What to do if a Raccoon is Living Under a Deck

What to do if a Raccoon is Living Under a Deck

While most people love having wildlife nearby, not many homeowners want animals to take up residence in or around their homes. Mother raccoons have a propensity for adapting accessible areas to meet their nesting needs. One of their favorite places to set up housekeeping is under a deck or shed. Because there is an element of danger to family members and pets. most homeowners want any raccoons encroaching on their properties removed quickly. However, there are a few things to consider before deciding on a removal strategy.

Discuss the Issue With a Professional

Knowing What to do if a raccoon is living under a deck or shed is important for residents’ safety as well as the safety of the animal. Removal experts generally recommend specific strategies designed to get the raccoons to move on their own accord rather than trapping them. The reason is that raccoons move into areas like crawlspaces and areas under decks or porches to have a safe place for their offspring. That means trapping a mother raccoon will very likely result in the death of any babies. Animal removal professionals will generally suggest a couple of other strategies before resorting to trapping.

Make the Raccoons Uncomfortable

Rather than trapping as a solution, removal experts may suggest using some type of harassing strategy.  This could make the raccoon feel like it’s in their best interests to move somewhere else on their own. A forced removal by trapping may separate the mother raccoon from her young or cause her to abandon the young kits if they are moved very far from their home territory. That’s why animal welfare experts suggest using harassment strategies as a removal technique. The favored techniques include:

  • Noise. The mother raccoon wants a quiet place to birth and begin raising her kits. However, not all types of sounds make the raccoons uncomfortable or afraid. Most experts agree that music doesn’t really scare the raccoons, but human voices do. That means a radio tuned to a talk station and turned up as loud as possible for the conditions will generally lead to the mother raccoon and the kits abandoning their lair.
  • Light. Since Raccoons are nocturnal, they tend to prefer darkness. That means placing a source of bright light near the den will generally encourage the raccoon family to seek shelter somewhere else.
  • Smell. One of the ways to encourage the raccoons to leave is to place fabric soaked with ammonia around the entrance to the den space. However, most experts agree that smell alone may not be enough to drive the raccoons away. As a rule, it’s best to use a combination of techniques to guarantee the best results.

Consistency is Key to Keeping Raccoons Away

It’s also important to remember the raccoons may tolerate any of the strategies for a short time. That means property owners will need to be consistent and leave the light, noise, and odor sources in place for several days. Usually, three or four days will be sufficient, but there are no hard-and-fast timeframes.

According to ontariospca.ca “During the use of any deterrent method you need patience, as it will take several days for the raccoons to leave. The raccoon must find a new, suitable den site, and if there are young involved, it may take the mother a few nights to relocate them.”  When trying to determine if the removal strategies have worked, it’s best to work with an expert.

If you’re unsure of What to do if a raccoon is living under a deck or shed, get in touch with a removal expert. They’ll gladly work with you to determine the best way to get rid of raccoons under deck or shed.

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Tips on How to Get Rid of Skunks on Your Property

Tips on How to Get Rid of Skunks on Your Property

Coming into close proximity with a skunk can be a stressful experience. Anyone who has smelled a skunk knows just how noxious this odor can be.

Not only do skunks present the danger of spraying you or your pet, but they also dig holes in landscapes and gardens.  Skunks may also try to forage through trash cans for food.  Homeowners who have a problem with these pests need to know how to get rid of skunks on your property.

Reinforce the Home

You as a homeowner are not always aware you have a skunk problem until you smell the musky scent they leave behind. If a skunk becomes startled by a person or animal, they will release their fumes. Unfortunately, skunk spray features natural oils that can be terribly difficult to break up and clean.

Even though you may not have noticed any skunk smell, you may notice small and large holes appearing around your property. If a skunk problem occurs at your home, you need to understand how to get rid of skunks on your property so you can be rid of these pests once and for all.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Pests

Skunks will often begin looking for shelter at the beginning of winter and then during the latter half of winter.  They will also start looking for a mate. Skunks are often found under homes, where they try to set up a shelter for mating and protecting their offspring. To ensure the skunks are not able to get underneath the home, a homeowner needs to make sure they carefully seal all areas. Skunks can squeeze through small openings so all areas need to be secured.

Skunks will also take shelter under porches, decks, and just about any other place they can gain access to.

