Controlling Moles

Turf devastated by moles

A common mole control product I use has come off patent and a competitor has jumped in with a very appealing offering. The product I have been using is Talpirid, and it works great. I have always had good results with Talpirid so it excites me to see a generic putting downward pressure on the market price.

The Competition

The new product on my radar is Victor Moleworms, you may recognize the name victor from the de facto mouse trap on the market. What makes Victor Moleworms a better option than talpirid? Well the product formulation is the exact same, the price is about half of what talpirid cost me last season ( talpirid has, as a result, also cut its price by ⅓), and the most appealing part of all is the extras in the packaging. The packaging includes 25 worms which is 5 more than talpirid and includes gloves and flags.

The flags in the box is the most appealing part of this whole product offering. The reason being applying mole bait properly involves finding active tunnels. In the past with talpirid acquiring flags added yet another step in an already unusually long process for us pest control experts. So what ended up happening is a usual improvise that worked, but skipped flags, instead just relying on which tunnels seemed most active based on a hunch. I am posting a video directly below from the company victor that explains how to use moleworms in under two minutes with their flags, then I can explain my method for the flags.



Controlling moles – my method

Mole Runs pictured above

Using the victor mole control bait I first locate runs and tunnels, I usually find most active runs in softer soil along mulch beds where it meets the turf or woodlines. You can find where the moles take cover in mulch beds and move into turf to hunt during the night. Keep an eye out for a large mound pushed up 6 to 12 inches above the surface, these mole nests indicate a massive infestation that can take months to reduce. If a run is not squishy under your feet or does not have an opening you can physically feel with a finger when you push into it from above it is no longer active. If you do feel a nice open cavern when you push into a mole run that is a good place for bait.

 

Insert worm halves directly into runs and cover over the hole with soil so that sunlight is not allowed into the tunnel.

If you have the time and budget with a customer for a multi-day project then I suggest following the label, or video above, and methodically find the most active tunnels to begin controlling moles. I usually don’t have this convenience so instead I will bait the runs and use the flag to mark where I put the bait. Bait should be used every 10-15 feet. Make sure to fill in any holes you create when planting the bait, the sunlight will spook a mole. Then you can come back and check to see if moles have taken the bait. Also I have found that each worm can be ripped in half with the same results, effectively doubling your bait.

If you have no time or budget you can bait runs using educated guesses to which are most active and check back in weeks for new mole activity. I used this method many times especially with talpirid, because flags are not included in the box, with decent results but it is a shot in the dark without knowing if the bait is taken. It is important that your customer knows with each step down in time/budget results become more luck and less guaranteed.

Organic Mole Control

A word of caution

Mole bait looks like a gummy worm

As always I like to provide an organic control method and in this case I feel it is most important to consider. The reason is mole bait looks like a gummy worm and could easily fool a child. Because it targets a mammal unlike an insecticide or herbicide it can harm humans in the same way it is intended to harm rodents. I don’t write this to scare you but rather for your careful consideration.

So what can be used as an organic method for controlling moles. There are many offerings out in the market but the majority are “snake oils” that just don’t work. In my experience I have found that mechanical traps get the job done but can take time and you have to see the corpse.

Aside from traps there are other methods that create scents and sounds that supposedly drive moles away. After reading 37 different products reviews on Amazon.com I feel comfortable saying that sound waves are a farce and most scent repellents do not work, however there is one product with some good reviews that is fairly affordable and all natural that I link to in the widget below with two traps as well. If you decide to try this product please share your results with me either in the comments or at Mail@lawncaremastery.com
As always thanks for taking the time to read and feel free to comment below.