Safely use live traps to get rid of moles


For many homeowners, dealing with moles is an ongoing problem. These small creatures can wreak havoc on your lawn, garden, and landscaping. While there are various methods for removing moles from your property, live trapping is a humane and effective option. However, setting up and safely using live traps requires some knowledge and preparation. In this article, we’ll cover the different types of live traps and their benefits, how to set up and bait traps, how to check and release trapped moles, and alternative solutions for mole control.

Benefits of Live Mole Traps

Using live mole traps has several benefits when compared to alternative mole control methods. Here are some advantages of using live traps:

  • Humane: Live traps provide a humane way of capturing and relocating moles without causing them harm.
  • Safe: Compared to other methods such as using mole poison, live traps are much safer for the environment, pets, and humans. They also reduce the risk of injury that comes with improper handling of mole traps. Make sure to wear gloves and other protective gear while handling live traps to avoid injury, you can learn more about the importance of gloves and protective gear in using mole traps at our article on this topic.
  • Effective: Live traps are an effective way of controlling mole populations as they specifically target the problem moles. Additionally, using a live trap reduces the chance of accidentally trapping and harming non-target animals.
  • Reusable: Unlike mole poison and other methods, live traps can be reused multiple times, making them more cost-effective in the long run. But you should be aware of proper mole trap disposal tips, visit our guide on mole trap disposal for more information.
  • Safe for Kids: Live traps pose less danger to children when compared to other methods such as using mole poison. You can check our article on safe mole trapping for kids for more information.

It is important to note that setting up live traps requires proper preparation and care to ensure it is safe and effective. Improper use of mole traps can pose hazards to pets and humans, including injury or death. Avoiding these dangers necessitates safe and conscious trapping; learn more about it in our article on safe mole trapping.

Types of Live Traps

Types Of Live Traps
Finding and eliminating a mole infestation can be a challenging task. Though there are several solutions that can help you control moles, using live traps is one of the most humane and effective methods. Live traps come in various types, each with its specific advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we will discuss the most common types of live traps and how to choose the most suitable one for your needs. It’s vital to understand how to properly use live traps to avoid injury or danger to yourself, your pets, or even the trapped moles. For more information on mole trap danger and safety, check out this article: Unintentional Dangers of Improper Mole Trapping Techniques.

Cage Traps

Cage traps are the most common type of live traps used for capturing moles. These traps consist of a metal cage that is designed with a trigger plate that, when stepped on by the mole, closes the door of the trap. Cage traps are very effective, but can also be more expensive than other types of traps.

Advantages of cage traps:

Advantages Explanation
Humanely traps mole without harming Cage traps are designed to capture moles alive, which means that they can be released back into the wild without any harm.
Easy to use Cage traps are very simple to set up and use. They don’t require any additional tools or complicated assembly.
Easily visible These traps are usually made from metal, which means that they are easily visible once they are set up. This is helpful when checking to see if a mole has been trapped.

Disadvantages of cage traps:

Disadvantages Explanation
Expensive Cage traps are more expensive compared to other types of traps, which can be a drawback for those on a tight budget.
May trap unintended animals Cage traps may also trap other animals, such as squirrels or rabbits, which can be inconvenient to release elsewhere.
Needs to be checked frequently It is important to check the trap frequently, especially during hot weather, as animals caught in the trap can become overheated and distressed.

Remember to handle the traps with care to prevent injury. Read our article on avoiding injury while using mole traps for more information.

Tunnel Traps

Tunnel traps are another option for catching moles without causing them harm. These traps are also known as harpoon traps and work by impaling the mole as it moves through the tunnel.

  • When choosing a tunnel trap, make sure to select the appropriate size for the mole species in your area.
  • The trap should be set in an active mole tunnel by first digging down to the tunnel before placing the trap.
  • Care must be taken to ensure that the trap is set at the correct angle and depth to effectively catch the mole.

It is important to note that tunnel traps can be dangerous to non-target animals, such as pets, that may accidentally trigger the trap while playing near it. It is recommended to only use tunnel traps in areas where pets and children do not have access to. If you have pets or children, it is best to use alternative solutions such as pet-friendly live traps or mole repellents instead.

