Moles and their Control

A close up of a mole peeking out of a burrow, facing the camera.

Moles are small mammals of the family Talpidae that are adapted to living underground. They range from three to six inches as adults (depending on the specie) and have large front paws for digging, small or invisible eyes and ears, and short tails. They spend most of their time underground.

A lot of people believe that moles are rodents, but they're not. In fact, moles will attack and eat mice who wander into the mole's burrow system. Moles are omnivorous, but they strongly favor meat. Their diets consist mainly of earthworms, insects, and other small invertebrates. They'll also eat nuts, seeds, and roots once in a while, along with the occasional mouse, vole, or shrew who wanders into the burrow.

There are three mole species commonly encountered in Portland and Vancouver: Townsend's Mole (Scapanus townsendii), shown at the top of this page; the Coast Mole (Scapanus orarius), and the Broad-footed Mole (Scapanus latimanus). All three species have similar habits and control methods.

A Mole's World

Immigrants being deloused, probably in the 1930's

Moles are solitary animals that have extraordinarily large territories for such small animals. The damage they do to lawns, golf courses, and athletic and recreational field is also out of proportion to their size. The reason for this, of course, is the mole's burrow system, which typically is both large and complex, as the diagram here illustrates.

Moles don't build these extensive burrow networks for the sheer joy of digging. They do it because they have very high metabolic rates and require a huge amount of food. Biologists estimate that moles consume between 75 and 115 percent of their body weight daily!

To satisfy that voracious appetite, moles build extensive burrow systems that basically are their hunting grounds. They wait until an unlucky earthworm, insect, smaller mammal, or some other unfortunate creature wanders into the burrow, and then the quickly run toward it and eat it.

Just as an interesting aside, moles are capable a paralyzing earthworms and other small animals with a venom in their saliva, and store them for later consumption in special compartments of their burrow systems called "larders." They certainly are interesting little animals.

Moles as Pests

Immigrants being deloused, probably in the 1930's

Unfortunately, moles are even more annoying than they are interesting. They are disliked mainly because of their burrowing, which can do serious damage to lawns, golf courses, and athletic and recreational fields. They also can cause injuries to humans or livestock who step in or trip over the burrows.

Moles can also cause some damage to garden plants by uprooting them, damaging the roots, and shaking the soil from them as they run back and forth. They also will nibble on the roots of some plants from time to time.

Another source of annoyance is that moles are notoriously difficult to control. Some of the most toxic substances known to man have been used to try to exterminate moles, including strychnine, cyanide, sulfuryl fluoride, and sodium fluoroacetate, as well as all sorts of gruesome traps. None of these "traditional" methods of mole control have been particularly effective.

Earth-Friendly Mole Control the Bugaboo Way

Bugaboo Pest Control doesn't use fumigants, highly-toxic pesticides, or mole traps. We use a variety of more environmentally-sound methods to control moles, depending on the property, severity of the problem, and customer preference. Here are two of the more common mole control methods that we use.

BAM!

Bugaboo Pest Control has developed a poison-free, one hundred percent natural and organic treatment for moles. Our products doesn't harm harm grass or vegetation, nor does it endanger non-target wildlife. This revolutionary product is applied to your lawn with a power sprayer, and drives moles out of your yard.

Our revolutionary product contains a proprietary combination of all-natural ingredients, which we manufacture ourselves. We call it BAM! because it works so well.

BAM! contains a variety of natural ingredients, including Castor oil, along with other catalysts to make it penetrate into the soil. Once it is in the soil, earthworms crawl around in it, and their bodies get covered with our magical material. It doesn't hurt the worms, but when a mole tries to eat the worm, he spits it out in disgust. They just hate the taste of it.

Because moles must eat many earthworms every day to stay alive -- as much as their own body weight in a day -- they can't survive once we've coated all the earthworms with BAM! They have a choice: They can either move on, or they can starve. We leave that decision to them. We just want to get the moles out of your yard.

Talpirid

Talpirid is a soft, worm-shaped mole bait that contains the active ingredient bromethalin, an anticoagulant that has been used in many over-the-counter and professional rodenticides for many years. Talpirid is just a novel package to make the bromethalin more palatable to moles, by making it look and feel like their favorite food.

The way Talpirid is used is by studying the burrow system, and dropping "worms" into active runways. The moles usually eat them as soon as they see them -- they look just nice nice, fat, juicy worms -- and generally die within one to three days.

Although baiting Talpirid is not an organic mole control method, there are situations when it's the quickest, most convenient way to solve a mole problem. It's also a lot more environmentally sound than older chemical mole control methods because the active ingredient has a much lower toxicity, and very little of the product is used compared to old-fashioned methods. The percentage of active ingredient in Talpirid is only 0.025 percent.

[ Talpirid Label | MSDS ]

For professional help with mole extermination in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington Metro areas, please contact Bugaboo Pest Control. We provide both residential and commercial mole control solutions.

Mole Control Pricing

These prices are "starter prices," for an average yard (up to about 6,000 square feet), with an average mole problem. There are many variables in mole work, so prices may vary. Please call us for a more personalized estimate.

Guarantee Period Plan Name Prices Starting At
30 Days Silver $195.00
90 Days Silver+ $295.00
6 Months Gold $345.00
1 Year Platinum $495.00

 

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Alan's Corner

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