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How to get Rid of Moles in the Garden

Skill Level: Beginner

Introduction

Spring and summer are the seasons when gardens awaken from the bleak and dormant slumber of winter, to become a colourful, vibrant, and living creation. Mother Nature has awoken, and life is emerging and blossoming. We are a part of this transformation; we put hard work and cost into making our gardens attractive, and to ensure that it remains so for as long as possible. Just as our home exterior paintwork, brickwork, or metalwork is susceptible to erosion and damage from the elements, so our gardens are at risk from damage caused by various pests and diseases.

One such pest is the common mole ( Talpa Europea ) This furry little creature, with quaint flippers for arms is deceivingly destructive, and can very quickly destroy large areas of land or garden if not controlled effectively. The more attractive, green and lush your garden, the more it will appeal to moles! A bit like giving a grazing animal a choice between either, rich green pasture and a car park for lunch. There’s no contest!  The average mole eats approximately 200 worms a day. Also, where moles are a problem, getting rid of them once, does not necessarily mean, once and for all!

 

Control of Moles.

 

When moles have been brought under control and their residence is vacated, these empty tunnels can become attractive to a new set of prospective tenants. Mole control is often an ongoing project. So what are options, how to get rid of them?
There are several very effective and humane solutions available in order to rid ourselves of our problem. Just treat this as another job around the house or garden. With the right tools and equipment, good instruction and advice, and care paid to safety, we can sort this out ourselves, with no need for expensive outside help.

 

Myths and Misconceptions.

 

There is a long list of “remedies” for deterring moles from the garden.  For those who believe there’s no smoke without fire, and will give anything a go once (but you have been warned) try breaking into a mole tunnel and stuffing a good dollop of pickle juice and red peppers down the hole, or a mixture of moth balls and crushed rose branches, or even a soup like solution of dried tea leaves and onion skins! It could be interesting to try, even fun; but sadly not effective. Certainly wasn’t with the first two methods, I’ve tried.

 

Trap and Release.

Moles consume about 70% of there own body weight in food every single day, so their ability to survive for any significant amount of time when captured, is strictly limited. Then, the question to be asked is, what would you do with the mole after capture? Moles are territorial and so releasing them into another moles territory would be stressful, cause fighting and unnecessary suffering. Trap and release, unfortunately, is not a practical solution to the problem.

Bio-fume Smoke.

 

Bio-fuel is a term for fuel derived from plant sources. There are various types of bio-fuels. Bio-fuel smoke used in pest control contains food grade castor oil obtained from the castor plant. A bio-fuel smoke canister is inserted into a hole dug into the soil (which breaks into a mole tunnel), and is ignited. The smoke emitted covers the tunnel and surrounding soil with a thin layer of castor oil, which acts as a barrier between the mole and its food, the worm. This method of control is not designed to kill the mole, nor repel it with the smoke that is generated. Rather, by coating the mole tunnel in this manner, the mole is unable to forage for food in the area treated, and so must vacate the area in search of food elsewhere.

 

Sonic Mole Repellers

 

Mole repeller spikes emit a sonic pulse every 25 seconds into the earth, which disturbs and repels moles. The sonic pulse (generated by either battery or solar power) works continuously, with each unit protecting from between 400 – 1000 square metres of garden. The spikes may be buried beneath the surface, or only partially buried, and can take anything up to a week before results are obtained. The theory with sonic repellents is that if you “plant” sonic spikes around the perimeter of your garden, you are in effect creating an impenetrable border, through which moles may not pass. Always read the manufacturers instruction and guidelines for optimal effect.

 

Mole Traps.

 

There are two main types of mole trap, the scissor trap, and the tunnel trap. The Scissor Trap is more commonly seen in garden centres, hardware stores and ironmongers etc. and is used by those of us needing just a couple of traps in a general garden situation, where tunnels are not too deep or too many. The Tunnel Trap is the choice of many professional mole catchers. A trap for any situation, including large affected areas of deep tunnelling moles; both are highly effective.

 

Scissor Type Trap.

 

To set a scissor type trap the first thing you need to do is locate a mole tunnel, they tend to leave evidence! So they aren’t too difficult to pinpoint. Tread and flatten down any runs (mounds) that are visible, and check which are being used by the mole. This may take a day or two.
Before going any further, refer to the trap manufacturer’s instructions! Follow the guidelines carefully and fully. Mole traps can cause injury if the instructions are not followed.
Next, dig into the tunnel with a spade or trowel until there is enough room to fit the trap snugly inside.
Inside the centre of the tunnel, build a small mound of soil widthways across the tunnel, similar to a speed bump in the road. This bump should lie directly below the trigger mechanism.
Set the scissor mole trap by pressing the handles together and positioning the trip plate between the horizontal parts of the claws, located on the side. Don’t worry too much about adjusting it to hair trigger sensitivity, moles are extremely powerful creatures and will quite easily activate a firmly set trap.

Once set, push the mole trap into the tunnel run so that the handles are vertical, positioned so the mole can crawl between the curved parts of the claws. Cover over the top of the mole trap with soil, level with the hinged pin of the handle. And wait.

 

Tunnel Type Trap.

 

The Tunnel Mole Trap is an effective solution to persistent and deep burrowing moles. The setting of the Tunnel type mole trap can be a bit tricky at first, but once you've got the hang of it, it’s quite easy. So again, read the instructions carefully. To locate active mole tunnels, work around fresh, new looking molehills, push a bamboo cane into the surrounding soil.  Once the run is located dig down until you break into the tunnel chamber.
Set the trap by first depressing the setting arm until it is touching the tunnel.
Position the setting hook over the setting arm.
Set the base of the trigger ring perpendicular so that the hook at the top engages with the setting arm. Follow this procedure at both ends of the trap.
Carefully place the set trap in the mole run so the run guides are located at the base of the run.
Cover the mole trap area with soil to exclude all light.
The trap is now set and placed in the mole run, and will be triggered when a mole pushes soil while passing through it.

 

Talpex Type Trap.

 

The Talpex type trap is a variation on the conventional scissor type trap and its set up, as far as placement, is very similar.  It is yet another powerful and sensitive mole trap. The trap is triggered by the mole digging and pushing soil upwards against the trigger mechanism rather than pushing soil forward, as with the more conventional traps.

As with all types of traps there is a bit of a knack to setting them correctly and safely. All traps come supplied with instructions for both the setting and placement

 

Finally!

MOLE TRAP MECHANISMS CAN CAUSE INJURY IF NOT HANDLED CORRECTLY. ALWAYS EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN SETTING MOLE TRAPS. DO NOT PLACE OR LEAVE SET TRAPS WHERE CHILDREN OR PETS HAVE ACCESS.
ALWAYS CONSIDER PERSONAL PROTECTION.

Tools you will need:
Brummer Wood Filler Sticks (card 3) - Dark
Brummer Wood Filler Sticks (card 3) - Dark
- Brummer Wood Filler Sticks (card 3) - Medium
Brummer Wood Filler Sticks (card 3) - Medium
- Talpex Type Mole Trap
Talpex Type Mole Trap
- Procter Pest Stop Biofume Mole Smoke
Procter Pest Stop Biofume Mole Smoke
- Defenders Solar Powered Sonic Mole Repeller Spike
Defenders Solar Powered Sonic Mole Repeller Spike
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