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About Moles and Why Eastside Cannot Currently Treat Them
(Even though we are mole experts!)

Moles at a Glance: WE DON'T DO MOLES!

The Townsend’s and Pacific moles range in size from 6 to 9 inches long, have very  small eyes, no visible ears, huge front feet, and short, pink tails. The fur is velvety-black.
They are rarely seen above ground. Moles are active yearround but are most noticeable  and do the most damage during spring and fall. Voles, which are burrowing rodents, are often mistaken for moles, but can be easily identified by their dark tails and small front feet. To identify various pest’s tunnels, see What’s Tunneling in My Yard (Pehling 2014).

Moles do NOT use their entire tunnel system on a regular basis, but rotate through different areas of activity.

Mole Territory - mole holes throughout a yard or field. Moles will take over other moles territories after they die.

FIGURE 1 - Mole Territory - mole holes throughout a yard or field. Moles will take over other moles territories after their neighbor dies.

Moles are solitary animals, but where one territory ends, another may begin. The mole’s boundaries are defined by scent marking, which is not obvious to humans. When a mole dies, another mole often takes over the tunnel system to create a large mole territory or colony (Figure 1).

Territories cover an average area of 2/5 acre (about the size of a square that is 132 feet on each side), and can be any shape (such as long and narrow or circular). Tunnels are often located along sidewalks, fences, or in other non-compacted areas. Well-used old tunnels may not be visible above ground.

baby moles

FIGURE 2 - Baby Moles

Moles can live up to 3 years in the wild, and females give birth to an average of 3 to 4 young in April or May of each year (Figure 2).

About four weeks after birth, the young moles will leave the nest to find its own territory.

Moles hunt worms and other soil invertebrates that fall into the  tunnels, but will also take prey while
digging.

Some Townsend’s moles do take a liking to bulbs, seeds, or grass roots, but in general, voles cause the most damage of this sort.

Signs of Damage

FIGURE 3 - A mole run, mole holes along a curb or building or roadside.

FIGURE 3 - A mole run, mole holes along a curb or building or roadside.

  • Moles damage lawns and landscapes by pushing up “mole hills” throughout their territories as they excavate tunnels (Figure 3).
  • In soft soil, moles often make ridges instead of hills, by simply pushing the soil up and out of their way.
  • Townsend’s moles may sometimes feed on bulbs and sprouting seeds or damage them from their tunneling and dirt displacing habits.

Mole Control Basics

mole trapping - illegal in Wsashington State

Mole traps that use a body-gripping or body-piercing mechanism are not legals to catch animals in Washington

Trapping is the ONLY method that allows for consistent results in Mole control. However, in the year 2000, Initiative 713 was passed that made Mole trapping illegal in Washington State. Mole trapping is punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both. All other methods available do not provide any consistent level of Mole control, and in many cases are questionable as to whether they do anything at all.

Since trapping is illegal, Eastside Exterminators has no services available that will allow us to provide consistent and measurable results for Mole Control.

Mole traps are readily available over the counter or online, they are just illegal to use in Mole Control efforts. However, if you choose to use this approach understanding the possible consequences, these products come with very detailed instructions.

Chemical methods as an option for Do It Yourself Mole Treatment

  1. Baits: There are several zinc phosphide-based mole
    poisons (Figure 7) and several bromethalin-based
    “gummy worm” baits registered for home use.
    Results are inconsistent, and even when they do
    work it may take weeks of treatment to be effective. It is very important to follow all label directions when handling poisonous baits.
  2. Smoke bombs: These are sometimes effective in dense or water-saturated soils.
  3. Repellents: Castor oil repellents have shown efficacy on eastern moles, but repellents have not proven effective on western species.

Did it work? How to tell if your mole control efforts are working:

  • Monitor your landscape every day before beginning physical or chemical treatments
  • If you find evidence of moles, use a broomstick to
    punch several holes along the mole tunnel system
    and in mounds. Repeat the process for several days,
    and note which holes the moles have repaired.
  • Apply your treatment of choice only where you see
    fresh mole activity.
  • If you put in fencing and mounds or tunnels start appearing inside the enclosure, first check the fencing to see if it is damaged or incomplete. Then deal with the moles inside the fenced area before they become established.
  • Continue assessing and monitoring the tunnel system after management strategies. Any mole activity indicates failure of the strategies.

There is help!

For more information please read  "Mole Management in Washington Backyards from Washington State University's Extended Studies Gardening Resources.

From Washington State University comes this excellent Gardening and Pest Control topic, "Mole Management in Washington Backyards." Since the year 2000, mole trapping has been deemed illegal. so Eastside Exterminators does not treat moles (because the only effective treatment is trapping).

From Washington State University comes this excellent Gardening and Pest Control topic, "Mole Management in Washington Backyards." Since the year 2000, mole trapping has been deemed illegal. so Eastside Exterminators does not treat moles (because the only effective treatment is trapping).