We recently had one of our lovely customers, who in utter frustration, said he was going to sell his house and move because the moles were ruining his lawn!
He had returned the trap that he had purchased from us ‘because it didn’t work’. Actually, it did work and there was nothing wrong with the trap, so I thought I had better call him and try and resolve the problem.
It transpired that he has been plagued with moles for the past seven years ruining his front lawn and despite using all sorts of traps and professional mole catchers the moles are breeding at a faster rate than he could catch them.
So as a last resort, having seen our advertisement, he bought a Beagle EasySet Mole Trap.
He followed the instructions carefully, placed it in the run and then NOTHING! Not tripped. Not blocked. Not pushed out of the ground. NOTHING!
You see the moles are actually not there at the moment and the reason is that it has been extremely dry in his area for sometime and the ground is as hard as concrete and the moles sustenance has descended to more humid depths and the moles have followed them down.
However, our customer looks out of the window at his front lawn and can see the bare patches where he has flattened the mole hills and knows he can find the runs. You can understand his frustration.
So I advised him to be patient and await the rain and new activity before trying again because surely they will return.
We returned the trap to him along with his cheque as a gesture of goodwill and we wish him all the best in his mole catching quest!.
I suppose there will always some clever dick who will brag about their ability to bend standing and set a mole trap. Certainly not me! I don’t think I have seen my toes since I was about ten! So for the majority of us we will have to get down on our knees to excavate and prepare a mole run and then set and place the trap.
Now the probing and cutting the initial divot and perhaps lifting the first spadeful with your Beagle Folding Spade and can probably be done reasonably comfortably from the standing position and without too much bending.
But then it’s down on your knees and get at the run with your specially designed, ergonomic, Beagle run clearing Trowel to prepare the excavation ready to receive the trap.
You need to land on your knees safely and comfortably, protect your clothing and keep them clean so you need a nice padded kneeler. Which is exactly what you get when you purchase the Beagle Super Padded Kneeler.
Light weight, well padded, durable and washable and it stows away very conveniently in The Beagle Kit Bag with all the other kit. The kneeler is made for us by Bosmere Products who make a wide range of excellent garden and outdoor products.
Needless to say but these kneelers are versatile for domestic or religious purposes! In fact it would be a welcome idea if some religious establishments replaced their old moth eaten kneelers with some new ones and if local worthies wish to cover them with tapestry in the hope of getting a better position at the gates, then God bless them!
You could be excused for feeling that I have been padding (ha ha!) this blog out. You are right I have; there is a limited amount you can eulogise on the subject of Kneelers! Let us pray!.
The very careful preparation of the hole you have excavated into which you are going to place your Beagle EasySet Mole Trap is essential for a successful trapping.
It is inevitable that when cutting your divot and digging out the spoil, some will fall into the run and back up the tunnel either side of the excavated hole.
Whilst you might be able to get most of it out with the Beagle spade, you will need a trowel or scoop to clean out the approaches and the base of the excavated hole of loose soil and you also need a trowel to finish the excavation and maybe dig out a stone or two.
Secateurs are also useful from time to time to cut out an obstructive root. You also need to tamp down the base of the run to ensure a clear run. Too much soil left in the tunnel and beneath the set trap and it is highly likely that a mole will push it forward and block the trap.
Many trowels are too long or too wide or too flat to do this effectively, so at Beagle we have designed a special trowel for this purpose.
Firstly the blade and handle of our trowel have been shortened so that you can get into the excavation and poke it up the tunnel either side. Also it is of optimum width (5 cms) so that it will poke up the average mole tunnel and can be used to draw back loose soil. The leading edge is slightly pointed to ease this process; it has also been reasonably sharpened to remove obstacles or trim the sides of the excavation so that the trap will fit snugly and be set in proper alignment.
It has a nice deep scoop for soil removal and a superb ergonomically designed handle. Moreover, turn it upside down and the top of the handle can be used for tamping down the base of the excavation prior to placing the trap!
In short, Perfect!
Although especially designed for the Beagle Kit it is also a damned good general purpose trowel and as the ergonomically designed handle implies, extremely comfortable to use. .
To trap a mole you have to access its tunnel network and the extent depends upon the trap you propose to use.
