Wildlife: Leaving a Mess Behind

Wildlife: Leaving a Mess Behind

It’s minutes before you have to run out the door and make your commute to work. You make your coffee and look out the window, only to see last night’s dinner scattered throughout your yard! Unfortunately, your garbage has been rummaged through all night by a couple of wildlife pests. Two popular animals that are known to forage through trashcans and dumpsters for food are raccoons and opossums.  

Raccoons, known for their distinctive black mask coloring on their faces, can range from just under 2 feet long to over 3 feet long. These animals are considered nocturnal and are rarely seen by humans. Be aware, though, spotting a raccoon during the day can be a possible sign they have rabies or other abnormal conditions. 

Raccoons are scavengers, looking for food wherever they can find it, often foraging in trashcans and dumpsters. These skillful creatures can easily use their paws to open doors and lids to look for food. While they are omnivores, they prefer fruits and nuts over meat. Because they are creatures of habit, once these animals find a food source at your home, they will keep coming back until the food source is gone. 

Another animal you’ll catch roaming around your trashcans is the opossum. Grey in color, opossums can range from 14” long to over 3 feet long, with their tails making up 50 percent of their total body length! These animals also tend to live near wet areas such as swamps and marshes. 

While opossums are omnivores, they prefer insects and carrion over fruits and vegetables. As highly skilled climbers, you’ll find these creatures in trees, staying up there for as long as they can. They are also slow movers so don’t expect them to make a quick getaway! Opossums are generally not aggressive, though they will play dead if they are threatened.

Here are some tips to help prevent wildlife from rummaging through your garbage.

  • Seal any garbage cans and compost bins at night.
  • Use locking lids on trashcans if possible or place a weight on top to keep the lids closed.
  • Keep the outside of your home well-lit at night as opossums and raccoons will shy away from the lights.
  • Spray a mixture of half ammonia and half water on your trashcans or soak rags in the mixture and scatter them around your property; this smell will repel these pests. 
  • If wildlife constantly returns, consider contacted a licensed pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and wildlife control plan.
Protecting Your Garden From Birds

Protecting Your Garden From Birds

With the warmer weather ever so present, it’s the perfect time to take up or get back into gardening if it’s been a while. Though, gardens can benefit your entire family, they can also be a major attraction to pests and wildlife. Birds such as crows, pigeons, sparrows, robins, and starlings are a few that are drawn to food sources found around your home. Fortunately, there are some easy DIY prevention tips to help prevent birds from destroying your fruits and vegetables!

If you need a quick and easy way to keep birds away, you can place everyday objects found in your home around or in your garden. Objects such as, CDs, aluminum cans, tin foil, small mirrors, or even metallic wrapping paper can discourage birds from entering unwanted areas. Light reflections discourage birds from returning to these areas. Aluminum foil is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep birds away. Birds typically don’t like the feeling of foil under their beaks. Place strips of aluminum foil from trees or high points around your garden.

A fun and decorative approach to keeping birds away is to invest in some garden balls. Garden balls are a natural bird repellent that are round and colorful. They can be placed in or around your garden or hung in trees, fence posts, and stakes. Garden balls are multipurpose, as they are great for decorating your garden but will also confuse birds away from the area.

Another method is to place bird spikes around your home and garden. Bird spikes are long, needle-like rods used to keep birds away from certain areas. Birds find these spikes very uncomfortable and will avoid landing on them. You can also create these spikes by using plastic cans and place them in the dirt or attach them to the wire of windowsills, overhangs, or fences.

If you try these DIY methods but still have issues with birds, you should contact your local pest control company who specializes in wildlife control. They will be able to evaluate and determine the best measures to prevent birds from returning.

5 DIY Ways to Keep Birds Away

5 DIY Ways to Keep Birds Away

Some birds are beautiful and fun to watch while others can be downright annoying and destructive. While birds aren’t typically considered a nuisance pest, they can become a problem when their nests obstruct important areas in your house, their droppings carry transmittable diseases, or they get into your attic or chimney.

