What A Difference a Letter Makes: Moles vs. Voles

Most of us are aware that moles and voles are two different animals, but mole and vole identification is a completely different matter. What do moles look like? What do voles look like? How do we get rid of moles or voles?

The ABCs of Moles

MoleMoles are insectivores and are related to shrews. Adult moles are five to eight inches long and have brown or dark gray fur. Their noses and tails are pink. Even without functioning eyes, moles are still sensitive to light. Their broad, shovel-shaped feet have five toes and sharp, thick claws, making them highly efficient burrowers. Because they dine and dwell underground, they have few natural predators.

Moles eat from 70 to 100 percent of their weight every day. Because of their food needs, moles must cover a large area –and that translates to more yard destruction. Molehills and shallow tunnels are the results of this destruction. Molehills are circular dirt mounds, which surround vertical shafts. Molehills generally have round ripple marks left by every new load of soil pushed to the surface. One mole can dig up to 100 feet of raised-surface tunnels a day, creating a convex surface that make lawn mowing a challenge. The tunnels also create brown lines in your lawn when grass roots are damaged by burrowing activity/exposure to air. Seeing such a large area of damage, one might figure a whole army of moles is destroying your yard, when actually three to five moles per acre is considered a high population.

The ABCs of Voles

meadow-voleWhat does a vole look like? A vole is a blunt-nosed, short-tailed mouse, usually up to three inches long and charcoal gray. Herbivorous, voles prefer areas of lush vegetation, such as bulbs, tubers, herbaceous plants, and many types of grass. The size of a burrow system for multiple adults and their young will vary with the quality of the habitat, food supply, and population levels: In most cases it is only a few hundred square feet.

Voles are prolific breeders, so it doesn’t take long for a few voles to become hundreds of hungry voles. Voles chew their way through the thatch layer, which creates numerous shallow burrows containing underground nests of grass, stems, and leaves. Most damaging, voles will tunnel under snowpack, creating tunnel systems that only become apparent after the snow melts.

The most common sign of a vole infestation is the discovery of a single or multiple 1-inch holes in the yard, garden, or plantings. Also present might be a 1-inch wide trail, concave in relation to the ground. (This would look similar to a trail created by a bicycle tire.) Voles are primarily nocturnal–if you see them in daylight, it is indicative of a very high population.

How To Get Rid of Moles and Voles

According to Consumer Reports, trapping is the most successful method to rid your yard of moles. While different variations are available, the type that consistently achieves results is a spear trap. (Some homeowners mistakenly believe that treating their lawns for grubs will repel moles. Grubs are only a tiny percentage of a mole’s diet, so treating for grubs will have no impact on the moles–there is still plenty for them to eat.)
To minimize vole damage, the key is to manage the population before the numbers get too large. Mildly effective ways to discourage voles, such as planting flowers that are not palatable to them (e.g. daffodils and crown imperials), may help slightly, but the most successful technique to eradicate voles is a combination of professional services such as repellants, exclusion barriers, vole rodenticides, and trapping.

Trust Holper’s

Not every pest company gets to boast that they have “The Mole Hunter” as their president, but we do! Jeff Holper, aka “The Mole Hunter,” passes on his knowledge to all of our technicians so that your lawn will benefit as your moles are added to the more than 50,000 moles already caught by Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions. For voles, the Holper’s process begins with a thorough inspection and is followed with a personalized treatment program combining the elements of professional services that your situation requires.

In the war of moles vs. voles, you will always be the winner when you contact Holper’s at 314-732-1413!


How Do We Get Rid of Rats in Walls and Attics?

Pizza Rat was all the rage online a couple of years back. A video of his triumphant trip with his spoils down the subway steps in NYC made him famous. We all laughed–because it’s funny when it’s somewhere else! That same sight close to home is not funny at all. And spotting one, or hearing one in our attics or walls, is no laughing matter! But how do we get rid of rats in our walls and attics?

How Did We Get Rats in The First Place?
Rodents seeking both shelter from the elements and additional sources of food may make their way into your home. Rats need only an opening the size of a quarter to find their way inside. There are many common entry points for rodents, such as cracks in your foundation, gaps where the gutter line and roof meet, siding that has warped, garages, and the spots where utility lines enter the home. Additionally, rats have been known to use the sewer lines as a way to get in through a toilet or floor drain. On its way in, a rat leaves a scent trail that creates an easy way for others to follow suit. As with so many things, prevention is the best way to protect your biggest investment–your home.