The Daily Herald Newspaper said the following about protecting your home from skunks:  “A small void usually develops under those stoops as the dirt around a house settles and skunks like to live under there where they can feel safe from predators.”

Surveying the yard and home can allow a homeowner to find problem areas so the skunks will no longer have access to the property.

Hire the Professionals

Sometimes, a skunk problem becomes way too big to manage. When a homeowner has done everything they possibly can to make their property unattractive for skunks, it is likely time to call in the professionals for skunk removal.

There are many methods that can be used to both trap skunks and safely remove them from the area and keep them away. Granules can be used by the wildlife animal control to make the property much less attractive to the skunks. When the skunk smells these granules or other deterrents, they will typically try to avoid the property if at all possible.

If you are dealing with a major skunk problem and are tired of the stench, make sure you reach out to the professionals so they can help. While you could take a DIY approach, there is a big risk of getting sprayed or bitten.

Call Animal Control Specialists with any questions you might have so we can give you the answers you need. With our services, you can be free of your skunk problem.

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Hornet Nest Removal and Tips

Hornet Nest Removal and Tips

Hornets are beneficial to the environment as they prey on other insects, but they can be dangerous near homes. When the hornets believe their home is threatened, they can become aggressive and can sting. Many stings at once could lead to a life-threatening situation, especially if the person who was stung is allergic to hornets. If a nest is close to the home, homeowners can tackle the hornet nest removal on their own or contact a professional for help.

Find Out Where the Nest is and How Big it Is

The first thing to do is find out exactly where the nest is located and how big it is. If hornets have been spotted near the home, the nest is likely close by as well. Smaller nests can typically be removed by the homeowner, provided they take the proper safety precautions.

According to lifehacker.com, the risks associated with the removal of a hornet’s nest can be substantial and sometimes life threatening:

“for adults 20 and older, hornets, wasps, and bees account for around 33% of all animal-related deaths in the U.S. And many are due to allergies.”

Bigger nests have more hornets inside, so if the nest is larger than a tennis ball, it might be better to contact a professional for help. With a larger nest, the likelihood of being stung is much higher.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Professionals wear suits that cover their entire body for a reason. These suits help protect them from being stung, especially in delicate areas like their face. Homeowners who want to remove a hornet nest on their own, even if it’s a small one, should make sure they are covered completely before they begin. Heavier-weight clothes are harder for the hornets to sting through, so winter clothes are often a good choice, even if it’s hot outside. The homeowner won’t have to be in the clothes long and it’s better to have the extra weight to protect them than to risk being stung.

Removals are Easier at Night

The best time to remove the hornet’s nest is at night because that’s when they’re less active. Almost all of the hornets are going to be in the nest for the night, making it more likely the homeowner can kill all of them at once and prevent another nest from appearing. Since hornet nests are made from a paper-like material, the homeowner can soak the entire nest to kill all of the hornets at one time.

Use the Right Insecticide Spray

In most cases, the easiest method for removing a hornets nest is using an insecticide spray. However, they are not all the same. One that’s designed to kill roaches, for instance, might not immediately kill hornets. The homeowner should look for an insecticide spray that’s designed for hornets and that’s designed to kill them on contact. It’s also a good idea to choose a spray that has a longer reach. If it can reach up to 15 feet, the homeowner can spray from much further away and reduce the chance of a hornet stinging them. The homeowner should thoroughly soak the nest as well as spray any hornets who come out of the nest to try to protect it.

Remove the Nest Itself

Once the nest is soaked and the hornets are killed, the homeowner can remove the nest itself. This must be done to prevent more hornets from moving into the nest once the spray has dissipated. Use a heavy-duty trash bag to pull the nest off whatever it’s attached to, then carefully close the bag and ensure it’s as secure as possible. Then, dispose of the trash bag quickly. After the nest is completely removed, clean the area with soap and water. This helps remove trace scents of the hornet that could attract another colony.

When to Contact a Professional for Help

While it might seem a little odd, the biggest part of knowing how to remove a hornet’s nest is knowing when to call a professional for help. Many people might try to tackle the nest on their own to save money, but it could be dangerous. If the homeowner is allergic to hornets or if the nest is too large, calling a professional is a much better plan.

Most homeowners will want to go ahead and call a professional if the nest is larger than a tennis ball as this means there is a significant number of hornets living in the nest. The professionals have the right equipment to quickly and easily remove the entire nest. They will make sure the homeowner and their family are safe during the removal and will ensure all of the hornets are removed from the home.

