Avoiding Rodents at Your South Florida Restaurant

Avoiding Rodents at Your South Florida Restaurant

Commercial Pest Control in South Florida: Restaurant Rodent Control

Florida continues to be a hot spot for food and dining. With popular tourist and local spots in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples, Miami, and many more, the restaurant industry continues to boom. As summer approaches, we can expect an uptick in restaurant reservations from those visiting. Now is the perfect time to ensure that your restaurant has placed proper preventative measures to avoid rodents.

Have a Garbage Routine

This one might be obvious, but it is one of the most crucial factors in avoiding rats and mice. Food scraps and leftovers that restaurants discard is a major attraction to these creatures. Look to remove all leftover food as soon as possible, emptying the trash cans several times a day. You will want to ensure that all trash cans and dumpsters have secure lids. Look to position the outside trash containers away from your restaurant building and entrances to help discourage rodents from entering.

Protect & Clean

In a restaurant, it’s impossible to remove all food and water that rodents are attracted to. However, you can protect and secure the food inside your restaurant. Look to cover all food until it is ready to be prepared and ensure that you’re dining, and kitchen areas are clean throughout the day. If any food spills occur, make sure you clean them up as soon as possible, remembering to check crumbs settled into crevices and along baseboards.

Keep Up Repairs

Keeping your restaurant up to date in repairs will help to prevent rodents from entering. Rats can enter buildings through gaps small as a size of a quarter, while mice only need an opening the size of a dime! To help prevent their entry, make sure that all exterior cracks and crevices are sealed, install door sweeps, repair torn window screens, and fix any water leaks.

A rodent infestation can be extremely harmful to any business, risking a negative reputation in the process. Consider investing in Commercial Wildlife Control for your South Florida restaurant, as these professionals will provide your business with a customized prevention and treatment plan.

Bird Control Tips for Your Florida Home

Bird Control Tips for Your Florida Home

South Florida Bird Control

As much as we enjoy the beauty of birds, they can start to become a nuisance when they destroy our property. These creatures will often leave behind their droppings, harming your home and posing a health threat. Learn more about the hazards birds can pose to your home and how you can deter them away.

Bird Droppings

Seeing bird droppings all throughout our property is never ideal, causing considerable damage. Their droppings can corrode and stain roofing, gutters, paints, shingles, and more. Other bird damage includes electrical equipment, causing costly repairs. While their droppings can be overall irritating to clean, they are also known to carry over 60 diseases including E. coli, salmonellosis, and cryptococcosis.

Bird Nesting

When birds create their nest in your home, the location can cause noise and further damage. Their nests will clog gutters, cause roof damage, block chimneys or air ducks, ruin insulation, and more. Birds nest may also carry various pests such as lice, mites, and other insects that could potentially invade your home.

Preventing Birds

There are some easy, do-it-yourself preventative measures that every homeowner can place around their property to help deter birds away including:

  • Install a decoy bird in your yard such as owl, hawks, or falcon statues.
  • Place wind chimes or ultrasonic noise machines throughout your property
  • Clean any spilled grains or birdseed from feeders daily
  • Block all openings in your home, including lofts, vents, and windowsills
  • Consider contacting a professional pest control company in South Florida who can provide you with a customized inspection and treatment plan

 

South Florida Pest Control Locations Near You
Getting Rid of Raccoons

Getting Rid of Raccoons

Raccoons are one of the most easily recognizable pests that homeowners deal with. These common wildlife are known for their distinctive black masks over their eyes and ringed tails. Raccoons have gray and black fur and are about the size of an average housecat or small dog. They have 5 fingers on each hand and are extremely coordinated. They are highly intelligent with excellent memories. Raccoons are found in every state of the US.

Raccoons are scavengers and mostly hunt for food at night. They will eat almost anything. They are also highly adaptable allowing them to live in a wide variety of habitats (urban, suburban, rural, forest, mountain, coastal, and more).

