Understanding Moles | Your Ultimate Pest Guide

Understanding Moles | Your Ultimate Pest Guide

Understanding Moles | Your Ultimate Pest Guide
One very popular, yet commonly forgotten pest is hiding below the surface of our lawns and gardens, and that particular critter is none other than a mole. Though the majority of their damage is done below the surface, these pests can cause some serious destruction that can get quite expensive for homeowners. Let's take a look at the behaviors of these animals and how you can take preventative action to keep them off of your property.

Mole Behavior and Diet

Moles | Behavior and Diet 

Moles are very independent creatures. For the majority of their life, mole's will live alone, underground in their tunnels. To put it into perspective, there are approximately three to five moles for every 17 to 29 acres. Moles spend the majority of their days digging their tunnels which tend to sit about 8 to 12 inches below the surface.

As for diet, moles prefer to eat earthworms, ants and any other arthropods. Moles have been known for burrowing within garden beds, primarily to eat the roots of the plants. However, this isn't true since moles are carnivores. A unique characteristic of moles is that their saliva contains a certain toxin that can paralyze but not kill the earthworm that it catches. This allows the mole to store the worm for later consumption.

Moles vs Voles

Commonly Confused Pests | Moles vs. Voles 

Another animal that moles are commonly confused with is voles. Though they are frequently mistaken for one another, they are very different creatures. Moles are a mammal known as an insectivore, whereas voles are rodents. As for habits, voles tend to occupy tunnels already built by moles. And habits aren't the only thing that sets these two pests apart, voles are also known as meadow mice or field mice and are substantially smaller than moles. 

Mole Reproduction

Moles | Reproduction

During breeding season, male moles will enlarge their tunnel to expand their territory to find the female with which they would like to mate. It is in the early spring months, such as March and April, that female moles will reproduce. In each litter, the female will have between 3-5 young which go through a gestation period of about four weeks. It is after this time that the young will venture out on their own.

Moles in Iowa
Moles | Seasonal Activity in Iowa 
Similar to other areas across the globe, moles are most active in early spring and throughout the summer months. Many Iowa homeowners will begin to notice damage around the time the seasons are beginning to change, and warm weather becomes a regular occurrence.

Mole Detection

Moles | Detecting Damage 

Though moles are helpful in that they remove insects that can cause harm to lawns and gardens, their burrowing habits can cause it's own problems when left unaddressed. Moles are typically found on properties that are located close to large fields or any forested land. The easiest way to detect a mole infestation is via the mounds and ridges that show above ground. In addition to voles, moles are also mistaken for gophers due to their similar habits.

Mole Prevention Tactics
Moles | Prevention Tactics 
Though there are a few preventative tips and tricks to keeping moles off of your lawn and out of your garden - one, in particular, has proven to be the most effective. This particular mole prevention tactic includes using a wire screen mesh. The mesh wire is used as a barrier around your yard or garden to keep moles from gaining access. It is important to make sure that it is dug at least 30 inches below the ground and about six inches above the ground. The main downfall of this method is that it can become very labor intensive. Therefore, it is primarily used around gardens. The best tactic to prevent or remove moles from your home or garden is to enlist a pest professional. Not only will it save you time, but money as well.

Did You Know? | Mole Fast Facts 

  • Moles are found almost everywhere in the world except for arctic regionsThis species of animal are known to avoid mountainous areas as well as places with acidic soil
  • Mole pups typically leave their nest about 33 days after being born
  • Moles are known to live approximately three years
  • Though many believe moles are blind, they are just colorblind and cannot see very well.

Struggling With Moles? Preferred Pest Can Help! 

Is your home's lawn or garden experiencing the horrible effects of moles? If so, our team of pest technicians is here to help. Don't wait until it is too late and you have a serious issue on your hands - give us a call today at (515) 276-7277 or schedule and appointment online.

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