Pitfall Traps

Pitfall traps are another option for catching moles alive. These traps operate by leading the mole to fall into a hole and then become trapped. This option may be more challenging to set up, but it can be highly effective when done correctly.


  • Catches moles alive without harm
  • Can be effective in areas where tunnels are deeper


  • Requires digging a hole
  • Takes more time and effort to set up
  • May not be as effective in areas with shallow tunnels

To set up a pitfall trap, follow these steps:

  1. Locate an active mole tunnel.
  2. Dig a hole adjacent to the tunnel large enough to accommodate the trap.
  3. Attach a trap door made of wire mesh or similar material to the top of the hole.
  4. Leave the hole open or cover it with a layer of soil or grass to create a natural appearance.
  5. Bait the trap with a food source that the mole is likely to eat, such as worms or insects.
  6. Wait for the mole to fall into the hole and become trapped.

It is essential to check pitfall traps frequently to ensure that trapped moles are not left in the trap for an extended period. Once caught, the mole can be released into a new environment away from your property.

While pitfall traps may not be the most convenient or accessible option, they are an alternative for homeowners who prefer not to harm or kill moles. If you are unsure about setting up this type of trap, it is best to seek advice from a professional pest control service.

Setting Up Traps

Setting Up Traps
Now that you have chosen the live trap you plan to use, it’s essential to set it up correctly to increase the chances of capturing a mole. Proper placement, preparation, and baiting are crucial factors to consider. Using a systematic approach will help make the trapping process more straightforward and increase the likelihood of successful mole control. Let’s explore the steps to set up live traps for mole control.

Locating Active Mole Tunnels

One of the most important steps in setting up live traps for mole control is locating active mole tunnels. Unless you place the traps in areas frequented by moles, you won’t be successful in trapping them. Here are some tips to help you locate active mole tunnels:

Tip #1: Look for “molehills” These are small mounds of freshly dug soil that moles create when they burrow through your lawn or garden. These mounds can be a telltale sign of an active mole tunnel.
Tip #2: Follow the ridges in your lawn or garden Moletunnels often make raised ridges across your lawn and gardenas they burrow through the soil. Follow these ridges to their highest point to locate where the mole is tunneling.
Tip #3: Find fresh damage and dig deeper Any freshdamage on your lawn could have been done by a mole. So I recommend to pressure the spot down.Ifthe spot returns to its former height after a few days, then it most likely is an active mole tunnel.
Tip #4: Observe the mole tunnels during the day Some moles are active in daylight, particularly during overcast days. By observing their movements during the day, you can gain insight into where they are tunneling, and this can guide you in setting up your live traps.
Tip #5: Use a tunnel probe A tunnel probe is a useful tool for probing the ground to detect tunnels. You can make it yourself by cutting off the end of a metal rod to create a sharp point or purchase one at a garden supply store. Insert the probe into the ground and measure the resistance. When it suddenly gives way, you’ve probably found an active mole tunnel.

By using these tips, you can more effectively locate active mole tunnels, which can significantly increase your chances of trapping them with a live trap.

Preparing the Trap Site

Before setting up your live trap, make sure that the trap site is prepared appropriately to ensure the success of trapping the mole. Here are some steps to follow when preparing the trap site:

Step Description
Step 1 Identify an active mole tunnel by pressing it down with a stick, then monitor the tunnel for mole activity. This will help you determine the best location to place the trap.
Step 2 Clear away any debris or dirt around the tunnel area to create a flat surface for the trap.
Step 3 Remove any rocks or other objects that may interfere with the trap placement or activation.
Step 4 Level the ground around the trap site to prevent the trap from wobbling or tipping over.
Step 5 Make sure that the trap opening is visible and not obstructed by any dirt or debris, so the mole can easily access it.

Following these preparation steps will help ensure that your live trap is set up correctly and will effectively capture any mole in the area.

Baiting Live Traps

Baiting Live Traps
One important step in using live traps for mole control is baiting the traps. The right bait will attract the mole into the trap, ensuring a successful trapping experience. However, it’s important to choose the right bait as moles have specific dietary preferences.

