Ask any gardener in the world or any homeowner who really cares about their lawn and there is one thing on which they will all agree — moles are possibly the most annoying pests in the world.
The battle for dominance is fought every day in yards all across the world, and gardeners have come up with a whole host of different approaches to tackle them.
Vinegar is often recommended online, prompting us to ask how to get rid of ground moles with vinegar. As it turns out, vinegar is useful as a deterrent for plenty of other pests too, and in today’s article, I’ll be explaining exactly how to keep moles at bay.
- How Does Vinegar Get Rid of Moles?
- Does Vinegar Kill Ground Moles?
- Is Apple Cider Vinegar Effective at Getting Rid of Moles?
Getting Rid of Ground Moles with Vinegar
Vinegar is very effective on pests, especially insects as it outright kills them. What about moles, though? Is it as effective?
How Does Vinegar Get Rid of Moles?
Vinegar can’t kill moles the way it kills insects — it kills insects because of the acetic acid. The only way it could kill a mole is if a mole drank enough of it to cause extreme poisoning.
However, vinegar has a very acidic smell. If you don’t trust me on this, open a bottle and put it under your nose. Animals generally avoid vinegar whenever they smell it because they can’t stand the smell.
On top of the smell itself being, quite frankly, disgusting it’s also very strong. If it’s so easy for humans to smell it, imagine how easy it has to be for moles — animals that have an incredible ability to smell in stereo.
As you can imagine, the senses of sight and smell are completely useless underground. There’s no light there and sound doesn’t travel far. Moles can, however, sense prey from great distances (relative to their own size).
Smelling in stereo means that their olfactory senses are so powerful that they can paint a very clear picture of what’s surrounding them, the same way humans do with our eyes and ears.
If you pour a vinegar and water solution down one of their holes it is likely that you will overwhelm their senses and the mole will immediately leave the area, as it’s effectively blinded.
Even if vinegar didn’t have such a powerful scent, the acidity of it makes them hate it.
Does Vinegar Kill Ground Moles?
No, vinegar does not kill ground moles. Vinegar can only kill insects as they don’t have the thick protective layer mammals and other classes of animals do.
If you spray an insect with vinegar, it can burn through its outer shell because of its high acidity. However, there are some insect species with such hard shells that this can’t be done.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Effective at Getting Rid of Moles?
Yes, apple cider vinegar is very effective if you’re looking for natural ways to deter moles. It contains about 5% acetic acid, although there are more acidic variations.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that vinegar will also kill young plants and grass if it hasn’t been heavily diluted with water.
Another thing to remember is that vinegar isn’t a long-term solution — it will evaporate and it won’t prevent future moles from invading your garden — it’s just an instant solution.
Spirit vinegar, which can have up to 24% of acetic acid, is extremely acidic in comparison to apple cider vinegar. But apple cider vinegar is more than enough for getting rid of moles.
What Attracts Ground Moles To Your Lawn?
In a weird way, you should be proud of having moles in your lawn. Moles are primarily attracted to food, and if you have moles in your lawn, that means that your soil is healthy and thriving with underground life.
However, moles are also attracted to very unhealthy soil. Dehydrated soil, for example, is often home to insects. Moles love their grubs, which are mostly found underground.
Over-irrigated areas are full of earthworms, which are another treat for moles.
Other Natural Ways to Repel Moles
Aside from vinegar, there are a few other things you can do to repel the moles from your garden. Here are a few of my favorites:
Eliminate Their Food Sources
Moles stay in your yard because of food, and if you remove all food, they’ll have to leave or starve. The issue is that moles feed on earthworms and other soil-borne critters that are actually useful to your soil.
Sure, grubs feed on roots and you can control them with insecticides even if you don’t have moles but some animals that attract moles are actually useful to you.
This is why food source elimination, while effective, is an option you should think about very carefully.
A piece of good news — moles are mostly defenseless! They can be killed or at least scared easily by other animals. Dogs, snakes, and barn owls are often found killing moles.
Now, domesticating a barn owl or a snake is borderline impossible – and illegal in some places – but a dog will definitely do their job right.
There’s an issue with this method too. Aside from snakes, these predators can only kill moles when they surface. This makes this method not entirely effective. And that is why it is recommended to implement the introduction of predators along with other control methods.
Something that all animals aside from fish have in common is that they need air to breathe. This means that flooding an underground tunnel will most likely force them out of their burrows.
To do this effectively, you’ll have to flood their entire tunnel systems very quickly. This can be done by pouring large water buckets down the holes.
To escape, a mole has to surface. If it keeps digging, the water will just keep following it. Once the mole surfaces, you can do whatever you want with it.
It’s also possible that this will scare the animal enough for it to evacuate the yard.
Chemical and Physical Methods of Repelling Moles
While insisting on natural methods is admirable, chemical and physical methods of mole deterring have proven to be the most effective.
Moles have become such an annoying pest in Europe that most European countries have legalized trapping and killing moles.
You can buy mole traps in most garden stores, where you can find both lethal and non-lethal traps. Trapping moles is, obviously, the more humane thing to do but simply letting a mole go isn’t always legal.
Poisons have become a go-to method for many exterminators, as they’re the most effective method of mole control. Nitrogen, in gas form, is a modern method of killing moles, which is great because nitrogen has very little effect on the environment.
You can also use tablets with aluminum phosphide, which is just as effective.
Keep in mind that some of these methods can only be applied by professionals as they may be harmful if other wildlife, pets, and people come into contact with them.
Preventing Moles In Your Lawn
The most effective method of ground mole prevention is the use of repellents. Commercial-grade repellents that you can get in gardening stores often use castor bean oil as their main active ingredient.
These repellents need constant reapplication, but if you maintain them properly, your lawn will become uninhabitable to moles.
Combining any of the previously mentioned methods, such as letting your dog defend the yard or flooding their tunnels, with this method will only increase its effectiveness.
It’s also recommended to trap and bait moles, which should be easy to do because of their constant feeding. The University of Missouri says that, “controlling a few moles in an average-sized lawn will greatly reduce mole activity.” So it really pays to invest time into trapping.
There are also a few methods that don’t work. Ultrasonic transmitters, for example, don’t do anything for moles and they’re completely ineffective.
Then there are mothballs – while effective, mothballs are very dangerous for all organisms in their immediate environment as they’re highly poisonous.
Verdict: Getting Rid Of Moles With Vinegar
Ground moles are most definitely deterred by vinegar. Vinegar is highly acidic and its scent is very intense. It’s impossible to ignore by moles and other animals known for their very prolific sense of smell.
However, pouring a vinegar-and-water solution down their holes won’t keep them away forever, it’ll only force them away instantaneously. To keep them at bay for good, you have to keep your lawn tidy and apply repellents when needed.