When raccoons nest in or near your house they can cause significant damage to both your property and your health. Their damage isn’t just limited to tipped over trashcans. In their search for a nesting site they will rip off shingles, fascia boards, and even chimney vents. Once inside your home, they can destroy insulation, chew through electrical wires, and contaminate your home with urine and feces. They will dig up your yard in search of grubs and even tear off decking to get under porches and decks.

Signs of raccoons on or near your property include:

  • Tipped over trash cans
  • Damage to gardens or fish ponds
  • Spilled or empty pet food bowls
  • Knocked over bird feeders
  • Disturbed compost piles
  • Tracks or paw prints
  • Calls that sound like an owl whistling at night
  • Droppings (resembling small dog droppings, dark in color with a foul smell and often containing undigested seeds or other food)

Getting rid of raccoons can be difficult. They are crafty and can be difficult to trap. Here are some ways to prevent raccoons from taking over your home or yard.

Eliminate Food Sources

Nearby food sources will attract females to the area to nest and also allow populations to grow rapidly. Eliminating food sources makes your property less attractive to raccoons and other wildlife. Make sure to use heavy trashcans with secure lids. You may consider putting your cans in a rack or tying them to a secure post to prevent tipping. If your lids aren’t secure, use bungee cord or wire to make sure lids are secure. Bring in pet food before nightfall. Try to deter raccoons from bird feeders by using raccoon-proof feeders, hanging from shepherd’s hooks, or bringing them in overnight. Pick up any fallen fruit or nuts from the ground. Consider installing fencing around gardens, ponds, or compost piles. Electric fence is preferable as raccoons can climb over or dig under regular fencing. Don’t intentionally feed raccoons as this will only attract more and increase the population.

Eliminate Nesting Sites

Without a place to nest, raccoons will likely move on to a more hospitable environment. Clean up your yard and keep your grass mowed. Remove wood piles and thin out any overgrown shrubbery. Trim branches away from your roof, providing at least a 5′ gap between the roof and any trees. Get rid of any trellises or arbors that may allow access to your roof.

Eliminate Entry Points

Raccoons like to nest in chimneys so make sure it is sealed when not in use with a chimney cap that is tightly secured. Make sure there are no animals inside your chimney before sealing it off. Inspect the exterior of your home and identify any other possible entry points, as well. Close off spaces under porches, decks, and sheds with wire mesh. Make sure the bottom edge of the wire is buried at least 6 inches deep and extends out at least 12 inches. Make sure to back-cover the wire with soil.

Consider Other Remedies

There are several repellents and products designed to scare raccoons with motion and light. Raccoons are highly intelligent and these products will only be effective until they realize there is no threat. Trapping can also be dangerous for homeowners as these nuisance wildlife carry a wide range of parasites and diseases that can be harmful to both humans and pets. Raccoons will bite or scratch if they feel threatened or if they have their young near them. They are known to carry rabies, roundworm, and canine distemper.

If you have an issue with raccoons or any other wildlife, consider contacting a professional pest control company who specializes in wildlife control and wildlife exclusion. They can identify where raccoons may be feeding or nesting and safely and legally trap and relocate them.

 

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Common Spring Wildlife Issues

Common Spring Wildlife Issues

With spring upon us we can look forward to nicer weather, fresh air, and more time spent outdoors. The same is true for wildlife. This time of year these pests are emerging from hibernation in search of food, water, and the perfect nesting spot to have their first litter of the year. Here are some of the most common spring wildlife creatures and some general tips on wildlife prevention.

Skunks

Skunks
Skunks emerge from hibernation and become much more active in the spring. Skunks usually birth their first litters in early to mid-spring, as well. Skunks can cause damage to your property by burrowing under buildings. They are also known to spray noxious fumes when they feel attacked or cornered. Skunks are also the second most common carriers of rabies.

