Are moles mangling your manicured lawn? Are voles vexing your yard’s appearance? If you’ve found yourself googling information about how to get rid of gophers, Holper’s understands your pest problems and has all your lawn solutions.
Those Maddening Moles
Often assumed to be rodents, moles are actually insectivores and are related to shrews. They are solitary mammals that interact only to breed. Mole litters are born in March or early April, and usually consist of three to five young. (Here in St. Louis, we also have litters born in August.) Adult moles range from five to eight inches in length and have fur that is brown or dark gray. Their noses and tails are pink. While possessing no functioning eyes, moles are still sensitive to light. They are built to be digging machines: Their broad, shovel-shaped feet have five toes and sharp, thick claws, which make moles very efficient burrowers. Because of their underground seclusion (coming to the surface rarely, and usually by accident) they have few natural predators.
Moles eat from 70 to 100 percent of their weight every day. The enormous amount of energy expended in plowing through your soil necessitates a correspondingly large volume of food to supply that energy. Because of their food requirements, moles must cover a larger area than do most animals that live underground–and that larger area translates to more of your yard being destroyed!
Molehills and shallow tunnels are the ruinous results of moles taking up residence in your yard. Molehills are circular mounds of dirt which surround vertical shafts. Molehills usually have round ripple marks made by each new load of soil as it is pushed to the surface. Shallow tunnels create a convex surface that makes lawn mowing difficult. A single mole can dig up to 100 feet of tunnels a day. These raised-surface tunnels can cause brown lines in a lawn when grass roots are damaged by burrowing activity or by exposure to air. Seeing the large expanse of damage, it is logical to assume there is an army of moles destroying your yard. In actuality, three to five moles per acre is considered a high population for most areas. But even so small a number can be elusive deep beneath the surface of your lawn.
According to Consumer Reports, trapping is the most successful method to rid your yard of moles. A trap gives you the peace of mind to confirm that each mole is gone. While different variations of traps do exist, the form that consistently yields the highest results is a spear trap. Spear traps are set on the freshest tunnels to increase the likelihood of a quick catch.
Some homeowners mistakenly believe that treating their grounds for grubs will drive away moles. Because grubs make up a very tiny percentage of a mole’s diet, treating for grubs will actually have no impact on the moles in your yard. They will still have plenty to eat.
Not every pest company gets to boast that they have “The Mole Hunter” as their president, but we do! Because of the expertise imparted to every technician by Jeff Holper, aka “The Mole Hunter,” your lawn will benefit as your moles are added to the more than 50,000 moles already caught by Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions.
Vanquishing Your Voles
Many homeowners have never heard of a vole until one starts damaging their property. A vole is a blunt-nosed, short-tailed mouse. They are usually up to three inches in length and charcoal gray in color. Voles are herbivores, preferring areas of full vegetation including bulbs, tubers, herbaceous plants, and a variety of grasses. The size of a burrow system for several adult voles and their young varies with the quality of the habitat, food supply, and population levels: In most cases it is a mere few hundred square feet. As an important part of the ecosystem, voles are an essential component of the diets of predators such as coyotes, moles, skunks, foxes, snakes, hawks and owls.
Voles are prolific breeders, so it doesn’t take long for a few voles to become hundreds. While voles can breed any time of the year, their peak breeding season is Spring. Given that females mature in 35 to 40 days and have five to ten litters a year (which average five to ten babies each), it is easy to see how their population can rapidly increase. And that population is hungry for your yard, garden, and landscaping. Voles eat their way through the thatch layer, resulting in numerous shallow burrows for their underground nests of grass, stems, and leaves. Quite often voles will tunnel under snowpack and create elaborate tunnel (burrow) systems that only become apparent after the snow thaws, with much damage having already been done.
The most common sign of a vole infestation is the discovery of 1-inch holes in the yard, garden or plantings. There could be one hole or multiple holes–it all depends on the number of voles present. There might also be evidence of a 1-inch wide trail, which will be concave with respect to the ground. This would look similar to a trail left behind by a bicycle tire. Voles are primarily nocturnal–if you spot them during the day, it is likely the sign of a very high population.
To minimize vole damage, it is imperative to manage the population in an area before the numbers get too large. While there are mildly effective ways to discourage voles from finding your yard and garden attractive, such as planting flowers that are not palatable to voles (e.g. daffodils and crown imperials), the most successful techniques to eradicate voles are performed by the technician team of Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions. Trained to combine professional services such as repellants, exclusion barriers, vole rodenticides and trapping, Holper’s technicians are your answer to effective vole management.
The Guileful Gopher
If you live in St. Louis and have been looking for tips on how to get rid of gophers, your mission may already have been accomplished: It is very unlikely that what you have seen in your St. Louis yard is a gopher! There is not a significant population of gophers in St. Louis. In fact, in over 31 years in the pest control industry, Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has only found gophers to be present twice! In this area it is far more likely that you have a mole problem than a gopher problem. But no matter what type of pest it is that turns up in your yard, from buzzing mosquitoes to wobbling woodchucks, the professionals at Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions have your lawn solutions! Call Holper’s at 314-732-1413 to set up your appointment today!