ST. LOUIS – Don’t think the only pests that you have to worry about during the summer months are insects. Rodents can destroy a yard or even take up residence inside your home if not detected early.

Homeowners spend thousands of dollars annually maintaining their lawns, but mammals living underground can quickly trash it. Now is the time you’ll start to notice them.

“A lot of moles. It’s breeding season. It starts late December and runs through mid-to-late spring; at that point, you’re seeing a lot of movement,” said Joshua Paske, Paske Pest Control and Wildlife. “So, they stay with mom up to 12 weeks while they nurse, then they scatter.”

Paske says you must manage your property year-round.

“You’ve got a population density that you want to manage, and they’ll come out of the wood line, they’ll move about your yard,” he said. “They’ll come under the street from your neighbor’s house. So, you’re just passing them back and forth.”

When you see what’s known as a mole run, eradicate it before it becomes a bigger problem.

“There is a whole science behind it. There are mole runs that are like their highways. There are little tester routes that they go in and test to see if the food is the right answer for them in that area, so you’ll see what looks like a dead end run if you will,” Paske said.

Managing these moles is usually best left to the professionals, so ask for help before it gets out of hand.

“Getting a professional who knows the different species who can look at the markings the trails the eruptions, the size of the eruptions. Can also help speed up recovery or the idea of how much damage you’re going to get to your yard,” he said.

Not only can rodents living underground destroy your yard but ones above ground can take up space around and even inside your home squirrels and even raccoons are common culprits.

“They’ll chew in what we call the arm pits or elbows of a house where rooflines meet each other. They’ll sit up in there, get away from the sun,” Paske said. “They chew through aluminum. Your home is generally not protected against squirrels under any circumstances. They will chew right in.”

What’s extra problematic about wildlife is that they’ll come back to your home year after year.

“If the mama had a baby or a nest of babies there and you don’t get them out of there before they scatter, they’re going to come back there next year and build again,” he said.

In the end, the location of your property might be the greatest factor in which kind of unwelcomed visitors attempt to invade.

“It’s more about where your home backs to or what your surroundings are,” Paske said. “A lot of it has to do with how entrenched or how seasoned or how senior is the property, or the area that we’re working in.”

But regardless of where you live, pay attention to all the wildlife this summer, both up in the trees and underground. And, inevitably, evict those pesky critters for the season.