Squirrels

Squirrels
Although squirrels are not as common indoors as their other rodent cousins (mice and rats), once their hibernation period is over they will awaken looking for food and nesting sites. Squirrels also have their first litters in the spring. Squirrels can get into attics and wall voids, chewing holes, electrical wires, and phone cables.

Raccoons

Raccoons
Raccoons don’t usually hibernate but they are much less active in the winter. They have their young in the spring, often going in search of food and water to nourish them. Raccoons are very smart and will often get into trashcans at night. They can also be destructive to homes and lawns and will attack if they feel cornered. Raccoons are also known carriers of rabies.

Snakes

Snakes
Snakes start emerging from brumation/hibernation in early to mid-spring when they start laying their eggs. Snakes will often look for nesting sites in wood piles, under porches, under rock piles, and other shady, secluded areas around your home.

Wildlife Prevention

Most wildlife are generally harmless to humans but can become problematic if they get inside your home. Wildlife control starts at home with prevention. Help keep wildlife out with these handy tips:

  • Keep garbage stored in tightly sealed trashcans or use bungee cords to strap lids closed.
  • Remove any outdoor food sources such as birdseed and pet food.
  • Block off any openings under porches, decks, patios, and garages with wire mesh or chicken wire.
  • Keep windows locked and screened.
  • Trim tree branches and shrubs away from your home.
  • Clean gutters to prevent water pooling and potential nesting sites.

If you suspect a problem with wildlife or other pests, contact a professional pest control company for a full analysis and treatment plan.

 

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Keeping Snakes Away From Your Home

Keeping Snakes Away From Your Home

As the weather warms up, snakes will begin to emerge from brumation (a state of deep sleep that reptiles and amphibians enter during periods of cold weather). Although it can be scary encountering a snake in your yard or in your home, the majority of them mean you no harm. In fact, most don’t want anything to do with humans at all! Most North American snakes are harmless and, in fact, there are only 5 venomous snakes in the state of Georgia.

The first step in preventing snakes is to figure out what is attracting them to your yard and home in the first place. Snakes will typically come around in search of either food or shelter. By eliminating these attractants, snakes will be less likely to hang around your personal space.

Shelter

Snakes will often come around in search of a place to hide out from predators or to lie in wait for their own prey. Try to avoid debris and rock piles in your yard. Don’t pile rocks up in your landscaping or let other debris accumulate in your yard. Snakes will also use tall grass to hide in so keep grass mowed short and mow it frequently. Mulch attracts both snakes and their food sources. Try to use less mulch or use another type of ground cover if possible. Store firewood away from your home and elevate it if possible as snakes will hide in the cracks and crevices.

Food

Snakes will primarily come around looking for or chasing food. Snakes are known to feed on rodents, birds, insects, and amphibians so eliminating these pests from your home and yard will also help keep snakes away. Excessive moisture attracts all of these food sources so try to avoid overwatering your lawn and getting rid of any standing water. Pick up fallen fruit as rodents and other pests love to eat them. The same goes for spilled birdseed from birdfeeders. Feed pets indoors if possible and, if not, don’t leave pet food out overnight. Keep trashcans clean and seal them tightly. Keep garages clean and clutter free. Inside, keep kitchens and other food areas clean.

Entry Points

Snakes will use a variety of methods to get into your home, garage, attic, or basement. Routinely inspect the exterior of your home and try to identify any potential entry points. Seal any cracks around your foundations, walkways, and porches. Consider installing fencing made of rigid mesh that is at least 2 feet tall and buried 4″ to 6″ into the ground. You can also attach aluminum flashing to the outside bottom portion of the fencing. Make sure the screens on your doors and windows are tightly sealed and in good repair. Use galvanized screens to cover your vents and drains. Close up cellar doors, broken gutters, pet doors, unsealed basement windows, open crawlspaces, and holes in your roof or siding. Keep tree branches trimmed back away from your home. Use gravel or other uneven ground cover as snakes cannot move or hide as easily on these.

