Most people may not consider birds when they think of pest control; bird removal does, however, fall into the category of wildlife exclusion. While typically benign to homeowners, birds can be detrimental to both homes and health. Birds can be quite noisy, especially if they build a nest in or on your home. 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.
Birds have been known to build their nests in some very inconvenient places in and around homes. They are often found above doors, over garages, inside sheds, and other high-traffic areas. They can also nest in places that are dangerous to the birds themselves – on top of lawnmowers, heat pumps, etc.
While the decision to remove the bird nest may seem simple, 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. If you have verified that the species of bird invading your property is not protected and removal of the nest is legal and necessary, here are some steps to take to ensure both proper and safe removal and/or relocation.
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 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.
Request a Free Bird Control Estimate
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One of the most common questions that arises when a spider is found in a home is “is that spider poisonous?” That’s a trick question. Most spiders are poisonous, yet only a handful are venomous. Poisonous spiders release their toxins when they are inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the tissue or skin; in other words, they’re only harmful if you eat them. Venomous spiders, on the other hand, inject their toxin with a fang-like apparatus known as a chelicerae. These are the spiders you should be worried about and avoid contact with.
While there are more than 20 species of spiders in Georgia, there are only 2 that are known to be dangerous to humans: the black widow and the brown recluse. Like most common spiders, biting humans is a last line of defense. They are more likely to flee, hide, or even play dead rather than bite a human. It takes a long time for a spider to replenish his supply of venom after he injects it. Most will only use this defense mechanism if they have no other choice. Wasting venom on a human can even cause the spider to starve to death before his supply is replenished as he will have no means to kill any prey he catches.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the venomous spider species in Georgia, as well as some general tips to prevent spiders from getting into your home.
The black widow spider is considered to be the most venomous spider in North America. It is only the female black widow, however, that is dangerous to humans. Black widows are a red and black spider that is usually about 1.5 inches long with a shiny, globular abdomen and a reddish hourglass shape on its underside. While they are mostly black in color, they can sometimes be brown. The venom of a black widow spider is reportedly 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. While black widow bites can be fatal to the young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, most victims suffer no serious or long term damage from the bite. Black widows are not aggressive and bites commonly occur as a result of accidental contact. Common symptoms from a black widow bite include redness, swelling and tenderness at the site of the bite, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes paralysis of the diaphragm which can cause difficulty breathing.
The brown recluse spider is also known as the violin spider or the fiddleback spider. The brown recluse is a light brown spider with a dark, violin-shaped marking on its back with the neck of the violin pointing toward the rear of the spider. They also have a very distinctive eye pattern with a semi-circular arrangement of 6 eyes (3 sets of 2) while most spider species have 8 eyes. Adult brown recluses are about the size of a quarter. They usually live outdoors under rocks, woodpiles, logs, etc. but are also well adapted to living indoors with humans. Once inside they are commonly found in attics, garages, basements, and are even known to wander into shoes, clothing, and bedding. They hunt at night and retreat to dark, secluded places in the daytime. The brown recluse is typically not aggressive and usually only bite when they are inadvertently trapped against human skin (rolling over on them in the bed or slipping your foot into a shoe they have crawled into for hiding). While bites are rare they can cause serious wounds and infections. The majority of bites remain localized, becoming red, swollen and tender at the site of the bite. If left untreated, a necrotic lesion may develop, usually accompanied by a central blister.
Keep your garages, attics, sheds, basements, and other areas that aren’t utilized often clean and clear of clutter. Try to avoid leaving clothing and shoes on the floor and store them in plastic bins if possible. Shake out any clothing that has been left on the floor or in a hamper before wearing or washing.
Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Spiders can get in through damaged window screens or cracks in your siding. Inspect the outside of your home seasonally and make any repairs necessary.
Inspect any items that are brought from outdoors into your home. This includes any packages delivered to your porch or steps, groceries that may be placed on the driveway or porch as you are unloading, boxes of decorations being brought in from storage, or used appliances that are bought secondhand.
Contact a licensed pest control company if you suspect you have a spider problem. A professional pest control technician can inspect the exterior and interior of your home to help identify any possible entry points, identify the type of spiders and other pests you may be having issues with, and properly, safely, and effectively treat any pest problems they may encounter.
Request a Free Estimate to Get Started.
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Cockroaches carry many diseases and can cause several health issues in humans including food poisoning and can trigger allergies and asthma attacks. So where do roaches come from?
If you have a roach infestation in your home, there could be several reasons why. Roaches may have already been in your home before you moved in. Roaches are also very good hitchhikers and are easily transported from one place to another. They can get into your home in grocery bags, cardboard boxes, luggage, furniture, or appliances. They can also get in through the plumbing, sewers or drains. They can travel over from your neighbor’s home into yours, too.
