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Alas, Mr Mole.

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
88V8
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Alas, Mr Mole.

#163781

Postby 88V8 » September 2nd, 2018, 7:21 pm

I was quite happy with Mr Mole. Active for years in the vegetable garden, enhancing the drainage.

Then a few weeks ago he appeared around the edge of the main grass*, tunnelling just beneath the surface.
Then he began to tunnel across the grass, just one area.
Then in the course of a few days, most of the back grass was criss-crossed with his tunnels. OK, it's not huge, about 20 x 30ft, but that takes a lot of flattening with a 4" posser. His tunnels raise the surface, the odd hillock, it's a mess.
In fact, there's so much activity now I think it's no longer a solo effort.

Bought a trap, the off-with-his-head variety, but it's hard to set so shallow and block off the light. Only one day, but nothing yet.

To an extent this is self-inflicted. We've been watering the plants in our densely planted half acre, some by-blow gets onto the grass of course, and the surrounding fields - three sides - are dry.

Have you had any success in repelling Mr Mole?

V8

* the term 'lawn' would flatter.

supremetwo
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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#163814

Postby supremetwo » September 3rd, 2018, 1:29 am

88V8 wrote:I was quite happy with Mr Mole. Active for years in the vegetable garden, enhancing the drainage.

Then a few weeks ago he appeared around the edge of the main grass*, tunnelling just beneath the surface.
Then he began to tunnel across the grass, just one area.
Then in the course of a few days, most of the back grass was criss-crossed with his tunnels. OK, it's not huge, about 20 x 30ft, but that takes a lot of flattening with a 4" posser. His tunnels raise the surface, the odd hillock, it's a mess.
In fact, there's so much activity now I think it's no longer a solo effort.

Bought a trap, the off-with-his-head variety, but it's hard to set so shallow and block off the light. Only one day, but nothing yet.

To an extent this is self-inflicted. We've been watering the plants in our densely planted half acre, some by-blow gets onto the grass of course, and the surrounding fields - three sides - are dry.

Have you had any success in repelling Mr Mole?

V8

* the term 'lawn' would flatter.

It is likely to be just the one as they are solitary.

I reckon 2 builder's barrows of mole hills per mole per week per new run.

You need more than one trap and need to find deeper access tunnels rather than the feeding ones.
Probe to find the line and cut a neat section out with a knife in line with the tunnel just slightly longer than the trap.

Do not be too tidy when placing traps - leave some loose soil in the bottom of the tunnel adjacent to the trap.
Cover with tiles and put some loose earth on top.

The females are more prone to fill a trap with earth than the males so be prepared to re-set several times.

Bury the dispatched mole in the run which I reckon puts off a new incumbent, at least for a while.

bungeejumper
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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#163839

Postby bungeejumper » September 3rd, 2018, 9:12 am

You're quite sure that's a mole? Sounds more like a field vole invasion to me. I had one at my previous house. Field voles sometimes experience population explosions and invade people's gardens when things get too cosy out in the fields. Then, after a few weeks of creating criss-cross chaos under the lawn, they all curl up and die like the adherents of some wacko religious cult. Rather creepy.

However, forget that particular suggestion if the hillocks are the standard-issue mole-earth affairs. We've had moles twice now, and both times we've been able to catch them quickly (within 24 hours!) with humane mole traps. AIUI, a mole travels every inch of his tunnel once a day, so if you've set the trap correctly it should work okay.

One of the problems with moles is that they chew straight through any tree roots that they encounter, and that meant (in our case) that our 130 year old apple orchard was under notice of demolition. We tried everything to get rid of the first little varmint - snap traps, battery-powered boomers, and even (ashamed shuffle :? ) mole smokes that we'd bought in France. None of them worked. Hence our sense of reward at being able to catch the critters alive. Although you do have to be able to decide what you do with them once you've got them. (Ahem, some people hit them with a spade. We let ours go, several miles away from our house.)

You can also deter moles by stuffing euphorbia down the tunnels. They hate the stuff. But wear gloves, because the sap can burn your skin.

Good luck!

BJ

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#163846

Postby Sobraon » September 3rd, 2018, 9:58 am

I avoid trapping them until I get a direct instruction from the management, I use half a dozen scissor type snap traps. Here is my process.

Cleanliness is very important - wear rubber gloves. If you handle the traps without gloves then moles will avoid the area. Check the traps are clean and operating correctly - the spring steel rusts and they weaken, check for a good clean snap when the trigger plate is moved adjust as necessary, wash with plain water.

Again wearing rubber gloves find all the runs in an area by shifting the 'hill' and locate the entry and exit tunnels (if I can’t find both I don’t trap that 'hill'). Set the trap and make sure it lines up with the two tunnel points. Cover the trap loosely with soil and disturbed grass sods but so that you can see the two arms of the trap for checking. Then I cover with an upturned 10" flower pot and a slate if the 'pot’ had drainage holes.

