GARDENS – UNDERSTANDING MOLE BEHAVIOR

If you have a lawn or garden, then chances are you have experienced the damage caused by a mole. Although a somewhat cute animal, moles dig holes where they tunnel through the ground, just below the surface. For plants, roots are disrupted, causing plants to die. For grass, you have channels weaved throughout your yard, again causing damaging and providing a not so pleasant appearance.

While moles are very destructive, there are solutions for getting rid of them. However, before you get to that step, you should learn about the mole, which will help you get a better grasp on the types of things that will help eliminate them. Moles are small creatures with webbed feet that come from the Talpidae family. In all, including the shrew mole, there are seven types of moles to include the Parascalops breweri, Scapanus latimus, Scapanus orarius, Scapanus townsendi, Scalopus aquaticus, and Condylura cristata.

The mole most commonly found is the Scalopus aquaticus, which is strong and a great tunnel digger. Moles have a soft grey pelage color that is hinged, providing them with the ability to move in any direction. While the most common color is a grayish color, some have splotches of white or orange. Typically, a mole is about six to eight inches in length and weighs from three to six ounces, depending on age.

Moles mate each spring and produce one litter every year, usually consisting of two to six babies. Births occur any time from mid-April to the end of May. Moles are considered mammals, as the mother nurses the babies for several weeks. Moles do not hibernate, meaning the will continue to tunnel and cause damage as long as possible, based on the temperatures and moisture found in the ground.

Because the mole has a unique muscle and bone structure, they can create a tunnel digging force equivalent to 32 times its body weight. In comparison, this would be the same as a 150-pound human exerting a lateral force of 4,800 pounds. For a mole to dig just one meter of tunnel, they use from 400 to 4,000 times as much energy as if they were walking the same distance but not on the surface. A mole can surface tunnel or probe at an amazing rate of 18 feet per hour.

The larger mole weighs approximately five ounces and eats from 45 to 55 pounds of worms and other insects each year. Another interesting fact it that moles have twice as much blood and red hemoglobin over that of other mammals of the same size. The result is that the mole can breathe easily when underground where there is little oxygen and a high level of carbon dioxide. Moles are very talented with their digging, which is why it is so difficult to get rid of them.

Now, if you have a mole digging up your yard, you do have a number of possible ways to get rid of it. Our recommendations include:

•Use a mole trap, which can be purchased from hardware stores, home improvement stores, nurseries, and gardening centers. For about $10, the trap would be set in an active run…then you wait.

•You should also remove the mole’s natural food supply, which are grubs, otherwise known as Japanese beetle larvae. Once the grub problem is brought under control, the moles will move to another yard. You can purchase grub remover or have a professional gardener do the job.

•Make a homemade solution that will kill the moles. For this, mix one-cup of Murphy’s Oil Soap, one ounce of castor oil, and one-quarter cup cayenne pepper. Mix this with enough water for a two to one mixture. Using a garden sprayer, you want to spray the area being destroyed by the mole. In addition, if you can find the active run, pour some down the hole. Just be sure you avoid getting the mixture in your eyes, as it will burn.

•Mole power or poisonous pellets are also sold, which are placed about every six inches inside the active tunnel. The moles eat the powder or pellets, which then kills it.

•If all else fails, call a professional gardener or lawn service to help get rid of the mole problem.

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About Renee Dietz

I have been a successful, published writer for the past 26 years, offering a writing style that is informative, creative, and reader-friendly. During that time, I have been blessed with clients from around the world! Over the years, more than 160 ebooks and well over 18,000 articles have been added to my credit. Writing is my passion, something I take to heart.

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