Moles are small mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. They have cylindrical bodies, velvety fur, very small, inconspicuous ears and eyes, reduced hind limbs and short, powerful forelimbs with large paws adapted for digging. They are quite spread throughout the world, being found in North America, Asia, Europe.
Moles are considered agricultural pests in some countries, while in others, such as Germany, they are a protected species, but may be killed with a permit. Problems cited as caused by moles include contamination of silage with soil particles, making it unpalatable to livestock, the covering of pasture with fresh soil reducing its size and yield, damage to agricultural machinery by the exposure of stones, damage to young plants through disturbance of the soil, weed invasion of pasture through exposure of freshly tilled soil, and damage to drainage systems and watercourses.
Moles do not feed on the turf grasses, but they undermine the root system of the plants, which can affect growth. Even small populations of moles can do considerable damage to sports turf, playing surfaces and amenity lawns. They burrow and raise molehills, killing parts of lawns. Other species such as weasels and voles may also use mole tunnels to gain access to enclosed areas or plant roots which they eat.
Prevention infestation with moles is the best solution
One of the best control measures when it comes to moles is eliminating their food source. Moles mainly eat insects, worms, spiders and grubs. Reducing the population of these creatures in your yard should reduce the number of moles as well, and may even discourage them from making their home there in the first place. However, this is not an easy thing to do. You would need to use large quantities of insecticide to target the grubs and insects, but even then you will struggle to knock out the worms. Controlling earthworm populations will help reducing the moles’ food supply, but it’s important to remember that earthworms are also very important for soil aeration, health and fertility. You can also use physical traps for moles or even chemical control measures, such as fumigators, however this gassy approach is not the most effective, as most tunnels very long, and require a large quantity of gas to fill them and the soil around mole tunnels is porous and the gas simple leaks away.
You can use mole repellents such as small products that can be placed in the ground and emit sounds waves. Because moles have a very good hearing, sound waves can disturb them and keep them away. You can also install mole barriers that need to be buried around the perimeter of your yard. This has to be done deep enough so that the moles don’t tunnel underneath them, and need to stick out the surface of the ground to stop moles going over the top of them. Obviously, this method is only effective at stopping the moles from coming into your yard in the first place. If you already have a mole infestation, you will need to take care of that too.
Guide for preventing moles from taking over your yard
- You can use natural deterrents such as vegetative barriers. Certain plants can keep moles from occupying your lawn as they contain several substances the moles do not like. These plants are daffodils, marigolds, alliums, euphorbia, and fritillaries.
- By attracting natural mole predators around your house, you can find an effective solution of getting rid of these pests. Owls are a natural predator to moles, that you can attract by building a nesting place where they can rest at night. They will be attracted to it and soon will also feed on the invaders from your yard.
- You can trap the moles by using shovels, however, this method is very time consuming. You need to wait around for them to move inside its tunnel, and when you sense the mole is active, you need to enclose the section of the trail with two shovels to trap it. You can then throw a trashcan or a large bucket over the trapped mole, and then scoop it up and transport it away from your lawn.
- In order to prevent moles from building tunnels in your yard, keep it in good conditions at all times. This includes taking care of your lawn, by contently cutting the grass and making sure your lawn is not getting too soggy, because moles are drawn towards wet earth.
- If you want to protect specific plants or bulbs, dig a 2- to 3-foot hole and line the sides and bottom of the hole with wire mesh. Fill the hole with soil and plant as this will protect the bulb from moles.
- Put garden wind spinners along their trails and at their entrance holes. They cause the ground to vibrate and moles won’t like it, causing them to move on to a more “peaceful” location.
- Fill the abandoned tunnels with rocks, as moles dislike digging through them. This way you can make sure other moles will not occupy the abandoned tunnels, and you won’t have to deal with them yet again.
Keep in mind that it’s very difficult to eliminate all the food source from your yard or to completely seal up your yard with barriers. Should all the prevention methods fail, take into consideration using traps or other chemical repellent in order to get rid of mole infestation. Catching the moles manually can be quite tricky and time consuming. For many people, using poisons or traps to eradicate the moles from their yard is a much more effective solution. And remember to be alert after clearing up your yard, and use further preventive measures, as you do not want another labour of moles to take control of the abandoned tunnels and start an infestation all over again.