Whether it is at the side of a road, your garden or a field, you may have seen mole hills around from early January. These hills may seem innocent, but they can do a lot of damage. Trip up on a mole hill while playing football, this could be very painful! Out horse riding and the horse trips? You could be thrown off and the horse hurt. Trying to grow a new crop and hills appear, the root system of your barley could be damaged and affect your harvest.
Breeding season for moles is generally February to June in the UK, you will start seeing more mole hills around from January created as the males search for mates.
Not harmful to humans (unless you touch them), moles are pests to the agriculture world and to gardeners by causing destruction and eating worms which improve soil quality.
Moles (Talpa europaea) belong to the mammal family Talpidea which are characterised by cylindrical bodies and hairless tubular snouts. All members of the family have poor eyesight but only a few are truly blind.
Female moles give birth to one litter per year containing 2 – 7 young. Gestation period is 4 weeks. The young leave the mother when about 5 weeks old. The average life span of a mole is 2.5 years. Baby moles are called pups and three to four of these hairless babies are born per litter. They are bald unless around 2 weeks old when they will start to grow hair. The pup will leave its mum and find their own territory at around 5 weeks old.
Moles are not just black. They come in a range of colours including grey, cream and orange. Albino moles are rare and it is estimated 1 in 100,000 are truly albino. The mole is at an advantage if it is black as this gives them camouflage from predators , especially in the dark.
The estimated UK population of moles is 40 million but, as they live underground, it is really difficult to be sure of numbers.
There are no moles in Ireland. Its believed that this is due to sea levels rising during the ice age, moles never made it from mainland Britain to Ireland (nothing to do with St Patrick driving them out along with he snakes). The only continents which are mole free are Antarctica and South America.
An adult mole of 80g consumes about 50g of worms a day that’s as much as 250 earthworms a day! If they cannot find enough food in their established runs, they will create new ones to find more food sources.
Moles can cause huge damage in agriculture, causing root damage to crops. They don’t eat the plants or roots but their digging activities can expose roots or breaking roots as they tunnel.
Moles can dig up to 200m in a day. They work in 4 hour shifts with 4 hours sleep inbetween and can move up to 540 times their own body weight in soil.
What to do if you have moles….
There are lots of things you can try to get rid of moles and the internet is full of old wives tales, new innovations and old favourites.
Battery powered devices are on the market as well as household repellents such as coffee grounds on soil, red pepper in tunnel entrances or tar (they hate the smell) but the most effective way is trapping and in the case of farmland, gassing.
Trapping involves multiple visits over the space of a few weeks and continues until hills stop appearing and available in commercial and domestic premises.
Want to know more? Contact Eliminate on 0800 731 1164 or email email@example.com