Despite popular belief, not all snakes are harmful to humans. In fact, most snakes will go out of their way to avoid humans when they encounter them. Only a handful of venomous snakes reside in Georgia. One of the most common of these is the water moccasin.
Water moccasins, also known as cottonmouths, is a venomous snake found throughout the southeastern United States. They are known as the cottonmouth because of the white coloring on the inside of their mouths that show when they are threatened. These snakes are usually a banded brown or yellow color. They range in size anywhere from 2 to 4 feet and can swim in the water and slither on land.
The bite of a water moccasin is very dangerous to humans. If you are bitten by a water moccasin, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms following a water moccasin bite include pain, swelling, discoloration, weakness, fatigue, difficulty breathing, nausea, and decreased blood pressure.
Adult water moccasins have control over their venom. Because they have a limited supply, they have learned to conserve it, sometimes biting with a “dry bite” where no venom is released. Although painful, these bites aren’t as dangerous as a venom-filled bite. This is also what makes baby and juvenile water moccasins so dangerous. These young snakes haven’t learned control over their venom yet, therefore injecting their full supply when they bite.
If you encounter a water moccasin or any other snake you can’t positively identify in the wild, steer clear of it and don’t enter it’s personal space. Don’t attempt to move it or kill it. If you come across one of these snakes in your home, contact a professional for safe removal and relocation.
Although most snakes are actually beneficial to have around your home, you can prevent snakes with the following tips:
- Minimize wood stacks around your home. Store firewood away from your house and elevate it off the ground.
- Eliminate standing water around your home.
- Clean up your yard by getting rid of brush piles, logs, rocks, etc. Keep your lawn mowed and shrubbery trimmed back to help reduce hiding places.
- Make your yard less attractive to frogs and other food sources for snakes.
If you encounter a snake, contact a local pest control company who can implement safe and humane snake removal protocols.
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South Florida Lawn Care: Staying Healthy in the Cold
While Florida City doesn’t typically experience freezing temperatures in the fall and winter seasons, we will still see our temperatures drop as the fall and winter months approach. During this time, lawn care is still important, as is maintenance to prepare your lawn for winter and have a healthy turf year-round. Check out our lawn care tips for the fall.
Continue to Fertilize and Control Weeds
Warmer temperatures will often extract needed nutrients from your lawn which, in return, makes it look dull. The fall season is the perfect time to replenish these nutrients to help prevent them from going brown. Fertilizing replaces the nutrients lost over the summer and allows the roots to grow deeper. When fertilizing, keep space between your fertilizer and any water sources.
Weeds tend to thrive in the fall as they are looking to absorb as many nutrients as possible for spring. Look to treat them with a pre-emergent during the fall season. The pre-emergent allows weeds to fully absorb the treatment throughout the fall and winter, avoiding their return in the springtime.
Don’t Forget to Water and Mow
During the fall, grass will continue to grow, making it essential that you continue to water as usual. Look to ensure your lawn gets around 1 inch of water per week. Utilize sprinklers or irrigation systems where needed. Likewise, continue to mow, utilizing the lowest blade settings to mow your lawn during the last two months of the year. This will allow the sun to reach the crown of the grass, causing fewer brown leaves in the winter.
Remove Leaves and Debris
Raking and removing leaves and debris is essential to keeping your lawn healthy year-round! As soon as leaves start to fall off the trees, it’s best to remove and discard them immediately. Waiting too long to remove debris and leaves will cause them to mat together, making them difficult to remove. Leftover matted leaves can suffocate your turf, leading to fungus.
Dealing with lawn care can seem daunting to many, especially during the holiday season. If you’re looking for extra support for your lawn, consider reaching out to your local South Florida lawn care company! These professionals can give you a free lawn care analysis and the best comprehensive treatment plan customized to your needs.
One of the most common rodents invading homes is the roof rat, also known as the palm rat, fruit rat, ship rat, and Alexandrian rat. Norway rats, which are stockier than roof rats, can also invade dwellings. If you want to get rid of the rats in your attic, you need to identify the species first. There are several key distinctions between roof rats and Norway rats. Let’s take a look at a few of the distinctions.
Roof rats are smaller than Norway rats (also known as the sewer rat or brown rat) and have longer tails. They can reach a maximum length of 18 inches (including the tail) and a minimum weight of 5 ounces.
Roof rats are commonly black in color, while Norway rats are brown or gray. Compared to Norway rats, roof rats are smaller, thinner, and their fur is smooth. Large, hairless ears and pointed faces are two other distinguishing characteristics of these rodents.
Roof rats, in contrast to other rat species, are adept climbers and construct their nests in elevated locations rather than underground burrows. They build their nests outside in places like trees, shrubs, wood piles, and dense vegetation. Whenever possible, these pests will seek out the warmest part of the house, which is typically the attic or another upper level. There are a number of places in the house where they might set up shop for the winter, including attics, cabinets, ceilings, garages, interior walls, bathrooms, outdoor kitchens, and pool decks.
Unlike many other rat species, roof rats eat a lot of nuts and seeds rather than meat scraps and other high-protein foods. Because of this, nuts and fruits make up the bulk of a their diet, though they are omnivores like all rats. If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat almost anything, including vegetation, pet food, animal feed, vegetables, insects, nuts, seeds, tree bark, and even lizards.
Roof rats require water to survive and will often use the following as a water source: watering holes, leaky pipes, AC lines, pet water bowls, flowerpots, sprinklers, and gutters.
SIGNS OF ROOF RATS
Because they are nocturnal and hunt for food at night, roof rats are not always visible. In order to detect an infestation, however, you must be familiar with the telltale signs of a problem. When located, the appropriate rodent prevention measures can be implemented.
