- Category: Tips for Garden Pests
- Published on Thursday, 04 December 2008 16:54
- Written by Graham
- Hits: 674
A resident mole is not entirely bad news for the gardener however. Molehills are made of soil that is usually of excellent friable quality. As such it's great to use in making up potting compost, perhaps mixed with equal parts of leaf-mold and well-rotted compost. A further benefit that moles provide is their huge appetite for slugs.
If you have an area of wild(er) garden, then you may well be happy to have that colonized by a mole or two. Unfortunately one mole will cover a wide territory, and can easily push up dozens of molehills within a short space of time. If these encroach on your cultivated areas you might want to take action.
Ridding a garden of moles can be tackled in two ways – sending them elsewhere (bonjour voisin !), or sending them somewhere more permanent (bonjour ange !).
For many the option of mole repellents is the most acceptable and certainly humane method to adopt. Most garden centers and supermarkets stock such products, though in my experience they are of limited value:
Repellent powders and liquids – emit an odour disagreeable to the mole, who leaves to find a more pleasant area. These products are cheap, but require refreshing frequently especially following rain.
Electronic devices – these emit ultrasonic sound that the mole finds disagreeable. These are reasonably priced, and seem to be effective but only over relatively small areas.
Certain plants are claimed to repel moles, but the evidence is not strong.
A country solution is to push pieces of bramble with sharp thorns about 15 cm length into each molehill. The mole apparently pricks his nose on the thorn, and this sends him away. I have tried this method and it had no obvious effect.
Mothballs, petrol or other smelly chemicals have also been used over the years. Apart from the obvious environmental pollution issue, there is not much evidence of their effectiveness. You might try soaking cotton wool balls in peppermint oil, and depositing these in the galleries – some find that method works for them.
Pets – many people claim that a family cat or dog keeps moles out of their garden. Whilst that solution could well help, you might be introducing another sort of “pest” into the garden – but perhaps I'm currently a little too aware of out two kittens that spend all day knocking over plant labels, breaking plant stems and using newly cleared soil as a WC.
If you garden is larger than a few hundred square meters, repellents will probably only move the mole to another location in the garden – thus actually increasing the nuisance factor. Then the only option is to kill the mole in the most humane way possible. Again several methods are available:
Metal mole-traps are spring loaded devices that crush the mole when it pushes against a plate as it runs along the gallery. These are cheap, and if successful it is obvious when they have worked. In my experience the moles tend to be able to walk or burrow around these traps. Might be worth a try though if other methods do not appeal.
Explosive devices are available, though very expensive. These have explosive charges that are triggered when the mole pushes against a trigger lever positioned in the gallery. I can imagine that this method does work, but I have not tried it since it's quite an investment.
Poisonous gas – a well-used method is to ignite several smoke-bombs that give off poisonous fumes in the interconnected galleries. This method does seem to work for many people.
Taupicide – for me this has been the most successful method for controlling moles. I've gone from around 100 mole hills to zero, and maintained a mole-free garden of 3600 sq m for three years. Several products are available on the market, and can be found at most French garden centers. I find a good product is the “Saint-Antoine” brand, that has a memorable package design:
For a detailed description of how to use this product, take a look at the article “How to use taupicide”