 Preventative Measures To Take

Before a problem begins, a trained professional from Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions will come survey your home and yard to assess potential entry points for rats, as well as for other pests and wildlife. Here are steps to take in conjunction with the professional inspection:

  • Have exclusion measure professionally installed (e.g. sealing visible foundation holes)
  • Replace garage door seals
  • Keep indoor food areas clean of crumbs, wrappers, and dirty dishes
  • Contain trash in metal receptacles (not chewable plastic!)
  • Cover utility entry points
  • Do not use foam insulation to seal home, as rodents can chew through this.

But I Already Have Rats! How Do We Get Rid of Rats in Walls and Attics?

If you find yourself with a rat infestation, there are many reasons to call Holper’s right away to take care of you. Our expert technicians start with a thorough inspection to develop a plan for treatment that addresses your specific infestation circumstances. Our techniques and the materials Holper’s uses always reflect the latest technologies and professional grade products. Your personalized treatment program will consist of combinations of the following:

  • baited rodent stations
  • monitored rodent stations
  • rodent traps
  • repairs to entry points

IMPORTANT: All rodent droppings are a biohazard and must only be cleaned up by professionals using the proper safety precautions and equipment!

We at Holper’s look forward to getting rid of rats in your walls and attics. Please call us at 314-732-1413 today.


Winged carpenter ant

Do I Have Termites or Ants?

You’ve spotted insect invaders but you aren’t quite sure what you have. All you know is that you want them gone…now! The key to removing them successfully is knowing what you are dealing with. If you have wondered “Do I have termites or ants?”, this blog will easily help you identify your pests, so that eradicating your problem can begin.

Termites vs. Ants










  • Termites are about ⅜ of an inch in length.
  • They can be dark brown or black in color.
  • If they still have their wings, the wings will be approximately twice the length of the body. (When termites swarm, they lose their wings, so a pile of wings nearby the insects will be another clue that they are termites.)
  • The antennae on termites are straight.

We actually have to differentiate between two types of ants, carpenter ants and odorous house ants, when we compare and contrast ants with termites.

Winged carpenter ant

Winged Carpenter Ant








  • Carpenter ants are ⅜ of an inch to ½ of an inch in length.
  • They can be black or dark red in color.
  • Some carpenter ants have wings, but the wings will only extend just past the end of the body.
  • The antennae are slightly bent.

Odorous House Ant









  • Odorous house ants are 1/16 of an inch to ⅛ of an inch long–much smaller than termites and carpenter ants.
  • They are brown or black in color.
  • They are primarily wingless.
  • The antennae will be bent, just like a carpenter ant.

I Know What I Have–Now What?

Treating termites requires a thorough inspection to discover the invasion extent and the damaged areas that require treatment. Treatment plans should be specific to your home based on the inspection findings, the linear footage of your house, and your home’s construction materials.

The only way to free your home of ants, or any other insects/pests, is to utilize professional treatment. Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has been trusted for over 30 years to treat St. Louis area homes using low-impact materials for your safety, as well as the safety of your pets. Holper’s uses a three-point attack on your ant infestation: treating the inside, treating the outside, and using bait outside of your home. Once Holper’s clears the initial infestation, a quarterly service program guarantees to keep your home clear of ants, and many other unwanted insects.

Do I Have Termites or Ants? Call The Professionals

For over three decades Holper’s has been giving St. Louis area homeowners peace of mind with friendly, responsible, and successful pest control services. Whether you require termite treatments, ant extermination, or any type of pest/wildlife removal, one call to Holper’s will get it done successfully. Call 314-732-1413 today!




Do I Need Professional Mosquito Control?

With the temperatures cooling slightly this week, more St. Louisans will be spending time outside. After only a few minutes out there you will be reminded that mosquito season is still in full swing–and those guys are hungry! Besides the unpleasantness of mosquito bites, there is the very real threat of West Nile Virus, as it has been documented in the area. DIYers might think that a trip to the store will solve the problem, but in reality it is time to ask yourself an important question: Do I need professional mosquito control?

But I Like Being a DIYer!

There is an undoubtable satisfaction that comes from doing things yourself. In the case of mosquitoes, though, your only option as a civilian is a canned spray. These are usually of the fogger variety, providing no residual action, meaning you’ll have to use the fogger every time you have an event or every time you want to be outside. This is one time to put your DIY energy into another project and leave pest control to the experts.

Your greatest chance for safely enjoying your yard is monthly mosquito sprays from now through October. It is critical to have professional-grade materials applied by licensed exterminators if you want to eradicate all stages of the mosquito life cycle. Heat and rain lessen the strength of the spray over time, which necessitates a monthly re-application. Additionally, our popular garlic barrier application is an excellent repellent that many customers add on to their monthly yard sprays. Using Holper’s targeted approach for treating your yard can reduce your mosquito population by up to 97%!