The presence of roof rat feces is a clear indication of an infestation. Roof rat feces are less noticeable in size compared to those of Norway rats. The feces have sharp points and measure about half an inch in length. Other telltale signs of a roof rat infestation include:
- Rattling, squeaking, or other gnawing sounds from the ceiling or walls
- Damage to the eaves and/or roof from gnawing
- You can see them running along tree trunks, power lines, rooftops, patios, and fruit trees.
- Fruit with the pits removed, if you have fruit trees.
- Household electrical wiring is chewed on and damaged.
- Stressed and anxious pets.
- Leaving greasy footprints and smudges on the home’s regular passageways.
- Nests discovered in your home’s insulation.
WHAT HARM DO ROOF RATS CAUSE?
Roof rats can be a real nuisance, and their droppings and urine can be dangerous to your health. Roof rats can get into your home by gnawing holes in the soffit or eaves. As soon as they get inside, they can do a lot of harm by wire-chewing, which can cause electrical problems and fires; nibbling up in the rafters of the loft; gnawing on water lines and causing leaks; and reducing insulation’s effectiveness by trampling on it. They can also contaminate your home with their urine and feces, causing health problems for you and your family.
Prevent roof rats with the following tips:
- Empty garbage regularly and put it in cans with tightly fitting lids.
- Keep your house clean and decluttered.
- Avoid using open compost piles.
- Store food in sealed containers.
- Only leave enough pet food out for one sitting.
- Keep pets, especially cats, around the house.
If you suspect you have a problem with roof rats or any other rodents, contact your local pest control company for a complete evaluation.
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South Florida Termite Control: Eliminating Drywood Termites
Drywood termites are seeking dry wood as a food source and will destroy your home in the process. These termites differ from other species, such as subterranean termites, since they tend to create their colonies in wood instead of in the ground and need little moisture to survive. Unlike other species, these termites can create devasting damage to homes, excavating wood and ruining it. To prevent them, it’s best to place preventative measures throughout your property.
Inspect Your Home
The first step in preventing drywood termites is inspecting your home. By investigating your home, you can get a good idea of what repairs are needed or discover that a termite infestation has occurred. When inspecting, write down everything you see that’s a concern, as this will help overall when relaying to a pest professional. When checking the home’s interior, don’t forget to check in darker areas such as your crawl space, attic, and basements. Check around your baseboards, beams, or other wood materials. Likewise, look at any furniture or firewood inside the home too. As you are investigating the exterior of your home, be extra thorough, as these termites haven’t yet entered the home. Check your foundation, old trees, wooden sheds, and firewood.
Seal & Vent
Drywood termites are very small, ranging from 3/8 to ½ inch in length, allowing them to fit in the smallest hole or gap. If you find any openings leading into your home, it’s best to repair them immediately. Likewise, keeping your home’s attic and crawlspace well ventilated will help reduce moisture and the risk of a termite infestation. Consider encapsulating your crawlspace or insulating your attic.
Keep Your Yard Maintained
Drywood termites are looking for any wood materials to inhabit. Make sure you place firewood at least 20 feet away from the home and raise it off the ground. Additionally, trim all shrubs, bushes, or other dense greenery so that it doesn’t touch the side of your home. If you have old trees, lumber, or tree stumps, consider removing them, so these pests don’t infest and make their way inside your home.
Call a Professional
Sometimes, all the prevention in the world can’t stop termites from infesting homes. If a termite infestation has occurred, it’s best to call your local South Florida pest control company for extra help. A termite professional will provide you with a thorough inspection, a treatment plan based on your home’s needs, and recommendations on preventing them in the future.
Common South Florida Rodents: How to Prevent
We don’t often see temperatures below freezing in Cape Coral, but we do experience colder months. While it’s a nice break from the humid weather, unfortunately, it can bring unwanted pests into our homes. Rodents are looking for a warm place to inhabit and search for a food source. If these pests get inside, they can cause significant damage, such as chewed wires, damaged insulation, and risk of disease. Check out our list of common rodents in your area and how you can prevent them from entering your home.
The house mouse prefers dark, secluded areas in your home, such as the crawl space, basement, or attic. These creatures can adapt very quickly to human environments, often hiding in household clutter and inside the walls of homes. Since they are skilled climbers and are able to jump a foot high, they will often reach isolated areas inside your home.
One of the largest rodent species, Norway rats are nocturnal creatures, searching for food sources in garbage cans at night. You can often spot these creatures burrowing in areas that go undisturbed for a long time, such as crawlspaces and basements. Once inside, these creatures are known to gnaw on furniture, walls, plastic, lead pipes, and wires.
Due to their padded feet, roof rats can easily climb up our homes, infesting our attics, eaves, and roof lines. Living in colonies, they will typically stay together in a familiar area instead of exploring new ones. If an area is providing both food and shelter, these rats will stay close or inhabit the area.
Preventing Rodents in Cape Coral
Rodents can adapt to almost any situation, making it more difficult to get rid of them. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to help deter these creatures away from your home.
To keep rodents out this winter, utilize these rodent prevention tips:
- Empty your garbage regularly, utilizing a tight lid or lock
- Utilize screens on vents, chimneys, windows, and doors
- Keep your home decluttered and clean, wiping up any spills or crumbs immediately
- Avoid leaving your pet food outside overnight
- Keep piles of wood elevated off the ground and placed at least 20 feet away from your home
- Check for sources of moisture throughout your home and eliminate them as soon as possible
- Reach out to your local professional South Florida pest control company to help remove and prevent them in the future