What are moles?
Holes and trails that run throughout your lawn along hedges, sidewalks and walls may be caused by rodents called moles. Moles are 15-20cm in length with a thin tail. The mole's eyes are concealed by hair. They have pink feet that are able to dig rapidly with broad fingernail type claws.
During early spring and autumn, moles build an extensive network of both deep and surface tunnels. The tunnels act as the mole's living quarters. Deep tunnels may be from 15 to 61 cm below the surface. The tunnels may be pushed up by the mole creating hills. Shallow tunnels are often long winding pathways throughout the surface of the lawn. These pathways are used during damp weather when much of the mole's food is near the surface.
Life cycle of moles.
Mole populations usually remain stable throughout the season. Moles produce their offspring in the spring averaging 3-4 in a litter. The young remain with their mother for 1 month then begin tunneling. The young grow to adult size in 4 to 8 weeks.
Moles are extremely active and eat their weight in food daily. They feed on insects, grubs and slugs found during tunneling but their main source of food is the earthworm. They do not directly damage lawns by feeding on them; the damage comes as a result of the tunnels that are created below the surface and the mounds of soil that are placed at the surface. They also do feed on a beneficial lawn creature in the earthworm.
What treatment is available for moles?
Trapping is the best method for short term control, however it is not permanent. Areas will quickly be re-infested because of the wandering habits of moles.
The best defense from moles is proper cultural practices to discourage moles from invading your lawn at all. Proper cutting practices will help discourage moles from invading. When mowing your lawn, mow in different directions every time. This encourages your grass to stand up and prevents it from lying down and creating a perfect habitat for moles. Moles are also discouraged from invading your lawn if it is maintained at a height of a minimum of 5 cm.
If you are not sure if you have moles, call your local Weed Man Professional for a free healthy lawn analysis. Weed Man can verify the presence of potentially damaging moles, discuss preventative measures and recommend treatment options.