Choose the Right Bait: Moles prefer protein-rich foods such as earthworms, grubs, and mealworms. These can be found at your local gardening store or bait shop. Do not use peanut butter or grains as bait, as these do not cater to the mole’s diet.

Placement: Once you have selected the right bait, place it in the middle of the trap. Place the trap on an active mole tunnel, ensuring that it is not obstructed by roots or debris. The bait should be placed in such a manner that the mole has to step on the trigger in order to reach it.

Natural Attractants: You can also use natural attractants such as a teaspoon of castor oil or some used cat litter – this might also attract the mole.

Time of Day: Moles are most active in the early morning or late evening. Make sure to check the traps during these times.

Replace Bait: If the mole hasn’t taken the bait after a day, remove and replace it with fresh bait. Additionally, if it rains, the bait should be checked and replaced if it’s been washed away.

Proper baiting techniques ensure that the trap is effective in capturing the mole. By choosing the right bait, placing the trap in the right location, taking advantage of natural attractants, and replacing bait regularly, you increase your chances of trapping the mole.

Checking the Traps

Checking The Traps
After setting up the mole traps, it is important to check them regularly to ensure that any trapped moles are released promptly. Check the traps at least twice daily, preferably in the morning and evening, on a regular schedule. It is important to check the traps in a timely manner because leaving a trapped mole for an extended period of time can be dangerous for the animal and may cause it to become stressed or injured.

When checking the traps, use caution and wear gloves to avoid contact with the trapped mole. Approach the trap quietly and avoid sudden movements that may startle or agitate the animal. If the trap is occupied, carefully pick up the trap with the mole inside and transport it to a release site as quickly as possible. Handle the trap gently and avoid shaking or tipping it as this can cause the mole to become distressed or disoriented.

If the trap is empty, it is important to reset it in the same location or move it to another active tunnel if no moles have been caught after several days. Inspect the trap for any damage or bait that may have been eaten. Replace the bait if necessary and ensure that the trap is properly set and securely anchored in place.

Remember to move the traps periodically to increase their effectiveness and to prevent the moles from becoming wary of them. Continue checking the traps on a regular basis until all the moles have been captured and released. It is important to stop trapping once the mole activity has ceased to avoid accidentally trapping non-target animals such as squirrels or rabbits.

Checking the traps regularly is a crucial step in safely and humanely capturing and releasing moles. With careful monitoring and proper handling techniques, you can successfully control mole populations and protect your lawn or garden from damage.

Releasing the Trapped Moles

Releasing The Trapped Moles
After trapping a mole using a live trap, it’s important to carefully handle and release the animal in a safe and humane manner. Here are the steps to follow for releasing the trapped moles.

Step 1: Check the Health of the Mole
Before releasing a mole, it’s essential to make sure that the animal is healthy and free of disease. Wearing gloves, carefully inspect the mole for any signs of injury, illness or disease. If the animal is injured or sick, contact a wildlife rehabilitation center for further assistance.

Step 2: Select a Suitable Release Site
While choosing a release site for the trapped moles, select an area that is far away from your property and any other human settlements. The spot should provide ample cover, food and water for the mole to survive.

Step 3: Handle the Mole Carefully
When releasing the mole, it’s important to handle the animal gently and with care. Hold the trap steady and use gloves to carefully remove the mole from the trap. Avoid pulling the mole by its tail or limbs, as this can injure or harm the animal.

Step 4: Release the Mole
Once the mole is safely removed from the trap, carefully release it into the chosen release site. Place the animal on the ground and allow it to move away on its own. Avoid touching the mole, as this can leave your scent on the animal and make it more vulnerable to predators.

Step 5: Monitor the Mole
After releasing the mole, keep an eye on the animal to make sure that it is adapting well to its new environment. If it appears weak or disoriented, provide it with some water and cover until it appears to be adjusting.

Alternative Solutions

If live traps are not a feasible option for you or you are not comfortable using them to control moles, don’t fret! There are several alternative solutions available that can effectively keep these pests at bay. From mole repellents to professionally installed traps, these alternatives offer a variety of approaches to mole control. Keep reading to learn more about these options and find the one that best suits your needs.

