Posted by: braddenvillage | February 20, 2010

Moles – and what to do about them!

Mole and Mole Hill Information

There is no real solution to the problems that moles can cause to some people in their gardens. Mole hills are formed when a mole digs tunnels in the soil, forcing the soil up onto the surface. They normally dig tunnels to search for food, especially earthworms or when they are hoping to meet another mole in the mating season!

Poison and traps can obviously be very cruel, and by removing one with this method it is more than likely others will move in to the area. The new moles will continue to dig to create their underground network. Renardine 72-2 used to be regarded as a suitable chemical repellant but has since had its approval for use revoked in the UK and must not be used. More humane methods include the use of castor oil or smoke bombs but these can still be very cruel and may mean that the mole simply blocks up the tunnel and digs another one elsewhere..

It is probably best to learn to like the moles. When the mole has all the tunnels it wants it will cease to dig.

Moles dig and develop networks where there is a plentiful supply of food and where the habitat is most favourable. Recent research (Edwards, et al., 1999) has indicated that the following management techniques will reduce the number of earthworms and thus reduce mole activity by creating a less favourable environment:

  • Not using lime on the lawn to allow the pH of the lawn to fall.
  • Encouraging herb-rich rather than grass-rich swards in the lawn.
  • Keeping the lawn cut short, through regular mowing or grazing.

(These techniques are applicable to gardens, sports fields and nature reserves rather than farms, where these activities could conflict with normal farming practices).

Additional information from the RSPCA:

  • Placing empty milk bottles in the ground, with with the top sticking out for the wind to blow over the top, will create a whistling noice, which is supposed to annoy the moles and deter them from your garden.
  • Planting repellent plants such as Hellesborre foetidus has been quite successful, as well as placing garlic or elder twigs into mole hills.
  • Cannister sprays have also been suggested, which can be obtained from garden centres.

Some other mole facts:

  • Moles are rarely seen on the surface except to collect nest material, such as dry grass and leaves.
  • Molehills are heaps of spoils formed during excavation of permanent tunnels – you can flatten molehills or remove the earth without causing any harm to the animals.
  • Moles are beneficial in that they prey on many harmful insect larvae and tunnel systems may aid drainage and aeration in heavy soils.

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