Understanding what nuisance birds are attracted to is the first step in helping to prevent them. Pest birds such as crows, pigeons, sparrows, robins, and starlings are attracted to food sources they can find around your home (insects, earthworms, corn, seeds, and rotten fruits and vegetables). Woodpeckers are also a common nuisance bird and will drill into your trees in search of carpenter ants, beetles, and other wood-boring insects.

Birds can be attracted to pet food which is often left outside all day for them to feast on. Birds also require water to survive and will use your fountain, water feature, or any other standing water on your property as a birdbath.

While professional bird control is always an option, there are some bird prevention tips you can use at home to help keep birds away. Here are 5 of our favorite DIY bird repellent methods.

1.  Modify Their Habitats

If there isn’t anything in your yard to attract birds they will be less likely to hang around. Most birds require freshwater to survive. Substitute saltwater for freshwater in your fountains and water features so birds won’t be able to drink from them. If you feed your pets outdoors, remove or cover their food and water dishes as soon as they’re done with them. Make sure pet food is kept in airtight containers. Birds also like to take cover in grass and other landscaping, especially in windy or stormy conditions. Make sure grass is kept mowed and hedges and trees are kept trimmed to help reduce cover. If you see a bird actively building a nest, use a long stick to dismantle it. Once you do this a few times, the bird will move on to a new nesting site. If the nest is already built or occupied by the bird, don’t attempt bird nest removal yourself. There are laws in each state regulating the removal of bird nests. Contact a professional wildlife exclusion company to help properly remove or relocate the bird nest in question.

2. Aluminum Foil

One of the easiest and cheapest natural bird repellents is aluminum foil. There are several different ways you can use aluminum foil to keep birds away. If birds are disturbing your garden, you can place strips of aluminum foil under the surface of the dirt or around any plants they are bothering. Birds don’t like the feel of the foil under their beaks and will stay away. You can also hang strips of aluminum foil (or shiny party streamers) from the trees or other high points around your home and garden. The sun reflects off the shiny surface and bothers their eyes, deterring them from coming near. If woodpeckers are around, hang an aluminum pie plate to the tree where you see them most often. The reflection off the plate will scare the woodpeckers off.

3. Fishing Wire

If birds are constantly landing in or near your pool, try running fishing wire high over the pool in a criss-cross pattern. You can hang it between 2 trees, between eaves, or from any other high locations you might have near your pool. The birds don’t like the impediment to their flying space and will find somewhere else to land. As a bonus – you won’t be able to see the clear fishing wire from the ground so it doesn’t take away from the aesthetics of your backyard space.

4. Baking Soda

If pigeons and other nuisance birds are invading your patio space or window sills, try sprinkling baking soda anywhere they like to perch. Birds don’t like the feel of the baking soda under their toes and will avoid it at all costs. You can also use double-sided duct tape instead of the baking soda.

5. Predator Decoys

If birds are a problem around your garden, pool, or deck, you can purchase one (or several) predator decoys at your local hardware store to scare them away. As the birds fly overhead, they will see the plastic owl, rubber snake, or whichever other decoy you choose and won’t land near it. Just make sure you move your decoys around often or the birds will get used to them and realize they aren’t real.

The more deterrents you have around your property, the less likely you are to have birds hanging around. If these methods don’t work or you already have an existing bird issue, contact a professional bird control company who can help you safely and effectively remove the nuisance birds and put measures in place to prevent them from coming back in the future.

 

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How to Avoid a Rat Invasion During a Pandemic

How to Avoid a Rat Invasion During a Pandemic

As the corona virus continues to spread, people around the world are drastically changing their daily routines. Tourism has come to a grinding halt. Restaurants are closed and people are staying home. What many don’t realize is this change in our daily lives is also affecting the ecosystem within cities. As there is less urban traffic, there is less food for pests and rodents – like rats. According to experts, if rats lose these established food sources (e.g. trash in cans in the park or dumpsters outside restaurants) then they will start fighting over any food that remains, even going so far as to kill each other in order to survive.

