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YARD CARE Moles and voles -- oh, the woes



Published: Sat, June 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Help is on the way in the form of a new bait.

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- The wails of woe never stop. People everywhere complain about moles and voles -- in their yards.

You can take comfort knowing you're not alone. About 50 million single-family homes and 5 million businesses are located in mole-prone areas of the United States, according to companies that research ways to control them.

If you can't keep the two pests straight, there's a no-brainer way to remember. M stands for moles because they like meat, as in grubs and earthworms. V stands for voles because they go after vegetation, as in your precious plant parts.

Even though the miles of mole tunnels in your yard look like you've been invaded by a herd, your yard is usually home to only one hungry mole. Those tunnels are there because moles spend all their time looking for food; in fact they consume 80 to 100 percent of their body weight every day. And, they can create up to 100 yards of new tunnels every day looking for substance.

Baiting the critters

There is a little bit of good news for mole-infested yards. It's a new product Talpirid.

The bait, which mimics the size and shape of a worm, is made with the active Bromethalin, said Sara Knilans of Bell Laboratories, makers of the product. It affects the mole's digestive system and metabolism.

"Talpirid has no effect on grubs or earthworms, just moles as they eat it," she said.

You apply the deadly bait 6 to 12 inches down into the soil, then close up the ground, meaning birds and squirrels are less likely to find it.

"As with any lawn application, we recommend that children and pets stay off the lawn for 24 hours after the application process to avoid any accidental ingestion of Talpirid," said Knilans.

Talpirid is made to naturally degrade in the soil in about 14 days, according to Bell Labs, leaving no build-up of active ingredients remaining. The mole will die underground and naturally decompose. A pet that consumes a mole that has eaten the bait would suffer no secondary poisoning effect, according to the company, but a pet that finds the bait before it's consumed should be taken to a vet immediately.

You'll find the mole control arriving at garden centers nationwide, although some areas may require licensed applicators to put down the product. On retail shelves, the product is a bit pricey at 10 worms for $36.99 or 20 for $70.

XFor more information, visit talpirid.com.




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