If you’ve noticed hornets near your home, you might need to find and remove the nest. Always take precautions as hornets can be incredibly dangerous, especially if someone is allergic to them. Contact a professional today for Hornet Nest Removal and Tips to help you remove the nest on your own or to get help if you discover a large nest near your home. They can make sure all of the hornets are removed, no matter how large the nest might be, to protect you and your family.

 

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How To Get Rid of Opossums & Tips on Possum Control

How To Get Rid of Opossums & Tips on Possum Control

Possums are surprisingly beneficial animals to have around. They clear away garbage, eat pesky insects, and some people think they’re rather cute. However, that doesn’t include everyone, and many believe that these wild animals should stay wild. Having an opossum around the home isn’t a pleasant thought for every homeowner, and in this guide, readers will learn How to get rid of opossums in and around the home.

Identification

The first and most important step in possum control is identification. Although it’s known as the Virginia opossum, the animal is found in areas across the country. It’s America’s only marsupial, and it’s found throughout the midwestern and eastern US. It’s not normally found in the mountains, in the desert, or the high northern part of the country. Before deciding how to eliminate the problem, verify that a possum is the cause.

An adult opossum may range from 22 to 33 inches long, including a 10-12 inch tail. The animals weigh between four and 12 pounds, and males are typically bigger than females. Possums have coarse, long gray outer fur with a deep brown or black undercoat. They have five toes on each foot, and on the hind feet, the first toe is opposable and has no claw. Opossums have hairless, black, large ears, small and beady black eyes, and white, furry faces. Snouts are pointed and long, and their noses are pink and rather distinctive.

Diseases Spread by Opossums

A homeowner’s primary reason for learning How to keep opossums away may be due to concerns about disease. Many assume that possums carry rabies, but that’s not true. While the animals do carry some diseases, they seem to have a natural immunity to rabies. According to the Wildlife Rescue League, possums do not carry diseases typically found in cats and dogs, such as parvo, distemper, or feline hepatitis. Although any mammal may catch rabies, it’s quite rare in opossums; it’s thought to be due to a body temperature that’s too low to allow the rabies virus to multiply. Opossums do carry some other diseases that may be concerning to homeowners, children, and pets, such as:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Relapsing fever
  • Tuberculosis
  • Spotted fever
  • Tularemia
  • Coccidiosis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Chagas disease

Possums may also carry lice, mites, ticks, and fleas. They are hosts for dog and cat fleas, particularly in suburban and city environments.

How Possums Benefit the Ecosystem

It’s crucial to get rid of opossums that cause trouble in and around the home, but not all of the animals are bad. According to information from the Wildlife Rescue League, possums are very adept at insect or rodent control, and because they eat carrion (dead meat), they keep neighborhoods and city streets clean. The League goes on to state that possums are more helpful as scavengers than harmful for the damage they can potentially cause. Neighborhoods with opossums are often much cleaner than those without them.

Getting a Handle on Opossums

Opossum removal is often a very challenging task. The best way to control the local possum population is to prevent the animals from making their homes nearby. The experts recommend the following measures:

  • Do not leave trash containers or pet food outdoors during the night, as it provides possums with a free source of food.
  • Pick garden fruits and vegetables when they’re ripe to discourage possums from feeding on them and avoid leaving rotten crops in the garden.
  • Eliminate dilapidated buildings, brush piles, and holes underneath concrete slabs, as they’re natural hiding places for possums. The animals use other creatures’ abandoned burrows rather than digging their own holes, and if these burrows are found, they should be filled in right away.
  • Close pet doors during the night, as possums are known to get into the home in this manner. Once a possum is in the home, it can typically be gently coaxed outside at the end of a broom. Opossums rarely stay in one place for more than a night or two, and fears of them ‘taking over’ the home are essentially unfounded. Occasionally, a mother possum with babies may stay longer, but she and her brood will usually leave shortly thereafter.

When Possums Become a Problem

Possums aren’t scared of traps and can easily be caught with cage- or box-type, live catch traps. These traps should be, at the least, 32x12x10 inches in size, and they’re best placed along known travel routes. Canned tuna or fish-flavored cat food makes a great trap bait, but it may attract neighborhood cats as well. To prevent this, use whole raw eggs, or peanut butter on bread. Other good baits include overripe melons, bananas, and grapes. Live traps are useful, but there’s still the issue of dealing with the possum once it’s been captured. It is illegal to relocate opossums without the proper permits, and those who don’t want to deal with the issue should consider hiring a professional wildlife trapper.

