Although some people think moles are cute, they can cause serious damage to your lawn and landscaping. Even if they don’t actually eat green life, the collateral damage from their digging is just enough to harm the plants and soil in your garden.
So, if you have been a victim of a mole infestation, continue reading as we share with you the best ways to remove garden moles.
There are several signs of mole activity you can look out for:
The first signs of mole activity are heaps of soil excavated from lawns and flowerbeds (molehills).
Seedlings and other small plants in flower beds and vegetable plots can be damaged by moles tunnelling through the soil.
Those are the two main signs of a mole infestation, which are most visible in the spring, early summer, and autumn. The higher temperatures in the summer cause moles to dig their tunnels deeper in the ground, which makes them harder to spot.
How to get rid of moles in the garden
Before you unleash your inner hunter, you need to understand certain rules about taking care of a mole infestation on your own.
So, let’s start with the following:
Can you do pest control yourself?
Remember that harsh and unnecessary actions against wildlife, even when the animal is considered a pest, may lead to fines and imprisonment. According to www.gov.uk, you are not allowed to use the following things:
bows and crossbows
explosives (other than legal ammunition for a licensed firearm)
live birds or animals, known as ‘live decoys’, to attract pests (unless you have a licence)
The BPCA also agrees that professionals can only perform the most effective methods to remove moles in your garden. If you have a pest problem, the best options are to either contact your local council and ask if they can provide you with a pest control service or hire a company/certified pest control technician.
On the Internet, you will find plenty of humane ways to get rid of moles. Rather than killing moles, always choose a natural approach to deter them:
Ultrasonic mole spikes. Most of them are powered by the sun, and they are placed in the ground with the base and pushed into the soil, so the spikes can stay in place. They are said to release a high-frequency sound that should chase the moles away. So far, so good, but in reality, most of these sub-sonic devices are proved to be completely useless. The waves cannot travel that far from the source, and the moles either completely ignore the sound or get used to it.
Mole repellents. Castor oil and water, often mixed with cayenne, are used as home remedies to deter moles. The smell of castor oil is strong and distinct, which is supposed to repel moles. Neither animals nor plants will be harmed by castor oil.
Removing their food source. This method sounds a bit more logical than others. Get rid of their favourite food, which is grubs, and they will be forced to search for it elsewhere. However, the results will most likely disappoint you. Removing grubs from your garden is more likely to become a reason for the moles to dig even more tunnels, further destroying your garden life. Either that or they will change their diet by going after earthworms and other insects that are useful to the soil.
The obvious way to go is setting up a trap, of course. Still, many factors need to be taken into account that will ensure the success of the task. These include:
Killing traps. As we’ve mentioned above, the only secure method is killing the moles. Especially if you have a farm or a big garden, and collateral damage is something you simply cannot afford.
Barrel or Tunnel traps. According to the RSPCA, this type of trap is the better option for home gardeners, as the scissors kind does not always kill the mole right away. For someone who is trying peacefully to have a small back garden with vegetables, a half-dead mole, caught in a trap, is probably not something you want to deal with. When you hire a professional to take care of the problem, be careful of individuals, who come with an already deceased mole, pretending it was caught in the trap.
Live catch traps. In case your conscience is not letting you sleep at night, there are a couple of techniques that will only catch the mole, so it can be released in the wild again. One of those is a pit trap. You need to locate an existing tunnel and put a big jar at the bottom of it. Pour some soil over it, so it’s not too obvious, and check it regularly in case it works.
If you indeed catch a garden mole, for the whole process to make any sense, you need to release the animal at least 2 miles away from your property, with permission from the owner of the property where you’re releasing it.
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Now stands the question. Are moles really this harmful so that the only choice is to get rid of them? Well, in recent years, there have been plenty of mixed opinions about this. Moles digging elaborate tunnels and mounds can ruin your lawn or garden. As a result, grass, trees, and plants can be killed.
When most gardeners carefully calculate the risks, they conclude that moles are not the end for their garden, and the better option will be just to let them be. It has been proven that moles contribute a lot to the health of the soil by mixing its nutrients, turning it, and enhancing drainage through their digging.
So in the end, it’s up to you to decide whether moles are a nuisance or a friendly fellow gardener.
Before you take any action, think carefully about whether you really need to get rid of the moles in your garden. If the damage is not fatal, and your life does not depend on the plants you are growing in your backyard, consider leaving the animals be.
You may try the non-harmful and “humane” techniques, but remember that neither of them is proven 100% effective.
The only secure ways of removing moles from your garden are by calling your local council or a pest control technician to safely and professionally take care of the problem.
And note that according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, most people who attempt to kill an animal themselves may breach the law due to causing “unnecessary suffering”.
What are your experiences with those small, pink-nosed creatures? Do you see them as a problem or just as cute wild animals? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below and we hope you found this article on how to get rid of moles useful!