Check daily.

marronier
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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#163881

Postby marronier » September 3rd, 2018, 11:50 am

Perhaps you should put Mr. Mole on the payroll and collect his molehills , which consist of stone-free , graded topsoil for the compost heap.

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#164269

Postby shadowside » September 4th, 2018, 8:22 pm

I always locate the run by probing between the run with a stick. Its quite easy as runs are generally only a few inches below the surface. I use Yotkshire double headed tunnel traps. Just uncover the run, insert trap and cover to keep out light.An old slate roofing tile works well. Has never taken more than 24hrs. Don't bother with all the rubber glove stuff as seems to work fine without.

88V8
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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#166176

Postby 88V8 » September 13th, 2018, 9:08 pm

Mmm, thankyou all.

There are a few hillocks, but mainly it's the tunnels just beneath the surface. We do have a lot of voles, shrews, mice, they dig tunnels adjacent to the vegetables, but in a subterranean fashion.

No joy so far trapping in the shallow tunnels, I'll have to try again in a deeper burrow.
Now we've had some rain, the problem has diminished - I imagine that the surrounding sheep and cattle pastures are more grub rich than our grass.

This is the trap I am using https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Claw-Mole-Tr ... 2749.l2649

I wonder what would happen if I put one of these in the tunnel https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/STV-Internat ... Sw8b9bmrsE - never have any trouble catching mice in the attic.

V8

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#166202

Postby supremetwo » September 14th, 2018, 2:46 am

88V8 wrote:Mmm, thankyou all.

This is the trap I am using https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Claw-Mole-Tr ... 2749.l2649

I wonder what would happen if I put one of these in the tunnel https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/STV-Internat ... Sw8b9bmrsE - never have any trouble catching mice in the attic.
V8

I use the tunnel type.

Never tried a standard mouse trap - bait with a worm?
Let us know if it works.

88V8
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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#168296

Postby 88V8 » September 23rd, 2018, 9:09 am

The trap was filled with earth. Was it the wurrrums, or Mr Mole?
We shall never know. for he met a sticky end.

A mysterious end. Another nocturnal visitor is in the habit of digging in the grass, annoying little exploratory digs and sometimes more major incursions. We presume Mr Badger.

Yesterday, a new digging of the major variety under a holly, the objective not apparent. Nearby, lying on the grass apparently unharmed but deceased, Mr Mole. Was he collateral damage in a honey expedition, or was he the objective? Either way he evidently proved unpalatable.

Truly a denizen of the dark, and an example of a niche and evolution's urge to fill it. Those cartoonish front flippers. Those slippery black trousers.

The surrounding fields are wet now. The attractions of our garden oasis diminish. Au revoir Mr Mole.

V8

In the attic, the nut of doom claims another victim. An endless supply. Seems such a waste. Mouse mousakka, mice mince? Oops, wrong Board.

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#171648

Postby sg31 » October 5th, 2018, 12:05 pm

I'm a bit late to this one.

We had a mole problem when we moved to our current property 3 years ago. As we were very busy I got the local pest guy in to get rid of it. He got it after 2 days and that was a job well done. At a cost of £40 it seemed ok in the circumstances.

The following year we had another visitor, I bought traps and tried to get the little blighter but never managed it. the runs were about a foot deep and hard to find. Soil type and weather conditions send them deep to find worms apparently. I don't know if my attempts caused enough disturbance to frighten it off but the problem stopped without my traps catching anything. We haven't had a problem since.

88V8, have you tried to stop the mice getting in to the property? It's usually not that difficult if you are methodical. I rewired a property for a customer many years ago and the wiring was in a shocking state. They had a mouse problem and the cable was chewed through to the bare wire in numerous places. The mice must have been knowing the cable to keep their teeth in order. I was amazed that the property hadn't burnt down. It was an old style consumer unit so it was a real risk.

Common entry points are defective mortar joints in brickwork. look beneath the threshold of external doors, has the underside where it meets the brickwork been properly sealed? Fitters forget this on a regular basis. Airbricks can be another entrance, you can buy mouse proof covers.

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#171926

Postby bungeejumper » October 6th, 2018, 4:09 pm

sg31 wrote:I rewired a property for a customer many years ago and the wiring was in a shocking state. They had a mouse problem and the cable was chewed through to the bare wire in numerous places. The mice must have been knowing the cable to keep their teeth in order. I was amazed that the property hadn't burnt down. It was an old style consumer unit so it was a real risk.

My wife (as she now is) once called out a repair man because her fridge freezer had gone phut, and when he pulled it forward there was a very dead mouse with its jaws still clamped around the mains cable.