Call for Help Today

If a possum is presenting a problem in and around the home, a pest management expert may be able to offer assistance. When the new neighbors have long, furry snouts and rat-like tails, it’s time to call in the experts. A local wildlife trapper can help a homeowner develop a specialized possum control plan that keeps the animals away from the home.

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Unwelcome Animals and How To Deal With Them

Unwelcome Animals and How To Deal With Them

Unwelcome animals digging under your foundation is a large problem for many homeowners around the world. Animals such as groundhogs, squirrels, raccoons, skunks and moles tend to be extremely exploratory which can lead to health hazards as well as home damage. It is important for homeowners to know signs of animal activity, how to prevent them, as well as what actions to take if the intruders are already there.

What Type of Animal is Lurking Nearby?

Before dealing with any unwelcome animals digging under your foundation, it is important to identify which wild animal species you are dealing with. If you hear activity during the day, it is possible that squirrels have invaded. Raccoon’s tend to come out at night, and if the Raccoon has babies with it, you can tell by the sound the babies make. Baby raccoons tend to sound like puppies and are quite vocal. It can be quite obvious when a skunk is under your porch or deck due to its distinctive odor, but if you are not entirely sure, look for small patches of torn-up grass. Finally, if you notice some of your flowers have been eaten or burrows in your lawn, you may have a groundhog in your area. Groundhogs are known more for damaging lawn rather than foundation, but they are known to burrow on houses built on slab foundation. Most animals are found in basements and attics, depending on the structure of house as well as location of garden.

How Can Wild Animals Enter My Home?

These intruders tend to get in through the chimney as well as the laundry vent. One solution to this is installing a vent guard. A vent guard is an inexpensive way to stop these animals from entering. The average price of a vent guard is anywhere between 5 and 25 U.S dollars, depending on where they are purchased and what type is purchased.

How Can I Make My House Less Attractive to Wild Animals?

The animals are lured towards the home usually due to available food sources. Some food sources that lure these intruders are gardens, pet food, bird food or garbage in garbage cans. When in contact with these animals, it is extremely important not to feed them! Not only can it be dangerous, due to any disease the animal may be carrying, it will also make the animal feel welcome and they will return. It is important to secure these food sources. For gardens, installing a chicken-wire fence usually works very well. The recommended dimensions are a minimum of 3 and a half feet, and buried 1 foot into the ground. To stop animals such as raccoons from entering garbage cans, use garbage cans with lids that are able to be tightly sealed. If the lid is not able to completely seal, you can weigh down the lid with heavy objects such as bricks. Another big attractor is the seeds that fall from bird feeders. If purchasing a bird feeder, make sure to purchase one that has a seed catcher tray. It is also important to sweep the surrounding ground frequently.

There are Wild Animals in My House!  What Can I Do?

Now, if animals have already arrived, it may not be clear on what action to take. When dealing with squirrels in your attic, one solution is to install a one-way squirrel exclusion door at the opening. Seal all other openings with steel mesh and place the door at the main entry/exit. This will allow the squirrels to exit but not re-enter. It is important to note that placing traps in your attic is rarely a successful solution. Raccoons tend to dislike bright lights so if you have have some unwanted visitors, flashing them with lights can cause them to exit by themselves. If that does not solve your problem, using a one-way door can be a solution. Make sure that there are no babies in the area as this could possibly harm them. Again, baby raccoons sound like puppies. When dealing with groundhogs, it is important to first protect your gardens. They are attracted by food and like mentioned above, chicken wire is a sufficient way to keep your garden unharmed. After doing that, a groundhog repellent, either liquid or granular, should do the trick. Using these repellents will discourage the animal from eating, digging and will most likely drive them out of the area. Finally, if neither solution is successful, traps are always an option as well as the help of a professional wild animal removal service.

 

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Find Out How to Get Rid of Ground Digger Wasps Around Your Home

Find Out How to Get Rid of Ground Digger Wasps Around Your Home

Wasps flying around a yard can strike fear into many homeowners. When the wasps tend to be prevalent in the yard, the homeowner might be worried about going into their yard for fear they’ll be stung by the wasps. It may be sensible to learn more about the type of wasp in the yard to determine how much of a problem it might be and what they can do about it.

