MOLES are among the latest species to be added to a council’s hit list in a move set to offer fresh hope for residents and businesses targeted by the animals.
Pest controllers in West Lothian will now be able to offer their services for those afflicted by the creatures as part of a bid to expand their pest control offering.
It comes a year after the council also added squirrels to the list, with new figures revealing they were removed from seven properties over the course of 2016.
Other pests already treated by the council include rats, mice, birds and bed bugs and Tom Conn, executive councillor for the environment, said he was “delighted”.
He said: “The addition of squirrels and now moles will ensure our trained officers are able to tackle the majority of the pests that could impact on the health of residents.
“The team also offers a free advice service for members of the public looking for guidance on how to tackle a pest issue.”
During the first sixth months of last year pest controllers in West Lothian treated 257 properties for mice or rats, 729 properties for wasps and 187 properties for various insects.
Pest control supervisor Craig Seath, who has worked for the council for 23 years, said moles could be a particular problem in parks and grass verges.
He said: “It’s something that was a gap in our service [as] most pest control services or pest control companies will offer mole treatment.”
Mr Seath said traps were the only realistic way of getting rid of moles as the animals were very hard to discourage, usually returning swiftly if simply moved away.
And it’s a similar problem faced by householders targeted by squirrels, with Mr Seath explaining the animals were drawn to the possibility of hibernating in the warm and dry.
He said: “From an animal welfare point of view we aren’t interested in squirrels outside, it’s when they set up in a loft they can do a lot of damage.
“Because they are rodents they need to chew to keep their teeth worn down so they’ll chew through cables and water pipes so it’s better not to have them there.
“Squirrels partially hibernate so they want somewhere relatively safe – they hibernate in dreys so if you’ve a choice of a chilly woodland and a nice warm loft which would you choose?”
Mr Seath said about three-quarters of the team’s callouts related to wasp nests but as these are relatively easy to clear it was in fact mice and bed bugs which occupied most of their time.
He added: “We do find now a lot of people are trying to help themselves but when it becomes out of control they’ll then contact us.”