With warm weather here to stay in the South, snakes are out in full force. Spring marks the beginning of snake season as they emerge from their winter dens in search of food. While most snakes are harmless (there are only a few venomous snake species in Georgia), it can be disconcerting to come across one in your yard.
What many homeowners don’t realize is that they could be inadvertently attracting snakes to their property. Here are some of the most common things that attract snakes to your yard along with some ways to prevent them.
Snakes typically eat a few times per week when food sources are available. While their diet varies by species, most snakes feed on small rodents (like mice) and birds. Having an abundance of these favorite foods around your home will draw snakes to your yard.
- Inspect your yard for signs of rodents. Because they are usually not seen during the day, these pests can be present without you even realizing it. Look for holes and burrows in the ground which they use to hide from predators. Sometimes you can even find droppings in your yard. If the population is large enough, you may even see visible tracks in the grass.
- Clean up your property. Don’t leave any old food or garbage lying around rodents can use to feed on. Clean up grills regularly and keep them covered, as well.
- Keep your lawn mowed and bushes and shrubs trimmed.
- Rodents will also hide in piles of wood or in sheds/garages. Block any entrances they can use to access exterior buildings. Keep wood piles covered and elevated.
- Bring in bird feeders overnight and clean up any spilled birdseed.
- Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight.
Snakes need water to survive. Some species even thrive in wet environments. Common water sources include rain puddles, water features, birdbaths, pools, and ponds/lakes.
- Birdbaths not only provide a source of water but they also attract birds, another common food source for snakes. If possible, raise your birdbaths and keep them farther away from your home.
- After a rainstorm, take note of where puddles form in your yard. Use dirt or soil to fill them in or even these low lying areas out.
- Keep pools maintained with appropriate treatments and cleaning.
- Lakes and ponds house fish, frogs, and birds which are another source of food for snakes. Trim the grass and plants around any bodies of water on your property. Consider building a small fence around it that snakes cannot climb over.
Snakes will seek shelter wherever they can find it. Tall grass and overgrown shrubs provide the perfect cover for snakes from predators and also allows them to camouflage themselves when sneaking up on their prey.
- Keep landscaping maintained throughout the season.
- Keep grass mowed short. The blades of your grass should be short enough that they don’t arch over. This creates a tunnel snakes can use to move through.
- Use an edger or weedwhacker to trim tall grass and weeds from fence lines, as well.
- Avoid overwatering your lawn. Not only does overwatering make the grass grow faster and need to be mowed more often, it also attracts frogs, toads, and other pests that are a good alternative food source for snakes.
- Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed so that there is no contact between the shrubs and the ground. This helps eliminate hiding spots for snakes.
Snakes are coldblooded and prefer to spend most of their time when not hunting in cool, dark, humid environments. This keeps them from overheating and allows them to cool off after a hunt. Snakes can often be found hiding in wood piles, bushes, garages, and sheds.
- Try to make these common hiding places less attractive to snakes.
- Keep open spaces cleared. Clean up woodpiles, debris, rock piles, pool toys and accessories, children’s toys, etc. Snakes will look for anything that can pile up and remain undisturbed to hide out in.
- Most snake species thrive when humidity is between 40 and 50%. Consider using a dehumidifier in garages and sheds to keep humidity levels lower.
- Check your foundations and the exterior of your home/other buildings. Gaps and cracks in foundations, exterior walls, garages, and sheds provide the ideal hiding spot for snakes. Repair gaps, cracks, and holes immediately.
Most snakes aren’t harmful to humans and, in fact, can be beneficial to have around as they help keep other pest populations under control. If you have a problem with snakes, contact your local pest control company for a snake removal and prevention plan that best suits your situation.
You May Also Be Interested In:
How to Avoid Stinging Insects at Home
How Fast Do Termite Treatments Work?
What Types of Grasses Work for My Georgia Lawn?
Controlling Birds During the Summer Months
Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?
Although many people don’t welcome the sight of a snake in their yard, they are actually quite beneficial to have around. Snakes eat mice, grubs, slugs, and other insects around your home and are also a source of food for birds of prey like hawks. While most species of snakes are non-venomous, there are a few types of snakes that are venomous in our area. For this reason, you should never handle a snake unless you are 100% sure you know what species it is. Most snakes will bite when harassed whether they are venomous or not.
There are many natural snake repellent methods out there today with one of the most common being mothballs. But are they really effective? According to experts at the Blue Ridge Poison Center the answer is a resounding NO. Mothballs are made of either naphthalene or paradicholorbenzene. Both of these chemicals are hazardous to both humans and animals if exposed to or ingested. The chemical makeup of each of these substances allow them to turn into gas when they are exposed to the air – resulting in the strong smell we usually associate with mothballs. These fumes can cause dizziness and irritation to the eyes and the lungs. If ingested, mothballs can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia which is very dangerous. Mothballs also resemble candy to young children, making them more likely to pick them up and handle or eat them.
So if mothballs aren’t the answer, how can you get rid of snakes? Here are a few snake prevention tips you can use safely around your home.
