Animals in Gardens

Rabbit eating lettuce

If you tend to a garden, you most likely aren’t a stranger to animals in gardens. You may be wondering, how is it possible to keep them from eating your food?

Depending on the animal, there are a few different methods you can try independently or can be employed by an animal removal technician.

Always identify what animals you’re dealing with first to utilize the best methods.

Prevention Methods for Animals in Gardens

Physical Removal

With animals that we can trap, we always recommend physical removal of the animal first and foremost. Once the animal is relocated, we implement a prevention method for other animals in the future. As gardens are very attractive to many animals, we highly recommend preventative measures in place. Once you have an issue with animals, it is likely they will return.

Chili Powder

There are two main categories dealing with animal invasions; above ground and below ground. Above ground, an easy defense mechanism is applying chili powder to your plant’s leaves and produce. Most animals will be deterred from returning. This process may need to be repeated depending on weather conditions but can serve as a temporary fix.

This can be effective for animals that love to climb over fences like squirrels, raccoons, or opossums. It is also a natural alternative to sprays or other repellents which are rather ineffective and can be harmful to plants. Just make sure to wash your foods well before consuming them to avoid the extra spice!

Fencing

Fences can be somewhat effective depending on the type of animal you have. For fencing, we recommend installing fences that extend below the surface of your garden. This prevents animals like groundhogs, moles, skunks, and rabbits from having access to your garden.

Groundhogs are primarily herbivores, and gardens are the perfect place for them to munch! They burrow underground, a telltale sign we see with groundhogs is multiple holes in your yard.

In addition to groundhogs, moles also spend a lot of their time underground. While they won’t directly eat your plants, their tunneling uproots plants and destroys root systems. A fence that is made up of a heavy gauge wire and extends below the ground would be the best solution for these two animals.

Visual Deterrent for Birds

While we’re unable to trap birds and fences do not offer protection from birds, visual deterrents that do not affect your plants can be effective. Sprays and other repellents are often ineffective when dealing with birds.

With almost any issue you’re having with animals in your garden, we can help. Give us a call or contact us for animals in gardens!

 

 

Animals in Chimneys

Open Chimney Flues

In a previous blog, we wrote about chimney caps which provide a variety of benefits from keeping unwanted animals out to house fire prevention. We’ll go over different types of chimneys and how animals exploit them. 

About Chimneys

We always recommend open and unused chimneys should be closed with a cap to prevent energy loss and unwanted animal tenants. Often, most older homes had water heaters and furnaces, stoves, or fireplaces that were vented through chimneys. Newer homes that include furnaces and water heaters often ventilate through updated methods. With over 15 years of experience in animal removal and repair, we can easily inspect and identify the best solutions.

Animals in Chimneys

Often, they will enter chimneys and find damage inside due to age or weather issues. Common animals that exploit chimneys include raccoons, squirrels, bats, and birds. From the chimney, they can find a way into walls or attics through missing spots of brick and mortar. Homes and chimneys built with stone are optimal opportunities for critters that love to climb. 

Older chimneys often allow critters to easily crawl in and out, which permits them to make your home, their home! Additionally, we have had quite a few customers that have had animals climb in their chimneys and enter their living spaces. In these cases, animals are able to crawl down but unable to crawl back up. 

Chimneys with Dampers

In some other cases, chimneys with dampers also provide access. Some designs of chimneys include a damper which more often than not, can get stuck.

A few years ago, a homeowner experienced this issue and ended up with two squirrels in their living room within a week. After we removed the second squirrel, we recommended the installation of a stainless steel chimney cap to prevent any other animals from entering their chimney.

The Bottom Line

Our stainless chimney caps include a lifetime warranty and include a variety of benefits, keeping animals out first and foremost. If there is more serious damage, we can recommend a consultation with a chimney company for repair.

Give us a call or contact us to identify the best solution for your chimney!

Types of Bats in Pennsylvania

Bat Hanging From Tree

There are a few different types of bats in Pennsylvania; if you see a bat it is most likely a little brown bat or big brown bat. Bats are protected and heavily control bug populations near their roosting sites.

Bats are also common carriers of rabies, and great care must be taken throughout the removal and repair process.

About Little Brown Bats

Little Brown Bats are the most common bats in PA. Their fur is golden, red, or olive-brown featuring a darker face while their feet and wing membranes are black.

They prefer to create their nests, or roosts, in buildings, trees, woodpiles, caves, or manmade structures.

However, their populations are dwindling due to white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is a fungus that attacks bats during hibernation periods. The disease is fatal for bats but it does not affect humans.

About Big Brown Bats

Big brown bags have brown glossy fur. Their wing membranes, face, and feet are dark brown to black. They are much larger than little brown bats, their wingspan stretches up to 13 inches!

Big brown bats can migrate hundreds of miles, and their larger size allows them to hibernate in lower temperatures compared to other Northern American bat species.

Big brown bats hibernate in similar conditions as the little brown bats.

Hibernation

Bats enter torpor, or hibernation when their body temperature is able to drop to near freezing. A bat’s heart rate drops from 200-300 beats per minute to 10 beats per minute. Moreover, they can even go for a few minutes without taking a breath.

In torpor, bats’ energy consumption is reduced by 98%; this allows them to remain in torpor for a few hours or even up to a month in winter. If bats wake up or are disturbed often, they burn through the fat they have stored for the winter before springtime.