Ground digger wasps, also known as cicada killer wasps, are a common type of wasp that might be noticed around homes. These wasps live in the ground in tiny holes and hunt cicadas for food. Homeowners may notice them in the yard if there are many cicadas living nearby. These wasps are generally not aggressive towards humans, but the homeowner might want to learn more about how to get rid of ground digger wasps if they appear in the yard.

Are Those Digger Wasps in the Yard?

Digger wasps, fully grown, tend to be around one and a half inches to two long. They can, however, get to be around three inches long. Since they’re amongst the largest wasps, they tend to look incredibly intimidating to most homeowners. They’re mostly black, with yellow stripes on their abdomen and translucent orange wings. They live throughout North America in areas that cicadas frequent.

The digger wasps prefer open areas and sandy soil that’s easy to dig into. When present in an area, they will dig about six inches into the ground to create their nest. Females tend to dig a few nests at a time, so there could be a few holes close together in an area where they live. They do tend to be solitary wasps, but there could be multiple in an area if there are a lot of cicadas nearby.

Are the Digger Wasps Damaging Your Lawn?

The nests created by the digger wasps tend to have an opening about the size of a quarter and go about six inches into the ground, although they can dig the nests up to about two feet down. There are usually up to six in an area together, but if there are multiple digger wasps nesting close to each other, this could mean more holes in the yard.

The holes in the yard can help to aerate the soil. However, if there are too many digger wasps nesting close together, it could end up damaging the lawn because of all the nesting holes in one area. Homeowners who notice many different holes in the yard that could be attributed to digger wasps will want to learn how to remove them from the area to protect their lawn.

What’s the Life Cycle of the Digger Wasp?

Around the beginning of the summer, young digger wasps will start to emerge from the nests. They’ll only be around for a month or so, but during this time they will come out to hunt cicadas and start to dig their own holes for their nests.

After around a month, the female digger wasps place cicadas in the nests and then lay their eggs on the cicadas. The tunnel entrances are then closed, and the female digger wasp dies. The next summer, the larvae will feed on the cicada in the nest until it’s time for them to come out of the nest and start hunting the cicadas on their own.

Can Digger Wasps be Dangerous for People?

Digger wasps tend to leave well enough alone when it comes to humans. While they might seem a little bit intimidating when they’re flying around the yard, they don’t instinctively protect their nests, so they aren’t generally aggressive. If humans don’t go near them or try to bother them, they don’t tend to sting.

If they feel as if they’re being attacked, digger wasps will sting to protect themselves. The stings can be very painful because of the large size of the wasps. While it is rare for them to sting compared to other wasps and bees, if they sting someone who is allergic to wasps, they could cause an allergic reaction.

How Can Digger Wasps be Removed and Controlled?

Controlling digger wasps is a matter of killing the females and the eggs so they will not return. They do not tend to move far from their nests, so after a few days, they should be completely removed from the property. One of the most commonly used ingredients to get rid of digger wasps is to use ammonia.

The homeowner should try to find as many of the nests as possible. If their lawn is grassy, the nests can often be found where there are bare patches in the grass. The nests look like a clump of dirt with a small hole in it, often about the size of a quarter. All the nests found should be marked so the homeowner will be able to track them over the next few days.

Once the nests are marked, the homeowner will want to wait until the digger wasps return to the nest for the night. The later at night the next step is done, the more likely it is the homeowner will be able to get rid of the female and any eggs that have been laid. In each of the holes, the homeowner can pour some ammonia. They’ll need to then quickly fill in the nests, so the digger wasps cannot get out and get away from the ammonia.

It is often a good idea for the homeowner to leave the markings in the ground for a few days, so they won’t try to do the same nest more than once. Over the next few days, they can check the nests and see if there are any new ones. If there are new ones, the same process can be done to get rid of them as well.

If you’ve noticed very large wasps flying around your home, they could be digger wasps. While they will disappear after a month or two, they will come back every year. If there are too many in the area and you think they could be damaging your lawn or could be dangerous around small children or pets who like to play in the yard, these tips should help you identify them and get rid of them.

For help with fast and effective Digger Wasp control, contact the pest control specialists at Animal Control Specialists.

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