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  Top » CDS » Information Pages » Moles: Biology and Control
Moles: Biology and Control

Moles (seven North American species) are true Omnivors but act primarily as insectivors in their daily regimen. They prefer grubs and worms as and commonly consume some herbaceous matter. They are fully haired with a pointed nose, robust little animals that have spade like forepaws which angle outward forward for maximized digging and swimming. They are are poor of sight, but have elevated sensory nerve endings as well as excellent hearing, that gives them great advantage in a darkened tunnel to eat and navigate. They consume their food aggressively, grasping with forepaws and sucking and chewing with their fine teeth. Some scientists theorize that they have the ability to locate food and nesting areas through magnetic or electromagnetic attributes. They build food caches in their deeper tunnels, of worms and soft bodied insects that can be a mass of up to 3-6 lbs. Their 3% body fat dictates high metabolic feeding regimes during three feeding bouts per day. Moles eat about 60-100 grams per day. Work year round, developing tunnel system that can be encompass 40,000 + sq. ft. Moles have overlapping systems with other moles and are sexually active in early spring and live solitary lives, the rest of the year. They’re single litter per year can ave. of 3-5 young , which are weaned in about 40 days, at nearly half their adult size. The female discharges young after frequent nest relocations in her tunnel habitat. Life expectancy is normally around 2-4 years. They are adept swimmers and can travel great distances above ground, in search of favorable feed, harborage or from fear. Typical signs are ridged turf and conical mounding. They can be seen above ground but prefer the safety, feeding potential, and atmospheric gas levels below the surface. They can utilize limited concentrations of oxygen in tunnels due to high hemoglobin counts in their blood. They can put up several mounds a day when soil is more permeable and they can dig approx. 60 feet of tunnel. Tunnel systems can go under man-made structures for better drainage and warmth. They have varying depths of tunnels to accommodate nesting, food cache areas and inclement weather conditions. It is not uncommon for many moles to use a “common route” through one anothers territories.

Controlling the mole with devices can be frustrating if their tunnel is bombarded by improper techniques at placing traps, baits or misc. deterrants. The mole is nervous and defensively cautious when the tunnel system is invaded. Novel or unusual items trigger suspicion and fear. Unlike the gopher who tends to investigate aggressively, the mole is more methodical.

Control tools have been traps, gases, deterrence agents like castor oil and vibratory devices, as well as baits. Insecticides like Telstar and Sevin are also utilized.

Baits and traps provide the most consistent results, but none are perfect.

RCO Mole and Gopher Patrol has a track record of over 50 years of commercial and homeowner. RCO Bait can, when properly applied into the main tunnel system has given excellent results. Baiting should follow label directions to achieve results. Reinvasion potential exists as long as neighboring properties are untreated. Maintenance becomes the order of the day. Treat as new sign appears. Repeat baiting until signs cease.

Baiting successfully requires several easy steps and monitoring for new intruders that will try to move into the existing habitat. These steps include; finding the location of truly active tunnel by probing to locate main runways and then leaving the tunnel open for 1-2 days to reveal corrective activity by the mole. Commence with a thorough baiting, according to the label and review the work over the next few days, rebaiting in original locations or nearby.

The rebaiting of small amounts is critical to the effectiveness of an anti coagulant bait. High levels of control depend on a fresh and available amount of bait for the mole or moles. Some baited areas could be conduits for many moles and they can tend to hoard a preferred feed, like the RCO Mole and Gopher pelleted bait. Additional control can be enhanced with insecticidal materials registered for turf insects. Deterrents, such as Castor Oil products can provide short term aid but do not rid the pest from reentry when they are aware of the areas suitability to their needs.

Persistence is key, due to the fact that these tunnel systems are extensive and overlap neighboring systems. Nature loves a void and immigrants will come along over the next few months if communal pressure and food is attractive in a nearby “open territory”.

Contact Doug Freeman at RCO International by visiting www.rodent-baits.com or by calling 1-800-214-2248.

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