When snakes are spotted around your home your first instinct is usually to either run away or get rid of it. While they can be disturbing, most snakes are actually beneficial to have around – eating other pests and keeping their populations under control. If you have an issue with snakes, contact your local pest control company who can help identify what type of snake you are dealing with and help catch and relocate it safely and humanely.

 

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How To Keep Wildlife Out of Your Yard

While some may have an idyllic picture of wildlife on their property (deer roaming across their yards, cute bunnies hopping through the garden), these nuisance wildlife can decimate your lawn or garden overnight. Squirrels digging holes, deer eating shrubs, and rabbits chowing down on your vegetables can leave you with a mess to deal with. If you don’t want to have to share your outdoor living space with these pests, consider these simple wildlife exclusion tips to prevent wildlife from taking over your yard.

Identify Your Wildlife

The first step in wildlife control is identifying which critter you have.

  • Deer love plants, flowers, and edibles. Common signs include missing buds, half eaten fruits and veggies, and torn or ripped leaves. Deer droppings are pellet-shaped and their tracks look like upside down hearts.
  • Groundhogs eat plants, leaves, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. They love to tunnel and their burrows have round openings with piles of dirt (and oftentimes flies) near them. Groundhogs will leave wide teeth marks on plants, fruit, and bark. Their tracks have 4-clawed toes on their front paws and 5-clawed toes on their back paws.
  • Rabbits can destroy your flower or vegetable garden overnight. Signs of rabbits include piles of pea-sized droppings; neat, razor-trimmed leaves and stems; and missing plants. If they are bedding down in your mulch, you might see tufts of fur or slight depressions in the mulch.
  • Raccoons are nocturnal pests that will often dig through your trash cans in search of food. They will also dig up your lawn or mulch looking for insects to eat. Signs of raccoons include torn trash bags, tipped over trashcans, missing fish from fountains or ponds. empty bird feeders, and holes in your mulch or yard.
  • Squirrels will leave small holes in your planting containers or beds. You will often find half eaten or missing seedheads, fruits, and vegetables. Squirrels also love birdfeeders and can often be found raiding them.

Clean Up Your Yard

Wildlife are less likely to hang out in your yard if they don’t have a place to hide. Getting rid of wood piles, brush, and overgrown shrubbery will eliminate the majority of their hiding spots. Open spaces and neatly trimmed flower beds help to discourage them, especially rabbits and groundhogs.

Get Rid of Their Food

Another thing wildlife look for in your yard is a food source. Getting rid of their food or discouraging them from it will go a long way in keeping them out. Fill your garden with plants that deer and rabbits dislike. Pick any edible fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ripe. Collect fallen fruit and nuts before the squirrels can get to them. Don’t leave pet food sitting out overnight. Strap or bungee trash can lids onto your cans.

Repel Them

There are several plants you can include in your landscaping that help deter wildlife. Most animals will be repelled by the smell of garlic plants. Daffodils are a pretty addition to your garden but most animals dislike the bitter taste of their leaves. Lavender is great for repelling deer and rabbits. Marigolds work well at repelling moles. You can also use distasteful substances to spray or sprinkle around your garden or individual plants to help repel wildlife. Some substances that are effective include hot pepper extract, predator urine, castor oil, garlic clippings, cayenne pepper, putrid egg whites, and coffee grounds.

Scare Them Off

Putting deterrents in your yard can help scare these pests away. Dogs who have free run in your yard are great at keeping these wildlife away. You can also use noisemakers, motion-activated sprinklers and lights, automated sprinklers, garden spinners, decoy animals, and pinwheels to help scare them away.

Wildlife Exclusion

You can also keep wildlife at bay by making it physically impossible (or at least much more difficult) for them to get into your yard or garden. You can put up a barrier to protect your yard or even individual plants you want to protect. Netting or chicken wire around plants or a wire cloche over plants can protect them from rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, and deer. Putting electric fencing around your vegetable gardens can exclude most wildlife as long as they can’t go over or under it. To keep deer out, fences should either be extremely high (8 feet or taller) or short, doubled, and wide (such as 2 shorter fences spaced 5 feet apart). Use sturdy wire or hardware cloth to close any openings under your shed and deck to help keep out rabbits and groundhogs, Make sure to bend the wire into an L-shape and bury it several inches under the ground to keep them from digging underneath it.