Holper’s Provides Professional Mosquito Control

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has been serving St. Louis for more than 30 years! Regardless of whether your problem is an insect, a spider, or invasive wildlife, Holper’s can solve the problem. If your goal is reducing the likelihood of West Nile-carrying mosquitoes in your yard, or just want to enjoy the out of doors without being the meal for hungry mosquitoes, then Holper’s yard treatments are the solution to your pest problem. Just call 314-732-1413 to schedule your professional mosquito control!


fall mole prevention

How Do I Get Rid Of Moles In My Yard Fast?

One single mole can ruin months of labor and untold dollars worth of care devoted to your yard. At the first sign of one, you’ll want to find out how to get rid of moles fast, to limit the damage. Why are moles so destructive, and how does a homeowner get rid of moles in the yard fast?

Well-Designed Yard Destroyers

mole-servicesMoles are excavation machines, with broad, shovel-shaped feet and thick, sharp claws. Their efficiency at burrowing is legendary. Consuming 70 to 100 percent of their weight daily, the enormous amount of energy they expend plowing through your soil foraging for food leaves exceptional damage in its wake. Due to their food demands, moles cover a larger area than most underground dwellers do–and that larger area equals more lawn damage for you. One mole can dig 100 feet of tunnels daily. Their raised-surface tunnels cause damage to your grass roots from the burrowing activity. Seeing the large area of damage, it will appear your yard is overrun with moles. In reality, three to five moles in an acre is considered a large population. Even so small a number can be difficult to capture lurking beneath the surface of your yard.

Is There a Mole Repellent

From a labor and monetary standpoint the answer is no. While spraying your entire yard and landscaping with multiple saturations of castor oil can have a repellent effect, the time involved and the cost incurred make this an unviable option. Similarly,  homeowners sometimes believe that treating their yard for grubs will drive away their moles. Unfortunately, because grubs only make up a very minute portion of a mole’s diet, treating for grubs will not yield the desired result. There will be plenty there for moles to feed on.

Yard Mole Control

Consumer Reports states that trapping is the most successful method to get rid of moles. A trap gives confirmation that every mole is removed. The trap form that routinely results in the highest success is a spear trap, which is set on the newest tunnels to increase your odds of a quick catch.

The Holper Difference

We are the only pest control company that gets to brag that we have “The Mole Hunter” as our president! Because of the expertise passed along to every technician by Jeff Holper, aka “The Mole Hunter,” your yard benefits with your moles added to the more than 50,000 moles already caught by Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions. No matter what types of pests turns up in your yard, the professionals at Holper’s will solve your issue! Call Holper’s at 314-732-1413 to get rid of your moles fast!




Do I Have Bats in My Attic?

One of the most reviled wildlife pests is the bat. Just the thought of encountering one causes discomfort for many people. If you wind up with one, or a colony, in your home you will want to know quickly and have the situation handled ASAP with professional bat removal services.

So, do I have bats in my attic? How can I tell?

Ways to Tell If I Have Bats in My Attic

There are a few ways to tell if you have bats in the attic. The first way is to listen. If you hear scratching, movement, and especially an “eek, eek, eek” sound in the walls or above you, especially later at night, you’ve got at least one bat. A second clue is to look for piles of excrement (guano) on window ledges, or on the ground below gable vents and brick vents. The third way to tell if you have bats in the attic is to stand near the guano piles at dusk and look for the bats as they fly out to feed.

Why is A Bat a Biohazard?  


Guano is a biohazard that must only be cleaned by trained professionals using  proper safety equipment. Histoplasmosis is an airborne fungus disease that can grow in bat droppings (guano). Guano cleanup should always be done professionally using full face respirators, Tyvek suits, and HEPA vacuums due to the potentially deadly dust created by the guano.

A very small number of bats contract rabies, so avoid contact with bats and keep all pets current on vaccinations. Your risk after exposure can only be evaluated by your healthcare professional.

Professional Bat Removal Services

Bat removal involves sealing the structure, except where the bats are entering and exiting. Those entry/exit points are fitted with a one-way door so that bats can’t re-enter once they exit! It is best to implement bat removal services before the end of May or after the third week of August so you don’t trap a maternity colony in the structure. After all the bats leave, the one-way doors are taken down and the entry/exit is sealed, bat-proofing your home.

Holper’s–Your Professional Bat Removal Experts

From diagnosing your bat problem, to the installation of one-way doors, to removing guano, to guaranteed sealing of the structure–one call to Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions will get it done. If your answer to “Do I have bats in my attic” is yes, just call the St. Louis bat removal professionals at 314-732-1413 today!






