As the season shifts from summer to early fall, cooler weather is around the corner. Many pests begin the hustle and bustle of preparing for winter – scavenging and storing food, finding a place to hibernate, or making their way into your home to overwinter. This time of year sees an increase in one pest in particular – snakes! Fall is a time for high snake activity and encounters with humans become more common.
There are many reasons snake control is important in the fall. As the leaves begin to change colors to red, orange, and brown and fall to the ground, they provide the ideal camouflage for snakes. Fall is also the time snakes begin to prepare for brumation and/or hibernation. Most snake species breed in the spring and eggs are hatched by the time autumn rolls around. These juvenile snakes are curious and more likely to be seen by humans. There are 6 venomous snake species in the southeastern United States and each of them actually breed in the fall. This means this time of year males will be actively seeking females to breed with, increasing your chance of an encounter with them. Overdevelopment in many areas has also depleted the natural habitats of many snakes, also increasing their chances of encounters with humans.
Because we see such an increase in snake activity during the fall, snake control becomes much more important. Here are some of our favorite snake prevention tips you can utilize this snake season.
- Familiarize Yourself. Identifying snakes is critical to avoiding and preventing them. Do some research and find out which snakes are common in your area, what they look like, and where to find them. Identify any areas you spend time in outdoors that could potentially house snakes and try to avoid them.
- Be Aware. Be aware of your surrounding when spending time outdoors. Look down when walking and check overhead when in wooded areas. Try to spot snakes before you walk right up on them.
- Avoid Habitats. Snakes like to hide in areas that provide them protection and coverage from predators. They can often be found in tall grass, overgrowth, on or under large rocks, rock piles, and wood piles. If you have to walk through these areas, keep your feet and legs protected, keep your eyes open
- Walk With Confidence. Snakes don’t have ears so they can’t actually hear you coming but they do respond to vibrations in the ground and can feel you coming before they actually see you. When walking outdoors walk with strong, confident steps and make your presence known.
- Cover Up. If you choose to spend time outdoors, make sure to wear closed-toe shoes and long pants if possible. Try to avoid sandals and flip flops as they leave your feet and toes exposed to potential snakebites.
- Look Up. Some types of snakes can actually climb trees and will even use overlapping branches to move from tree to tree without ever touching the ground. When walking or boating through wooded areas make sure to look up and keep an eye out for overhead snakes.
- Clean Up. Making your home and yard less inviting to snakes will help keep them from coming in. Seal any cracks and crevices on the outside of your home to keep snakes out in search of warmth and food. Remove any debris and clutter from your yard and garage. Keep woodpiles elevated and stored away from your home. Clear any overgrowth from your yard.
- Use snake repellent. There are many commercial snake repellent products on the market today. If you prefer a more green snake control option, there are also natural snake repellents you can make at home. Choose whichever option works best for you.
- Call the Pros. Snake control can be a daunting task. If you have a problem with snakes around your home, contact your local pest control company who can help identify what type of snake you are dealing with and help safely and humanely get them away from your property.
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While most snakes you encounter are harmless, many of us still don’t want to come across one in our yard or home. While our first instinct may be to run, most snakes are actually beneficial to have around – they help keep other pest populations under control (rodents, frogs, etc.).
Snakes will come into your yard in search of 2 things: shelter and food. Snakes will seek out shelter to have a place to rest, breed, and hunt. Common places snakes are found include overgrown grass, dense brush or shrubs, leaf piles, rock piles, compost, or areas with moisture like underneath bird baths, around leaky faucets and hoses, or near ponds or swimming pools. Snakes will also come looking for food. Snakes love to eat rodents, moles, frogs, fish, snails/slugs, and other small insects.
If you prefer not to encounter snakes around your home, here are 7 natural ways you can keep snakes away.
Get Rid of Food Sources
Snakes will come around looking for food so if your home provides them with that, you’ll be more likely to encounter them. Getting rid of these food sources will encourage snakes to move along in search of something to eat. Make sure common pests that snakes like to eat are kept under control. Scheduling routine pest control can help with this.
Get Rid of Water
Snakes are also attracted to areas with a lot of moisture. Eliminate standing water in your yard where possible. Repair leaky faucets and replace leaky hoses. Keep pools, ponds, and other water features maintained. If using sprinklers, make sure they are running in the morning so the water has time to soak in or evaporate before it gets dark. This helps keep soil in your yard from being too wet.
Get Rid of Hiding Spots
Snakes will look for places around your home to hide so they can breed and rest. Get rid of coiled hoses or use hose boxes. Avoid using rock piles in your landscaping, if possible. Store firewood in boxes or elevate it when possible. Keep your grass mowed and dense brush cleared out. Seal off or add fencing to any open areas under sheds or other buildings. If you are using snake-proof fencing, make sure it is made of steel mesh or plastic sheeting, it is at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep, it is flush with the ground, and it is angled outward.
Use Snake-Repelling Plants
Some plants are known to repel snakes. Try to incorporate these plants into your landscape design where possible. Common snake-repelling plants include marigolds, lemongrass, Mother-in-Law’s tongue, wormwood, onion, and garlic.
Fill In Burrows
Gophers, moles, and voles dig burrows across your yard. Once they’ve been eliminated, these old gopher holes and burrows can remain on your property. Snakes will commonly use them for shelter as they provide a great place for them to hide, rest, and breed. Fill in any of these holes and burrows with dirt or gravel. This will help deter snakes from using them.
Use Natural Predators
Snakes have a few natural predators that can help keep them away. Common snake predators include cats, raccoons, pigs, turkeys, guinea hens, and foxes. Keeping any of these animals around your home will help deter snakes from coming near. You can also buy fox urine and sprinkle it around your property to help deter snakes, as well.
Use Natural Repellents
There are several natural products that are known to repel snakes. These natural snake repellents can be used around the perimeter of your property, around pools, along the edges of ponds, and anywhere else you have noticed snake activity.
- Ammonia. Ammonia is especially effective around pools and ponds. Soak rags in ammonia and put them in unsealed plastic bags. Place the bags around pools and ponds to help keep snakes out. For best results, change them out daily.
- Naphthalene. Naphthalene is commonly found in many commercial snake repellent products. It can also be bought in pure form and used around your property.
- Sulfur. Sulfur offers twofold irritation to snakes. It puts off an odor that snakes dislike; it also irritates their skin. You can use sulfur around the perimeter of your property or anywhere snakes have been spotted. It’s best to use gloves as it can also irritate human skin, as well.
- Clove and cinnamon oil. These two natural ingredients work best when combined together to repel snakes. Mix them together in a spray bottle and spray anywhere snakes have been seen.
- Garlic and onions. Garlic and onions not only work when planted in your yard, but they also work as a natural snake repellent product as they both contain sulfonic acid which is known to repel snakes. Chop up both garlic and onions and mix them with rock salt. Sprinkle the mixture around your yard to repel snakes.
- Vinegar. Standard vinegar is an effective snake repellent around water sources. No dilution is necessary. Pour standard white vinegar around the edges of ponds and pools for snake deterrence.
- Lime. Lime is effective when mixed with hot pepper or peppermint oil. Mix these together in a glass bottle and apply around the perimeter of your yard.
Despite our best efforts, snakes can still make their way into our yards and homes. If you have a problem with snakes, contact your local pest control company who specializes in snake removal who can help you properly identify the type of snake you have (venomous vs nonvenomous) and help safely and humanely remove it from your property.
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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.
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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.
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