Wildlife Control: How to Keep Animals Out of Your Home

Wildlife Control: How to Keep Animals Out of Your Home

The winter months can bring wildlife indoors as they search for food and shelter from the cold weather, causing property damage by chewing through the wood, insulation, and wiring in your home, and can also carry diseases that threaten the health of you and your family. What critters should you be concerned about? Most wildlife control services include the exclusion, removal, and control of animals such as squirrels, rodents, raccoons, snakes, bees, and birds. Safe removal of the nuisance critter is always the first priority when it comes to wildlife, but what can you do to prevent these animals from getting into your home or property to begin with? Keep reading for tips on wildlife prevention and bird control.

  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors.
  • Repair or replace any damaged window and door screens.
  • Replace loose mortar around foundations and weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home including the siding for damage, holes, and leaks and repair them immediately.
  • Repair any holes under exterior stairs, porches, balconies, etc. to keep animals from taking up residence underneath them.
  • Install chimney caps.
  • Cover the openings to exhaust fans, soffits, attic vents, and utility pipes.
  • Inspect your roof annually for water damage and loose or damaged shingles.
  • Keep your attic, basement, and crawlspace well ventilated and dry.
  • Clean eaves and gutters regularly to prevent debris from building up.
  • Don’t leave your garage door open for prolonged periods of time or overnight.
  • Keep tree limbs cut back at least 6 to 8 feet from your roof line.
  • Store your firewood off the ground and at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Keep your grills or barbecues clean and grease-free.
  • If you have fruit trees make sure you pick or dispose of ripe fruit and clean up any spoiled fruit that may collect at the base of the trees.
  • Clean up leaves and brush and don’t leave them in piles around your property.
  • Store your birdseed in secure containers and don’t leave birdseed in your feeders overnight.
  • Bring in your pet’s food and water dishes at night.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Dispose of your garbage regularly and use cans that have secure lids.

If you suspect a wildlife problem, contact a professional wildlife control company.  A wildlife removal expert will inspect your home to identify the animal nuisance, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the wildlife from getting into your home in the future. They can also inform you of any existing damage or contamination and provide you with a recommendation for repairs or clean-up.
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What Threat Do Rodents Pose To Humans?

What Threat Do Rodents Pose To Humans?

Fall approaches, and with it comes crisp air and the hint of colder weather. Our natural response to colder weather is to stay inside more for warmth and shelter. You may not be alone in finding shelter in your home. Animals, specifically rodents, such as rats, mice, squirrels, and chipmunks, among others, often find a way in your house as they come for the food and stay for the warmth.
These rodents represent a significant problem to both your property and your health. They can chew though wallboards, wood, cardboard, and electrical wiring. Chewed up electrical wires, especially, are a big problem due to the potential risk of starting fires.
The diseases rodents can carry are just as big a concern as potential property damage. Diseases ranging from hantavirus to salmonellosis to rat-bite fever can be fatal, especially for children and the elderly.

Hantavirus

Hantavirus is transmitted to humans from exposure or inhalation of rodents’ urine or feces. Early symptoms include fatigue, fever, and muscle aches. Infection with hantavirus can lead to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which can be fatal.

Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is an infection cause by salmonella bacteria. It is spread through rodent feces, most commonly through the consumption of contaminated food. Most people have symptoms like diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.

Rat-bite fever

Rat-bite fever is an infectious disease that is spread from bites or scratches from infected rodents, even simply handling infected rodents without a scratch could lead to the disease. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, and rashes. If not treated, it can be a potentially fatal disease.
Sometimes rodents in your house can feel more like an annoyance or minor inconvenience, but they can pose a serious threat to you, your family, and your property. If you see any signs of rodents in your home, contact a professional pest control company to ensure they don’t multiply and do some serious damage.

Season Changing Pests

Season Changing Pests

Autumn is right around the corner and it brings with it cooler weather, Halloween, football, and a plethora of new pests. As the weather gets colder, pests will seek shelter, food, and warmth in our homes. Different seasons bring different pests and this time of year is no exception. Here are 7 of the most common fall pests and ways to prevent them from invading your home.