But that episode paled into insignificance against the time she found a live mole inside her washing machine. How did it get there? Best guess is that the cat had brought it in and dumped it inside the machine. (Our later cats weren't above releasing poor mice to run around in the utility room, presumably for the sake of a bit of gladiatorial sport.) But getting it out of the machine proved to be a challenge, because moles can mangle your hands quite effectively. Look on the bright side, I suppose it was better than a snake?

BJ

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#171942

Postby RececaDron » October 6th, 2018, 5:55 pm

Moles are fascinating and impressive little critters:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listi ... d&qid=&sr=

Shame to have to dispatch them, although I (/my mole-catcher pal) sadly do when needs must.

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#172571

Postby Nemo » October 9th, 2018, 2:20 pm

A couple of moggies (back alley types) keep us free from most things. Over the years they have killed rats, moles and a couple of gray squirrels that were making a nuisance of themselves, along with the usual mice, etc.

Late one day I rescued a mole from them, shut them in the house and took the mole across the fields where I thought that it would be safe - it was lying dead on the doorstep next morning.

They seem a bit perplexed by the hedgehog that moved into the garden a few weeks ago. At certain time times of the year we get visited by a large wading bird (Crane?) who sits on a log watching what goes on in the ponds - they give that a very wide berth.

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#172751

Postby madhatter » October 10th, 2018, 11:00 am

we get visited by a large wading bird (Crane?) who sits on a log watching what goes on in the ponds
...

If in the UK most likely a heron (or a cormorant, if it was black).

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#172883

Postby gryffron » October 10th, 2018, 8:40 pm

sg31 wrote:They had a mouse problem and the cable was chewed through to the bare wire in numerous places. The mice must have been knowing the cable to keep their teeth in order.

Pre 1950s electric cable often had wax cotton insulation. Excellent nutrition for mice.

;)

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#172934

Postby Nemo » October 11th, 2018, 8:09 am

If in the UK most likely a heron (or a cormorant, if it was black).


You are correct, it's most likely a heron. Evil looking thing (Pterodactyl like) that has a total disregard for the cats who peer at it through the undergrowth. I've never seen it go into the ponds which have no fish but are full of frogs, a few toads and occasionally a few newt types (never get too close to see).

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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#172973

Postby madhatter » October 11th, 2018, 11:53 am

I hadn’t seen a heron for maybe ten years before this year, but since the spring have seen them three times in widely separated places.

I’d not seen a cormorant or a shag for decades until this summer on a rare visit to the huge Bluewater shopping park. I hadn’t realised that unlike the shags, cormorants are not confined to coastal areas. It spent much of the time with wings outstretched to dry in the sun. Curiously for a bird spending much time in the oggin, they don’t have the water proofing of ducks etc.

A few weeks ago I saw my second cormorant, this time near where the first heron had been.

scotia
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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#173004

Postby scotia » October 11th, 2018, 1:50 pm

Herons are reasonably common in my neck of the woods. We tolerate them on the loch - because they generally only catch smaller fish around the margins. Regrettably they are also partial to ducklings. However the cormorants have voracious appetites, and the ability to take and digest large trout. They also seem to pass on the information to others, and soon a flock will build up unless precautions are taken. The first few of the winter have recently arrived on the loch, and our countermeasures have started. Clapper boards make a satisfactory sound of a gun, and the cormorants dive under. Each time they surface, another bang, and they dive again. Eventually they (hopefully) decide that there is less troublesome accommodation elsewhere. If the clapper boards fail, we keep a stock of rockets - but apart from it being fun to fire them above the cormorants, I have considerable doubts on their efficacy. However, having adopted scaring tactics, we are allowed limited permits over a limited period to shoot persistent offenders. They are intelligent birds, and they quickly realised that their favourite perching spot, near which we built a hide, was no longer a save spot.

88V8
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Re: Alas, Mr Mole.

#173294

Postby 88V8 » October 12th, 2018, 2:40 pm

sg31 wrote:88V8, have you tried to stop the mice getting in to the property? ..... the cable was chewed through to the bare wire in numerous
places.


We're thatched. Although I personally am not as thatched as I once was. Despite the thatch being wired, the mice doubtless have multiple points of entry.

Fortunately, here as in our previous house we find that the (pvc) cables are spurned, while foam pipe insulation apparently passes the taste test.

Last night, attempting to remove the latest victim of the Nut of Doom, I had to switch on the attic light to find the trap which has an annoying habit of leaping beyond reach, and I noticed that some pipe insulation has been significantly nibbled. I suppose I should do something about it before winter.
Perhaps I should use pipe insulation to bait the trap. Less bother than cracking cob nuts.

V8


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