If you have a problem with wildlife, contact your local wildlife control company who can help you identify which type of pest you are dealing with and provide you with the best wildlife exclusion methods for your situation.

 

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Preventing Wildlife in Attics

Preventing Wildlife in Attics

Now that winter is here, it is time to make sure your attic is not harboring wildlife from the cold. The most common pests that find refuge in attics are racoons, squirrels, bats, birds, and mice. These pests can cause severe damage to your home and pose a significant threat to your health.

There are many ways for wildlife creatures to get into your home. The most obvious ways are through vents and construction gaps. These can sometimes be unavoidable, since rodents can squeeze through cracks as small as half an inch wide. Some of the pests can be taken care of with DIY pest control, but some do need professional attention. Bats are a pest that you should not take care of yourself. They can carry rabies and some species are protected.

The damage that can be caused in your attic can be anything from chewed wires to disturbance to your insulation, which can end up being costly for you. There are many ways to implement wildlife control in your attic. Here are a few of our favorites below:

  1. Regularly inspect the exterior of your home to ensure there is no damage to the roof or siding. If you notice any damage or openings, look to seal them immediately. Fixing issues before they escalate is the best way to prevent pests from entering the attic.
  2. Keeping branches trimmed back away from the house will help keep wildlife like squirrels and raccoons from potentially jumping onto your roof. This will not keep them fully away, as they are both good climbers, but it will hinder their options.
  3. Consider investing in some roof vent covers to keep wildlife from accessing your attic. These will help to block entryways on the roof and are built to resist erosion and weather conditions, so they have lasting effects.
  4. If your home has a chimney, getting a chimney cap is a terrific addition. This will help to keep creatures, such as squirrels, from entering through the chimney into your main living space.

If you believe that you have wildlife in your attic, consider calling your local pest control company to help locate entry points, safely remove them, and prevent them from entering your house in the future.

When Is Bird Nest Removal OK?

When Is Bird Nest Removal OK?

Birds have been known to build their nests in the most inconvenient places around your home – above doors, over your garage, inside your shed, on top of your lawnmower, in heat pumps, and any number of other high traffic or hazardous areas. Although birds don’t typically pose a serious threat to humans, they can cause damage to your roof, car, and property. Their nests can block stove, dryer, and fan vents causing fire hazards and rendering them useless. Their nests can also clog gutters and drains, leading to standing water and potential damage to your roof. Their droppings contain uric acid which can damage the paint on your car. Bird droppings also contain pathogens that are dangerous to humans like histoplasmosis. Bird nests can also contain other pests such as mites, parasites, and ticks that can stick around long after the birds have left the nest.

Your first reaction when encountering a nuisance bird may be to just remove the nest. However, there are Federal laws regarding bird nest removal that make it illegal to remove certain species of birds or their nests. Best practice is always to check with a wildlife control company before attempting to remove any bird nests from your home.

Here are some steps to take to ensure both proper and safe bird nest removal and/or relocation.

1. Prevent Them

The best way to eliminate bird nests from your property is to prevent them from building in the first place. Remove any food scraps and open trash from around your home as this invites them to feed. Make sure trash is secured tightly in containers. Place any bird feeders and birdbaths away from the home and further out in the yard. Only put out enough food for a few birds and clean up any spills regularly. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent nesting in gutters and downspouts. Vents are a common nesting place for birds so install vent covers and screens. Use perch repellents if necessary; these are rows of bird spikes installed on ledges, window sills, and around the perimeter of the roof to prevent birds from alighting on perches. You can also use visual repellents such as plastic owls, hawks, snakes, and even coyotes. If you use visual repellents, make sure to move them often as the birds will get used to them being in one place. Hang reflective bird diverters from strings on your porch also.