RODENTS

Rodents
Rats, mice, and squirrels are among the most common rodents seen in the fall. They need food and warmth to survive the cold winter months. Rats are known to carry disease and can cause potential health problems for you and your family. They also get into food storage and chew through wooden supports. They build their nests in your insulation and can cause fires by chewing through electrical wires. They can fit into small gaps and holes to get into your home and bring fleas, mites, ticks, and lice with them.
Rodents can be prevented by:

  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Sealing cracks around your foundation.
  • Keeping your kitchen clean.
  • Decluttering your garage and attic.
  • Using plastic storage containers instead of cardboard.

COCKROACHES

Cockroaches
Cockroaches are the most common fall pest. Cockroaches can be dangerous to your health as they are known to carry 33 different types of bacteria and can cause asthma in children. They are large, fast, and extremely resilient. They like to hide near pipes and drains and are commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms.
Cockroaches can be prevented by:

  • Keeping kitchens and bathrooms sanitized.
  • Vacuuming frequently.
  • Ensuring cracks around your home are sealed.
  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Eliminating sources of standing water.

FLEAS

Fleas
Fleas come into your home on both pets and rodents. While they don’t transmit serious diseases to humans, their bites can be painful and irritating. Fleas can spread throughout your home quickly and can be extremely difficult to get rid of.
Fleas can be prevented by:

  • Keeping grass mowed and shrubs trimmed.
  • Not leaving pet food out overnight.
  • Sealing openings to crawlspaces, garages, sheds, and decks.
  • Using preventative products on your pets.
  • Vacuuming often.
  • Washing pet bedding often.

ANTS

Ants
There are several species of ants that are common in the fall. Ants can move into the walls of your home or underneath your foundations and cause significant damage to your home. Carpenter ants can chew through the wood of your home and compromise its structure. Odorous house ants can get into and contaminate your food.
Ants can be prevented by:

  • Sealing cracks around your foundation.
  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Sweeping your floors often.
  • Eliminating sources of standing water.
  • Keeping tree branches and plants cut back from your home.
  • Not storing firewood near the home or indoors overnight.

STINK BUGS

Stink Bugs
Stink bugs actively seek shelter indoors from the cooler weather of fall. Stink bugs don’t transmit diseases, nor do they bite or sting. They can, however, cause damage to clothing, furniture and other fabrics with their droppings. They emit a strong odor when they are frightened, disturbed, or squashed as a defense mechanism against predators.
Stink bugs can be prevented by:

  • Checking your belongings before bringing them inside the home.
  • Making sure screens on doors and windows are in good repair or, if not, that they are replaced.

SPIDERS

Spiders
There is a significant increase in the number and variety of spiders that appear in the fall. Fall is mating season for most spiders so they are actively seeking mates before winter sets in. The most common spiders seen in the fall are house spiders, which are responsible for the cobwebs you often see in your home, wolf spiders, and hobo spiders.
Spiders can be prevented by:

  • Sealing cracks and crevices around your home.
  • Turning porch lights off at night to decrease the number of bugs around your home for spiders to eat.
  • Dusting regularly.
  • Removing cobwebs as soon as you find them.

BED BUGS

Bed Bugs
Travel in the fall increases with a large number of sporting events, family gatherings, and students heading back to school and college. Bed bugs ride on clothing, suitcases, and even school bags. While they don’t spread disease, they do leave behind itchy red welts. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to control and eliminate.
Bed bugs can be prevented by:

  • Inspecting hotel rooms and dorms before unpacking.
  • Keeping personal belongings off the floor in public places.
  • Checking suitcases before bringing them back into your home.
Mice, Rats, And Other Problem Rodents

Mice, Rats, And Other Problem Rodents

When the weather turns cold we tend to spend more time indoors enjoying the warmth from our heaters and blankets. Animals are no different! Fall and winter are the time of year when animals invade our homes in search of warmth, shelter, food and water. One of the most common pests we see in cold weather season is rodents. While rats and mice are the most common rodents we see in our area, they aren’t the only ones that can cause a problem. Chipmunks and squirrels can also cause significant damage to our homes if they get inside. Here are a few of the most common rodents in our area, as well as some tips to keep them from invading your home.

