Are Moles Making a Meal of Your Garden?

mole hills

Moles can be prodigious tunnellers. These molehills appeared overnight.

Left unchecked, Moles can devastate a garden. This is not surprising when you consider that a Mole can tunnel 30 metres in a day. But the Mole is not eating the vegetation. They are insectivores whose principle diet is the earthworm.

So strictly speaking, it is not your garden that the Mole is feasting upon but rather the worms and insects that live in it. One thing is certain, if Molehills appear on your lawn the culprit is Talpa Europaea or Common Mole, as this is the only Mole to inhabit this country.

So why do Moles cause such carnage to lawns if they are not eating the roots? The answer lies in their prodigious tunnelling. Moles will destroy or expose roots that lie in their path thus killing the vegetation. They create smooth tunnels for earthworms to fall into and then prey upon them.

Moles are neither blind nor deaf. They can determine the slightest changes in their environment such as drafts or vibrations, which warn of predators. If the Mole suspects that a tunnel has been exposed, it will block off that section and dig a new tunnel. This is why Moles are notoriously difficult to catch and failed attempts will often make the problem worse.

Why do Moles make Molehills?

In order to excavate a tunnel, waste soil needs to be removed. Moles push this waste soil through tunnels to the surface, producing Molehills.

Moles tunnel at varying depths. As the water table rises and falls, so the earthworms move with it. The Mole, which needs to eat two-thirds of its body weight every day, follows the worms.

Frustratingly, the Mole that is causing the damage to your garden may be living some distance away. Moles, like humans, like to sleep in a dry bed, so will often nest in high ground or under a tree. They tunnel to the lower, wetter ground to feed. Moist, fertile soil not only means a healthy supply of earthworms, it is also easier to tunnel through than hard dry soil. Unfortunately this may be your much-loved and well-watered lawn.

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