Because rats are having to get creative in finding new food sources, there is now a trending surge of rats invading homes and essential businesses in search of their next meal. Rats will follow the smell of food into homes, being as bold as necessary to find food in their effort to survive. Rats in homes pose serious risks – they will chew through wires and cables putting you at risk for fires and they carry diseases of their own which can easily be transmitted to you and your family. While there is no evidence that rats themselves can become infected with corona virus, there is some risk for spreading it to humans. Rats are known to crawl through sewer pipes containing human feces which has been shown to contain the virus. They then make their way into your home and contaminate any surfaces they touch with the virus-laden feces, potentially allowing humans who come in contact with these contaminated surfaces to contract the virus. The CDC reports that although this scenario is possible, the risk of transmission by feces is actually quite low.

To protect your family and/or essential business, the following rat prevention tips can help to prevent a rat infestation, limit the spread of disease, and keep your environment a safe-haven, during shelter-in-place orders and in the future:

  • Use outdoor trashcans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Seal any cracks under doors and other openings to the outside.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows.
  • Seal around utility pipes with steel wool and either caulk or concrete.
  • Repair any roof damage such as broken tiles or gaps under eaves.
  • Keep limbs and branches trimmed back to they are not touching your home or business.
  • Declutter any areas where rats may hide including garages, attics, gardens, storage sheds, warehouses, etc.
  • Keep food stored in metal or glass containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately.
  • Sweep, mop, and vacuum often.
  • Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight.
  • Clean up spilled pet food and bird seed and store in containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Keep toilet lids closed as rats have been known to swim up damaged pipes and into toilets.
  • Use tightly fitted metal grates or screens to cover drains, especially in basements.

If you notice a rodent problem in your home or essential business, contact a professional pest control company. Rats can cause serious health risks to your family or employees, as well as the risk for fire and other structural damage to your home and property. A licensed wildlife exclusion company will inspect your home to identify your animal problem, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the animals from getting into your home in the future. They can also inform you of any existing damage or contamination and provide you with a recommendation for repairs or clean-up.

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4 Ways To Keep Snakes Out of Your Yard

4 Ways To Keep Snakes Out of Your Yard

If you live in an area where snakes are common, chances are you may stumble across one at some point. Snakes, like any other pest, are usually in search of three things: food, water, and shelter. Oftentimes the area around our homes provide all of these things that attract snakes. The likelihood of a snake on your property depends on several factors including location (north vs south), landscape (urban vs rural), a nearby water source (pond, lake, river), how well your lawn is landscaped and maintained, and how readily a food supply is available. When dealing with snakes it is important to identify the type of snake you are dealing with: venomous snakes should be left to a professional to eliminate while non-venomous snakes can often be deterred with natural snake repellent techniques. Here are 4 ways to keep snakes out of your yard:

1. Scare Them Off

One of the easiest ways to scare off a snake from your yard is to use your garden hose. Spray with snake with a steady stream from the hose until he slithers off. Consider installing a perch pole for hawks, owls, and other natural snake predators to alight on. Be sure to place it in an open area so the birds have a good view of your yard and the surrounding area.

2. Repel Them Away

There are some natural products and at home techniques you can use for snake prevention. Ammonia is a common snake repellent. Snakes hate the smell of ammonia and won’t come near it. Soak rags in ammonia and place them in unsealed plastic bags. Leave the bags where you usually see snakes to keep them away. You can also use vinegar to keep snakes and other pests out of your swimming pool. Pour white vinegar around the perimeter of the pool. Snakes can absorb the vinegar through their skin so they will avoid slithering over it once it’s poured on the ground. Snakes also try to avoid humans at all costs. Save hair from your hairbrush and scatter it around the perimeter of your property to help keep snakes away.