HOUSE MOUSE

House Mouse

  • Light to dark gray in color
  • Weighs 1 ounce or les
  • Small and slender
  • Rod shaped droppings
  • Live in and around homes, farms, and commercial buildings
  • Prefer foods high in fat, protein, and sugar
  • Teeth grow continuously
  • Cause damage by gnawing on wood and electrical wires
  • Can contaminate your home with urine and feces
  • Can fit through an opening the size of a dime

NORWAY RAT

Norway Rat

  • Gray in color
  • Small ears
  • Tail is short in relation to its head and body
  • Blunt ended droppings
  • Exist in large numbers
  • Live in and around homes, in basements, in stores, in warehouses, on docks, in sewers, and in dumpsters
  • Burrow to nest under buildings, under concrete slabs, around lakes and ponds, and near garbage
  • Line their nests with shredded paper, cloth, and other fibrous material
  • Nocturnal
  • Eat nearly any type of food but prefer cereal grains, meat, fish, nuts, and fruit
  • Can fit through an opening the size of a quarter

ROOF RAT

Roof Rat

  • Dark in color
  • Weighs less than 1 lb
  • Large ears
  • Tail is longer than its head and body
  • Spindle shaped droppings
  • Spends 90% of its time above ground
  • Nests in trees and sometimes attics
  • Run on power lines or along the tops of fences
  • Nocturnal
  • Can fit through openings the size of a quarter

CHIPMUNK

Chipmunk

  • Small squirrels
  • Tan and brown with dark and light stripes
  • Make a series of high pitched chirps and flip tail back and forth to attract attention
  • Active during the day
  • Sleep in underground burrows
  • Attracted to homes with gardens, flowers, bird feeders, pet food, and nut trees
  • Can damage electrical lines, cable, and AC pipes

GRAY SQUIRREL

Gray Squirrel

  • Predominantly gray with white markings
  • Short thick fur
  • Bushy tail
  • Weighs 1 to 1.5 lbs
  • Sends most of its time looking for food
  • Active year round
  • Active in mornings and evenings
  • Nests in attics or garages
  • Also invade bird feeders and garbage cans
  • Can cause significant damage to electrical wires and telephone cables
  • Can also cause damage to wood, insulation, wires, and storage boxes in your attic
  • Can contaminate your attic with urine and feces

FLYING SQUIRREL

Flying Squirrel

  • Grayish brown body
  • White belly
  • Soft thick fur
  • 4 to 6.5 ounces
  • Up to 12″ long with tail
  • Large eyes
  • Low soft chirp
  • Nocturnal
  • Eat mostly plants, seeds, nuts, leaves, bark, flowers, roots
  • Nest in tree cavities
  • Occasionally nest in attics (enter through roof gaps)
  • Will nest in your insulation
  • Can cause contamination with urine and feces

So now that you know some common rodents, what can you do to keep them from coming into your home? Check out these tips to prevent a rodent infestation.

  1. Clean up spilled food immediately.
  2. Put away all food at night, including pet food and bird feeders.
  3. Keep food, including pet food and bird seed, in sealed, airtight containers.
  4. Keep garbage can lids tightly sealed.
  5. Declutter your attic and basement, especially anything made of cardboard.
  6. Store any items you can on shelves rather than in the floor.
  7. Keep your yard clear of debris.
  8. Keep grass and shrubs cut short.
  9. Trim shrubs and trees away from the sides of your home.
  10. Store firewood off the ground and a safe distance from your home.
  11. Repair holes in your foundation, garage, and interior walls and any gaps in your roof.
  12. Seal any openings larger than 1/4″.
  13. Use rubber seals under garage doors.
  14. Use door sweeps on exterior doors.
  15. Use weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  16. Use screens that are in good repair on doors and windows.
  17. Seal around pipes, drains, and vents.
  18. Use chimney caps.
  19. If you suspect you have a rodent problem, contact a pest control professional.
A Pest For Every Season

A Pest For Every Season

Just like the weather changes with each season, so do the pests that we see. Some pests prefer warmer weather and peak in spring and summer while other pests will surge in the winter as they come inside to get out of the cold. The ways that you prepare your home will depend on what time of year it is and what pests you are preparing for. We have provided you with a few of the most common pests for each season so you can be better prepared all year long.

