Traditional Mole Catchers
Being a true traditional mole catcher is a passion and a way of life.
The traditional mole catcher has been around for hundreds of years moving from field to field catching the moles for farmers who would often repay the mole catcher with food and shelter. Unlike nowadays mole skins were all the rage and sold on by the mole catcher for their famous fur. A moles fur can be stroked either way and is very smooth often turned into shoes and coats for the wealthy.
A traditional mole catcher will not use gases or poisons to kill moles only using traps. In 2006 the government banned the use of strychnine hydrochloride due to the effect other wildlife and causing unnecessary suffering to moles.
Since the ban the mole population in the UK has flourished causing havoc over farms and gardens. It is thought that the foot and mouth epidemic had a large influence on the mole increase also. With many pest control companies unable to reach farmland in the rural areas this allowed the moles to breed out of control. With moles having between 2-5 pups it’s easy to see how this can have such an effect on the population.
In the UK the most commonly used mole traps among the mole catchers are the Duffus tunnel trap, the talpex and scissor trap. All can be very effective in the right situation but the duffus trap is highly regarded. With its half barrel it uses two strong springs set either end of the trap allowing you to catch the mole from either direction and the possibility of catching two at once.
The talpex trap is very effective when the soil is sandy or a mole is becoming wise and wary towards the duffus trap. The talpex is set in the tunnel and backfilled over the top with loose fine soil meaning the mole will think its tunnel has collapsed and will dig through setting off the trigger mechanism.
The scissor trap is also an effective trap used in the correct situation. But one of the major problems with this trap is the cheap imitations available online. Not only are they often ineffective but they are not strong enough to kill the mole instantly and will cause unnecessary suffering which no mole catcher wants.
A common question asked on how to get rid of moles is ‘can you catch them alive and release them somewhere else’?
The answer to this is simply no.
Moles will feed every 4-5 hours and eat two thirds of its body weight a day. If you catch a mole using one of the live traps available on the internet then you would need to check the trap every hour night and day. The next problem is ‘what are you going to do with the mole even if you caught it alive?’ You can’t release the mole into another area as you are just moving the problem onto someone else’s land. If the land it’s released on is not suitable for the mole and does not have the food required then the mole will die of starvation very quickly causing unnecessary suffering.
This is why the traditional mole catcher will use strong, well maintained traps at all times that are tweaked to ensure the mole is killed instantly. With moles being notoriously hard to catch this is why the DIY approach is not the correct way. A traditional mole catcher will have a wealth of knowledge and experience on how to set traps correctly, what is the best trap to use in the situation and will locate the best tunnels to place the traps ensuring the mole is caught quickly and humanly.
Often the cheaper imitation traps available on the internet will not catch the mole in the correct place and can wound them or cause them suffering and they will eventually die of starvation.
Duffus Mole Trap
How To Catch Moles Using DIY Methods
As with many types of pest control people often take the diy approach on how to get rid of moles. With many local hardware stores and places such as ebay selling imitation traps it is very easy to buy traps and repellents fairly cheap.
These traps are often produced abroad and are not to the required standard used in the UK.
One of the most commonly used deterrent is the solar mole repeller which is simply a plastic probe pushed into the soil that releases a high frequency noise supposedly stopping the moles entering your garden.
Do they work?
Well, if moles are put off by noise then why do they pop up on motorway verges all over the country within inches of the road? In my experience I have attended gardens with 4-5 of these deterrents in the garden and the mole is not affected.
Another common approach is the use of moth balls inserted in to the tunnels.
Does this work?
Again I can see why people think it’s a good idea on how to get rid of moles as they have fantastic sense of smell on which it relies.Although if a mole was put off by them it would simply back fill its tunnel and create new ones which will cause more unsightly mole hills so is this really a prevention?
Moles and Myths
Most people have never seen the elusive mole with the misconception that they are active only during the night, however this is not true. This is often because most people don’t notice the new mole hills until the morning but it’s not uncommon to see moles actively making hills during day time.
Moles are active every 4-5 hours during the day and night looking for food. In fact the mole will consume up to two thirds its own body weight per day to sustain its diet.
Once a mole has been feeding heavily in an area it will move off looking for a better feeding ground.
Moles have diverse tunnel systems which can reach up to 200 metres.
They are solitary and very territorial, it is said that moles will often fight to the death to protect their patch. Although moles are territorial they will share main tunnels often referred to as the ‘motorways’ which are used by many of the moles in the area.
Do They Venture above ground?
Once the young mole pups have reached maturity they will leave the fortress and venture above ground, this is when they are dangerously exposed to predators.
Mole Caught In The Duffus Trap
It is commonly thought that moles are blind. This is also untrue as moles can distinguish between light and dark.
The main weapon is the moles’ nose and sense of smell. They are able to use this very effectively to help them locate worms and grubs in the tunnels.
Not all people will experience a mole problem in the garden and this is due to the soil. Remember that moles have a high metabolism and there must be a sustainable food source in the first place. Where there are worms in abundance then inevitably there will be moles.
In truth the best way to get rid of moles is to use a traditional mole catcher.