As the weather cools off and fall peeks around the corner, many people are taking advantage of the milder weather and spending more time outside. Unfortunately, many pests and wildlife, including snakes, are also enjoying the milder weather, preparing for the impending winter. Although most snakes encountered in Georgia are nonvenomous, there are a few species of venomous snakes to keep an eye out for. These include the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the eastern coral snake, and the pigmy rattlesnake.
When spending time outdoors, keep an eye out for snakes in backyards, parks, and areas near the woods. They also like to frequent areas that border streams, lakes, swamps, and ponds. Snake season begins in the spring, usually March to April. Snake season doesn’t end until late fall or even winter, depending on weather patterns and where you’re located. Snakes in the southern states will stay active much longer than up north where the cold sets in sooner.
If you run into a snake, keep these tips in mind:
- Familiarize yourself with the venomous snake species common in your area and how to recognize them.
- Try to identify the snake without getting too close to it.
- Give the snake space.
- If spending time outdoors, wear closed-toed shoes and long pants.
- Remove any brush, log piles and other attractants for rodents from around your home.
- Seal up any cracks, gaps, and holes that snakes can use to get into.
- Remember that non-venomous snakes are protected by law in Georgia.
Because snake season hasn’t quite ended yet, it’s still important to take precautions when spending time outdoors. It’s best to leave snake removal to the professionals, especially if you aren’t sure what type of snake you’re dealing with. If you have a problem with snakes or any other pests, contact your local pest control company for proper identification and safe elimination of the offending creature.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Two Reasons You’re Attracting Termites
5 Common Ways to Attract Cockroaches
Preventing a Mosquito Infestation
5 Reasons To Install Gutter Guards
Fire Ants: Still Active in Fall?
Nesting birds can cause much more damage than one may realize. But why would birds want to build their nests so close to humans? Nesting near, in, or on homes actually provides birds with protection from dangerous predators and helps protect them from extreme temperatures in the environment. Birds will build their nests anywhere that fits the criteria they are looking for. They prefer to nest at higher locations so they can survey the area around them for potential predators while keeping their nests relatively hidden. Bird nests can be found just about anywhere on or around your home. In fact, small birds will even nest in gaps in siding, behind shutters, or even on light fixtures.
So a bird built a nest on your home. Is that bird’s nest dangerous? They can be! Bird droppings contain acid that can corrode metal and concrete and even damage car paint. Debris from nests and bird feathers can clog drains and gutters leading to moisture issues. When nests are built in dryer, fan, or stove vents, they can cause clogs that restrict air flow, cause lint to buildup, and significantly increase the risk of fire. Nests that are built inside attics can cause damage to insulation.
Besides the physical damage to your home, bird nests can also cause health issues for humans. Birds carry pathogens that can be dangerous to the health of you and your family. Nests also contain bird droppings which can carry all sorts of bacteria and other pathogens like histoplasmosis. Nests can also contain parasites, ticks, mites, and other pests that can remain long after birds have vacated a nest.
There are also several federal, regional, and local laws and regulations that restrict or prohibit the relocation, removal, or destruction of bird nests. Without knowing for certain what species of bird has inhabited your home, disturbing the nest could be considered illegal and put you at risk for legal ramifications.
The best way to get rid of bird nests is to prevent them from being built in the first place. Here are some steps you can take at home to help prevent birds from nesting in, on, or near your home.
- Eliminate food sources. Birds often nest near homes because they provide an ample supply of food without having to travel far from their nests. Remove food scraps and trash from around your home. Make sure your trash containers are sealed tightly. Keep bird feeders and baths farther out in your yard and only fill them with enough feed for a few birds at a time. Make sure to clean up any spilled birdseed regularly.
- Keep it covered. Birds are notorious for building nests in dryer vents, fan vents, stove vents, and chimneys. Install covers or screens over any open vents. You can also install chimney caps on chimneys. Seal any gaps in siding and shutters.
- Scare them away. Consider installing perch repellents on window sills, ledges, and around the perimeter of your roof. These spikes will prevent birds from alighting on these areas. Consider placing plastic predators like coyotes, snakes, owls, and hawks) on your porch and around your yard. These will spook birds away from your home. Make sure to move them around periodically so the birds don’t get used to them being there. You can also use visual hanging repellents on your porches.
Due to the laws and regulations surrounding bird nest removal and bird protection, it is usually best to call a professional wildlife exclusion company to handle any bird nest issues you may have. These wildlife removal professionals can properly identify the species of bird nesting at your home and properly, humanely, and legally remove it or relocate it from your property.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Which Season is Worst for Bed Bugs?
Pest Control for Businesses: Everything You Need to Know About Commercial Pest Control
Mosquitoes in the South
What Are the Signs of Termites in Your Home?
What Attracts Cockroaches to A Clean House?
Unlike many warm-blooded animals, snakes don’t actually hibernate in the winter. Instead, snakes go into a state known as brumation where snakes become less active and their metabolism slows down tremendously. Brumation is similar to hibernation in that snakes will sleep for long periods of time. They will, however, wake up to forage for food and water and if a sudden warm snap occurs and temperatures rise for a few days at a time. When the weather cools back down, they will go back into their brumation state once again. Brumation can begin anytime from September to December and last until March or April.
