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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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.
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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The winter months can bring wildlife indoors as they search for food and shelter from the cold weather, causing property damage by chewing through the wood, insulation, and wiring in your home, and can also carry diseases that threaten the health of you and your family. What critters should you be concerned about? Most wildlife control services include the exclusion, removal, and control of animals such as squirrels, rodents, raccoons, snakes, bees, and birds. Safe removal of the nuisance critter is always the first priority when it comes to wildlife, but what can you do to prevent these animals from getting into your home or property to begin with? Keep reading for tips on wildlife prevention and bird control.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors.
- Repair or replace any damaged window and door screens.
- Replace loose mortar around foundations and weatherstripping around windows and doors.
- Inspect the exterior of your home including the siding for damage, holes, and leaks and repair them immediately.
- Repair any holes under exterior stairs, porches, balconies, etc. to keep animals from taking up residence underneath them.
- Install chimney caps.
- Cover the openings to exhaust fans, soffits, attic vents, and utility pipes.
- Inspect your roof annually for water damage and loose or damaged shingles.
- Keep your attic, basement, and crawlspace well ventilated and dry.
- Clean eaves and gutters regularly to prevent debris from building up.
- Don’t leave your garage door open for prolonged periods of time or overnight.
- Keep tree limbs cut back at least 6 to 8 feet from your roof line.
- Store your firewood off the ground and at least 20 feet from your home.
- Keep your grills or barbecues clean and grease-free.
- If you have fruit trees make sure you pick or dispose of ripe fruit and clean up any spoiled fruit that may collect at the base of the trees.
- Clean up leaves and brush and don’t leave them in piles around your property.
- Store your birdseed in secure containers and don’t leave birdseed in your feeders overnight.
- Bring in your pet’s food and water dishes at night.
- Store food in airtight containers.
- Dispose of your garbage regularly and use cans that have secure lids.
If you suspect a wildlife problem, contact a professional wildlife control company. A wildlife removal expert will inspect your home to identify the animal nuisance, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the wildlife 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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During the colder months of winter, most of us like to stay bundled up and warm – with warmer clothes and inside our cozy homes. Unfortunately, many animals also seek this same shelter and warmth in the winter – oftentimes in our homes! Do you know which animals can cause problems for you during these colder months? What can you do to prevent them from seeking shelter in your home? Check out these common winter wildlife pests and 6 ways you can prevent them.
Squirrels can be a problem year round. They don’t hibernate in the winter and stay very active. They like to seek shelter and warmth in attic spaces. They may also seek out your attic as a storage space for their winter stash of nuts, grains, and seeds so they don’t have to search for food in the cold winter months. Squirrel nests are easy to spot in the winter in bare trees. Squirrels are notorious chewers – so if you have them in your attic you can expect your wood, insulation, and electrical wiring to suffer damage.
Skunks live in the same areas during the winter as they do in the summer. They like to burrow under our decks, patios, and stoops. Skunks don’t technically hibernate, but they do lower their body temperature and heart rate in the winter to conserve energy and therefore become less active. They can go up to a week without food and water but will venture out on a semi-regular basis in search of sustenance. They live in larger communities in the wintertime for warmth.
Rats and mice are also year round pests but they can become more of a problem in the winter. These rodents seek out warmth, food, shelter, and water inside our homes during the harsh winter months. They can squeeze into your home through extremely small openings. Like squirrels, they are also notorious for chewing through insulation, wiring, and wood.
There are at least 40 different species of bats in the United States. Bats are mostly active in the summer months and will hibernate in the winter. They will, however, hibernate in your attic! Bats like to roost in attics, belfries, behind shutters, and loose boards. They are carriers of rabies and can spread disease.
Raccoons are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. Raccoons can cause significant damage to roofs and chimneys in their search for den sites. They will also get into crawlspaces in search of den sites. They are a major carrier of rabies.
Chipmunks are like squirrels in that they gather and store their food in the fall. They are less active in the colder weather, lowering their body temperatures and heart rates to conserve energy. They usually make their nests in underground burrows that can be up to 10 feet long. They will venture out every few days to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom. Oftentimes they will use attics as a storage space for their winter stash.
Opossums are the only marsupial found in North America. They will occasionally make their dens in attics and garages. They are known to make very messy nests. Opossums have very sharp teeth and will show them, as well as hiss, when they feel threatened. They are known to bite in very rare cases.
