We are obsessed with lawns, people in the UK spend around £400 million pounds a year on lawn care products and equipment, the attraction of a beautifully flat striped lawn which is a verdant green in colour is well known, many people when visiting stately houses comment on that feature before any other 
Why are we so in love with that image? The word lawn comes from an old English word launde which used to mean a glade or an opening in a woodland, an Englishman’s home is his castle and one thing that every castle has – is a huge lawn around the outside. 
Open ground is needed so those within could see hostile visitors approaching, it made sense to keep domesticated livestock around the perimeter cropping the grass to a short level. 
As settlements grew and the need for castles diminished this land became known as common land and remained an expanse of closely cropped grass, sports started up on this land which quickly developed rules of the game. The first well organised sport with clear boundaries was cricket and this needed a flat piece of land clear from obstructions like tree’s and ditches. 
As society changed so did the role of money and wealth with common people for the first time becoming as rich as a Lord and how better than to show off that wealth by having a lawn? 
Maintaining a lawn was not a simple task of allowing sheep to graze, grass species were developed through selective breeding and it was labour intensive to maintain taking teams of workers days to hand cut the grass. By now the stage was set for every person of means to want a pristine lawn and in the 1800’s the first mechanical device was made to bring that dream within reach of the average person – the lawnmower. 
Mass production and increasing levels of home ownership has seen the lawnmower and the domestic lawn applied to just about every house in the UK and paradoxically we have seen the fortunes change of one animal that will ruin your lawn – the mole. 
Once trapped for their fur, moles have almost no predators except the occasional weasel that may venture into its tunnels, moles were hunted in their millions – in the 1920’s the demand for moleskin was so high over 12 million pelts were shipped to the USA alone. 
The demand for mole fur survived into the 1980’s where it was still used by plumbers to wipe copper joints and apart from the use of the fur in fly fishing there is no demand for mole skins across the UK – moles are safe on a commercial basis. 
The trouble starts when a mole stray’s from a patch of open land and digs up under a lawn, the tunnelling action compresses soil to the sides of the tunnels and some excess material containing stones will be expelled through a small side tunnel dug for that purpose. 
As you walk over the tunnels they collapse leaving a line of small ditch like structures that looks something similar to an aerial map of the western front today – we are at war with the mole! 
Like all animals a moles life is ran at a different pace to humans, a mole day lasts for 8 hours and that time is spent with 4 hours of activity and 4 hours of rest, moles have different periods of busy activity. 
Winter into early spring brings the first burst of activity when the mating season starts, male mole will start to dig straight runs through the ground searching for the female mole hoping that when he finds here she is receptive to his advances. 
Moles live a solitary life and will only come together for a short period of time to mate, if the timings wrong they will fight and if pushed they will fight to the death. 
Moles will dig about at a rate of about a metre per hour; soil type and how damp the ground is will be a major factor to influence this travel rate, with a digging period of activity which lasts for around 4 to 5 hours a day, a mole can throw up a number of molehills in a short space of time. 
The second period of mole activity comes in early summer when the female mole is looking after her brood; by late summer she has had enough and as they are able to feed for themselves she will turn on the pups, attacking them and driving them away from here tunnels – this is often the reason why you wake up one sunny morning to discover molehills dotting your lawn. 
Moles will move about and once the tunnels are dug they will patrol them searching for insects that have fallen into the system, if the ground is poor and insect life is sparse then the mole may extend its tunnel network back under the fence and away from the lawn area. Don’t think its gone for good as it will be back after a while as the insect life returns to the ground. 
We use traditional mole traps to catch moles on the basis that we charge you for proven results, poisonous gases are available for use against moles, but you never know how successful that’s been. If a neighbouring mole stumbles across an empty set of tunnels it will repair any collapsed sections and carry on with a larger network – more tunnels means more food for the mole 
If you live in Henley – on – Thames, Marlow, Shiplake and Wargrave and you have a problem with moles give us a call, we only charge for what we catch = no catch means no fee. 
Tagged as: Mole catching
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