The best time to remove a nest is when it is still in the building stage. If you notice a bird nest already built or remove one this season, keep an eye out in the same area next season and stop it before it is fully completed.

2. Check for Activity

Always make sure a nest is inactive before removing or relocating it. Never attempt to remove or relocate a nest if there are birds or eggs present. It is best to wait until after nesting season for any removal or relocation. Eggs in a nest without signs of the parents don’t necessarily mean the nest has been abandoned. The parents may be out feeding or they may have left to allow the eggs a chance to cool down.

3. Wait For the End of Nesting Season

The best time to remove or relocate a nest is after nesting season is over. Most birds only nest once per year; however, some species will nest 4 to 5 times. The time varies with the species of bird. Without knowing the specific species of bird, it is difficult to determine the best time to remove or relocate the nest. A professional wildlife exclusion expert can help identify the species you are dealing with and help determine the best time to remove the nest.

4. Use Proper Precautions

Once you have positively identified the species of bird you have, confirmed it is legal to remove the nest, and have made sure the nest is inactive and no eggs are present, you can proceed with removing or relocating the nest. Bird nests can harbor other pests and residual bird droppings that can contain dangerous pathogens for humans. Make sure to wear long sleeves, long pants, latex gloves, and a respiratory mask to protect yourself. Carefully inspect the nest to make sure it is empty of eggs and birds. Spray the nest with an antibacterial spray. Once dry, remove the nest and dispose of it in a securely sealed container or exterior trash bag. Dispose of it in the trash away from the home. Clean the area where the nest was with a strong disinfectant. Remove and dispose of your gloves. Remove your clothing and wash them immediately in hot water. Wash your hands thoroughly.

5. Call A Professional

It can be difficult to determine whether or not the bird nest in or on your home is legal to remove or the best way to remove it. If you have a bird nest that is causing problems in or on your property, contact a professional wildlife exclusion company who can positively identify the species of bird you have, properly remove or dispose of the nest, and help you identify areas where nesting could be a potential issue in the future.

 

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Wildlife Creatures to Lookout for this Winter

Wildlife Creatures to Lookout for this Winter

Food, water, and a warm place to live are three things wildlife creatures are in search of this winter season. For them, our house can give them direct access to these needs, where they often find their way into our chimneys, attic, basements, and crawlspaces. It’s important to know what pests to look out for and what preventative measures to take, to help prevent a wildlife infestation.

Rats 

Seeing a rat inside is always alarming. These rodents are known to live in crawlspaces and between the side beams of walls, often accessing inside through the smallest hole and gap. Once inside, rats will chew on electrical wire, causing property damage and an increased risk of fires. Their droppings are also a risk, as they contain pathogens dangerous to humans.

Raccoons

Nocturnal omnivores, raccoons are dexterous and can use their paws to open lids and doors. These animals will use their hands to dig for food, especially in garbage cans. A creature of habit, once raccoons discover food sources in a particular area, such as your house, they will keep coming back over and over, causing both a risk of an infestation and damaged property.

Squirrels

Squirrels are one of the most common wildlife creatures homeowners see. While they are cute from afar, if found inside your home, they can cause considerable damage. Squirrels will take refuge in basements and attics, often bringing acorns to store for the wintertime. Like rats, these rodents will also chew on electrical wire, creating a risk of a fire. Both squirrels themselves and their droppings can contain diseases and pathogens.

To avoid a winter wildlife invasion, prevention is key. Here are a few wildlife prevention tips to help with wildlife control:

  • Seal garbage cans and compost bins at night.
  • Bring pet food and water bowls indoors at night.
  • Trim tree limbs and shrubs away from your house.
  • Place a grated screen on top of your chimney.
  • Consider enclosing your crawlspace to eliminate entry points.
  • Examine your home exterior for any holes and gaps. If holes or gaps are found, seal them immediately.
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