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The Mole. A welcome guest for some, a nuisance for others. When a mound of fresh soil rises up in the garden, lawn owners in particular want to get rid of the animals as soon as they plow through the beautifully manicured lawn. Because of this, in the eyes of many gardeners, moles are considered harmful. Whether Talpa europaea, the European mole, is really a pest cannot be said in general.
The problem: grass and moles
Why is man so at loggerheads with the mole? The answer is: piles of dirt and holes in the lawn. Keeping a lawn healthy, green and dense is not easy. Moles make for significantly more work as their burrowing causes mounds and tunnels that are a thorn in the side of many lawn owners. The holes have to be closed and then new lawn seeds have to be sown so that a dense lawn can be created again the following year. And no, in most cases, multiple mounds are not multiple moles, because each mound of earth has a different function:
- sleeping chambers
- nest chambers
Even the mole tunnels need a mound of earth in between, so that the animal can catch air or escape from possible predators. However, these are less common in gardens. The well-branched system is the reason why the digging animals create so many mounds and can be recognized from them so quickly. you are loner, which defend their territory against other moles. The only other moles in the area are the hatchlings. So you only ever have to deal with one mole.
Pest or Beneficial?
The burrowing lifestyle does not make Talpa europaea a pest. On the other hand, it can be well described with these two terms:
If you don't know what pests are, these animals are organisms that no damage cause, but are perceived as annoying by humans. This is exactly the case for the mole, since it is useful in the garden, but from the gardener's point of view it should gladly disappear again. The removal of the mounds of earth is a nightmare for many gardeners, since the efficient animals work on their construction all day long. However, these are purely cosmetic "problems" because the soil for the lawn or in the garden is not contaminated, compacted or otherwise negatively affected.
tip: Of course, it is not ideal if you, as a dog or cat owner, have a mole in the garden, as these are potential predators of the Talpidae, which makes living together much more difficult. In addition, your pets can get stuck in the corridors and since these reach up to 150 centimeters deep into the ground, it is then difficult to free Bello again.
Beneficial and pointer animal
You should consider yourself lucky if you spot a mole in your yard. This shows namely that your green oasis a healthy ecosystem shows what has a positive effect on the quality of your harvest and the vitality of your lawn, for example. This is exactly what attracts moles, as they only settle in well-manicured plots that provide an adequate amount of food. And here comes the big misunderstanding. Even when moles dig in the ground and make mounds, they are not interested in the garden plants. Because they are not herbivores. Their diet consists of the following:
- larvae of mosquitoes
All of these creatures are a sign 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 manicured roses, the animals are not interested in them at all. You also don't have to worry about moles consuming all the earthworms in the soil. There are two reasons:
- Earthworms are spreading rapidly
- Moles only eat part of the brood, which ensures stable populations
In general, a mole needs about 100 grams of food per day and thus has 36 to 40 kilograms of vermin per year. Keep in mind: Most of this amount are pests that will take a toll on your plants. Even if you are dealing with an infestation of voles, moles are helpful because the young voles are also part of the diet of the burrowing mammals. As you may know or have experienced first-hand, voles love to eat vegetables and the roots of flowers and trees, including:
Moles are a natural alternative to the often brutal methods of disposing of mice.
In addition to being an insectivore and pesticide moles can be used for additional functions. They are extremely useful and not harmful at all, making them ideal for the gardener who wants vigorous and healthy plants. In addition to their function as pesticides, moles also have other functions that you can take advantage of:
A big advantage of mole digging is the loose soil. The molehills are finely sieved by the animals for hours using the digging shovels on their paws and brought to the surface. You should not dispose of this soil, but use it for potted and garden plants. She looks ideal as a substrate and can even be mixed with compost to further enhance its properties. If you don't need the soil this way, you can also spread it on the ground to improve the general soil condition.
During digging, the Talpidae loosen the garden soil and protect plants from compacted substrate. If you let a mole do its work, you can save yourself almost all of the following gardening tasks:
- dig up
Especially if your soil is very heavy, you definitely want moles in the garden. Even heavy clay soil doesn't bother them as they dig with their paws all day long without any problems. Best of all, moles repeat their digging work every year, so they hardly ever have to take care of your floors themselves. Of course, this approach is best suited for natural gardens.
As you can see, because of their natural way of life, moles can integrate effectively into your green oasis without being seen as a nuisance. Especially when you focus on natural garden projects, the animal is a welcome guest.
tip: The animals are particularly keen on grubs, the larvae of species such as May beetles or June beetles, which can damage garden plants in large numbers. With their appetite, moles significantly reduce the spread of the larvae without harming your plants, which means that you do not have to rely on nematodes or other control options yourself.
protection of species
Are moles protected species?
Now that you know that moles are beneficial insects that can effectively affect the quality of your garden and are a nuisance to lawn owners mainly due to a little extra work, the issue of conservation remains to be addressed. If, for example, you want to drive them away again because of a pet or the mere presence of the insectivore, you must observe the legal requirements. Moles are classified in the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG) as "specially protected“ listed. This means that you must not catch, injure or kill the animals, otherwise the following consequences may occur:
- Criminal proceedings are initiated
- Fine of 5,000 to 50,000 euros (depending on the state)
This also applies to the young of the moles. If moles are caught and sold, the penalties are usually even higher, as this is punished as animal trafficking.
drive away moles
Even if you are not allowed to catch the animals, you can drive them away. The mole building is not part of the law and offers to drive the animals away if you really can't live with them. However, you are only allowed to do this if you are not behaving in a harmful manner towards the moles. Useful against the animals are the following procedures:
- Make manure from elderberry leaves
- then pour into mole burrows
- intensive smell of the liquid manure keeps the animals away
- Be sure to use diluted, otherwise the floor could suffer
- alternatively plug the openings of the molehills with twigs
- Arborvitae or nut trees
- contained oils and ingredients can not stand moles at all
- The use of herring heads is unpleasant for the human nose
- just put them in gear
- However, do not clog entrances with herring heads
- Moles find it difficult to push them away on their own
- Herring heads not recommended if you have a lot of cats or dogs around
- also problematic with wildlife such as foxes in the area
All these agents have the advantage that they attack the mole's well-developed sense of smell. If the animal becomes aware of the remedy, ideally the following happens:
- Mole stays away from the burrow
- due to the intensity of the smell, he leaves your property
- is looking for a new home nearby
Don't worry, moles will quickly find a new place to build their nests. But think carefully before driving away a mole, because the pointer animals maintain the natural balance in your garden. If Talpidae are driven out, numerous pests multiply extremely quickly. These then literally attack your crops and within a short time there is an intensive pest infestation. 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 and pest species. The hills and corridors work wonderfully as visual learning material.