Nesting in Solar Panels

Squirrels Nest Under Solar Panel

Have you noticed efficiency issues and loss of power in your solar panels? Bird and squirrel nests are common causes of these issues. We’ll highlight how each of their nesting habits causes issues with panels and damage to the home. 

Squirrels Nests in Solar Panels

Squirrels are the most detrimental to solar panels; they chew constantly. They chew wiring which can result in loss of power which is a pricey repair. Additionally, their nesting materials can affect the efficiency of the panels, therefore generating less power. Moreover, once squirrels start nesting they will scratch at shingles. Eventually, if they scratch enough, they will end up in your home! 

Birds Nests in Panels

Birds nest under and around panels which will cause a buildup of dirty nesting debris. Their droppings also deteriorate important components of the panels and affect the efficiency of the panels. Moreover, nesting under panels will attract other animals like squirrels and rodents. Nesting materials can also cause leaks in the roof.

The Solution

We are continuing diligent research on the procedure of installation methods of critter guards to prevent nesting in solar panels.

Solar panel companies often offer animal proofing after the damage is already done. Ultimately, if critter guards are installed before the issue occurs, it prevents expensive repairs. Although this is a newer issue for homeowners, we are able to trap and remove the squirrels and install critter guards around the panels in addition to sealing any entry points around your home to resolve the issues.

Give us a call or fill out our contact form if you’ve noticed animals nesting in or around your solar panels!

Starlings in PA

Starling Sitting on Roof

What do they do?

Starlings are very destructive birds that have a variety of destructive behaviors that harm our ecosystems and man-made structures. They can monopolize feeders, impact milk production in cows by picking out strong protein from the feed, and they also leave polluted droppings. Moreover, their dense bodies and large, tight flocks disrupt airplane engines causing accidents.  

They often build their nests in homes or businesses. One of the most common places to build a nest is in the dryer or bathroom vents where their nesting debris causes ventilation issues or even a fire hazard. They also displace other birds by taking over their nesting spaces, destroying eggs, and harming the young. The female starlings will return to the same nest each year and add to it.

Starlings find any opportunities to take over nesting areas such as holes in trees and covered industrial nooks. 

Where did they come from? 

Starlings are not native to the United States, they actually came from Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. They were introduced into the US’s ecosystems in 1890 during a celebratory act. It was a large misstep as the starlings populated quickly. 

What do they look like?

They are chunky and blackbird-sized with short tails and long, slender beaks. During their flight, their wings are short and pointed which makes them appear as small four-pointed stars which is how they earned their names. They are also known for their gracefully synchronized murmuration dances.

How do we get rid of them?

Due to their invasive nature, starlings are not protected by the Migratory Bird Act. We are permitted to perform nest removal, trapping, and use one-way doors to flush them out of man-made structures. One-way doors ensure the birds have an escape point but are not able to return. 

Starlings also nest behind shutters which creates a mess and their droppings carry parasites. We offer custom solutions for starlings behind shutters including removal, cleanup, and repair with color-matched aluminum to prevent any future issues.

After we remove the birds, we close off all active and potential entry points. For vents, we create custom screening solutions or use vent covers when applicable. 

Starlings are not easily ignored, give us a call or check out our contact page if you believe you have starlings invading your property!

Hibernation Habits

squirrel in snow by tree trunk

As we progress into the colder months, it’s important to be aware of animals to look out for. Some animals will be entering hibernation and searching for warmer spots to migrate to. On the other hand, some animals do not hibernate at all.

We’ll go over common animals we see in the winter, their hibernation habits, and telltale signs to watch out for.

Opossums

To start off, opossums do not hibernate due to their low body fat content, but they do search for warm shelter. This includes venturing indoors into your attic, chimney, or crawlspace.

Opossums move around throughout the winter to avoid predators. A male opossum, fitted with a tracking device, visited over 19 different dens in 5 months according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Bats

Bats such as little brown bats and big brown bats can hibernate for more than 6 months waiting for the return of insects. They prefer caves, mines, rock crevices, attics, and chimneys. However, bats do not stay asleep the whole time. A common sign of bats in your attic includes noise or rustling. If an area gets too cold, it’ll move to a warmer area or vice versa.

Moles

While it may appear that moles have disappeared from your property, they have only burrowed further below the frozen surface during the winter. Their molehills may not be present, but as the ground thaws in the spring, the mounds will reappear.

Raccoons

Similar to the opossum, raccoons do not hibernate but search for warm dens. However, in extreme temperatures, they can sleep up to a month. Although they are usually solitary creatures, some will den in groups during the coldest days of the winter.