Mole Repellents

One alternative solution to using live traps for mole control are mole repellents. These are products designed to keep moles away from an area without harming them. There are a few different types of mole repellents available on the market.

1. Castor Oil Repellents – These are products that contain castor oil as their main ingredient. The idea is that the scent of the castor oil will drive moles away from the area. Castor oil repellents come in liquid or granular form and can be applied to the ground using a spreader or garden hose.

2. Vibrating Repellents – These are devices that emit a high-frequency vibration that is meant to deter moles from entering the area. The vibrations are often powered by solar energy and can be placed in the ground using a stake.

3. Ultrasonic Repellents – These are devices that emit a high-pitched sound that is not audible to humans but is meant to be unpleasant to moles. Like vibrating repellents, ultrasonic repellents are often powered by solar energy and can be placed in the ground using a stake.

4. Natural Repellents – These are products that contain natural ingredients, such as predator urine, that are meant to scare moles away from the area. Natural repellents come in liquid or granular form and can be applied to the ground using a spreader or garden hose.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of mole repellents can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size of the area being treated and the severity of the mole problem. Additionally, some repellents may not be effective for all types of moles. It may be necessary to experiment with different types of repellents to find one that works best for your particular situation.

Professionally Installed Traps

Hiring a professional pest control service to install traps for mole control is another option to consider. These experts have the knowledge and experience to deal with moles in a safe, effective, and humane way.

Here are some advantages of using professionally installed traps:

Advantages Explanation
Expertise Professional pest control services have trained experts who know exactly how to locate active mole tunnels and determine the best type of trap to use.
Efficiency Professional traps are typically set up in a strategic manner to ensure maximum efficiency in capturing moles quickly and effectively.
Safety Professional pest control services use traps that are safe and humane for the moles, as well as non-toxic and safe for humans and pets.
Guarantee Professional services often offer a guarantee on their work, promising to return and address any further mole issues if they arise.

However, it is important to research and choose a reputable and licensed service to avoid any potential harm to the environment or wildlife. The cost of professional installation can also be higher than doing it yourself. It is worth considering if other solutions have been unsuccessful in controlling a severe mole problem.


In conclusion, live traps can be an effective and humane method for controlling moles in your yard or garden. By using these traps, you can safely capture the moles without harming them and release them back into the wild. However, it’s important to choose the right type of trap and to set it up correctly to maximize your chances of success.

Additionally, baiting the trap with the right type of bait can also improve your chances of successfully trapping the mole. Remember to always check the traps regularly to prevent any harm coming to the trapped mole.

If live trapping does not seem like the right option for you, there are alternative solutions available, such as mole repellents or professionally installed traps. It’s important to do your research and choose a method that aligns with your personal beliefs and values.

Overall, with the right knowledge and preparation, live trapping can be a safe and effective method for mole control.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most humane way to control moles?

Using live traps is considered the most humane way to control moles.

What are the benefits of using live traps for mole control?

Live traps allow you to capture and release moles without causing them harm. They are also environmentally friendly and safe for use around pets and children.

What types of live traps are available for mole control?

Cage traps, tunnel traps, and pitfall traps are the most commonly used types of live traps for mole control.

How do cage traps work?

Cage traps work by using a spring-loaded door that closes shut when triggered by the mole, trapping it inside.

How do tunnel traps work?

Tunnel traps are placed inside an active mole tunnel and work by trapping the mole as it passes through the tunnel.

How do pitfall traps work?

Pitfall traps work by creating a hole or pit in the ground that the mole falls into and is then unable to climb out of.

What should I look for when locating active mole tunnels?

You should look for raised ridges, soft soil, and fresh molehills to locate active mole tunnels.

What should I use for bait in my live trap?

You can use earthworms, grubs, or other insects as bait in your live trap.

How often should I check my live traps?

You should check your live traps at least once a day to prevent the mole from becoming stressed or dehydrated.

What are some alternative solutions for mole control?

Mole repellents and professionally installed traps are alternative solutions for mole control.