You wake up one day and notice small, or sometimes larger, holes in your yard, usually around the edges.
As a homeowner who is conscious about the aesthetics of your compound, your immediate instinct will be to find and immediately eliminate the pests that have dug those holes.
You’re not alone; the general perception is that all animals that dig holes in yards are destructive pests that should be removed.
However, we should understand that sometimes digging and burrowing animals help improve soil health and are integral to a balanced ecosystem.
Eliminating them, therefore, may be detrimental to the soil.
That said, here are nine animals that commonly dig holes in yards and how to handle them:
Some people call them woodchucks. They dig yards in search of shelter.
Groundhogs mainly burrow in hidden places like around decks, yard edges, and alongside houses with crawl spaces.
Woodchucks also dig holes in yards in pursuit of food. T
herefore, it’s not uncommon to find them around storage sheds, vegetable gardens, or yard sections with higher vegetation as they look for greens, fruits, or seeds.
The best remedial action against groundhogs is the installation of fences to keep them off the property.
Unlike other pests, they rarely move through underground tunnels.
You can also make the yard inhabitable by keeping vegetation law; they like areas with high vegetation.
You must be conversant with these; they are the most common of all the hole-digging animals.
They are also one of the most voracious diggers.
According to Columbia Daily Tribune, moles can tunnel an average of 18 feet per hour.
Therefore, if moles invade your yard, you will notice extensive damage almost instantly.
Their burrowing loosens roots and destroys the surfaces of lawns.
Moles always dig around shaded areas of the yard.
Look out for volcano-shaped mounds and raised soil ridges running through the grass.
Mole holes are usually deep and have no entrances and exits.
Before you eliminate moles from your yard, note that they promote soil aeration and provide free pest control by eating white grubs known for ruining lawns.
The two most common methods of removing moles from yards are traps and poison.
You can also install mole repellents to prevent other moles from coming in after the removal process.
3. Pocket Gophers
Pocket gopher infestation is quite similar to mole infestation, and one is often misread for the other. It is, therefore, crucial to distinguish between the two.
Pocket gophers are strictly herbivores, unlike moles that also eat other small animals.
Therefore, pocket gophers are more dangerous to lawns since they eat bulbs and roots as they dig holes.
They also nibble stems and leaves of plants, especially along crawling paths on lawn edges.
Again, moles tunnel throughout the year, while pocket gophers are more prevalent around spring and fall.
To identify pocket gopher infestation, look for large fan-shaped or crescent-shaped dirt mounds in your yard.
Such ridges serve as entrances and exits and are often plugged with dirt.
Pocket gophers are an endangered species due to their shrinking habitats.
Therefore, whatever control measure you use, let killing them be the last resort.
Instead, aim at reducing their population in your yard or dissuading them from the lawn.
Skunks dig holes in yards in pursuit of food, particularly insect larvae.
They “roll” their sods to reach underneath the soil for their prey.
Generally, they are less harmful than other hole-digging animals.
Skunks are very territorial. Once they invade your lawn, they release a distinctive musky smell to announce their presence and mark their territory.
It is this foul odor that gives skunks a lousy reputation. Sometimes it gets so irritating that you may not be comfortable sitting in the yard.
However, the smell is not permanent; you can quickly get rid of it by spraying hydrogen peroxide. Also, skunks can only secret the odor once in ten days.
As we said, skunks invade yards to look for food.
So, to get rid of them, you should first eliminate white scrubs and any other insect larvae that they may eat from the soil.
You can do this by applying chemicals that are permitted in your State.
Once there’s no food, the skunks will most likely leave the yard automatically.
Alternatively, you can preemptively preclude them from below your patio or porch by installing a fence underneath the deck.
We recommend that you use a fence made of hardware cloth that the diggers can’t destroy quickly.
Burry the fence at least once foot below the surface just in case any rogue skunks will dig that deep.
5. Digger Bees
These are solitary family bees that dig holes to create nests underneath the soil.
Examples include colletid bees, andrenid bees, and halictid bees.
They are generally harmless and act as essential native pollinators.
Female digger bees make cylindrical underground holes and use them as nests during reproduction.
Unlike in other social bees where it’s only the queen bee that reproduces, every female digger bee can reproduce.
So, if they infest your yard, you will notice several cylindrical tunnels.
Over time, the female bees will “bee-bread” (a mixture of pollen from nearby plants and nectar) and use it to fill the holes.
Given the bees’ essential role as native pollinators within the ecosystem, we recommend that you find a way of coexisting with them.
As we said, they are generally harmless and are not likely to sting unless excessively rattled.
The only real threat is that sometimes they may be annoying to the homeowner, either through too much buzzing or flying into houses.
In most cases, control will be unnecessary.
Only apply remedial action when they’re so close to human activity that they create a nuisance or are likely to be disturbed and rattled.
Raccoons are omnivores. Therefore, you’re likely to find them in yard sections close to the house.
They are notorious for rummaging through dumpsters for discarded fruit, eating fruits in backyard gardens, and digging up lawns to pursue insects.
Raccoons live in proximity to human settlements and are common pests in most communities throughout the U.S.
Besides the nuisance, they play a significant role in the ecosystem.
Raccoons provide free, natural pest control by eating other animals and insects that may destroy your lawn.
They also burrow and open up the soil for aeration.
The best way to handle raccoon infestation is prevention; identify what attracts them to your yard and eliminate it.
For instance, we’ve said that they like ravaging through dumpsters for food.
Sealing garbage cans will, therefore, mean no food for them, making your yard inevitable and forcing them to look for food elsewhere.
You might also want to trim trees close to your house’s chimney or roof, as these provide perfect nesting and reproduction locations for raccoons.
Data from the National Library of Medicine shows that some raccoon species like pygmy raccoons are among the most endangered animal species.
Humans are significant contributors to raccoon deaths.
So, when you identify a raccoon in your lawn, try your best not to kill it. Instead, capture it live and take it to a local pack or call wildlife authorities.
Voles mainly dig tunnels to keep warm, especially in winter.
They then line the holes with grasses or small branches for insulation and to keep off predators.
Before winter, they hunt and gather bulbs, seeds, and tubers in the tunnels in preparation for the snowy season.
Unless the voles are too many and causing issues, we highly recommend co-existing with them.
They are an essential part of the ecosystem, acting as food to birds and contributing to soil aeration.
Besides, voles won’t stay in the yard forever.
They only show up towards winter and disappear during summer, spring and fall.
Vole holes are usually not as deep as mole holes.
If you want to reduce their population, more the area they’ve infested. This reduces their coverage.
As you must have noticed, most hole-digging animals are pretty eco-friendly and able to co-exist with humans.
Before you apply any aggressive remedial measure against them, remember that we encroached into their natural habitats.