Bat Removal

With new developments and construction, bats may be forced out of their homes. However, they reintegrate themselves back into the new environment, making your home their new home.

Additionally, the most common signs of bags in your home are chirping or rustling sounds. As nocturnal animals, these noises likely occur in the evening, late at night, or early in the morning. They also leave grease-stained appearances on components near their entry points.

As mentioned before, bats are protected and there are restrictions with the timing of removal. Depending on what season it is, we can place one-way doors along with sealing secondary entry points, which ensures bats can leave, but not return.

During the summer, we cannot place one-way doors until the young are large enough to fly if a maternal colony is present. We can seal secondary entry points, but primary entry points must remain open.

Repair and Remediation

In addition to sealing entry points, we also offer other methods of exclusion. Chimney caps, custom screening, and vent covers are all preventative services we offer for bats and other animals.

We also offer cleanup of bat droppings (guano). Guano is hazardous due to the potential presence of histoplasmosis, we use HEPA filtered vacuums and PPE to prevent transmission.

Give us a call or use our contact form for the removal and repair of different types of bats in Pennsylvania!

Preventative Measures for Winter

As it gets colder outside, many animals are in search of protection against the elements. We’ll talk about how to secure your home for winter to prevent animals from gaining access to your home. 

Last winter, we wrote a blog about animals and their hibernation habits, but not all animals in Pennsylvania hibernate throughout the entire winter. 

Inspections and Sealing

First and foremost, we recommend a general inspection be performed of the home. This helps us identify any weak spots or openings that would allow an animal to gain access to your home or property. Some animals such as squirrels, mice, and rats can gain access through a hole the size of a quarter, or enlarge the hole to get inside. 

Vent Guards and Custom Screening

Commonly, animals gain access through vents. Most gable end vents have light screening installed but this allows animals to chew through. Moreover, squirrels and raccoons will chew through, gaining access to your attic.

Securing Pet Food and Garbage

Securing any pet food and garbage also prevents animals from being attracted to your home. Opossums are attracted to pet food and are often caught using pet doors.

Additionally, any bird feeders should be emptied as they have migrated. Ultimately, unsecured food will attract other unwanted animals to your property. Making sure that all doors, especially shed and garage doors, are tightly closed also prevents animals from getting into unwanted places. 

Chimney Caps

Chimney caps are another recommended method of protection. Not only do chimney caps prevent animals from entering, but there’s also a variety of benefits achieved from installing a chimney cap. Fire prevention, moisture damage prevention, and downdraft reduction are all additional benefits. 

During a job we completed a few years ago, a family opened the damper to start a fire and the damper had gotten stuck. A squirrel came down their chimney and was unable to climb up.

We recommended a chimney cap and manually shut the damper upon customer request. But later that week, the damper was opened for another fire and was stuck again. Another squirrel ended up in their fireplace. 

Your Local Animal Removal Experts

We’re licensed by the PA Game Commission and follow all of their guidelines for trapping and removal. If you experience any of these issues throughout the winter, give us a call or use our contact form.

Animal Poisons and Repellents

There’s a large market for all types of animal repellents and deterrents but most are not successful or effective. We always recommend trapping and physical removal of animals for the most effective way to ensure the animals do not return. 

We’ll go over a few different repellents and explain why we find them ineffective.

The Different Types of Animal Repellents

Ultrasonic Devices/Noise Makers

These devices produce different sound frequencies depending on the animals they are intended to repel. They use frequencies higher than 20 kHz/kilohertz or lower than 20 kHz. On some devices, the user can adjust the frequency

The sound is intended to irritate pesky critters and prevent them from creating their living spaces close to where the noise originates from.

The issue with these is that they can be audible to certain individuals depending on their age and hearing sensitivity. These noises can also disturb your household pets or nearby household pets. It’s also not a humane method, some scientific studies have shown that animals react by a rise in body temperature rising or seizures. Then, the animal may pass in an enclosed space which leads to a tricky animal extraction. 

Ultimately, scientific studies completed on ultrasonic devices have no control group; there is no concrete scientific evidence to back up their efficiency. Many customers we have talked to mention they have tried the ultrasonic device and it did not solve their issues.  On some occasions, we have seen bats hanging off of ultrasonic devices! 

Sprays/Powders

By looking at the low reviews of many different repellent sprays, one can see that these are ineffective. Most liquid repellents are used for types of gardening and planting. Repellent sprays are supposed to make the animal so uncomfortable in a space the animal would normally be comfortable at that they leave and find a new residence. 

One of the biggest issues with sprays is that you will need to continue purchasing them and do not keep animals away permanently. Often, the offending animals keep returning to the areas they find to be optimal living space hoping the repellent has worn off. More often than not, the repellents are ineffective even for short-term use. 

To keep animals from returning, we always suggest physical removal of the animal and exclusion which keeps the animal from returning. By sealing off potential entry points around homes, sheds, decks, etc then the animals are not provided with an opportunity to exploit the area.  

Poisons

The most common issue we see with poisons is that animals will often die from the poison and become trapped in a small area. They emit a foul odor and depending on where they wedge themselves, it’s a costly repair. Especially, small rodents like mice and rats that often become trapped in walls after ingesting poison. 

If this does or has happened, we do offer removal of dead animals.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, we always recommend physical removal of all animals followed by exclusion and remediation. Give us a call or use our contact form if you’re noticing animals in or around your home!