpoon, and choker. Choose a type that matches the type of mole infestation in your yard.

Step 3: Clear the tunnel – Use a trowel or spade to remove a portion of the soil from the top of the tunnel. Clear any debris or rocks from the area.

Step 4: Set the trap – Place the trap in the cleared area, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, you need to put the trap perpendicular to the tunnel, with the trigger end of the trap facing towards the surface of the ground. Set the trap’s trigger mechanism according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5: Cover the trap – Replace the soil over the trap gently and make sure the trap is fully covered. Leave only the trigger mechanism exposed.

Step 6: Check the trap – Check the trap daily within the first few days to see if you caught a mole. If the trap is set off, but no mole is found, reset the trap in the same spot.

Step 7: Dispose of the mole – If you catch a mole, dispose of it humanely. You may release it into a wooded area miles away from your home, or dispatch it using a humane method approved by your local wildlife management authorities.

By following these steps, you can set your mole traps correctly and efficiently. Remember to always wear gloves when handling the trap and dispose of it properly after you’ve caught the mole.

Preventing Moles from Coming Back

After successfully trapping moles, it’s important to take steps to prevent them from coming back. Moles dig tunnels and create mounds of soil while searching for food such as earthworms and grubs. By making a few adjustments to their habitat and garden, you can discourage moles from returning.

Modify Their Habitat: Moles prefer loose, damp soil, so you can try to make your soil less hospitable to them. Start by watering your lawn and garden beds deeply but less often to make the soil more compact. Limiting the use of heavy machinery such as tractors and rototillers can also help. You can also make changes to your landscaping by removing or trimming dense vegetation that provides cover for moles.

Plant Deterrents: Certain plants, such as daffodils, marigolds, and alliums, have a strong scent that repels moles. Planting these around the perimeter of your garden or in the areas where moles have been active can help keep them away. Another option is to create a barrier around your garden using materials like crushed gravel, wire mesh, or rocks. This will deter moles from digging underneath and entering your garden.

It’s important to note that while these preventative measures can help keep moles at bay, they may not guarantee that they won’t return. Moles are persistent creatures and may find other areas that are more suited to their needs. However, taking these steps can make your garden less inviting and lower the likelihood of mole activity.

Modify Their Habitat

If you want to prevent moles from coming back, modifying their habitat is one of the most effective solutions. Moles love to live in areas with loose, moist soil, which makes it easy for them to dig tunnels and search for food. By making changes to the soil and landscape, you can make your yard less favorable for moles.

Remove Excess Moisture: One of the first steps in modifying moles’ habitat is to eliminate excess moisture. Moles thrive in moist areas, so if you can remove the excess moisture from your yard, they will be less likely to return. Make sure that the soil around your yard and garden is well-drained, and that there are no standing pools of water.

Improve Soil Density: Another factor that can help deter moles is to improve the density of the soil. You can do this by adding more organic matter, such as compost or manure. These materials will help improve soil structure and make it harder for moles to tunnel through.

Mow Regularly: Regular mowing is important when trying to deter moles. Moles prefer to live in areas of tall grass, so keeping your lawn well-mowed will help discourage them.

Install Barriers: Another effective way to modify moles’ habitat is to install physical barriers. For example, you can use chicken wire to create a barrier that moles cannot tunnel through. Alternatively, you can use raised garden beds or containers to keep your plants and soil off the ground.

Limit Watering: Finally, you can reduce moles’ attraction to your yard by limiting the amount of watering you do. Moist soil may be a draw for these pests, so by restricting irrigation, you can make your yard less appealing to them.

By taking these steps, you can modify the habitat around your home, making it less favorable for moles. In combination with setting traps, these actions can help keep your yard free of these pests.

Plant Deterrents

To prevent moles from coming back to your yard or garden, you can use plant deterrents. These are plants that moles dislike because of their taste or smell. By incorporating these plants into your landscape, you can discourage moles from burrowing in your yard.

One plant that is known to repel moles is the daffodil. Daffodils contain a poisonous alkaloid that can irritate moles and other pests. Planting daffodils around the perimeter of your garden can create a barrier that moles will not want to cross.

Another plant that can deter moles is the crown imperial. The crown imperial emits an unpleasant odor that can keep moles away from your garden. Planting crown imperial near the entrance to your garden or near areas where moles are digging can discourage them from entering.

Marigolds are another plant that moles dislike. These flowers contain a chemical called thiophene that can irritate moles’ noses. Planting marigolds around your garden or yard can help keep moles away.

Finally, the castor bean plant can also be an effective mole deterrent. The plant produces a chemical called ricin, which is toxic to moles and other pests. Planting castor bean around your garden can help keep moles at bay.

It is important to note that while plant deterrents can be effective, they may not completely eliminate moles from your yard. It is also important to choose plants that are appropriate for your climate and growing conditions.


In conclusion, setting a mole trap can be an effective way to control a mole infestation in your garden or yard. However, it’s important to choose the right trap and to avoid common mistakes when setting it up.

Remember to consider the type of trap you need based on your specific situation, as well as the factors that can affect its effectiveness. Always wear gloves to avoid leaving a human scent that can deter moles from going near the trap, and use the right bait to lure them in.

Checking the trap regularly is crucial to remove any captured moles, and using high-quality traps will ensure a long-lasting solution. Follow the step-by-step guide to set the trap correctly and prevent moles from coming back.

In addition to trapping, modifying the mole’s habitat and using deterrent plants can help prevent future infestations. Keep in mind that moles are beneficial to the environment and should only be controlled if they pose a threat to your garden or property.

By following these guidelines and avoiding common mistakes, you can effectively control moles in your yard and enjoy a beautiful, healthy garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time of year is the best to set mole traps?

Spring and fall are the best times to set mole traps as the soil is moist and easy to work with, and the moles are more active during these seasons.

Can I reuse mole traps?

Yes, you can reuse mole traps as long as they are in good condition and have not been damaged.

What is the most common mistake when setting a mole trap?

The most common mistake when setting a mole trap is placing it in the wrong location. This greatly reduces the chances of catching a mole.

Can I use any type of bait to lure moles into the trap?

No, you cannot use any type of bait to lure moles into the trap. It is recommended that you use earthworms or grubs as bait, which are their favourite foods.

How long should I leave a mole trap in one location?

You should leave a mole trap in one location for at least 24-48 hours before moving it to a new location.

Is it legal to set mole traps in my backyard?

Yes, it is legal to set mole traps in your backyard as long as you do not endanger any other animals and follow any restrictions or regulations in your area.

Can I relocate a mole after I catch it?

No, it is not recommended to relocate a mole after you catch it. It is best to humanely dispose of it as they can cause problems in other areas.

How can I tell if there are moles in my yard?

You can tell if there are moles in your yard by looking for raised ridges of soil, mounds of dirt, and surface tunnels.

Do chemicals or poisons work better than traps?

No, chemicals or poisons are not recommended as they can harm other animals and contaminate the soil. Traps are the most effective and humane way to capture moles.

Are all mole traps equally effective?

No, all mole traps are not equally effective. It is important to choose the right type of trap and to use high-quality traps for better results.