But what attracts cockroaches if your house is clean? Like most pests, roaches are looking for three main things: food, shelter, and water. They are year-round pests and are incredibly resilient – making them difficult to control. Different species of cockroaches are attracted to and thrive in different environments.
German cockroaches are the most common indoor roaches. They prefer dark, warm, humid places near food and water, preferably in a temperature range of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can usually find German roaches in kitchens, in cracks and crevices of cabinets, near sinks or appliances, and in food prep and storage areas. They can also be found in bathrooms when the roach infestation is heavy. Early detection and control of german roaches is extremely important as they can be very hard to get rid of.
Oriental roaches prefer dark, damp, cool habitats. Outdoors you can usually find them where there is an abundant supply of organic matter like mulch or wood chips, under patio bricks, or between the soil and your foundation. Once inside your home, they are often found in drains, basements, and crawlspaces. They can also be found near leaky water pipes, under sinks, refrigerators, floors, and washing machines.
Brown-banded roaches prefer warmer, drier places (greater than 80 degrees Fahrenheit). They live in higher areas, usually at eye level or above, like your cabinets, pantries, closet shelves, behind pictures, in books, or under kitchen tables and chairs. They can also be found in warm areas such as near clocks, timers, TVs, and refrigerator motors.
American cockroaches are found in homes, restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores – anywhere food is prepped and stored. They prefer warm, moist environments and can often be found in boiler rooms, basements, around pipes and water heaters, and in drains and sewers.
Here are some tips to prevent roaches from infesting your home:
Clean up spilled crumbs and food immediately. Don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight. Throw away any food that is left out on the counter. Wipe down the surface of all food prep areas every night. Clean under your appliances and wipe down any that are on your counter. Make sure to clean underneath the refrigerator and stove, also. Rinse out milk jugs, juice cartons, and cans before throwing them away. Empty your garbage can every night and use garbage cans with tight fitting lids. Check kitchen drawers for any food debris and crumbs. Store food in airtight containers. Store pet food in airtight containers and elevate them off the floor. Don’t leave your pet’s food and water bowls out overnight. Roaches communicate through chemical pheromones they secrete as they move. Cardboard and paper are excellent absorbers of these pheromones. Replace cardboard boxes with plastic containers if possible. Don’t bring any cardboard boxes used for storage inside the home. Don’t store piles of newspapers – recycle them instead.
Carefully inspect the interior and exterior of your home. Seal any gaps or crevices you find, even the smallest ones. Roaches can squeeze through the tiniest openings to get into your home. Use weatherstripping around all entryways including doors and windows. Declutter as much as possible. Roaches can also get into your home through drainpipes. Use stoppers or metal baskets on all the drains in your sink and shower and make sure to keep your drains clean. Roaches will also hitch rides on firewood. Make sure to only bring in enough wood for one fire and don’t store any extra wood inside.
Most species of roaches prefer moist areas so eliminating water is key to helping prevent them. Remove any standing water in and around your home. Check for leaks and repair them promptly. Use caulk to seal gaps around your sink and tubs to keep water out of the walls. Don’t let water stand for long periods of time in plants and flowerbeds. Don’t leave your pet’s water bowls out overnight. Hang any wet towels and mats up to dry after using them. Keep your kitchen sponges dry and don’t store them on the counter.
Call The Professionals
Roaches can be incredibly difficult to control and eliminate. If you have a roach problem, contact a professional pest control company or schedule a free pest inspection now. A pest control technician can thoroughly inspect your home to identify not only where and how roaches are getting into your home, but also the specific type of roaches to better treat and eliminate them.
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Is Termite Protection Worth It?
Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. There are two main types of termites: drywood termites and subterranean termites. Drywood termites are found in warm, southern climates. They establish their colonies deep within the wood that they eat. As they consume wood, they create mazes of tunnels and chambers within the walls and foundation of your home. Subterranean termites are found throughout the continental United States. These termites build their colonies underground and emerge in search of food. They can enter your home through cracked or unsealed foundations.
Because termites eat wood from the inside out, termite damage often goes undetected for long periods of time. Often in fact, by the time signs of termites appear, colonies are well established and significant damage has already been done. Because of this, it is recommended that you get a termite inspection at least once per year or any time you find signs of termite activity. The average termite inspection cost is usually free (if no termite report is required, as in the case of a real estate transaction), or can be anywhere from $45 to over $100 depending on the size of your home and the exterminating company hired. A licensed termite inspector will perform a visible inspection on the readily accessible areas of your home looking for evidence of termites. The inspection should include a visual inspection of the entire interior of the home (including crawlspace and basement) and the exterior of the property. If evidence of termites are found, a termite exterminator will be required to provide appropriate termite control options and treatment.