Winter wildlife can be a problem especially if they build a nest or store food in or near your home in the wintertime. The cold weather also doesn’t eliminate the diseases that they carry and spread. If these pests get into your home they can cause significant damage to your roof, insulation, foundation, wiring, and more. What can you do to prevent winter wildlife from making your home theirs? Check out these 6 tips to prevent winter wildlife.
- Eliminate Entry Points. Winter wildlife can’t get into your home if they don’t have a way in. Carefully inspect your home for any openings that animals can use to get in. Check and proof any weep vents in your bricks. Seal around HVAC and utility lines, in gaps in the foundation and siding, in gaps between your roof and soffits, and gaps between the soffits and fascia. Check your roof vents, as well. Seal gaps around windows and doors, including your garage door. Many rodents can chew through rubber or thin plastic seals so consider using heavy duty metal seals or caulk. Check screens on doors and windows to make sure they are in good repair. Use chimney caps. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to prevent unwanted critters, as well.
- Clean Your Gutters. Clogged gutters can block the drainage of rain and melting snow and ice. This can not only cause damage to your home, but also invites birds and other wildlife to build their nests here. Make sure drains are clean and that your spouts are far enough away from your foundation. Consider installing Leafproof XP Gutter Guards to make gutter cleaning and maintenance easier for you.
- Clear Out The Clutter. Now is the time to reorganize your belongings. This not only lets you get your garage or attic cleaned out, but also allows you to inspect areas of these spaces that you might not normally have access to. If possible, get rid of cardboard storage boxes and use plastic containers with lids instead. Get rid of old newspapers or other paper products as these invite rodents and other pests to make nests.
- Get Rid Of Their Food. Winter wildlife will eat anything they can get their hands on. If you have birdfeeders, take them down in the evenings and put them back out in the mornings. Clean up any spilled birdseed from the ground underneath them. If you do keep your birdfeeders out all the time, consider squirrel proofing them. Use trash and compost bins with locks and store them in the garage if possible. Make sure outdoor composts are well sealed. Store food in airtight containers and refrigerate them if possible. Don’t leave pet food out overnight, especially outdoors. Clean up any spilled food and crumbs daily and sweep and vacuum often.
- Clean Up Your Yard. Clutter and debris in your yard can invite all sorts of pests to invade. Keep your yard clean and free of debris. Trim shrubs and branches away from your home as pests can use these to access your house. Stack firewood at least 2 feet off the ground to keep animals from nesting underneath. Dead trees, brush piles, and tall grasses should be put in yard waste bags and kept in the garage until garbage day.
- Call The Pros. If you suspect you have a wildlife problem, call a professional wildlife control company. They can come out and inspect your home, remove any unwanted critters, and provide you with a prevention and treatment plan to keep them from coming back.
Rodents are one of the most common pests that come into our homes in the winter. Rodents are in search of 3 things – food, water, and shelter – and they can find all 3 of them in and around our homes. Squirrels, raccoons, rats, and mice are some of the most frequently seen rodents in the colder months. Rodents can cause significant damage to property and can also be a big health risk to humans. Prevention is critical in managing and preventing an infestation of rodents. Check out these tips to keep the rodents out this winter:
- Put A Lid On Your Trash: If possible, use trashcans made of metal with snug fitting lids. If you must use plastic, make sure there are no holes in it.
- Put Up Your Pet Food: Store pet food and birdseed in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Make sure to remove them at night and store them away until morning. Make sure to pick up any fallen fruit or nuts off the ground outside your home, as well. Remove standing water from bird feeders.
- Elevate Your Compost: Raise your compost container at least 1 foot off the ground.
- Keep Your Garage Clean: Rodents like to eat lawn seed, tulip bulbs, bone meal, and other items frequently used in gardening. Make sure they are stored in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Keep firewood a good distance from the house. Organize and store boxes in the garage off the ground to eliminate nesting places.
- Clean The Kitchen: Keep food stored in tightly sealed containers. Clean up spilled food and crumbs nightly.
- Keep Your Home Maintained: Make sure openings around your home are properly sealed. Keep your gutters clear of debris and water. Screen your attic vents. Keep screens on windows and doors in good repair and replace when needed.
- Call A Pro: If you suspect you have a rodent problem, call a professional pest control company or a professional wildlife removal company who can evaluate your home and provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan.