Pest: Moles (Scapanus sp.)

Pest Type: Vertebrate Pests

mole 2

Major Identifying Features: Small insect feeding mammal with cylindrical bodies with slender, pointed snouts and short, bare, or sparsely haired tails. Their limbs are short and spadelike, and their eyes are poorly developed. Their fur is short, dense and velvety. Their tunnels are shallow, and feed on worms, beetles, grubs, insect larvae, and small amount of vegetation. They eat a large quantity of food (about 40 pounds of food per moles annually). A large moles population usually indicates a grubs problem. Mole mounds are round with a central plug (like a doughnut).

Life Cycle: Moles live mostly underground in a vast network of interconnecting tunnels, they eat worms, insects, and invertebrates. Moles usually have one litter of 3-4 young per year. They are antisocial and each mole inhabits a tunnel, except during the breeding season in late winter through early spring.

Pest Rating: Moderate

Management Rating: Moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Moles prefer moist areas where the soil is rich in humus, such as riverbanks, more common in the foothills of California.

Damage Information: Most of the damage occurs through their borrowing activity, which dislodges plants and dries out their roots, in lawns the resulting mounds and ridges are unsightly and disfiguring. They can be a big problem in parks and golf courses.

Management Options: Moles can be controlled with any legal means (it is a non-game mammal). Physical control by trapping or catch and release, chemical control with repellents and toxic baits, and drowning moles are not recommended.


Horticulture ipm lectures at CRC


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