Spotting signs of termites is a good indicator that a well established colony is nearby. But what are these signs? What should you look for? Here are 6 common signs of termites:
- Sounds: Soldier termites will bang their heads against wood or shake their bodies when the colony is disturbed. They use these sounds to signal danger to the other termites in the colony. The sound is often heard as a quiet clicking sound emanating from the walls.
- Wings: Flying termites are usually the first sign of a termite infestation. While they are often mistaken for flying ants, they are, in fact, “swarmers” who leave the nest in search of a mate to establish a new colony. Swarming season is usually in the spring after the first freeze. Once the termites mate, they lose their wings. These discarded wings, often found near doors and windowsills, are another common sign of termites.
- Warping: Termites produce moisture when they tunnel through wood. When they make their way through window frames and doors it causes them to warp, making them difficult to get open, often resembling water damage. This can also cause uneven or bubbling paint.
- Wood Damage: Termites consume wood from the inside out, sometimes masking damage for long periods of time. When wood is damaged by termites, it will often make a hollow or papery sound when tapped on. This is one of the most common signs of termite damage.
- Frass: Frass is another name for termite feces. Subterranean termites use their feces to build tunnels; drywood termites, however, push their feces out of small holes near the entrances to their nests as they tunnel. This leaves small black marks and a dark powdery substance near sites of infestation and damage. Frass is often found as piles of pellets.
- Mud Tubes: Subterranean termites build mud tubes to provide moisture and protect them from predators while they travel between their colonies and their food sources. These tubes are often found near home foundations. Mud tubes are made of tiny pieces of soil, wood, and debris.
If you suspect you have a termite problem or if you spot signs of a termite infestation, contact a professional termite control company who can provide you with a thorough termite inspection and a comprehensive termite protection and treatment plan.
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While we most often think of wildlife being a problem in the winter months, these animals don’t just disappear when the weather gets warm. Wildlife can still be quite active in the summer, wreaking havoc on our homes and gardens. Whatever the time of year, preventing and controlling these nuisance pests is of the utmost importance, as they not only cause damage to homes and property, but can also pose significant health risks to both humans and pets. Wildlife prevention (also known as wildlife exclusion) is the first line of control against critters; however, once they have established themselves in or around your home, wildlife removal becomes a more necessary option. Let’s look at some common summer wildlife, as well as ways to exclude them from your home.
Snakes are cold-blooded animals that require heat and sunlight for energy. They are more active in the summer months because they require more energy for mating. Too much exposure can overheat them so snakes are typically more active in the early morning and late evenings or at night in the summertime. They will also seek out shelter during the hottest parts of the day in cool, dark places like underneath rocks and decks or in basements. Snakes will choose where they live based on the availability of food, shelter, and shade.
To prevent snakes this summer:
- Clear away yard clutter, piles of leaves, and wood.
- Keep your grass mowed short to eliminate coverage.
- Trim bushes and hedges regularly.
- Make sure birdseed doesn’t fall on the ground and clean it up if it does.
- Block access to any potential hibernation areas.
- Walk the perimeter of your home and seal, cover, or repair any crack or crevice that is greater than 1/4″.
- Check your garage, garage doors, windows, and exterior doors for gaps and seal them.
- Seal any gaps around water pipes, electrical lines, sump pumps, and other spots that utilities enter your home.
- Ventilate crawlspaces and repair leaky faucets and pipes as these attract pests which, in turn, attract snakes.
While bats are scary to many people, they are actually quite beneficial at keeping insect populations down. In the southern United States, many bat species are active year-round. Bats enter homes through openings. They can cause damage in homes by ruining insulation, causing structural damage when their urine soaks through to sheet rock or particle board, and their urine and feces causing health concerns for occupants of the home. Bats also carry serious diseases such as rabies, with 1 to 3 cases of bat transmitted rabies occurring each year. Bats are nocturnal and emerge at dusk in search of food. Female bats search for summer roosts where they stay until they have their young. For this reason, unless there is a threat to public health, eviction or exclusion of bats should not take place between April and August. Colonies will disband in late summer as bats leave for their winter roosts.
To prevent bats in the summer:
- If you have a bat in your home, locate any openings leading to living spaces in your home from attics, garages, walls, etc and seal them off.
- Close all doors to the room where the bat is and open all windows and exterior doors to allow the bat to escape.
- Inspect and caulk any openings on the exterior of your home that are larger than 1/4″.
- Use window screens, chimney caps, and screen vents.
- Fill any electrical and plumbing holes with steel wool or caulk.
