Date of this Version
The tunneling damage caused by eastern moles (Scalopus aquaticus) and star-nosed moles (Condvlura cristata) is well known to professionals in lawn care, golf course maintenance, and turf grass production, as well as many private landowners. Present damage control methods, including trapping, gas and smoke fumigants, and insecticide applications have a wide variety of limitations and prove impractical in some situations. An easily applied mole damage control method is needed that professional and nonprofessional applicators can use in a variety of environmental and physical conditions. This study tested the effectiveness of Oreo Mole Bait, a chlorophacinone pellet placed in active tunnel systems. The bait was tested on both mole species, three soil types (sand, loam and muck), and two watering regimes (irrigated and not irrigated). Oreo Mole Bait was equally effective in controlling the damage caused by both eastern and star-nosed moles. Captive moles readily accepted the dry, hard bait pellets. The average time to control in field trials was 303 days following first application (21.5 days on dry soils, 38.7 days on irrigated soils). The bait was effective on all three soil types, but irrigation appeared to lessen effectiveness. On untreated control sites there was no correlation between precipitation, evaporation, or average maximum and minimum temperature and mole activity. Multiple occupancy and/or rapid reinvasion of abandoned tunnel systems and the use of tunnels by other fossorial species occurred on several study sites. Human alterations to the environment encourage mole activity. Several individuals utilized the areas beneath patios, wood piles and mulched areas for activity centers, and frequented artificial feeding sites such as birdfeeders. Oreo mole bait was a practical, effective mole damage control agent that was more easily applied than present damage control methods.