One way or another the mole has to trigger the trap. For most traps you have to excavate the ground with a spade and expose the tunnel and then place the trap, cover it in to exclude the light, and try and deceive the mole that there is nothing amiss with its tunnel network! So the less you disturb the tunnel and the tighter the fit for the trap the better.
At Beagle we have developed a special spade for this purpose and it is collapsible! Now you might think that is a total contradiction and useless. Not so!
The blade of the spade can be folded out or up to the handle and is locked in place either way by a ring screw nut known as a collet.
Folded it is 50 cms long and assembled 70 cms long, this makes it easier to transport in a bag and when assembled of a reasonable length whether you are handling it standing or kneeling. In short it is ideal for preparing ground for placing mole traps.
The blade is one centimetre in width more than the length of the Beagle Easyset Mole Trap. So you are not cutting a divot or excavating a hole that is too long and thus you ensure a tight fit.
The blade is also flat (not curved like most spades) so that it will cut a straight divot the length of the trap again ensuring a tight fit with little back fill to exclude light.
The cutting edge is square (unlike the collapsible snow shovels) and ground down to an acceptable level of sharpness so it will slice through small roots.There is good stout wooden T handle.
All in all an essential part of the Beagle Kit! It fits very snugly into Beagles new bag (more about that later). What is more it’s just as useful as a border spade and (especially for the decrepit writer of this blog) a very useful aid to help you up from your knees! .
You wake up to an mole invasion on your hitherto beautifully manicured lawn! So out with the traps and on the attack!
You know that you have got to place your traps between a couple of mole hills (you would be amazed as to how many people think you should place a trap in the mole hill which in reality is only a spoil heap on a cul de sac!) but what you soon realise is that two hills are not necessarily joined by a tunnel between them, running on a straight line. You must appreciate that when a mole is tunnelling it is actually foraging randomly for sustenance, usually worms, so it can be all over the place between two hills. Therefore locating the precise direction of the tunnel is of primary importance.
So you need a probe.
Now I will admit that in the past I have used anything that comes to hand, a bamboo cane or stick that in hard ground usually breaks. A long screwdriver, or a straightened out coat hanger or even my late grandmothers knitting needles. Or even just a piece of straight metal rod of reasonable diameter. But there is nothing like a decent piece of kit designed and made for the job, Let me explain.
You need probe of the right length and strength so that it is not back breaking and is not going to bend or break under pressure.
A decent comfortable wooden handle and a metal shaft 65cms and 50mm thick is ideal for most purposes.
But here is the key to it..
The bullet head: Literally it looks like one. Pointed at the tip of 7mm diameter and 50 mm length welded to the end of the 50 mm shaft. When pushed into the ground when it locates the run it gives instantly and is not restrained by the friction of a single shaft.
Our Beagle probe is a cracker and very popular. We don’t believe there is another on the market that compares!
..from his daughters dog!
The email exchange between David, the inventor of The Beagle EasySet Mole Trap, and his daughter Polly went something like this..
Polly: “look what I caught mummy. Must tell Grandpa!” Biddy, the Mole Catcher!
David: Grrrrr!I can do without this competition!
Polly: Michael (son in law) thinks you should change the name from BEAGLE to MONGREL!
And then just a couple of days later…
Polly: Mole no.2! I can rent her out if you like?
David: Bloody hound! She will put me out of business!
Polly: Sorry about that! Mole catching runs in the family! You can swap notes when you next see her. She may have a tip or two she can share with you! .
It needs little emphasis that the very nature of subterranean mole trapping means that sooner or later the effective performance of any trap will be compromised by environmental conditions and in particular the effects of soil, dirt and the wet. In simple parlance with usage if a trap is not properly maintained it will not be effective.
Most traps are set in the ground and are covered in to block out the light from the mole run. Their springs and trigger parts come into close or direct contact with the soil. If they are not thoroughly cleaned after use by washing out in a bucket of water and rinsed then sooner or later they will not operate effectively and trigger instantly and powerfully.
The Beagle EasySet Mole Trap has one advantage over most mole traps in that the springs and trigger mechanism are contained in a tough plastic box and thus avoid direct contact with the soil. None the less, soil and damp can penetrate inside ,especially if pushed in by a mole blocking the trap with soil or left in the ground for some time. This can have the effect of a delayed or no discharge principally due to the trigger sticking inside the two guides either side of the trap body.