- Make your home and yard less attractive to snakes who are looking for food and shelter.
- Remove any food sources such as rodents or other pests.
- Keep pet food sealed in containers.
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
- Clean up spilled pet food and birdseed from the ground.
- Don’t overwater your lawn as this can attract worms, frogs, and slugs – another food source for snakes.
- Have your home inspected for rodents and other pests and maintain routine pest control treatments.
- Seal any entries into your crawlspace or basement that are larger than 1/4″.
- Make sure doorsweeps and window screens fit tightly.
- Cover vents and drains that come into the house.
- Keep grass mowed – tall grass and weeds provide more coverage for snakes from predators.
- Clean up any debris snakes can hide under (scarp metal, wood piles, trash, logs, etc.).
- Check the roof for overhanging vegetation – snakes are good climbers and can access your home from the roof.
If you have a problem with snakes or other wildlife, contact your local pest control company who can help identify pest attractants, points of entry, and provide you with safe and humane snake removal services.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Fleas & Ticks: What’s the Difference?
7 Signs You Have Cockroaches
Bed Bugs: Where Do They Come From?
Back To School Means Head Lice Season
Avoid Bites and Stings this Summer
As the weather heats up, snakes will be on the move, emerging from hibernation in search of food. Snake season peaks in the summertime, making your chances of an encounter with these reptiles increase. Here are 7 common snakes you may encounter this summer, along with snake prevention tips to help you avoid these pests while outdoors.
Eastern King Snakes
Eastern kingsnakes are large snakes, usually 3-4 feet long, shiny black in color with white or yellow bands. They have a short, blunt snout, rectangular looking head, and small beady eyes. They’re usually found in protected areas such as woods, overgrown vegetation, cluttered areas, etc. and most active during summer months in the morning hours. If you encounter a kingsnake, use caution; they are non-venomous but strong constrictors and may bite if handled. Keep eastern kingsnakes away from your home by limiting their food sources – other snakes, lizards, rodents, and birds, removing clutter and debris, storing wood away from your home’s exterior, use a snake repellent product, or contact a pest control company specializing in snake control.
Rat snakes are large, 3-6+ feet long, and black and yellow with stripes, or gray with darker patches. You can expect to find them in wooded areas, overgrown vegetation, swamps, abandoned or vacant buildings. Though they’re non-venomous, they may bite if handled or threatened and will climb for food. Prevent rat snakes around your home by reducing potential food sources – rats, mice, squirrels, birds, and bird eggs – using a snake repellent product, or professional snake control by a pest or wildlife removal company.
Garter snakes are small, usually 1/5-4 feet long, with three yellow stripes running vertically down a dark colored body. They’re active during day or night hours and often found in suburban areas under debris or boards – anywhere that provides cover for them – and around water, grassy areas, woods, and marshes. Garter snakes are common throughout the Southeast and most of the U.S. Like other non-venomous snakes, they pose no real threat unless bothered. Keep garter snakes away from you home by limiting preferred food sources – worms, slugs, frogs, toads, salamanders, fish and tadpoles – removing items that can be used as cover (wood, debris, etc.), and using a snake repellent product.
Black Racer Snakes
Black racers are large snakes, 5 feet long or larger, with slender black bodies and sometimes a white chin. Juvenile black racers are grayish in color with darker blotches. Black racers are common through the eastern U.S. and most often seen near forest edges, fields, or wetland outskirts during the day in warmer months. They’re non-venomous and usually timid, fleeing when threatened. To keep them away from your home, reduce food sources – insects, lizards, snakes, birds, rodents, and amphibians – and apply snake repellent products.
Brown snakes are small, 6-13 inches long, and usually brown but may be yellowish, reddish, or grayish-brown with darker spots on the back. You’ll find them in residential areas, wooded areas, near wetlands, and in urban areas under wood, leaves, and debris, or any other area with adequate ground cover. Brown snakes are the most common snake found in urban areas. They’re most active during evening or night hours, occasionally seen crossing roads. Brown snakes are non-venomous and pose no serious threat although may bite if threatened. While they’re not dangerous, you may not want to find one hiding out around your home. Prevent this by removing clutter and debris from your yard and consider using a product that brown snakes find repellent.
Copperheads are large snakes, usually 2-4 feet long, with a heavy body and a triangular shaped head. They are tan to brown in color with hourglass shaped darker bands running across the body; juvenile copperheads have a distinct yellow tail tip. You may encounter a copperhead snake in suburban areas or in semi-protected areas like woods or swamps. They’re common throughout central and eastern U.S. with the exception of some areas in south Georgia and all of Florida. Copperheads are venomous and dangerous and may bite if threatened. Use caution when outside in the summer, especially at night. Deter copperhead snakes from hanging out around your house by reducing potential food sources – mice, small birds, lizards, small snakes, amphibians and insects. If you see a copperhead, contact a wildlife control company to safely remove it.
