Here is my video on YouTube showing how to catch moles.
The quick and easy answer to “How to catch a mole” is to call your local mole catcher but if you really want to give it a try and risk those sleepless nights then here are some pointers to help.
The first step to catching moles is to buy the correct traps. There are many cheap traps you can buy on the internet but these have weaker springs and can even injure the mole rather than killing it quickly and humanly.
As a professional mole catcher I would recommend two types of trap both very effective when use correctly.
The Duffus tunnel trap or half barrel is very effective if you use it right. The trap has a strong spring either end of the barrel allowing you to catch a mole coming in from either end.
The trap must be “tweaked” to ensure it is set off with the slightest touch. This is achieved by setting the catch hooks right on the limit making them a sensitive as possible but mind those fingers!
Also like in the photo you can see I have bent the two triggers underneath towards the entry point. This increases your chances of the perfect catch just behind the neck of the mole.
Finding the mole runs or tunnels
Fortunately moles give away their appearance because they leave mole hills all over the lawn by bringing up the excess dirt from their tunnels.
When looking to place a trap always take a good look around. Moles can have tunnel systems well over 150 metres. The most common place to find a good run used daily by the mole is often along a fence line or structure. There may be no mole hills in sight but the chances are there is one there.
Equally the easiest place to start is among the new mole hills. Old hills will have roots shooting up so try to avoid them.
Using a probe like a long screw driver or stick, prod around the ground pushing the end 4-5 inches in until you suddenly feel it give. You have found a tunnel and now you need to determine which way it run by probing either side of it.
Now it’s time to set your traps in place!
Setting your traps
Setting the traps correctly is the most important part to catching moles. Once you have found what way the tunnel is going you need to cut out the turf.
Be careful as you only want enough room to squeeze the traps in like in the photo.
Setting the Duffas half barrel tunnel trap
Cut a piece of turf out just allowing the trap to fit nice and snug. Remove the trap and remove any loose dirt in the tunnel by using your fingers to feel inside. Once you have done this you need to compact the bottom of the tunnel making it harder for the mole to dig under.
Now you need to make sure the catch arms on either end of the trap are set just at the point of triggering. Wear a pair of gloves to avoid any nasty injuries to your fingers. Again check the tunnel is free of any loose soil and place the trap in pushing down gently to embed the lower loops in to the soil but not too hard so you set the trap off!
Now once your happy it’s secure you can place a plastic garden pot over the trap removing any daylight but remember to leave enough room for the arms to rise once the trap has been triggered.
Setting the Talpex trap
These traps are a lot easier for novices to use because of the way the mole triggers them.
Again you need to but enough turf so the trap fits. Now you need to set the trap using the pin that goes in to the trigger plate hole. This needs to be just catching to allow the minimum of touch need to trigger. Remove any stones from the run and place the trap in. Now using a stick set the trap off making sure you left enough room for the pin to flick up when it’s triggered.
Now place the trap back in to the tunnel and push it down slightly to bed it in to the bottom. The next step is to cover the trap with loose fine soil making sure there are no stones that will stop the trap working correctly. Cover the trap right up to the arm at the top and then cover with the turf you cut out.
Now it’s just a waiting game and if you have successfully set the traps correctly then when the mole passes through he should be caught.
Traps going off or filled with mud but no catch?
Moles are very cleaver and if a trap is not set correctly then it’s very common for the tunnel traps to be set off but only filled with mud where the mole has “back filled” the tunnel because of danger.
The talpex traps can be triggered if not set right as the mole will dig around or under the trap.
If this happens then move the trap and try again!
Thanks for reading my guide on “How to catch a mole”.