Friday, August 29, 2008

Turf and Landscape - Some Mole Control Products

The following is information on some mole control products available on the market.

Most products tend to work as a repellent based on castor bean oil as the active ingredient. Many have been tested on the Eastern mole and appear effective on that species, which is our predominant species. These products need to be sprayed (garden hose-end applicator) or granule applied (through a spreader) at regular intervals to maintain a barrier that repels these small mammals to your neighbor. The repellent type products are marketed as natural and safe, but information about effectiveness is mixed. Mole-Med may have changed its name to Chase due to new ownership and is available in both liquid and granular form. Other repellents include Scoot Mole, Shotgun Mole & Gopher Repellent, Mole Max, Mole-Out, Whole Control, Schultz Garden Safe Mole Repellent and many others. All are based on some percentage of caster bean oil as the active ingredient. Formulations vary with each, sprayable or granular. These products will generally treat 5,000 to 10,000 square feet and last one to three months. Many of the ready-to-use products are costing around $15 to $20 per item.

More recent products include several baits that seem to be very effective if applied properly to active feeding runways. See below on how to locate active feeding runways. Wear rubber gloves whenever handling and placing baits in tunnels.

Two products called Kaput Mole Control (Lesco) and Moletox Baited Gel (Bonide) are water-based gels containing warfarin (0.025 percent) as the active ingredient and flavored like their primary food, earthworms. It is best to locate the active runways as you would for trapping (next page) before placement of the bait. They are both packaged in syringe-type applicators with which the bait is injected into the tunnels. Usually figure around $20 per syringe.

The latest registered mole bait is Talpirid (Bell Laboratories), a bromethalin-based product that actually looks, feels and tastes (so they say) like earthworms. Each worm contains a lethal dose of bromethalin. It is the only mole bait that has submitted efficacy studies to EPA. This product appears to be a higher cost item at around $50 per box 20 worms.

MOTOMCO Mole Killer is a bait similar to Talpirid, but in a more affordable package of eight worms for around $18 to $22. Gemplers, QC Supply and MFA are carrying this product.

We can also find some poisonous granular baits of a different class as compared to the previous baits mentioned. These include Moletox II and Mole-Nots, both of which are cracked corn baits laced with two percent zinc phosphide. One teaspoon of material will treat an active tunnel. While some results indicate excellent control with these products, keep in mind that moles do not prefer grains in their diet.

Another granular bait is Mole Patrol Bait. Mole Patrol is a ready-touse, pelletized bait highly palatable with unique attractants. This product cont a ins chloropha c inone , a historically sound anticoagulant of the rodenticide industry. Some studies indicate 100 percent control of moles. A one-pound container can be purchased for less than $10.

Trapping is still one of the most efficient means of controlling moles and anyone can be successful by following a few simple steps. If you have the network of shallow runways used for feeding, then you can do some effective trapping. First, you need to locate active feeding runways. Second, select a tunnel to set your trap. There are several types of traps to choose from and simply follow the instructions of the manufacturer to set the trap. The Nash trap (wire hoop type) and the Victor Out O' Sight trap (scissors type) do work, but seem to be more diffi cult to set. The Victor Harpoon or Gig type trap has been the most successful trap for us at the MU Turfgrass Research Center.

Information from "Dealing with Those Pesky Moles and Voles" in the Missouri Environment and Garden News for Missouri's Gardens, Yards and Resources, March 2007

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