- All moles can be damaging but the Eastern mole is by far the most widespread and is widely found here in the Ozarks. It is better described as the common or gray mole. This mole is the strongest of the group and is most often associated with the tunnels and mounds found by property owners. Eastern moles are active year-round and do not hibernate. Since moles don't hibernate they can cause severe lawn damage until the lawn surface freezes in winter. Cold temperatures will force the mole to burrow deeper, generally below the frost line, in order to find food and warmer temperatures. At this point in time you may think the moles have left the area - but they haven't. Moles generally have one litter per year but have been known to have more depending on the climate and location with an average of two to five young per litter. Some moles will mate in late December but the peak mating season is in late January, February and March. At this time you will notice an increase in activity, usually during February and March, when the males are actively seeking females. The gestation period is approximately six weeks and newborn moles grow very rapidly and are generally weaned after four weeks. At this time the young are chased away from the immediate area and will seek out their own territory - sometimes using the abandoned tunnels of other moles. Likewise, you will see a "second wave" of new activity as they begin tunneling as well. The young will mate the following spring and the cycle begins all over again. As the summer heat dries out the ground the temperature and moisture changes will make the mole's food sources go deeper in search of cooler temps and moisture rich soil. Likewise the moles will follow their food source and once again you may see less activity - but don't think they have left. A good rain that softens up the soil will usually make them resurface again as they follow their food source back to the top. Likewise, an irrigated lawn will always be a draw as the worms are drawn to the moist soil as well.
- The tunnel system consists of surface tunnels, main travel tunnels and nesting areas. The surface tunnels are the ones you find on the lawn surface. This tunnel is created when the mole is foraging for food and may never be used again. The main travel tunnel or "run" is a lengthly tunnel that takes the mole to different parts of it's territory and is deeper than the surface tunnel. These tunnels can be hundreds of feet long and may extend over a few acres. There are also tunnels that lead to nesting areas as well. The nesting areas are usually created well below the surface and in, under or around protected areas such as root structures, mulch beds, stumps, fence rows, patios, driveways and rock structures. The moles create these nesting areas by enlarging part of a deeper tunnel and lining it with bits of leaves or grass.
- Moles are not rodents as some believe, but belong to a group of mammals called insectivores. Moles have a high metabolic rate and must consume large amounts of foods - sometimes eating up to 2/3 or more of their body weight each day. A mole's diet includes ground invertebrates such as grubs, beetles, millipedes and ants with the mole's primary food source being earthworms. Rich, moist soil and compost attract earthworms and other insects and this is one reason why moles “zone in” and wreak havoc on lush fertilized flower beds or gardens. Moles will take the path of least resistance preferring to feed and tunnel through loose soil as compared to that which is hard and dried out. Likewise they run along roots, foundations, driveways, landscaping stones and curbs because this helps shore up their tunnels. (I recently found a run that followed a curb for two blocks and cut under two streets).
- Moles are well adapted to living underground and the moles blood processes oxygen and carbon dioxide much differently than you or I. They can actually rebreathe the air in the tunnel for quite some time while continuing to dig. Moles are very strong and have large, pan-shaped feet with long claws that allow them to dig and move through loose soil quickly and easily - sometimes tunneling up to 100’ per day! Some experts state that "pound for pound" a mole has 30-40 times the strength of a human. They can also travel or "swim" both forward or backwards at up to 80' per minute. Some moles may reach 6"- 8" long depending on the species but may be smaller depending on gender and age. Moles do have eyes but since they are of little use underground they remain concealed by a thin layer of skin generally only differentiating between day and night. Moles have a very sensitive nose and a keen sense of smell. Even without large external ears moles have very sensitive hearing. The tail, feet and head are lined with hair that is very sensitive to vibration and air drafts. These extreme senses allows them to smell, hear and feel the movement of insects in the soil and detect holes in their tunnels. And yes…moles do have teeth - although very small ones at that. They do not have lower incisors so they don't really bite off their food like a rodent. (This is the main reason poison baits are relatively ineffective).
- Depending on the season moles will work in cycles - digging, eating and sleeping at various intervals throughout the day and night and lactating females may be more active while nursing their young. Moles are somewhat territorial and mark their area with their scent as they travel throughout their homerange. Once a mole is trapped, and is no longer leaving it's scent in the tunnel, it is very likely that another mole in the immediate area may move in and use the tunnel system. Likewise, young moles may travel some distance to form a territory of their own or may just use these same abandoned tunnels. This is known as recolonization and an extended or seasonal service plan will help prevent this. Moles will also migrate to different parts of their territory as they deplete their immediate food source but usually only for a short time and may return once the biomass has built back up.
- The mole has very few predators as it spends most of it’s life underground. However, should the mole surface it may be captured and eaten by hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes, skunks, snakes and other wildlife. Dogs and cats will sometimes capture moles as they can sense the movement of the soil as the mole digs. This, combined with the musky odor, allows the dog or cat to stalk the mole and capture it when it breaks the surface. Due to this musky odor and taste many animals refuse to eat the mole once it is captured.
Juvenile mole capture
Mature mole capture
Dental structure allows for the eating of insects but not poison peanuts, pellets, etc.
Huge claws are made for digging
DEAD MOLES DON'T LIE!
Unlike poisons, repellents or "homemade remedies" you can see the results when moles are trapped. Just ask the service providers that are using poison baits or worms, castor oil, garlic sticks, CO2 or sonic repellers if they can GUARANTEE and PROVE the moles are dead or gone. Of course they can't! When we trap a mole you can rest assured that it will no longer be a problem.Research shows, and experts agree, that trapping is the most effective way to eliminate moles.