Although this is a rare occurrence, our strong recommendation is to wash the traps after use in a bucket of warm soapy water and then rinse. And then test by arming the trap and discharging by pressing on the trigger (use a stick if you haven’t got the courage to use your finger! They are a bit scary when they go off but won’t harm you provided that you don’t put your finger through the loop!!) Incidentally at this point we strongly recommend testing the trap every time in this manner for instant discharge before placing it in the ground. If you encounter a more persistent problem then have no fear about taking the trap apart .Four screws and a Philips screwdriver does it, and you will be amazed how simple it all is; give it a thorough cleanse and reassemble it . It all packs in very neatly (not all fingers and thumbs trying to cram it all together with springs popping out!) Replace the four screws and tighten but don’t over tighten as this could compress the trigger in the guides.
Now there is one question to which in all honesty I don’t know the answer and that is the use of lubricants oil or silicones. It is well known that moles have an aversion to strange smells: for example moth balls are used as deterrents by some people. I have drizzled a little three in one on springs and trigger guides and it has had no demonstrable effect on the ability to trap moles. But a client of Beagle from Wisconsin advises against the use of lubricants because after a period of time the residue tends to become sticky and attract dirt and grime creating a bigger problem of cleansing rather than a quick soapy wash and rinse.
Your views on this subject would be very welcome.
I was visiting a lovely country property the other day just after the awful flooding. The owners obviously took pride in their well laid out garden, but oh dear! the state of the terracing and outdoor hardwood furniture after a destructive winter was depressing.
The paved terrace black and slippery, the barbecue left out and rusting, the well made and expensive hardwood outdoor dining furniture deteriorating fast – Black, green and filthy from the winter elements. You certainly wouldn’t welcome planting your backsides on the seats or eating from the tables, when just for a little more effort and expenditure you could present and preserve something much more attractive! I talk of the properties of liquid bleach. A mild dilution with water in a bucket and then brushed on to a terrace and left (not rinsed off) can do wonders to reviving its appearance in the springtime.. For hardwood furniture try brushing the same dilution on before you put it away for winter. Ah! I hear you say, I haven’t got the space to put it away so I have to leave it out.
I have been a fan of theirs for many years and they have really got their act together. The design, materials and range of products to protect outdoor furniture and equipment is outstanding.
So if you want to keep up appearances and protect your investment. Cover up!.
In 1990, before I invented the EasySet Mole Trap, I came up with a brilliant idea…If you put a ball in a tube trap, the mole would enter the trap and push the ball to the other end against the flap, and therefore it couldn’t get at the flap to try and lift it and escape.
Problem solved I thought…The success rate as compared with a straight tube without an obturator (a device that closes or blocks up an opening) improved and it had the added advantage of being able to hear a live mole pushing the ball against the flap.
I even applied for, and secured a worldwide patent. I had a couple of hundred made and thought that a fortune was just around the corner. But I didn’t exploit it and in any event I still encountered the old problem that ultimately moles don’t like foreign bodies in their runs and they continued to block them and push them out of the ground.
One further problem was that the trap was longer than the traditional tube traps without a ball and we all know that a mole doesn’t progress in a straight line, so lining up both entrances with the line of the tunnel was more difficult but it is vitally important to successful trapping.
An interesting point to add is that moles have strong teeth and do bite! They can and have taken great chunks out of the wooden balls that I used as obturators! So please keep your fingers clear if you are handling a live one!.
There is no doubt about it that moles do not like encountering foreign bodies obstructing their tunnel runs!
The more the obstruction, the more determined they are either to avoid it, by diverting around it or blocking it up with earth and maybe even pushing it upwards out of the ground.
So the less the obstruction and the clearer the tunnel run, the better the chances of catching a mole.
The careful excavation and preparation of the trap hole and the proper alignment and placing of the trap is the key to success. It is important to ensure that all light is eliminated and at the same time making sure that no earth is falling into the tunnel, thus preserving a clear approach to the trigger mechanism.
So many people express their frustration at their lack of success in mole catching and I am certain that in most cases this is due to lack of care in preparation and placing, and ultimately the loss of patience!
My advice: Talk to friends who are successful, get a good book on the subject, and follow the instructions. Unlike most animal trapping skills you have to work at it and get down on your hands and knees.
Remember – there are no short cuts!.