Looking for ways to get rid of moles? You’ve come to the right place. In this article I’ll discuss various repelling methods, how they work, and if there’s any scientific evidence to back up the effectiveness of the repelling devices and home remedies. I’ll also cover the TOP 6 Best Mole Repellents on the market worth considering. Read on to discover which one will be right for you.
Ever since we moved into the house in the rural area, we’ve got a mole problem. To the say the truth, I’m not that much into traps, and I’ve always been looking into more humane ways of dealing with wildlife. This article is a part of my own recollection of how I dealt with the moles and how I tested one of those sonic repellents, and a brief foray into the mole biology and science.
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
- How does it work? What does science say?
- Types of repellents
- TOP 6 Best Mole Repellents
- Effectiveness Chart
- My experience
Mole Biology – important things to know
Moles are small carnivorous mammals that feed on invertebrates, such as worms and grubs. They can be seldom mistaken for other animals, such as mice and gophers. But it’s crucial to differentiate between the two because what might work for gophers might not necessarily work for moles, and vice versa.
Moles or gophers?
There’s one simple rule which never failed me: whenever you see mounds of dirt popping up in your garden, look which shape these hills are. If they are a just a few cone-shaped mounds with coarse soil and earth clods, then these are most probably molehills.
If you see a lot of fan or kidney-shaped mounds with finely sifted soil, then you’re most probably dealing with gophers.
I know it might sound daunting to figure out the difference at first, but don’t you worry, it’s easy and just takes practice.
One other distinction between the two is in the feeding habits. While moles do not feed on plants and any destruction that they do to the vegetation is purely incidental, the gophers, on the other hand, can easily gorge on your produce.
Mole control is not easy and can be very challenging. Since moles live underground, they are difficult to study. Science has a little to offer for an effective mole control, mainly because, contrary to the popular belief, moles are not stupid and can easily change their underground habits and develop different responses to habitat changes.
For centuries, people were trying to control moles with various methods, some of which were absolutely inhumane, weird, or outright ridiculous.
I’ll name just a couple of those to give you an idea of what you definitely should not do.
Ridiculous home remedies
I think the most ridiculous home remedy imaginable is trying to repel moles with a chewing gum. The story goes as though moles’ intestines will plug up after consuming the gum. Well, surprise, moles do not chew gum!
Other remedies that do not work or might injure moles and other animals include putting varied materials inside the burrow, such as broken glass, razor blades, human or dog hair, bleach, petroleum products, etc. Please, avoid resorting to such inefficient, to say the least, measures, that won’t do any good.
Repellents that work
However, there’s still something you can do. There are various repellents available, from ready-made products and those that need to be prepared to electronic devices that will drive moles away.
There are not a lot of studies conducted on the effectiveness of such natural remedies and electronic devices, but there are still quite a few, which I’m going to cover below.
The first one is the study conducted by Michigan State University researchers (Dudderar et al. 1995) who tested a product containing 65% castor oil with the trade name Mole-Med. The researchers reported some degree of effectiveness of the repellent in reducing the number of active surface tunnels. The study was limited to 65 days and the number of testing sites and could be influenced by other factors, but there’s still some evidence that repellents might work.
Another study on the effectiveness of bone-oil based repellent, which was conducted by R. P. D. Atkinson & D. W. MacDonald (1994) and published in Journal of Applied Ecology, concluded that “the repellent treated barrier fairly effectively prevented moles from crossing into adjacent areas.”
Hopefully, that was enough to convince you to look into repellents as the possible alternative method of controlling moles. Now, let’s look at the types of the repellents and how each of them works.
Repellents work by taste, smell, and sound aversion.
It’s obviously, therefore, necessary to further divide the repellents into two categories: natural and electronic.
The natural repellents work by taste and smell aversion and generally consist of the following ingredients: eucalyptus, mint, and castor oils.
Another natural home remedy that can be tried is planting throughout the garden the so-called mole repellent plant, or caper spurge and the castor bean. These plants work as the natural mole repellents, but unfortunately, there is no known research into their effectiveness.
Ultrasonic devices work by emitting high-frequency ultrasound waves that are unbearable for moles and drive them away by fear or confusion. While the ultrasound can be heard by moles, it’s inaudible to human and pets. However, some frequencies can be heard by the dogs, so if you decide to buy one of those devices, see if your dog has any response to it.
The ultrasonic devices have to be either plugged into a socket or battery powered.
As for the effectiveness of such devices, unfortunately, none of the studies confirmed their effectiveness. However, the research on rats and mice showed that the tested animals had a mild aversion to the sound, but as soon as the food source was put near the device they went for it anyway even through pain (Greaves and Rowe 1969).