Cottonmouth Snakes (Water Moccasins)
Cottonmouths, also called water moccasins, are large snakes – 2-4 feet in length – with a very heavy body and a distinctly triangular head. Their color varies from solid brown or brown or yellow with dark crossbands with a white mouse (inside); juveniles have a yellow tail tip. When threatened, cottonmouths display with the head in the middle of their coiled body and mouth wide open. As the name “water moccasin” suggests, cottonmouth snakes prefer to inhabit freshwater, swamps, river floodplains, and heavily vegetated wetlands. While they’re most common throughout coastal regions, cottonmouths are prevalent across the southeast U.S. They are active day and night but more likely to be seen when foraging for food at night in warmer months. Avoid cottonmouths if you come in contact with one, they are venomous and may bite if threatened. Use caution around fresh water habitats in the summer.
- Clean Up Your Yard. This includes leaf litter, fallen logs, piles of bricks, rocks, or any other hiding spots. Keep grass mowed short and shrubs, hedges, and trees trimmed back. Discard mulch and clippings away from your property. Elevate firewood and store it away from your home.
- Inspect Your House. Snakes can get inside your home through holes in the exterior. Thoroughly inspect the outside of your house, especially under roofs, in skirting, under the house, in garages, etc. Repair or block any openings you find.
- Eliminate Food Sources. Snakes feed on frogs, rodents, and insects. Keeping these pests away from your home will also help keep snakes away. Clean up spilled birdseed from under feeders. Seal outdoor trashcans and feed your pets indoors if possible. Seal pet food and birdseed in plastic or metal containers with tight lids.
- Dry It Out. Moisture attracts frogs, rodents and insects that snakes love to feed on. Drying out this excess moisture on your property will make it less attractive to snakes. Get rid of standing water. Fix leaky pipes and spigots. Set sprinklers on timers to avoid overwatering. Consider enclosing your crawlspace and installing gutter guards.
- Use The Professionals. Establishing routine pest control can help prevent pest problems before they become an infestation. Contact your local pest control company for a free analysis and a scheduled service plan.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Have a Pest-Free BBQ!
Your Guide To Summer Pest Control
Watch Out for These Stinging Pests
Mice, Rats, And Other Problem Rodents
Where Can Bed Bugs Hide?
Snake season in Georgia starts in spring and runs through late fall. As the temperatures start to warm up, snake activity in our area will increase. As snakes emerge from hibernation, they will go in search of one thing: FOOD! This quest will often lead them into our backyards, gardens, and even local parks. With snake season just around the corner, now is the time to take action. Here are some snake prevention tips to help you prepare for snake season.
Clean Up Your Yard
Snakes will use anything they can find for cover. Take the time now to clean up leaf litter, fallen logs, piles of bricks and rocks or anything else snakes can use as a hiding spot. If you can’t remove them, try to elevate them off the ground. Keep your lawn and any other surrounding areas with grass mowed short. Snakes will use tall grass as cover. Low hanging growth from trees, shrubs, hedges, etc. provide natural places for snakes to climb and hide. Keep them trimmed back from your home and off the ground. Discard any mulch or grass clippings away from your property as snakes will burrow into these for a sheltered hiding space.
Inspect Your Home
Snakes will use holes in the exterior of your home to gain access inside. Carefully inspect the outside of your house for holes, making sure to check under roofs, under the house, in skirting, on garages, etc. Repair or block any openings that you find.
Snakes will often go after hatchlings and bird eggs. If you have chickens, ducks or any other birds, make sure their pens or aviaries are kept tidy and in good repair.
Eliminate Food Sources
Snakes will feed on rodents, frogs, and other insects. Keeping these pests away from your home will help keep snakes away, as well. Clean up spilled or uneaten birdseed from underneath feeders; keep outdoor trashcans sealed with tight lids; feed your pets indoors when possible; if you must feed outdoors, feed once or twice per day and bring food and water bowls indoors in between feedings; seal pet food and bird seed in plastic or metal containers with tight lids.
Moisture also attracts rodents, frogs, and other insects that snakes feed on. Eliminating moisture will help make your property less attractive to snakes. Eliminate any areas of standing water; fix leaky pipes and spigots; try to avoid overwatering your lawn; consider enclosing your crawlspace.
Get Routine Pest Control
Establishing a routine pest control service helps prevent nuisance pest problems before they get out of hand. By keeping these pest populations under control, you decrease the risk of snakes by eliminating potential food sources.
Most snakes that are encountered are non-venomous; there are some venomous snakes in our area that you should be careful to avoid, however. If you must be outdoors during snake season, wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and closed toed shoes. If you go outside at night, take a flashlight, lantern, or torch. If you do encounter a snake, don’t go near it and don’t try to kill it. Stay calm, keep your pets and children away, and allow the snake to move away on its own. Back away slowly. If you choose to, contact your local wildlife control company who can come and properly identify the snake and safely relocate or eliminate it.
You May Also Be Interested In:
How Each Season Effects Pests
4 Reasons For A Yellow Lawn and How To Fix It
Common Invading Rodents
Keeping Wildlife Out This Spring
So You Think You Have Bed Bugs. Now What?