The decision to employ someone to remove your mole will result in the choice of just two methods
As a professional molecatcher my personal choice is of course trap use, as I believe that with the correct device and working practice it is the most humane method currently available
Gas application has many limitations and as a guide please considers these points here before making that decision.
The gas used is Aluminium phosphide and must be administered by registered and trained operators. The gas is heavier than air and when applied will travel along the tunnels and allegedly kill the mole. Personally, I have views on this, as the mole is very adapted at moving at considerable speeds along tunnels, block, and tunnel to avoid any disturbances to its chosen environment. The real issue is that the chemical gas will kill the living creatures in the soil. Removing the available food source will certainly force the mole to new areas – until the location regenerates and the mole returns. The belief that the mole has been killed must be questioned as no physical evidence to the success of the work is produced.
The use of the gas against a mole is often not an option due to the health and safety requirements associated with Aluminium phosphide.
Some of those important points for consideration before you decide to employ a gas application are
Professional trained operators are not permitted to-
Treat any species other than rats, rabbits or moles where label approval permits
Treat a burrow if you are not 100% certain of the species that is occupying it (Environmental assessment)
Treat a run or burrow within 10 metres of a surface watercourse or non-target burrow.
Treat a run or burrow within 10 metres of an occupied building or if the occupied building falls within the Risk area.
Transport empty ﬂasks and used applicators in vehicles in such a manner that fumes may enter and affect drivers and passengers
Allow unqualiﬁed members of staff or the public to have access to the product
Allow untrained members of staff to use the product
Never apply more product than is recommended on the label
Never treat the same area of agricultural land more than four times in one twelve month period
Never treat a ﬁeld within seven days of being planted
Never grant access or remove any restrictions to entry to the Fumigation or Risk areas until phosphine gas readings are below 0.01 ppm
There are strict requirements for you to consider
A boundary must be established as a risk area of possible danger around the Fumigation area and out to a deﬁned boundary where phosphine gas may be detected.
The Risk area must be established at least 25 metres from the edge of the Fumigation area but the area can be reduced to a minimum distance of 10 metres from the edge of the Fumigation area if it can be ensured by operational means that no person, farm animal or domestic animal will be present within this distance.
The concentration of phosphine outside of this Risk area has to be below 0.01ppm and re-entry of persons into this Risk area other than by the operator can only be permitted once clearance is granted by the operator and the concentration of phosphine is below 0.01ppm.
However under no circumstances can treatments be conducted if the intended Fumigation area is within 10 metres of surface watercourses, ditches human habitation or any non –target burrows, farm or domestic animal habitation. Monitoring protocol: Each site will differ in its requirements. The protocol and frequency of monitoring may vary depending on the results of the site risk assessment including such factors as site security, topography and prevailing wind.
Due to the dangerous nature of the product strict records are required and a specialist monitoring apparatus is required to provide the evidence for the safety of all occupiers of the land including animals
Make a note of the date and the treatment start time plus the location and the extent of the total Fumigation area. Before starting the treatment identify all of the burrows to be treated and set up and mark the outer boundaries of the whole Fumigation area and the Risk area and take the necessary steps to exclude all possible persons or animals from entering that area. Immediately after treatment and whilst still wearing full PPE and RPE, select and mark appropriate locations around the boundary of the Risk area to take initial phosphine readings. As a minimum three should be located upwind and downwind of the Fumigation area and at two points in-between
Take two readings at each marked location, one at head height and one at 10 cm above the ground. Make a note of the time and the phosphine readings. If phosphine levels are detected at or above 0.01 ppm extend the Risk area until levels are found to be below 0.01 ppm Revisit the site and repeat monitoring at appropriate intervals and measure around the outer perimeter of the Risk area. If gas is detected then the outer boundary of the Risk area should be increased until the levels are found to be below 0.01 ppm. If gas is not detected the area may be reduced working from the outside of the Risk area inwards, but at no point should the Risk area be reduced to less than 10 metres from the Fumigation area.