Contrary to the scientific conclusions, many buyers (me included) comment on the effectiveness of such devices. I believe that the sound treatment is one of the viable options to consider in the humane wildlife management.
Anyway, whatever method you’ll choose, you have to be aware that the repellents work by moving animals from one location to the other. So the repelled moles could easily migrate to your neighbor’s property and will continue to cause damage there. Unless you seriously don’t like your neighbors, I advise you to inform them about your decision to use the repellent.
Now I’ll give you a brief overview of some of the TOP offerings on the mole repelling market so you know what to look for. We’ll cover both natural and ultrasonic repellents along with in-depth looks at several of the bestsellers for each category to help you determine which one might work best.
Natural Mole Repellents
Bonide Mole and Vole Repellent Granules – targets many species
Bonide Mole and Vole Repellent Granules works on many species, such as moles, voles, gophers, rabbits, armadillos, skunks.
The package is gigantic: it weighs 10 pounds and can last up to 3 months. The manufacturer claims it can cover up to 5,000 sq ft.
The granules are made of 90% castor oil, which is safe for humane and pets.
All you have to do is through the granules around your garden or yard and wait till the moles migrate somewhere else.
Unfortunately, despite some of the positive reviews that this product has received, there were still a lot of negative comments on its ineffectiveness.
My general rule of thumb goes like this: if a product advertises that it’s going to kill or avert numerous species, I try to stay away from purchasing it. The product has to work well against at least one species. And I think that’s important. When a specific species is targeted, much greater consideration is given to the biology and behavior of that particular species, rather than a general subset of different animals.
Baar Lawn Mole Castor Oil – difficult to apply
Baar Lawn Mole Castor Oil is a liquid solution of castor oil that is specifically produced to repel moles.
The manufacturer says it’s good for 20,000 sq ft.
Unfortunately, this product cannot be applied just as easily as the granules described above. You will have to pour the liquid into a sprayer and only afterward disperse it around your garden.
The manufacturer instructs to dilute the solution with water and dish detergent, and while this might seem reasonable and budget-friendly, unfortunately, if you add too much water or too much detergent it might just make the product less effective. And if you decide to dilute it, then opt for unscented dishwasher, so the smell of the castor oil prevails.
Sweeny’s Mole and Gopher Repellent – easier to apply
Made of 100% castor oil. Sweeny’s Mole and Gopher Repellent comes in a convenient hose-end spray bottle and adjustable nozzle. All you have to do is adjust the nozzle to mix with water. Turn water on and spray the product on the infested areas at a rate of one quart of product per 10,000 square ft.
After you sprayed it with the castor oil solution, switch to spraying the soil with just water and do so for 20 minutes so the mixture soaks into the soil and contaminates moles’ food source.
It’s not clear if you have to re-apply the product after heavy rain, but some buyers suggested that you did. Thus, you will have to purchase another 32 ounces of the product.
Electronic Mole Repellers
Sweeney’s Mole and Gopher Repeller – a pack of two
All you have to do with the spikes is to plug them into the ground and leave them there. The Sweeney’s spikes cover up to 7,500 sq ft. The sonic pulses are emitted every 30 seconds. The device operates in a circular pattern 95 ft in diameter. The manufacturer claims the spikes will work up to 6 months on 3D batteries and will start producing a result after 7-14 days of consecutive use.
After you install the batteries, you’ll hear a vibrating sound within 15 seconds, meaning the battery installation is correct and the product works.
The effectiveness of the device depends on the type of soil. If you have clay soil then the ultrasonic device will work well, however, if you have sandy or dry soil the ultrasound waves cannot travel as easily.
Vekibee Solar Powered Mole and Gopher Repellent – a pack of 6
Vekibee Solar Powered Mole and Gopher Repellent is the device I tried in my own garden. You’ll find my story in the next section of this article.
The product doesn’t require the use of batteries, as it’s solar powered, which is obviously more environmentally-friendly. The device also vibrates and emits 400 HZ low-frequency sonic pulses every 20 seconds to repel burrowing animals. The vibration creates an uninhabitable environment for moles and drives them away. As with the previous device, it takes time for the product to work, it has to be working continuously for about 2 to 4 weeks.
The manufacturer says that it’s made of watertight, anti-corrosion, anti-UV aluminum for spikes and plastic for the head unit.
Plug the device into the soil 4 inches above the ground to prevent immersion after heavy rains.
