Archive for Nuisance Wildlife

5 Steps to Take When Your Attic Has Been Invaded by Squirrels

Squirrel 300x231 5 Steps to Take When Your Attic Has Been Invaded by SquirrelsSquirrels may be an adorable source of entertainment when they’re darting through a yard or leaping from tree to tree, but they can be devilish little critters once inside your home. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a difficult ordeal. If squirrels have set up shop in your attic, follow these five simple steps to get them out of the house and back where they belong.

Set a Trap

A live trap is a simple, effective means for removing a nuisance squirrel. They can be purchased at many home and garden stores, and they offer the added benefit of causing no harm to the squirrel. Simply set the trap as directed, wait until the little critter finds its way inside, and then promptly remove it and release it outside. Note, however, that this method may not be an effective choice if your attic is home to more than one squirrel.

Lure Them Out

If your attic is host to multiple squirrels, it may be best to let them come out on their own. To do this, first ensure that there is a clear, easily accessible way for the squirrels to exit your attic, and then block off any other entrance or exit points. Purchase some squirrel food and use it to bait the pests away from the attic. Alternatively, you can make your own bait with corn, sunflower seeds and peanuts.

Call a Professional

It seems obvious, but sometimes the best choice is to call the experts. Pest control experts are well-trained and well-equipped to handle any pest, including squirrels, and they offer the quickest and easiest way to rid yourself of your squirrel problem. This may also be the best choice if you happen to find a nest with baby squirrels in your attic.

Seal the Attic

Once your guests have been evicted, be sure to closely inspect the attic area for any holes or other potential entrance points. The most common entry point for squirrels is a chimney. Consider installing an animal guard, which is a stainless steel mesh fitting that covers the chimney opening without preventing smoke from exiting as normal. It’ll keep the pests out, and it won’t have to be removed when you use your fireplace.

Prevent It from Happening Again!

An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure. While there are several options to remove squirrels from your home, your best bet is to prevent them from invading in the first place. Squirrels are proficient leapers, so trimming any branches that overhang your roof can help to restrict access. Another option is to install motion-activated sprinklers around the perimeter of your home. This will scare away any curious critters while also keeping your lawn nice and healthy.

For squirrels and other nuisance wildlife, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eastern_Grey_Squirrel_in_St_James%27s_Park,_London_-_Nov_2006_edit.jpg

The Truth About Snakes

Photo of black snake

Many people we talk to are terrified of snakes. While there are some species of venomous snakes in North Carolina we need to watch for, in reality most snakes are harmless. In fact, snakes can be beneficial in helping keep the rodent and insect populations under control.

According to the NC Cooperative Extension, there are approximately 37 types of snakes found in North Carolina. Of these, only six are venomous. The Copperhead is found throughout the state. This snake is normally 2-4’ long and normally lives in wooded areas or near water. The Cottonmouth, so named for the white near its mouth, is usually found near water in the eastern part of the state and in South Carolina. Cottonmouths grow up to 6’ long and are highly venomous. The Pygmy Rattlesnake is elusive, preferring to hide under rocks and downed trees. This small rattler grows up to 2’ in length and can be found in southeastern NC. The Timber (or Canebrake) Rattlesnake can be found in most areas of the state, though it lives primarily in undeveloped areas. It can also reach 6’ in length. The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is rather rare, though some can be found in the very southeastern section of North Carolina. These snakes can grow to more than 7’ in length and prefer to live in pine flatwoods or areas bordered by forests. The Eastern Coral Snake prefers sandy soil and can be found in the very southeastern sections of the state. It has red and black stripes and a black head, and is often confused with the non-venomous Scarlet King Snake (red head). Visit the Cooperative Extension website for some great photos of all North Carolina snakes.

The most common snakes we come across are non-venomous snakes like Black Racers, rat snakes and garter snakes. These snakes may come close to your house looking for rodents and insects. We often find snake skins that have been shed in crawl spaces where the snakes are finding (and eating) mice and rats! If you have firewood piled near the house, the snakes may hunt for food or seek shelter in the wood piles, so use caution when removing wood in warmer weather.

Most snakes – even venomous snakes – are not terribly aggressive. The best thing you can do to protect yourself against snake bites is to be aware of your surroundings and not provoke any snake you see. Many people are bitten when they try to kill or handle a snake. If you see a snake, just let it be. All snakes can bite and most can break the skin. Non-venomous snakes tend to have smaller teeth and are less likely to break the skin. If you are bitten by a snake you know is non-venomous and it breaks the skin, wash the area with soap and water. If you have any type of allergic reaction, see a doctor immediately. If you are not certain if the snake was venomous, you should head to the emergency room just to be safe. [Note: some people still believe you should cut open a venomous bite and “suck out” the poison. This does not help and is not safe!]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 5,000-6,000 people in the U.S. are bitten by venomous snakes, and approximately 5 people die from those bites. To put that in perspective, according to the Department of Transportation, almost 30,000 people died in 2011 in car crashes. If you work or play outdoors, be aware of your surroundings. If you come across a snake, do not try to pick it up or kill it. Simply back away and allow it to go on its way.

If you are worried about snakes around your house, give us a call and we can investigate!

 

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Clegg's Pest Control | Nuisance Wildlife | Deer Mouse

Would you willingly open your home to a friend or relative knowing they would pay you nothing and cause expensive damage to your property? Probably not, but every month we get dozens of calls about nuisance wildlife—critters who have moved in and damaged property, caused sleepless nights and unwanted expense for the homeowners.

Identifying nuisance wildlife in your home

In many cases, homeowners don’t immediately recognize they have a problem. They may hear some scratching or noise overhead and believe it’s outside when it’s really coming from the attic. Often times, the problem becomes apparent when urine soaks through from the attic into the ceiling drywall, leaving a stain. In other cases, there may be issues with electrical wiring as the result of rats or other pests gnawing through the wires. We actually had one call where an opossum was making so much noise building a nest at night near the duct work in a crawl space that the homeowner thought a person was living in his crawl space!

Common nuisance wildlife calls

While any number of different animals may try to make your home theirs, squirrels, opossums and bats make up the bulk of the calls we receive. In most cases, they are simply looking for a warm, dry environment to call home. If they can get into your attic or crawlspace easily, they’ll do it. Clegg’s will identify the type of animal in your home and then set traps to capture the animal(s), after which they will be relocated.

The damage they do

The degree of damage to your property may vary based on the type of animal in your home. Bats will leave droppings which may soak through and stain your ceilings over time. Mice, rats, squirrels and opossums also leave droppings and will build nests, chewing up wood, insulation and just about anything else they can find. These animals may also bring fleas and ticks into your home, and may carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. We’ve had more than one call where a homeowner thought they had bed bugs but it turned out they were bat bugs coming down from the attic after being brought in by bats.

Stopping repeat visitors

The only way to ensure you don’t have a repeat is to find out where the animals are getting into your home and close the entry point(s). Most animals can get in through very tiny openings, so it can sometimes be a challenge to figure out how they are entering your home. A word of caution: don’t plug the hole until you are certain the critters are out of the house, otherwise they may cause more damage trying to get out or they may die inside if they cannot find an exit. If you do try to remove the animal by yourself, use caution so you don’t get bitten. While rabies is uncommon in squirrels and opossums, their bites can still cause infections or tetanus. It’s also important to note that bats are protected under federal law. They cannot be moved during nesting season (October through March), so it’s best to keep them out in the first place.

If you find signs that you may have a furry freeloader in your home, give Clegg’s a call. We’ll come out and identify your unwanted house guest and remove it from the premises.