How Do I Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders?

Nobody wants to discover brown recluse spiders in their home. Spiders are one of the most hated and feared pests. Add to that the potentially dangerous nature of a brown recluse bite, and you have a stressful situation. You’ll want to find a spider exterminator who knows how to get rid of brown recluse spiders.

What’s So Bad About a Brown Recluse Spider?

Brown Recluse ControlBrown recluse spiders range from the size of a dime to the size of a dollar coin.  They are light tan to gray in color, with thin, spindly legs. Their well-known identifier is the violin-shaped marking on the top of the head. The bite of a brown recluse injects the victim with a protein that affects in different ways. Lucky people and pets have no reaction at all. But for those unlucky ones that do react, the bite can lead to necrosis, organ failure, and in rare cases, death.

Signs of a Serious Infestation

Brown recluse spiders, left unchecked, will eventually take over the structure they are inhabiting.  The ways to know that the population in your home or business has reached infestation-level numbers are:

  • You begin to see them during the day.
  • You see large numbers of them at night.
  • You find poorly-defined (abstract) webs in the rafters of the basement with empty spider body casings.
  • You find them in closets among your clothing and folded linens.
  • You find them behind pictures on the wall.
  • You find six or more in two weeks’ time.

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions = Your Spider Exterminators!

Holper’s is widely known throughout the industry as brown recluse experts. (Many companies come to Holper’s to learn how to effectively treat this potentially deadly pest!) Your benefit in trusting Holper’s is our multi-phase treatment plan utilizing the newest formulations and technologies available to professionals. Call Holper’s today at 314-732-1413 and a member of our Customer Care Team will be happy to schedule you.

You can trust Holper’s–we know how to get rid of brown recluse spiders. Let our spider exterminators give you back your home.




House Mouse

Outdoor Mouse Control: Do I Need a Mouse Exterminator?

EEK! A MOUSE! This time of year you need to be careful, or a mouse will be playing inside of your home. We are mouse exterminators, providing successful mouse control!

 Mouse Identification

Mouse-droppingsThere are two mouse types you will see this time of year in the St. Louis area. The first one is a house mouse. The house mouse has fur that is grayish brown, and a tail equal to the length of its body. From nose to tip of the tail, a house mouse is five to seven inches in length. House mouse droppings are roughly 3/8 inch long, black, and very hard.

The second mouse that is common right now is the white-footed deer mouse. This mouse has brown fur with a white belly, as well as white feet. An adult white-footed deer mouse has a body length of 3.5 inches to 3.9 inches, not including the tail. The tail will add another 2.5 inches to 3.8 inches to the overall length. The droppings are very similar to a house mouse, but since these mice are associated with Hantavirus, sweeping up their droppings on your own could be deadly.

(If you are seeing a mouse outside, it could actually be a vole you are seeing! Voles will have gray to charcoal gray fur. If you are finding one-inch diameter holes or 3/4 inch wide concave tunnels outside, a vole is your problem. Luckily for you, we can take care of your vole issue, too!)

How Did I Get a Mouse in My House?

A mouse needs only to find an opening as small as a dime to gain access for food and shelter. Common entry points are: gaps where the gutter line meets the roof; cracks in the foundation; warped siding; and garages. They also gain entry where utility lines enter the home.

DID YOU KNOW: When a mouse first makes its way into your house, it leaves a trail of urine droplets (up to 3,000 droplets a day!) that creates a path for other mice to follow into your home?

 Professional Mouse Control

House-mouseWhen you are in need of mouse control, it is important to use the services of a reputable pest control company, such as Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions. For mouse control, our expert service begins with a thorough inspection to develop a treatment plan for your specific problem. Once entry points are located, your home will be treated with a personalized combination of baited mouse stations, mouse traps, and repairs to entry points.

It is important to note that all mouse droppings are a biohazard and should only be cleaned up by a professional using proper safety equipment, especially in the case of white-footed deer mouse droppings, which are linked to the deadly Hantavirus.

Holper’s looks forward to providing you with successful indoor and outdoor mouse control and mouse extermination. Please call 314-732-1413 to set up your appointment today.



Do I Have Squirrels in My House?

Are you hearing scratching in your walls, ceiling, and/or attic, and is it driving you nuts? This time of year it is not uncommon to find that squirrels have taken up residence in your home. Naturally you have questions. What are the signs of squirrels in my ceiling? What damage can be caused by squirrels in my house? Read on for our advice based on over 3 decades of professional experience with squirrels in your home.

What Are The Signs Of Squirrels In My House?