CATCH-A-MOLE uses several types of traps that are highly effective and dispatch the mole quickly and humanely.There are many types of funky contraptions, electronic repellers, and even explosive devices that are being marketed as that "easy" and "sure-fire" method of getting rid of moles. However, sonic devices, flooding, gassing, chewing gum, human hair, razor blades, castor oil and other homemade remedies simply do not work. Likewise, toxic baits are dangerous and may create secondary poisoning problems with other wildlife or even your own precious pets. As a matter of fact a manufacturer of "poison worms" is now manufacturing a mole trap! Hmmm...something wrong with that picture!
"Moles have sensitive hearing, so the theory behind these devices is to drive moles away through sound. Devices include half-buried bottles, windmills and battery-powered sound emitters of varying cost. While these devices may scare moles initially, they quickly adapt to their presence and are unaffected. Consider the number of moles that tunnel near residential heat pumps when deciding whether to try a sonic repeller."
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture FSA9095
Please be aware that electronic mole repellers simply do not work. There have been many contraptions made over the years and the Federal Trade Commission has pursued and addressed the claims made by the manufacturer or distributors of these items. There are many "claims" but no scientific evidence that these repellers work. There have been many times that I have set traps next to these devices or in tunnels leading right to and around the device itself. Likewise there are other products being marketed to the homeowner as a "natural" or "poison free" method to repel or control moles in your lawn. When you see this stuff being marketed you believe it will meet your expectations. However, these items, known as the "25b" minimum risk pesticides, have never been proven to do what they claim but since they can't harm you or the environment they are allowed to be marketed as such. Shame on them! Please use common sense and don't waste your money on this stuff. Believe me when I tell you of customers who have spent hundreds of dollars and "tried it all" with no results and then called us. Please click here for more information.
Vole holes are generally 1-2" in diameter or about the size of a silver dollar
Voles can cause a considerable damage to your lawn or garden. The voles create small passageways through the grass and thatch as well as using mole tunnels. The voles will eat the bulbs, roots and tubers of the plants and will girdle young trees by eating the bark at the base of the tree leaving it open to insects or disease. Voles will make small openings to the surface and this damage will keep expanding if they are not addressed. Nearly all of my vole calls this Spring were due to perennials not blooming - especially the Hostas and Tulips.
The vole is more commonly referred to as a "field mouse" (not the common house mouse) and the Prairie Vole or Meadow Vole is generally what you will find in our area. The vole prefers to feed on seeds, bulbs and tender roots with a fondness for Hostas and other ornamental plants. The voles will even eat the new bark on young trees and girdle the trunk of the tree leaving it open to disease or insects. A vole feeds both day and night and can eat up to twice its weight each day which can cause extensive damage to flower beds, ornamental shrubs, trees and more. (This damage is sometimes blamed on moles as the vole will use mole tunnels). Voles can breed when they are only 25-30 days old and like the typical mouse, can reproduce very quickly - sometimes producing 50-100 offspring per year. Voles will often use the mole tunnels for traveling and at times you may find numerous holes, generally around 1-2" in diameter, where the voles have broke through the tunnel and created openings. Some describe the vole as looking like a "mini muskrat" and upon close inspection I have found that to be true. Predators like hawks, owls, foxes and skunks prey on voles and may keep the numbers in check. However, if left unchecked, voles can create an extensive amount of damage to your beautiful lawn and garden areas and may need to be trapped to an acceptable level. We trap voles using a variety of poison free methods for the safety of you, your pets and other wildlife.
Vole hole in mulch bed behind hedges
Dime sized hole ceated by shrew
TheLeast ShrewandShort Tailed Shreware two of the smallest mammals in North America and are the most common in our area of the Midwest. They dig short tunnels and may use the same tunnels as moles and voles by creating numerous dime sized holes in the lawn for access. Like the mole, shrews are insectivores and can be found under leaves, logs, ornamental ground cover and other places where insects are abundant. Researchers have found that shrews reproduce multiple times during the mating season, which generally lasts from February to November. Gestation lasts an average of 21 to 23 days, the young are weaned at around 23 days and reach sexual maturity in approximately 6 weeks.Like moles, shrews must consume plenty of food and generally eat from 60-100% of their full body weight every day. Shrews, like the mole, are insectivores and their diet consists of most insects and their larva as well as well as other small animals including frogs, small snakes and carrion. When food is in short supply shrews may resort to cannibalism and will attack voles and moles as well. When trapping voles I have captured shrews as well and the carcasses of both had been eaten by other shrews. TheShort Tailed shrewis actually venomous (the only venomous mammal in the world) and uses this venom to immobilize its prey. In the rare event that you are bitten by one of these shrews you may encounter some pain for a few days but little more. (Wearing gloves while gardening is always a good precaution). Trapping and a bit of habitat modification can generally rid your lawn of these pests if they ever reach an unacceptable level. This includes removing old logs, brush, leaves, boards, rocks and other items from shady, damp areas that insects are drawn to and keeping your lawn cut short in areas of high activity.
T-B: Shrew, Vole, Mole
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We GET RID OF MOLES in ** GROVE AND NORTHEAST OK,*** and Northwest AR near Bella Vista, Rogers and Fayetteville communities in Arkansas. Safe, effective and poison free mole control!
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