SPRING:

Springtime brings about an increase in temperatures, the melting of ice, and the blooming of flowers. These warmer temperatures bring many pests out from their winter hiding places. As these animals emerge they will have one thing on their minds – food and water! Spring is also mating season for many species. Here are some common spring pests to look out for:

  • Ants: Ants forage for food in warmer weather. As the temperatures increase, ants will venture farther and farther from their colonies in search of food. This will eventually drive them into our homes. The heavy rains in spring also drive ants out of their colonies in search of higher ground.
  • Termites: Spring is the start of termite season as they leave their nests to mate and start new colonies. This is also known as “swarming.”
  • Mosquitoes: Heavy spring rains provide the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes will increase their activity in spring in preparation for their peak season which is summer.
  • Flies: Flies reach maturity at the beginning of spring. Once they mature, they will flock to areas that humans inhabit as they look for food. They prefer liquids and other sweet foods.
  • Spiders: Spiders become active in the spring as they search for food. The increase in insect activity as they wake from their winter slumber provides ample opportunities for spiders to feed.
  • Stinging Insects: Stinging insects include bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. These insects wake up from their dormant stage in the spring and they become more active. Spring is the start of their mating season as they seek to establish their nests and breed.
  • Bed Bugs: Although bed bugs are a year round problem, their populations can spike in springtime because of the increased travel for Easter and spring break from schools.

SUMMER:

While we get somewhat of a break from pests in the summer months, there are a few species who peak during this hot season. Summer is typically the time in many pests’ life cycles where they are maturing and are less of a threat to humans. Here are some common summer pests:

  • Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are the most common summer pest. The warmer temperatures allow mosquitoes to move through their life cycle faster which means they lay more eggs in the summer months. The summer rains also provide the ideal setting for mosquitoes to breed.
  • Stinging Insects: Stinging insects reach their highest populations in the summer. They will often build their nests in any openings in your house, under overhangs or in the ground near your foundation.
  • Ants: Ants continue to be a nuisance in the summer. As the rains continue through the season, ants will continue to seek shelter in higher ground. They will also continue to forage into our homes in search of food.
  • Flies: Flies are most active in the summer months. This is also their peak breeding season. Flies will spawn in animal waste, garbage, and rotting foods.
  • Termites: Termites are most productive in the summer. This is the season when they continue to consume wood while the queen continues to lay eggs and build their colonies.
  • Bed Bugs: Once again, bed bugs are year round pests. Many populations thrive in the summer months because of an increase in travel during summer break from school.

FALL:

Fall brings about cooler temperatures. This is the time of year when pests start to prepare for the upcoming winter. Many pests will start to seek warmth and shelter inside our homes. Here are some common fall pests:

  • Cockroaches: Cockroaches are some of the most common fall pests. Cockroaches cannot survive in colder temperatures so fall is when we see them start to migrate indoors in search of shelter and warmth. Cockroaches are known to hide near pipes and drains. They can spread disease and exacerbate asthma.
  • Spiders: Spiders are also common in the fall for the same reasons as cockroaches. They will move indoors to avoid the harsh colder temperatures, as well as in search of food as many of the flying insect populations decline as the weather cools. Spiders also breed in the fall so activity will increase as males go in search of mates.
  • Rodents: Rodents are another common fall pest. Rodents will migrate indoors as the weather cools in search of warmth, shelter, food, and water. Rodents not only spread disease but will also chew through wood supports and electrical wires in your home.
  • Fleas: With rodents come fleas. Fleas flourish in warmer weather so as the weather cools, we see their populations indoors thrive. Fleas will hitchhike into your home on both your pets and any other wildlife that come into your home in the fall.
  • Stinkbugs: Stinkbugs become a nuisance in the fall. Stinkbugs are known for emitting an extremely foul odor when they feel threatened. Stinkbugs are also considered a serious threat to agriculture as they can cause significant damage to crops.

WINTER:

While many pests hibernate or become dormant over the winter, don’t relax just yet! There are still many pests that we see in larger numbers in the winter months as they make their way into our home to avoid the harsh cold weather. Here are some common winter pests:

  • Rodents: Rodents are the most common pests we see in the winter. Rats, mice, and squirrels will invade our homes in search of a warm place to stay and an ample supply of food and water.
  • Roaches: While most cockroach species die off in the winter, Oriental roaches and German roaches are still active during this time of year. They seek dark, damp areas which are prevalent in the wintertime.
  • Bed Bugs: Once again, bed bug populations are active year round but they often flourish during the winter months as these are some of the busiest travel times of the year.

As you can see, no two pests are alike and no two seasons are alike. In the same manner, one universal pest control method won’t work for different pests or for different seasons. It is important to know which pests thrive during which seasons so that you can better prepare your home year round to prevent an invasion. If you suspect that you have a pest problem in your home, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.

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