Mole

The most noted characteristic of a mole is probably it's feet that are used like paddles to swim through the soil. It is this "swimming" motion that can sometimes inadvertently damage the roots of crops, plants and other shrubbery when they get too close to the surface.

  • Facts

  • Identify Damage

  • Control Options

Facts

Description of the Mole

  • Scientific Name:
    Talpa Europaea
  • Colour:
    Various; commonly dark grey, brown or black
  • Weight:
    80-150g
  • Length:
    12-20cm
  • Tail Length:
    2cm
  • Body:
    Short, thick body with velvety fur; pointed snout; front feet enlarged & rounded with sharp claws
  • Ears:
    Very small & are concealed in fur
  • Eyes:
    Very small & are concealed in fur
  • Lifespan:
    3 years

Reproduction of the Mole

  • Litter Size:
    2-5 per litter
  • No. of Litters:
    1 per year
  • Sexual Maturity:
    6-12 months
  • Gestation Period:
    5-6 weeks
  • Breeding Season:
    Outdoors: Spring

Diet of the Mole

  • Daily Amount:
    70 -100% of its bodyweight each day
  • Daily Water:
    Utilizes moisture in food
  • Daily Food:
    Worms, grubs, beetles, other insects

Habitat of the Mole

  • Geography:
    Throughout central Europe.
  • Nest Location:
    Outdoors: Underground runways just below the surface & in deep tunnels up below the surface; attracted to moist, shady lawns, parks, orchards
  • Home Range:
    0.5 hectares
  • Active Periods:
    Night and day

Identify Damage

Moles are helpful in that they remove damaging insects and grubs from lawns and gardens. Unfortunately, however, their burrowing habits can destroy grass, gardens and flower beds and tear up tree roots.

Mounds & Runways

Moles excavate soil from their deep tunnels and deposit dirt on the surface in volcano-shaped mounds. The number of Mole mounds seen in your garden is not a good measure of how many moles are in a particular area. Moles are very territorial. Typically, 1 hectare can support 4-6 Moles.

Moles' burrowing habits can destroy grass, gardens and flower beds and tear up tree roots.

Control Options

Traps | Baits | Repellents | Prevention

 

Trapping remains the most effective and reliable method of mole control. Poisoned baits, repellents, and prevention can be used, but they're typically lacking in the results department.

Traps

Trapping is the professionals' choice of control as it has proven to be the most effective and reliable method of mole control.
Trapping Moles can be done at any time of year but generally is easiest and most effective during Spring & Autumn. Once Mole activity is detected it is important to move quickly so pregnant females can be caught before giving birth to offspring.

Traps are most effective when placed in deep tunnels since these are the main runways used by Moles several times a day. To identify these tunnels, look for runways which follow a mostly straight path for some distance.

Active runways are also commonly found around the perimeters of fields, fences and concrete paths. Traps should never be placed in Mole hills as you will never catch the Mole - you will only end up with a pile of dirt.

For quick results, more than 6-10 traps should be used per hectare. It is important to check each trap once or twice a day. When used correctly, a trap can produce a catch within 48 hours.


It is best to move the trap to another location in the runway if you do not catch a mole in this time frame.

Mole traps are set in the ground in depressions that create a dirt obstruction in the tunnel. The trigger is then set against this obstruction. As the Mole follows its natural instinct to reopen the blocked tunnel, it pushes against the trigger, engaging the trap.

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Poisoned Baits

Poisoned baits are known to give inconsistent and generally poor results. Since moles are insectivores and normally do not consume grain, toxic grain based baits are seldom effective.


Additionally, experts agree that repeat applications ranging from 4-6 weeks are required to achieve results.

The bottom line is that poison baits are a more costly, time consuming and ineffective approach to mole control.

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Repellents

Some electronic, magnetic and vibration devices have been marketed for repelling moles. None, however, have been proven to be effective.
Some chemical repellents can be effective when applied often especially after rain fall.

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Prevention

Prevention methods are generally not very practical and never fully protect your lawn.

One common practice for Mole control is food reduction by way of insecticide. However, the Mole may still be in your lawn, feeding on worms or vegetation that was not affected by the insecticide.

Additionally, using insecticides to eliminate grubs can be costly and reduce beneficial insects in your lawn.

Barriers provide another option to prevent Mole from entering smaller areas, such as a garden. Aluminum sheeting or mesh hardware cloth buried 1m into the ground with 15cm exposed above the soil are most effective.

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