- If you find an entry point, cover it with plastic sheeting or bird netting and then once all the bats are gone, seal it off completely.
- Professional removal is recommended. Professional wildlife pest control will:
- Assess any entry points.
- Install one-way systems to allow bats to exit but not return.
- Seal any entry points.
- Clear, decontaminate, and deodorize the affected area.
Armadillos mate in the fall, with their young born in the spring, making them very active in the summer months. They prefer habitats near streams or other water sources with sandy or clay soil. They are often found in forests, woodlands, prairies, salt marshes, coastal dunes, pastures, cemeteries, parks, golf courses, and crop lands. They love to nest in rock piles, around trees and shrubs, and under rock slabs. Armadillos dig burrows that can be up to 25 feet long, which can significantly damage tree roots. These burrows can also cause flooding if they are dug around crawlspaces, patios, or walkways. Armadillos have poorly developed teeth and limited mobility. they have poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell. They have very few natural predators. They are strong diggers which they rely on to find shelter and food and causing most of the damage around your home and property. Armadillos will eat fruit (especially from gardens and compost piles), grubs, worms, beetles, wasps, ants, millipedes, centipedes, and snails.
To prevent armadillos in the summer:
- Eliminate food sources by getting rid of insects around your home.
- Clean up any rotten fruit that may fall to the ground.
- Maintain proper landscaping by keeping grass mowed and shrubs and trees trimmed.
- Install sturdy fencing that goes at least 1 foot into the ground and at a slight angle.
- Eliminate any areas of excess moisture in your yard as this leads to more grubs and worms.
- Set traps and relocate the armadillos.
Opossum females are laden with their young in the summer months, making them more active in their search for food. Opossums are found throughout the United States. They live in trees and will stay in them as much as possible. They also prefer wet areas like marshes and swamps. Opossums are nocturnal and will forage for food at night. They are beneficial in they eat harmful and unwanted pests around your home. They prefer to eat snails, slugs, spiders, cockroaches, rats, mice and snakes. They will also eat nuts, grass, fruit, roadkill, and garbage. They are rarely aggressive and will play dead when they feel threatened.
To prevent opossums this summer:
- Don’t leave pet food or water out overnight.
- Don’t leave garage doors, pet doors, or unscreened windows open at night.
- Pick up any fruit that has fallen from trees.
- Cover garbage cans at night.
- Clear out any dense bushes, shrubbery, or woodpiles.
- Keep swimming pools and hot tubs covered at night.
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed away from fences.
Raccoons are highly intelligent and curious animals. They typically give birth to their young in April and May, making them very active in the summer months. They are found throughout the United States. They prefer to live in heavily wooded areas with access to trees, water, and vegetation. They are extremely adaptable, however, and will make their homes in attics, sewers, barns, and sheds. They are dexterous, capable of opening doors, jars, bottles, and latches. They are known to carry several bacterial diseases. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, searching for food at night. They will eat almost anything including birds, eggs, fish, shellfish, frogs, fruit, insects, nuts, seeds, and even snakes. They are known to destroy gardens, tip over garbage cans, and cause structural damage in their quest for food.
To prevent raccoons this summer:
- Secure trash can lids, especially at night.
- Double bag any trash that contains meat.
- Remove brush and keep shrubbery trimmed.
- Keep grass mowed short.
- Seal any entry points to chimneys, eaves, and attics.
- Install motion detecting sprinklers or strobe lights.
- Remove any fallen fruit from trees.
- Bring bird feeders and pet food in at night.
- Seal pet doors at night.
Rats are active year-round. The summer provides them with ample sources of food making them very active. They are also busy making burrows and storing food in preparation for the winter. Rats can reproduce very quickly so control and elimination can be extremely difficult. They are excellent climbers and are well adapted to living in human environments. Rats can contaminate food, cause fire hazards by chewing through wires, and their urine and feces can cause serious health concerns.
To prevent rats this summer:
- Fill or seal any cracks, crevices, and holes found in foundations or siding.
- Install chimney caps and cover vents with screens.
- Replace any torn screens on windows and doors.
- Remove clutter from garages and storage areas.
- Try to use plastic storage bins versus cardboard boxes.
- Store firewood away from your home.
- Remove bird feeders and pet food at night.
- Keep food and pet food stored in airtight containers.
- Use trash cans with lids.
- Keep your kitchen clean from crumbs and spills.
- Empty the trash regularly.
Prevention is always a good first step at keeping wildlife away. Once you have a wildlife issue, however, prevention usually needs to shift to removal and exclusion. Consider contacting a professional wildlife control company who can assess your wildlife issue and provide you with the safest and most appropriate treatment and prevention options.
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