Squirrels

During the warmer months, squirrels gather and stash their food for the winter season because they do not enter hibernation sleep. Throughout the day, they are active outside. However, they do stay in their nests during extreme weather conditions. If you hear rustling coming from your attic during the day, squirrels may be nested in your attic!

Groundhogs

Groundhogs are one of the few critters we deal with that do hibernate from the first frost until April. The first frost usually happens between October and November, they then retreat to their burrows. The colder weather triggers a hormone that helps them sleep for the duration of winter.

Removal and Preventative Services

While winter is a less active season for animals, it is the perfect opportunity to have your home inspected and sealed prior to their reappearance in springtime. Chimney capsvent guards, and custom screening protect their most common entry points.

If you believe animals have made their way into your home for the winter, give us a call or use our contact form for removal and remediation!

7 Signs You Should Call an Animal Removal Professional

We’ll highlight some telltale signs that you might need assistance from an experienced wildlife technician

1. Seeing an animal in your home, or around your porch, garden, or shed.

If there is a bat present in your home, it may indicate a maternal colony living in your attic! Furthermore, it informs us there are entry points, or weak spots, around the exterior of your home allowing the bats to enter. Squirrels enter through unprotected chimneys or chew through components of the home. Other common animals lurking around your property include raccoons, opossums, mice, and birds.

2. Noticing damaged elements around your home.

Fascia, wooden components, gutters, and vents are a few examples that are exploited by a variety of animals.

3. The presence of animal droppings or nesting materials in the home.

Many animal droppings are highly hazardous, and cleanup should be handled by a professional wildlife technician. Moreover, bat droppings (guano), mice droppings, and opossum droppings are just a few common examples we often observe inside homes.

4. Burrows or tunneling in your yard or garden.

Moles and voles are usually responsible for tunneling and burrowing. In addition, moles will tear up your yard and create a large mess of molehills throughout your yard, destroying grassroots and plant roots along the way.

5. Pets sprayed by a skunk multiple times.

This usually indicates a skunk or a family of skunks are living on or near your property. For skunk removal, we only use traps and methods approved by the PA Game Commission.

6. Trash dug through on multiple occasions

The culprits behind this are usually raccoons or opossums, they will eat anything! Opossums also carry EPM which affects the spinal cords of horses.

7. Chirping or scratching sounds coming from attics or walls.

Bats, squirrels, and mice are just a few animals that cause noises like this in your home. Mice can get into walls and in some cases, trapped. Bats often cause scratching and chirping noises.

Vent Guards and Gutter Guards

Custom Screening

We are finally into the warmer months of the year which are active seasons for most animals in Central Pennsylvania! We offer custom solutions to seal and protect your home.

Some animals search from top to bottom for any weak spots. Once they find one, they will turn it into their new front door!

We’ll highlight the benefits of our gutter cleaning services, custom vent screening, vent guards, and gutter guards. Additionally, we also install chimney caps that protect your home from a variety of issues.

Vent Guards and Custom Screening

Some vents come with built-in screening. However, most of these built-in screens are not strong enough, which allows animals to chew through them.

The vent guards we use cover typical vents such as dryer vents and bathroom vents. For other vents that are custom to each home like dormer and gable vents, we create a custom screening solution that prevents animals from entering your home. We create a cover out of heavy gauge wire and aluminum for a perfect fit and protection.

Standard Vent Guards
Custom Screening
Custom Screening

Different Animals that Exploit Vents

Birds find vents to be optimal nesting areas due to the protection and warmth. Raccoons, squirrels, and mice are excellent climbers. Moreover, mice use brick, stucco, stone, and other textured exterior elements to scale your home. Bats will often use vents and other small openings to gain access to your attic or living space.

Our custom screening solutions not only seal your home but match your home’s aesthetics to create a unified, finished look.

Gutter Cleaning and Gutter Guards

Gutter Guards
Gutter Guard Installation

Typically, without any gutter guards, gutters should be cleaned out a few times a year. Gutter guards are not a permanent solution, but they significantly reduce the number of cleanings. With gutter guards, gutters should be cleaned once every 1-2 years. They act as a filter that is installed over your gutters that prevent debris from entering your gutters. Ultimately, this prevents clogging and allows rainwater to be drawn away from the roof.

We offer regular gutter cleaning services as well as gutter guard installations.

Backyard Wildlife Solutions has over 15 years of experience installing chimney caps, gutter guards, and custom vent screening. Please give us a call or use our contact form to find out more about our exclusion methods!

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