After 48 hours or at a period agreed with the landowner or occupier (whichever is greater) monitoring can commence to determine if clearance to the Risk and Fumigation areas can be granted. Accurate records must be kept and retained for future inspection if required. Make a note of the date, time, and location. Observe the wind direction, wearing full PPE and RPE [Respiratory protection] go to the edge of the Risk area downwind of the Fumigation area and take two readings, one at head height and one at 10 cm above the ground. Mark the reading point and make a note of the time and the gas readings. Working into the wind take further readings at 5 metre intervals up to the centre of the Fumigation area. If phosphine is detected at any of these points clearance cannot be granted but the Risk area may be reduced to the last positive reading or 10 metres from the edge of the Fumigation area ..whichever is greater.
Repeat the process until four sets of readings have been taken at opposite points from the Risk area to the centre of the Fumigation area. Once all readings show phosphine levels below 0.01ppm barriers can be removed and the owner or occupier of the land informed that the treatment is complete and the Fumigation and Risk areas are safe to re-enter.
Make a note of all readings, retain a copy and present them in the ﬁnal report to the owner or occupier.
Employing someone to trap your mole
The use of gas is obviously a high risk and high cost solution to the problem so you may wish to consider the option of employing someone to set a device for the capture and restraint of your target mole?
I say restrain your mole as with the limitations and monitoring required with gas use for mole control, the use of devices for the capture of a mole come with information that is often a little from the truth. There are no devices despite marketing claims, that will kill a target mole instantly, they will however restrain the mole until it expires life from stress, dehydration, or starvation, or the person responsible for its placement makes an inspection and despatches any mole found to be still with life.
When you decide to make a call to someone to remove your mole you will probably find that you have just two options – a pest controller or if you are really fortunate – a molecatcher
What is the difference well in some cases nothing but in most – attitude and commitment to the task.
Pest controllers will offer to set a trap for the mole but it is important that they commit to the task in hand, but sadly it will lead to devices left un-inspected for days. They will claim it is not necessary as the device will kill the mole and it is not a legal requirement.
Let us consider the situation, having woken to find a couple of molehills in the lawn, you make a call for its removal. Having placed a device for that mole the person responsible for that placement is immediately placing that mole under the direct control of man and is therefore responsible for the welfare of that mole. The mole is not protected until it enters the device then it is offered protection against any unnecessary suffering under the Animal welfare act .. So what could possibly go wrong? Mole traps are required to be placed below the surface and out of sight, the circumstances that could have any affect on their operation could be completely out of the direct control of the person placing that trap. Some weight from footfall could hinder the operation resulting in an unintentional restraint despite claims of an instant kill. The mole held in either jaws, that have unclosed around the body in a sideways action or in a loop of wire drawn up from below is immediately subjected to a live capture. The period of time that the mole is held will depend upon the time of release of the trap operation and the return of the operator to inspect it. It is all about welfare and often this is of no interest to the operator. It must be fully agreed that even with a set period for an inspection to be made after placement that suffering may occur. Even if a very random period of just one hour was made, a mole could remain alive and suffering for potentially fifty-nine minutes, it could be twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes if a 24 hours period was made. There needs to be a line to work from and once a day seems an acceptable working practice. After all, you place a device/s today then you know that you have to return the next day there is no excuse like I have other things to do as the commitment has been made, quite simply if you cannot return to inspect it then do not set it. Then of course, who is responsible for any further damage caused? Employing someone to remove a mole is a contract, if a device is placed and days pass with further damage caused to the landscape, is that person’s failure to return and inspect, open to be the reason for this further damage. Days of further damage that may not have been caused if the mole had been removed sooner or attention required to that placement to address changes in the circumstances. Molecatchers are just that - molecatchers and will inspect daily – after all they want paying and as many work in the traditional way of NO MOLE NO PAY they will want to provide a professional and humane service as those molecatchers that came before them. So if you are to employ someone to remove your mole ensure that the inspection is made daily to reduce not just the suffering but the potential of further damage to your land from being made
note- it is not permitted to ask someone to inspect traps on another's behalf- therefore you are not permitted to inspect a device placed by another party, if you were to inspect a device and a mole is found to be alive then that mole must be immediately despatched by you. Requesting the attendance of someone else for the purpose is immediately considered as intentional unnecessary suffering whilst the mole is alive.