St Louis Pest Control Blog

Voles, not Moles – How to Identify and Fight Back

Did you know that the vole (sometimes called a Meadow Mouse) is one of the most prolific rodents on the planet and is commonly confused with moles because of the similar but different damage signs? Voles stay active all year long; in fact, sometimes they will make runs (surface tracks) in snow that become visible once the snow cover has melted.

St. Louis Pest Control operators come across vole activity year round though the vole is more active during the warmer months.  Voles can cause a lot of damage to lawns and plants.  In the lawn area they will eat away the grass in a path that will lead them to and from their nest and food sites.  This why some people believe they have moles.  Although the damaged lawn can look slightly similar if you look up close you will find that the vole makes its runs on the surface and a mole will make its run just below the surface slightly pushing the earth up.  If your still not sure, step on the run.  If the run stays firm, then it’s probably a vole.  If the run caves in, then it’s probably a mole.

Let’s get back to how voles can damage the plants.  Voles will eat a variety of things: insects, nuts, berries and plants.  While eating all the creepy crawly things in your yard can be a good thing, the plant eating can severely damage or kill your plants.  Voles love to eat roots and bulbs and will even “girdle,” or remove a ring of outer bark completely around the base of,  a plant.  Their ability to to tunnel into the earth makes any garden or planter bed susceptible to these little rodents.

At Blue Chip Pest Services we attack the voles right were they live.  How do we do this?  Burrow baiting.  Like most rodents, voles burrow into the ground or into an old animal den to make their home.  Burrow baiting is a technique that involves placing a small amount of bait into the burrow(s).  The bait is pushed in with a stick or similar object in order to make sure non-targeted animals don’t consume the bait.  Burrows are often found along the rodents surface runs.  Burrows typically look like a broom handle was pushed into the ground.  The picture here has a key placed next to the burrow in order to give it a size reference.  Depending on the size of the infestation, burrow baiting might have to be repeated until no more activity is present.

Other ways to gain control may be done with a good ol’ regular mouse snap trap.  Take two sanp traps facing them back to back  long ways in the run. You may want to place a bucket or similar object over the traps to prevent un-targeted animal from setting them off.   And the best part of using traps is knowing that you got one.  When you use baits you rarely see the dead the vole. But if you do use snap traps don’t give up after you have caught the first one.  Chances are you will be re-setting the traps numerous times over then next week to month.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to bluechipexterminating.com for more information regarding our service options.

Help! I Have Ants In My House

Spring emergence is here.  Ants in and around your home have been patiently waiting all winter for spring to show its head.  And now that it has, ants are out in full force looking to feed and stock pile as much food as they can until the next winter arrives.  At Blue Chip Pest Services we receive hundreds of calls each spring just on this subject alone.  And in most cases, the homeowners describe  having no ant activity to having hundreds overnight.

The reason this happens is very simple.  Ants have several missions in life but their main mission is to forage for food.  Once a single ant finds something worth harvesting it will signal all the other ants within the colony (which can be in the 1000’s) to come and harvest this new found food.   Luckily for us, we can use this characteristic to our advantage.  Whenever you have an ant problem but can’t locate exactly where the ants are originating from, then the best application you can make is to use an ant bait.  That’s right, feeding the ants with a quality ant bait will result in total colony elimination.  But be forewarned, baiting ants will cause the problem to increase at first, but this is good thing, it means the baits are being brought back into the colony.  The hard part for us, is being patient enough not to spray the ants with whatever aerosol is closest.  The reason why you do not want to spray anything at this point is because you do not want to contaminate the bait or kill any of the ants that are now carrying the bait back to the nest.   At Blue Chip Pest Services, we use Advion Ant Gel to gain control where other baits have failed.   Whether you have a pest control company initiate a baiting program or you are a family of D.I.Y.‘ers, the best approach is using ant baits to solve the problem.

But, not all ant baits are created equally!   Don’t be fooled by some of the products found locally at your larger chain stores.  Cheaper products are in fact …made cheaper.  In order for ant baits to work the ratio of active ingredient to inert ingredient has to be perfect.  What does this mean to you and me?  The ants that harvest the bait have to have time to walk back to the colony, sharing it’s meal with the other ants (including the Queen) before the bait kills it.  The problem you have with some other baits is, the active ingredient is too high and therefore kills the original feeding ants before they have time to share their meal with the rest of the colony and therefore the colony is still in tack to rebound.

All in all, I would rather have ants every now and then, then some of the other insects that can and will infest homes in and around St. Louis at any given time.  But that is discussion that I will explain in another post.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to http://www.bluechipexterminating.com/ for more information regarding our service options.

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