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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Common Winter Pests and How to Prevent Them

Common Winter Pests and How to Prevent Them

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

Squirrel
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

Skunk
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/MICE

Rats and Mice
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.

BATS

Bats
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

Raccoon
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

Chipmunk
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

Opossum
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.

PREVENTION:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Pests That Affect Your Lawn

It’s summer time, so you and your family will likely spend a great deal more time outside enjoying the weather. However, your household won’t be the only ones wanting to take advantage of your lawn. Especially during the summertime, certain insects can cause damage or even kill your turfgrass. Signs of insect feeding include grass turning yellow or brown and eventually dying. This begins as small patches of grass but can eventually lead to widespread damage. It’s important to eliminate lawn damage using preventive measures and Northwest Lawn Care offersdamaged lawn just that!

 

 

One pest in particular that you may be used to seeing is a white grub. These insects are the larvae stage of several species of masked chafer beetles. This said, if you spot beetles in your yard, you’re likely to have white grubs. They are small, white “C” shaped bugs with six legs. When these insects infest, they can destroy grass roots, which weakens the affected area. If ever you’ve been able to lift your grass easily from the ground, it’s likely to be due to these insects.

Two White Grubs curled up in the dirtThree dead masked chafers beetles

Another common insect pest is the armyworm, which is actually the larva stage of a moth and is therefore, a caterpillar. Like all caterpillars, army worms like feed of plants, including all types of grass. They like to chew on leaves as well as the base of leaves, leaving irregular patches of grass. Once again, if you notice a fair amount of brown or gray moths in your yard, you’re likely to already have an armyworm problem.

Armyworm crawling up a plant stem

Armyworm

Other common insect pests include billbugs, black turfgrass ataenius, fiery skipper, lawn moths, sod webworms and the southern chinch bug. Keep in mind that these pests are perfect treat for larger pests such moles, skunks and raccoons. If you feel like your lawn may be at risk, call the Northwest Lawn Care Team and they will meet your needs.

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7476.html

http://www.diynetwork.com/outdoors/how-to-identify-common-lawn-pests/index.html

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/homegrnd/htms/13inslwn.htm

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/white-grubs-lawns

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hibernation

Wildlife ControlChanging temperatures means changes in the types of pest you may see around your area. One of the reasons you may soon see certain pests less is because of hibernation. Hibernation is a period of inactivity in animals during which they experience lower body temperatures, slower breathing and lower metabolic rates. Most people think that hibernation is just an animal sleeping but it’s more about the animal conserving energy during winter when food supplies are limited.

To prep for hibernation, animals spend the autumn foraging for food, which means they might be around or even inside your home searching for a treat! Animals that spend the autumn prepping for hibernation include bats, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and bears. In addition, cold-blooded critters hibernate too because the cold weather causes their body temperatures to drop. These animals include bees, earthworms, frogs, toads, lizards, turtles, snails and snakes. You won’t have to worry worry about these animals foraging for food as they tend to hide away around the time autumn hits.

Make sure not to tempt these animals on to your property by maintaining a clean home and making sure the trash is not easily accessible. Northwest Exterminating can help guard your home by providing services such as Complete CrawlSpace and TAP Attic Insulation. If you are interested in this service or more, please visit us at www.callnorthwest.com!

Sources:

Dr. Goo's Corner: Wildlife and Rabies

Wildlife ControlWith cooler weather moving in it is the time of year where wildlife such as squirrels, rodents, raccoons, etc, begin to take refuge in your home.  Animal control is important for the health of your home.  Rodents make for unsanitary conditions by urinating, leaving droppings, chewing on wires, insulation, and other items in the attic, and can often carry disease.  Some rodents can be dangerous and will attack if they feel that they or their young are in danger.

A common concern for wildlife is the threat of rabies.  Rabies is a serious illness so we went to our health expert, Dr. Goo.  Below, Dr. Goo talks about the risk rabies:

Rabies is a viral illness that can cause death and serious illness if untreated. If treated quickly and appropriately almost everyone can be cured of rabies.

The most important way to avoid rabies is to not be bitten or exposed to animals that potentially may have the rabies virus.

The most common animal exposures to rabies are from wild animals. Bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes are the primary animals that carry rabies in the United States.

Pets can be protected from rabies by getting their rabies shots annually.  Domestic animals rarely transmit rabies.

If you think you may have been exposed or bitten by an animal that has rabies you should call the Georgia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.  You should also notify your doctor.

Remember, prevention and avoidance are the best defense against rabies.

Northwest Exterminating offers Wildlife Control for you and your family. The Wildlife Services Team specializes in the exclusion, removal, and control of wildlife nuisances like bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes – the most common causes of rabies exposure.

For more detailed information about rabies exposure, treatment, prevention, and protection, please visit the Center for Disease Control and the Georgia Poison Center.

Dr. Goo

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