If you hear scampering in your attic, knocking noises above your head, or scratching in the ceiling and walls between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., or between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., you quite likely have squirrels in your home. If it is a pregnant squirrel that has chosen your home to birth her young, she will then look at it as her home. It won’t be long until you have a family of squirrels enjoying the benefits and bounty of your home as protection from the elements. The longer they remain, the more potential danger to your biggest investment–your home.

What Damage Can Be Caused By Squirrels In My Attic?

squirrel-attic-damageSquirrels first create damage to your home when they chew their way inside at the gutter line or through a louvered vent. Once inside, the damage multiplies. They will leave multiple areas stained with urine and covered with feces. Their activity in your attic, along with their urine, can leave your insulation compressed and compromised. Their presence can become costly quickly, and even deadly, since they can potentially chew wiring and put your home at risk for fire. If left untreated, a squirrel in your home has the potential for disaster.

How Do I Get Rid of Squirrels in My House?

do I have squirrels in my houseOften times DIY’s think that squirrel poisons or rodenticides are the solution. This should NEVER be done. In addition to being against the law, toxicants are not used in squirrel control as the animals may die in wall voids and cause horrific odor problems.

For over 30 years, Holper’s has been solving St. Louis squirrel infestations by trapping, the only successful method to deal with this problem. The trained professionals of Holper’s will inspect your home to determine entry points and then begin to formulate a customized treatment plan addressing not only the infestation, but also the damage. Variables that will be evaluated are the construction of your home, the location/height of the entry points, and the types of entry points (e.g. gable vents, mushroom vents, gutter line, dormers, etc.) Consideration of these will determine the type of trap(s) used.  While the trapping phase is progressing, Holper’s will monitor activity at the entry points to ensure that no animals remain in the structure.

Holper’s Gives You Your Home Back With Guaranteed Repairs

Once it has been confirmed that no activity has occurred at the monitoring site(s) for at least seven days, Holper’s starts the final step: repairing the damage done by the squirrels. The goal of a Holper’s repair is to blend so seamlessly with the surrounding area that it cannot be detected. Holper’s takes great pride in the quality of the repairs done for their clients–so much so that we guarantee no animal will get through our repair! Pride of workmanship is a hallmark of the Holper’s difference.

If you have signs of squirrels in your home, call 314-732-1413 and let Holper’s do what we do best. We will solve your squirrel problems to give you back your home.



How Do I Find Carpenter Ant Nests?

carpenter-ant-removalWhen we hear the word “carpenter” it invokes strong images of creation…building…construction. Which is why the cruel irony of discovering you have carpenter ants brings exactly the opposite–a compromised structure that has had its stability altered. How do I get carpenter ants? What signs of carpenter ants should I look for? How do I find carpenter ants nests?

Know Your Enemy

The most common ant types you will find inside your St. Louis area home are odorous house ants, acrobat ants, and the wood-destroying carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are the largest of these three types of ants, at roughly a half an inch in length. These ants are going to be found on windowsills and doorframes. (Outside of your home, carpenter ants are found around trees, gutters, fascia board, or your deck.) The major sign of carpenter ants will be a pile of sawdust, which means you are near a nest. If you see ants that still retain their wings close to the pile, you’ll know the nest is nearby for sure.

Why Ants Like Your House (and How to Prevent Them From Visiting You)

Ants are most often drawn indoors for food and water. High moisture areas (e.g. kitchens and bathrooms) will always be most attractive to ants. They also move inside if their outdoor nests get flooded during periods of heavy rainfall. Carpenter ants eat outdoors, but tunnel through your moisture-damaged wood to make their satellite nests.

What does this mean for you, the homeowner? It means there are three ant prevention tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep moisture in your home to an absolute minimum. (Ensure that all plumbing works properly and that there are no leaks. Keep areas around sink fixtures and drains dry after use.)
  • Keep your gutters clean and remove all leaf debris that gathers around the foundation of your house.
  • Keep limbs of trees trimmed back to limit access to your roofline.

How the Professionals at Holper’s Can Give You Your Home Back

The only way to rid your home of ants, or any other insects/pests, is to have your home professionally treated. The experts at Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions have been taking care of St. Louis homes since 1985 and always use low-impact materials for the safety of you and your pets. What sets Holper’s apart, and contributes to their success, is a three-pronged attack on your invaders: treating the inside, treating the outside, and using bait outside of your home. This service is done quarterly (once the initial infestation has been eradicated) to ensure that your home stays clear of ants and many other unwanted insects.

At the first sign of carpenter ants or a carpenter ant nest, call Holper’s at 314-732-1413! We can give you back your home!