Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:56 pm
The mole. A welcome guest for some, a pest for others. When a mound of fresh soil rises in the garden, lawn owners in particular want to get rid of the animals as soon as possible, as they plow through the beautifully manicured grass cover. For this reason, moles are considered harmful in the eyes of many gardeners. Whether Talpa europaea, the European mole, is really a pest cannot be said in such general terms.
The problem: lawn and moles
Why is man so at war with the mole? The answer is piles of soil and holes in the lawn. It is not easy to keep a lawn healthy, green and dense. Moles make for much more work, as their digging causes mounds and tunnels that are a thorn in the side of many lawn owners. This is because the holes must be closed and then new lawn seed must be sown to ensure a dense lawn again the following year. And no, multiple mounds are not multiple moles in most cases, because each mound takes on a different function:
- Sleeping chambers
- Storage chambers
- Nest chambers
Even the mole tunnels need a mound of earth in between, so that the animal can get air or escape from possible predators. However, these are less common in gardens. The well-branched system is the reason why the burrowing animals create so many mounds and can be recognized so quickly by them. They are solitary animals that intensively defend their territory against other moles. The only other moles in the area are the young animals. Thus, you are always dealing with only one mole.
Pest or beneficial insect?
The burrowing lifestyle does not make Talpa europaea a pest. It can, on the other hand, be well described by these two terms:
If you don’t know what pests are: These animals are organisms that do no harm but are considered a nuisance by humans. This is exactly true of the mole, as it is useful in the garden, but from the point of view of the gardener should like to disappear. Just the removal of the mounds of earth is a horror for many gardeners, because the capable animals work all day on their burrow. However, these are purely cosmetic “problems”, as they do not contaminate, compact or otherwise negatively affect the soil for the lawn or in the gardens.
Tip: Of course, if you are a dog or cat owner, it is not ideal to have a mole in the garden, as they are potential predators of Talpidae, which makes living together much more difficult. In addition, your pets can get stuck in the tunnels and since they reach up to 150 centimeters deep into the earth, it is then difficult to free Bello again.
Beneficial insect and indicator animal
You should consider yourself lucky if you spot one in your garden. This is because it shows that your green oasis is a healthy ecosystem, which has a positive effect on the quality of your harvest and the vitality of your lawn, for example. This is exactly what attracts moles, because they settle only in well-maintained plots that provide a sufficient amount of food. And this is where the big misunderstanding comes in. Even if moles dig in the ground and create mounds, they are not interested in the garden plants. This is because they are not herbivores. Their diet is composed as follows:
- larvae of snails
All these creatures are indicative of gardens that have a healthy ecosystem and where the soil is teeming with microorganisms. It doesn’t matter if you grow juicy carrots or have beautifully maintained roses, the animals are not interested in them in any way. You also don’t have to worry about moles eating all the earthworms in the soil. There are two reasons for this:
Earthworms spread rapidly
Moles eat only part of the brood, which ensures stable populations
In general, a mole needs about 100 grams of food per day and thus comes to 36 to 40 kilograms of vermin per year. Keep in mind: of this amount, a large part are pests that severely harm your plants. Even if you’re dealing with a vole infestation, moles are helpful because young voles are also on the burrowing mammal’s menu. As you may know or have experienced firsthand, voles like to eat vegetable plants and the roots of flowers and trees, including:
Moles are a natural alternative to the often brutal approaches to getting rid of mice.
In addition to serving as insectivores and pest exterminators, moles lend themselves to other functions. They are extremely useful and not at all harmful, which makes them ideal for the gardener who wants vital and healthy plants. In addition to being pest exterminators, moles take on other functions that you can take advantage of:
A great advantage to digging moles is the loose soil. The moles spend hours finely sifting the soil through the digging scoops on their paws and bringing it to the surface. You should not dispose of this soil, but use it for tub and garden plants. It acts ideally as a substrate and can even be mixed with compost to further improve its properties. If you do not need the soil in this way, you can also spread it on the ground to improve the overall soil condition.
During the digging work, talpidae provide a strong loosening of the garden soil and protect plants from compacted substrate. If you let a mole do its work, you can almost completely save the following gardening tasks:
- digging up
Especially if your soils are very heavy, you definitely want moles in your garden. Even heavy clay soils don’t bother them, as they dig with their paws all day long without a problem. Best of all, moles will repeat your digging every year, so they hardly have to take care of your soils themselves. Of course, this approach is best for natural gardens.
As you can see, moles can effectively integrate into your green oasis without being considered a nuisance because of their natural lifestyle. Especially if you have natural garden projects in focus, the animal is a welcome guest.
Tip: They are particularly keen on grubs, the larvae of species such as May or June beetles, which can harm garden plants in large numbers. With their appetite moles significantly curb the spread of larvae without harming your plants, which means that you yourself do not have to rely on nematodes or other control options.
Do moles fall under species protection?
Now that you know that moles are beneficial insects that can have an effective impact on the quality of your garden and are a nuisance to lawn owners mainly because of a little extra work, the question of species protection still needs to be addressed. If, for example, due to a pet or the mere presence of the insectivore, you want to expel it again, you must comply with the legal requirements.
Even if you are not allowed to capture the animals, you are allowed to drive them away. The mole burrow is not included in the law and is a good way to drive the animals away if you really can’t live with them. However, you are allowed to do so only if you do not behave harmful to the moles. Useful against the animals are the following approaches:
All these agents have the advantage of attacking the mole’s well-developed sense of smell. Ideally, if the animal becomes aware of the agents, the following happens:
- mole keeps away from the burrow
- due to the intensity of the odor he leaves your property
- looks for a new home nearby
Do not worry, moles quickly find a new place, for nest building. However, think carefully before you expel a mole, because the pointer animals maintain the natural balance in your garden. If Talpidae are driven away, numerous pests continue to multiply extremely quickly. They will then literally pounce on your crops and within a short period of time, intense pest infestations will occur. Therefore, you should give the neighbors in your garden a chance.
Tip: Many parents use moles in the garden to teach children about conservation and the various beneficial insects and pests. The mounds and burrows work wonderfully as visual learning materials.