Because snakes are cold-blooded, they can’t regulate their body temperatures like warm-blooded animals can. When cold weather hits, snakes must find shelter from the temperatures by burrowing in holes or caves, under logs or rocks, in tree stumps, or by making their way into basements, crawlspaces, garages, barns, sheds, wood piles, and even car engines. Snakes are very quiet and experts at hiding so their presence often goes unnoticed until they are disturbed.
Now that you know where snakes might be hiding this winter, the next question is how to keep snakes away? Here are some tips on how to prevent snakes from hiding out on your property.
- Landscape Management: Rodents are attracted to tall grass and overgrown landscaping. By minimizing these unkempt areas on your property, rodent populations are reduced which, in turn, helps keep snakes who feed on these rodents away. Keep grass mowed and landscaping well maintained. Cut shrubbery regularly and trimmed away from your home and other buildings.
- Storage: Snakes will look for any area of cover that will protect them from the elements without being disturbed. They will often seek shelter in wood piles or other piles of debris on your property. Make sure that these stacks are kept at least 12″ off the ground and, if possible, stored in sealed containers.
- Wildlife Exclusion: Snakes can’t chew to create openings into your home so they take advantage of any openings that are already present, such as gaps near pipes, damaged window and door screens, open windows and doors, damaged soffits, crawlspaces that aren’t enclosed, and through cracks in the exterior of buildings. Carefully examine all of your property and seal any potential openings that snakes may utilize.
- Food Sources: Snakes are known to feed on rodents, lizards, and frogs. Eliminate these pests and you will help eliminate snakes. Get rid of any areas of standing water on your property. Keep landscaping well maintained to deter rodents. Inside your home, make sure to keep areas clean especially kitchens and pantries where spilled food and crumbs are readily available for rodents to feed on.
- Professional Service: Depending on the species, snake removal can be dangerous to undertake on your own. It is usually in your best interest to contact a professional wildlife control company when dealing with a snake issue. Establishing a regularly scheduled service plan can help identify pest risks before they become an issue. These professionals can also identify any areas where wildlife exclusion services may be beneficial and establish a comprehensive pest control program.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Mosquitoes Active Through Fall
How Can Your Business Benefit From Commercial Pest Control?
Lawn Care for Your New Home
5 Ways to Avoid Bed Bugs For The Holidays
How Do I Find Out If I Have Termites?
Fall is a busy time for wildlife. As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, animals begin their frantic preparations for winter. Fall is a time to stock up on food and find warm places to shelter over the cold winter months. These preparations often lead wildlife into your homes in search of food, warmth, and shelter. There are several common critters that become more active in the autumn months. Here are some of the most common along with ways to prevent them from taking up residence in your home.
Rodents such as rats and mice will often seek shelter in your home because it provides them with a readily available food supply throughout the winter. You will begin to hear their activity in the walls and attic in the fall as they start storing food in their nests. You can prevent rodents by:
- Sealing up holes inside and outside the home
- Trapping rodents around the home to help reduce the rodent population
- Storing food in plastic or metal containers with tight lids
- Cleaning up spilled food immediately and washing dishes soon after use
- Storing pet food in sealed containers and not leaving them out overnight
- Keeping compost bins as far away from the house as possible
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures that hunt for food at night. They start to “fatten up” in the fall in preparation for the cold winter months with a scarce food supply. This makes them more active and more creative in their search for food – often leading them to your trash cans and home. Raccoons will often enter your home via the roof and are known to seek shelter in attics and crawlspaces. You can prevent raccoons by:
- Installing fences around your yard and garden areas
- Install bright exterior lights to deter them from your yard at night
- Keep trash in cans with secure, locking lids
- Seal any entry points on the exterior of your home
- Rinse out trash cans once a month to help eliminate odors
- Spray down trash bags with ammonia to help cover up the trash smell
Like raccoons, squirrels also like to “fatten up” in the fall as they get ready for the cold months of winter. Squirrels will often seek shelter in attics where they will make their nests and store their food. Squirrels are especially hazardous in homes because of their tendency to chew through wood and wires, creating the potential for significant and costly damage to your house. You can prevent squirrels by:
- Keeping bags of seed sealed and stored high on shelves
- Rake up and dispose of any seeds or leaves that fall from trees
- Take down bird feeders in the fall as squirrels love to scavenge these for seed
- Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight
- Trim back any limbs or branches that extend within 10 feet of your home
- Install chimney caps or screens
Chipmunks behave very similarly to squirrels with one exception – they will burrow in your yard instead of nesting in your home. Chipmunks build burrows in areas where they can easily access food during the winter. Chipmunks eat the same diet as squirrels including seeds, nuts, berries, grubs, and roots. Chipmunk burrows can cause serious damage to your yard. You can prevent chipmunks by:
- Consider installing fencing that is at least 8 inches deep around your yard, garden, or your entire property
- Make sure any exterior holes in your home are sealed
- Cover chimneys, vents, and pipes with mesh covers
- Clean up any leaves, nuts, or fruit that fall from trees as soon as possible
- Take bird feeders down in the fall and clean up any spilled birdseed daily
- Keep landscaping mowed and trimmed back
Bats will roost once temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. While some species will migrate south once the weather cools off, others will hibernate until spring. They will search for warm, dark spaces to roost that are hidden from predators but still easy for them to access. Unfortunately, they will often make their roosts in the attic or chimney of your home. You can prevent bats by:
- Ensuring the attic is well sealed
- Checking insulation to make sure it isn’t worn down
- Installing chimney screens
- Sealing any openings in shingles and weatherstripping
- Use window screens and draft guards on doors and windows that go into the attic
Wildlife removal can be difficult and is oftentimes best left to a professional. If you suspect you have a problem with wildlife, contact a professional wildlife control company who can inspect your home to identify your animal problem, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the animals from getting into your home in the future.