3. Don’t Invite Them In

Snakes will come into your yard in search of food, water, and shelter. Eliminating these three basic necessities will make them much less likely to pay you a visit. Mow your grass often and keep it cut short. Shorter grass means more exposure to predators like hawks and coyotes and also makes them much easier for you to spot. Avoid overwatering your lawn as this can attract snake food sources like frogs, worms, and slugs. Keep trees, shrubs, and branches trimmed away from the sides of your house, the roof, and the ground. Try to keep a 24 to 36 inch space cleared under trees and shrubs as this reduces the chance of snakes using them for cover and makes them easier to spot. Move bird feeders away from the house or get rid of them altogether. Birds often leave seed scattered underneath which attracts rodents that, in turn, attract snakes. Keep bird seed and pet food stored in metal cans with tight fitting lids. Make sure your woodpile is kept away from the home and elevated if possible. When designing your landscaping, try not to use mulch or large rocks as these create breeding grounds and overwintering habitats for snakes. Instead, try to use smaller, tight-fitting rock like gravel or river rock. Also try to avoid using water features and Koi ponds as the water can also attract snakes.

4. Lock Them Out

Snakes can be very persistent pests and keeping them out can be difficult. Carefully inspect the outside of your home and seal any cracks or crevices you find on the house, sidewalk, and foundations. Consider installing fencing around your yard, garden, or pool. Fencing should be buried a few inches into the ground and constructed using 1/4″ rigid mesh or solid sheeting. Fencing should also include a bend at the top to prevent snakes from climbing up and over. There are some companies who even make wildlife-specific fencing.

The best way to prevent snakes is to take steps to keep them out in the first place. Dealing with snakes can be dangerous depending on the type of snake you have. If you have a snake problem, contact animal control or a professional wildlife control company who can help safely trap, relocate, or remove the nuisance snake from your home.

 

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5 Home Remedies to Keep Birds Away

5 Home Remedies to Keep Birds Away

While most birds aren’t considered parasites, they can become quite a nuisance. Birds can be helpful in some ways: feeding on predator insects and eating the seeds of pesky weeds that can overtake your garden; but birds can also be pests by feeding on the fruits and veggies in your garden, causing damage to your home and other structures on your property, and leaving droppings that can lead to serious health risks to you and your family. Because it is illegal to kill most species of birds and remove or destroy the nests of other species, homeowners are only left with a few options when it comes to bird control: natural repellents that deter birds away from certain areas around your home and professional wildlife exclusion to safely and humanely remove or relocate nuisance birds. Here are five home remedies to keep birds away:

1. Shiny Objects

Shiny, reflective objects make great deterrents for problematic birds. The reflection of light off of these objects discourages birds from returning to these areas. These shiny objects, such as old CDs, aluminum cans, tin foil, small mirrors, or even metallic wrapping paper, can be hung near nesting or landing areas frequented by the problematic birds.

2. Predators

Birds have many natural predators including cats, owls, and larger birds of prey. Placing objects in the shape of these predators around areas frequented by nuisance birds can deter them from nesting or landing near them. These objects can be made of wood, metal, or any other material that can withstand the outdoor environment. Make sure to move these objects around every few days or the birds will get acclimated to them and begin to ignore them.

3. Garden Balls

Round garden balls, which are large colorful balls that can be placed in your garden or hung from trees, fence posts, and stakes are a natural bird repellent. Birds will confuse these spherical orbs with eyes and try to avoid them. They also can be great decorations for your yard or garden.

4. Bird Spikes

Bird spikes are  long, needle-like rods used for bird control. These spikes can be made of tin or plastic cans and placed in the dirt or attached with wire to window sills and overhangs. They can also be made by hammering nails into wood. Birds find these spikes uncomfortable and won’t land on them, keeping them away from problematic areas around your home.

5. Repellent Sprays

There are several versions of bird repellent sprays you can make at home but the most popular is a concoction of chili peppers, water, and vinegar. To make this spray, crush dried red or green chili peppers into a mixture of water and vinegar. This mixture can either then be heated in a crock pot for a few hours to infuse or placed in a clear glass in the sunlight for a natural infusion. Once finished, place the repellent in a plant mister and spray any areas where birds are causing problems.

If you try these home remedies and you still have an issue with birds, your other option is to contact a professional pest control company who specializes in wildlife control who can come and thoroughly evaluate your home to help determine not only the species of bird you are dealing with, but also the best course of treatment that is both legal and effective.

 

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