Mole and Vole Control
ProLawnPlus provides pest control services for Maryland residents in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, in addition to portions of Harford and Carroll Counties.
There are six species of moles in North America. They range from 6-8 inches in length and weigh 3-6 ounces. They typically have litters in April and May, and normally have one litter of 2-6 young per year, with the newborns having a 50% chance of survival.
Although moles only eat insects, they can cause severe damage to lawns in the form of underground tunnels and mounds. In addition to being unpleasant to look at, moles can disturb root systems and provide easy travel lanes for other pesky rodents. Since they colonize an area very quickly, mole control is more difficult, especially if they have had time to build their network of tunnels underground. Moles often move from area-to-area on large properties because of food supply, climate changes, and ground moisture. If moles happen to leave an area because of disturbance, they will often return when least expected thus making them one of the most challenging animals to control.
There are no sound chemical means for mole control, despite the numerous home remedy suggestions out there. To minimize visible damage done and spare your root systems, reduce the amount of turfgrass and convert your lawn into pathways, gardens, or other natural habitats.
Another method you can use to rid yourself of these pests is trapping. The best time for mole trapping is in the spring and fall, particularly after it rains. There are several types of mole traps: harpoon, scissor-jaw, and choker loop. Be sure to read the instructions before using these devices for safety and humane deployment. It may also be a good idea to research whether or not you need a special permit to use them in your area.
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Voles are pear-shaped, portly dark-brown mammals. They have short tails and ears, blunt noses, and a gray or silver underbelly. They can usually grow to be 4-10 inches in length. A majority of voles have 2-8 litters a year throughout March until September, with litters ranging from 3-7 young. Females are ready to breed after 24 days and their gestation period is less than a month. Due to these factors, vole populations grow very rapidly.
Voles, unlike moles, eat plants and are most likely the primary mammalian source of plant damage. However, like moles, they are capable of considerable plant root system damage. They eat both below and above the ground and feed on seeds, stems, roots, bulbs, and foliage. When food becomes scarce in the winter, voles will target tree roots, crowns and trunks. They can also damage trees by tunneling through their root system. Vole control is somewhat difficult since they usually cover about 1-2 acres of land, burrowing and forming runways throughout. Their teeth make non-uniform, irregular marks, ranging from 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch wide and are found close to or below the earth.
The best solution for vole control is to maintain dense vegetation and weedy areas, prime conditions for vole nesting. Set up a weed-free buffer of at least 3 feet from any trees or plants that are vulnerable. Also be sure to reduce mulch and loose soil around them. You may also purchase protective barriers for trees made out of plastic, fabrics, or a screen. Vole Control poisons and repellents should be left to the professionals, as they are not registered for homeowner use. You can also try vole trapping, but be sure to check if you need a permit first in your area. Also, always read the instructions of any trap before using them for safety and humane deployment.
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