You May Also Be Interested In:
What’s the Difference Between Centipedes and Millipedes?
Winter Weather Forces Rodents and Other Pests Indoors
Granddaddy Long Legs Aren’t Spiders
The Importance of Annual Termite Inspections
Fall Without the Surprise Spider Encounter
FACT. Rats are one of the most common pest issues homeowners face. Rats are known for being destructive by gnawing on structures in and around your home including utility pipes, wood structures, and wiring. In addition to the structural damage rats can cause, it is also possible for rats to pose serious health risks to humans. Diseases caused by rats can be transmitted through bites or scratches. Rat feces illness can be transmitted to humans through rat droppings and urine left around your home. Humans can also get sick through contaminated food caused by rats running across countertops where food is later prepared.
Just how sick can rats make you? Here are some common rat-borne diseases found in the United States.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a viral illness spread by deer mice, cotton rats, rice rats, and white-footed mice. HPS is spread by direct contact with rodents or their urine and feces, by breathing in dust contaminated with urine or droppings, or by bite wounds. Symptoms in the first phase of the virus include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headache, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The symptoms then progress to coughing and shortness of breath. HPS is a severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease with a 38% mortality rate. There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread by rodents worldwide by either eating or drinking food and water contaminated with urine or contact through the skin or mucous membranes with water or soil that is contaminated with urine. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death. Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea, and rash. The symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses. If not treated, the second phase of symptoms includes kidney or liver failure or meningitis. The disease lasts between 1 and 3 weeks. Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics.
Rat-bite fever is a bacterial illness spread by rats and possibly mice. The disease occurs worldwide and is spread through bites or scratches from an infected rodent, contact with a dead rodent, or eating or drinking food and water that is contaminated by rat feces. If not treated, RBF can be a serious or even fatal disease. RBF is not spread from one person to another. The early symptoms of RBF can be similar to the symptoms of other medical conditions. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, headaches, vomiting, joint pain, and rash. If the illness progresses, more severe complication can arise such as abscesses, hepatitis, kidney infections, pneumonia, meningitis, or infections in the heart. RBF is treated with antibiotics.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease found worldwide that is spread by rats and mice. Salmonellosis is spread through eating or drinking food and water that is contaminated by rat feces. Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the Salmonella bacteria. Although commonly spread when a person eats contaminated food, the bacteria also can be passed between people and animals. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. Salmonella infections in people usually resolve within 5-7 days, and most do not require treatment other than drinking plenty of fluids. People with severe diarrhea may need to spend time in a hospital getting rehydrated with intravenous fluids.
Rat-borne diseases can cause serious and sometimes fatal illnesses in humans. The best way to avoid these diseases is to prevent rats from infesting your home in the first place. Here are some common home rat prevention tips:
- Put A Lid On Your Trash: If possible, use trashcans made of metal with snug fitting lids. If you must use plastic, make sure there are no holes in it.
- Don’t Leave Pet Food Out: Store pet food and birdseed in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Make sure to remove them at night and store them away until morning. Make sure to pick up any fallen fruit or nuts off the ground outside your home, as well. Remove standing water from bird feeders.
- Elevate Your Compost: Raise your compost container at least 1 foot off the ground.
- Keep Your Garage Clean: Rodents like to eat lawn seed, tulip bulbs, bone meal, and other items frequently used in gardening. Make sure they are stored in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Keep firewood a good distance from the house. Organize and store boxes in the garage off the ground to eliminate nesting places.
- Clean The Kitchen: Keep food stored in tightly sealed containers. Clean up spilled food and crumbs nightly.
- Keep Your Home Maintained: Make sure openings around your home are properly sealed. Keep your gutters clear of debris and water. Screen your attic vents. Keep screens on windows and doors in good repair and replace when needed.
- Call A Pro: If you suspect you have a rodent problem, call a professional pest control company or a professional wildlife removal company who can evaluate your home and provide you with a comprehensive treatment and exclusion plan.
Request a Free Wildlife Control Estimate
You May Also Be Interested In:
The Dos and Donts of Bird Nest Removal
When Should You Be Concerned About A Spider Bite?
Is Green Pest Control Worth The Investment?
Millipedes or Centipedes?
Protect Yourself From Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Disease