Hoont Powerful Solar Pest Repeller – one huge repeller with motion detection and LED
Hoont Powerful Solar Pest Repeller claims to eradicate all types of animals, from rodents to moles, with both ultrasonic sound and an LED flashlight. The device features 3 ultrasonic frequencies that can be chosen by the user and 7 sensitivity settings. It features the solar panel on top of the device that uses solar energy to recharge the device. It can also be recharged by USB with a USB cable included.
The device is water-resistant and waterproof. Can also detect motion within 30 ft.
|Name||Differentiating features||Effectiveness (1-10)|
|Bonide Mole and Vole Repellent Granules||5|
|Baar Lawn Mole Castor Oil||6|
|Sweeney’s Mole and Gopher Repellent||6|
|Sweeney’s Mole and Gopher Repeller||7|
|Vekibee Solar Powered Mole and Gopher Repellent||6.5|
|Hoont Powerful Solar Pest Repeller||7.5|
Here is a little recollection of how I tried one of those ultrasonic mole repellers. At first, I bought one 30-dollar package of the Vekibee Repeller that came with 2 solar powered sticks, which you had to plug into the ground and they would vibrate.
I inserted them into the ground in May (after baby moles weaned) and left them there unchecked. I didn’t notice any new mole tunnels or mounds around since then, so I just assumed they worked. My devices presumably covered an area of 65 feet.
In September I noticed that a couple of new molehills appeared near the greenery, where I put my second repelled (#2). I immediately checked it, and oh boy, the repeller didn’t seem to vibrate, so obviously it broke down. It’s impossible to figure out when exactly it stopped working, but before September I never noticed the molehills, so my assumption is that it stopped working recently.
Around the repeller (#1) which was working, I still didn’t see any more activity, at least within 30 feet.
Yeah, I understand that my experience doesn’t really qualify as a scientific research or laboratory testing, but it seems that repellers do work.
The bigger issue here is when exactly the repeller broke down. If it breaks down in the fall, when you’ve already gathered the crop, then it doesn’t seem like a big of a deal. But if it breaks down after a couple of months, then yes, it’s not that pleasant. I was actually too lazy to check if the product offered any warranty, but if something like this happens again, no way there are going to escape my revenge! 😉 Whenever I’ll buy any of those again, I think I’ll buy 4 to 6 in a pack, it’s cheaper and I’ll cover a bigger area with those.
Does a mole repellent safe for pets?
Yes, they usually are. The natural repellents are usually made with essential oils, so that should be a problem. The ultrasonic devices all unanimously claim that they are safe for pets. My cat didn’t mind. However, in a few scientific sources I checked, there was a warning for dog owners that suggested that some dogs can, in fact, hear the ultrasound. So if you decide to buy the electronic device, see if your dog can hear it.
How to use the repellent effectively?
Always follow the instructions that come with the package. If you everything how prescribed, then you would reap the best results. Other than that, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to moles: you have to try everything before something works for you in your garden.
How to apply mole repellent?
Usually, the manufacturer provides the instructions for a particular product. However, if we are talking about natural repellents, they usually follow the same pattern: either throw repelling granules around the garden or make a mixture of the solution and spray it around.
How to use mole repellent granules?
Usually, all you have to do is throw the granules around your garden.
How to make homemade mole repellent?
I would not recommend resorting to home remedies, but since you’re asking here is the one: mix 1/4 cup castor oil, 2-3 tablespoons of unscented dish detergent and 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Pour into the mixture 1 gallon of water. Blend everything. Now pour the solution in the sprayer and spray around the garden, or dump it whenever you see a mole activity.
How to make mole repellent with castor oil?
I have just described one of the recipes above.
What is the best mole repellent for lawns/ for gardens?
Personally, I would recommend going for ultrasound devices.
Does mole repellent work on voles/chipmunks/mice?
Many manufacturers claim that their products work on voles, moles, chipmunks, deer, even woodpeckers. But try to look for a device that specifically targets one species, like in this case, the mole. It would work much better if it just concentrates on the biology of that one species.
Is mole repellent safe for dogs?
Well, yes and no. As I’ve described above, some recent articles suggest that dogs can, in fact, hear ultrasound.
Mole pesticides or repellents?
Repellents. Definitely repellents. Traps and repellents. But never pesticides. Besides some states banned the use of poison against the moles.
Comparative chart of Mole Repellents
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, many buyers are satisfied with their purchases. Opt for the repellents that target a specific animal, rather than a subset of animals, because they might not work for every species that are listed on the product label. While a few maintenance issues have been reported with some of the described devices, there’s general agreement that it’s a fair value for the price.