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Garden moles can do considerable damage to turf, lawns, formal gardens, fairways, greens and sports grounds with their constant digging.  They can quickly establish themselves in a location due to their ability to tunnel up to 4 metres an hour, creating complex burrow systems. The eyesight of moles is generally poor, as is their sense of smell. They find food by their acute sense of touch and vibration.

Mole hills and ridges spoil lawns, bowling and golf greens and flower beds. Their tunnelling damages the roots of young plants and exposes stones and debris that can damage machinery. These factors are costly to gardeners and businesses that rely on their grounds, lawns, greens or gardens.  

FACT: Moles prefer to inhabit areas which are rich in insects and worms, as they are insectivores with around 80% of their diet being earthworms.

Taking prompt action at the first sign of moles will ensure your problem can be quickly treated.

Rentokil South Africa does not offer mole control as part of our service package; however you may find the information and advice below useful when trying to get rid of moles in the garden.

Moles in the Garden

A mole problem can quickly establish itself and cause significant damage. Garden moles have litters of up to seven pups and as they mature into adults, and each mole will want to establish its’ own tunnel network.

Little can be done to prevent moles from entering your property; all that can be done is to eradicate the problem once they have appeared. Shallow tunnels that moles dig just below the surface of the ground as they search for food. These can be seen as a raised ridge in a lawn or flower bed.

Deep mole tunnels are 10 to 40cm underground. The tunnels cannot be seen, but molehills are caused by the soil being cleared as the mole digs. Garden moles will line areas of tunnel with grass and leaves to create nests.

Moles in the garden feed on worms, but supplement them with insects and their larvae. Garden moles have a poor metabolism and have to eat their weight in food every day which can deplete the soil of worms.

Since moles cannot put on body fat, they have to eat throughout the winter and do not hibernate. As a result, they are most active in the autumn and early spring.

How to identify signs of garden moles

It’s unlikely that you will ever see moles as they rarely venture above ground, but the irritating evidence of their existence on your property is hard to miss:

  • Molehills are the name given to fresh mounds of earth that spring up overnight on lawns and other grassy areas.
  • Newly formed molehills will have loose, damp soil between the blades of grass, whereas the soil on older hills will have become flatter and more compacted.
  • Distinctive raised ridges are also caused by the extensive tunneling of moles.
  • Mole runs disturb roots and can hinder growth in crops, flowering plants and lawn areas.
  • Tunnelling by moles will bring stones up to the surface which may damage mowing machines and harvesters.
  • The very uneven ground caused by raised ridges and molehills can cause livestock to fall and become injured.

Facts about garden moles

  1. A mole’s burrow area is a complex system of different types of tunnels. Permanent tunnels used to travel to feeding areas are deep below the surface, while feeding tunnel occur just below the topsoil and occasionally break through to the surface.
  2. Moles can build around six new hills within 24 hours.
  3. The biggest molehill is not necessarily the newest.
  4. Many molehills do not always mean many moles.

Rentokil South Africa does not offer mole control as part of our service package; however you may find the information and advice below useful when trying to get rid of moles in the garden. For advice or assistance on any other types of pests, please call us on 0861 117 852.

Deterring garden moles

Some businesses are willing to put up with a small number of moles on their property, particularly as these creatures are not known to carry diseases.

In this case, all we would recommend is that you remove the freshly dug earth from the molehills and flatten lawns with a roller if you feel that is necessary.

Old wives’ tales to avoid garden moles

There are many quirky stories about how you can deter garden moles:

  • Putting glass or unpleasant smelling mothballs into the tunnels
  • Placing children’s windmills in the soil with the hope that the vibration, as the blades turn, will prevent the highly sensitive moles returning
  • Growing plants such as alliums and caper surge

Unfortunately these treatments have no scientific credibility whatsoever and, sometimes, they will do more harm than good.

The fact is, if moles find you have soft, fertile soil full of tasty earthworms and grubs, there is little you can do to deter them. Professional trapping and fumigation are the only reliable solutions to treat an unwanted mole problem.

Professional garden mole prevention

Although Rentokil does not offer a mole control service, your local Yellow Pages will be able to provide you with a mole control and removal operator.

Should you require any advice regarding other household pests, call us free on 0861 117 852 or email us.


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