Have you ever awakened to find that your beautiful yard in Gainesville is covered in small holes like polo divots? Maybe you have noticed a grapefruit size hole in the corner of your home or deck? Chances are these holes were the work of an armored mammal known for its digging, the armadillo. Armadillos are a non-native species that for the last fifty plus years has been taking over the south eastern United States. Armadillos in Gainesville have made their way north from Mexico into Texas and across the Gulf Coast into Florida. This animal is even adapting to colder climates previously out of its range. We have been seeing them recently move farther and farther north. Some blame global warming and some blame population size; either way, they have recently been found in places where they were never seen before.
Armadillo in Humane Trap Armadillos like to dig in Gainesville Florida. They dig to find grubs and other insects, and end up destroying lawns and expensive landscaping in the process. Another reason that armadillos dig is to create their den burrows. They tend to create these burrows underneath houses and sheds, often undermining the foundation. Armadillos in Gainesville FL sometimes can be identified by their odor, which is stronger when they become excited or alarmed. Additionally, armadillos can carry leptospirosis, Chagas’ disease, and even the bacteria which cause human leprosy!
Armadillos in Gainesville can be a real pest to lawns, especially newly sodded, and well-irrigated landscapes. Eliminating them is a must in Gainesville Florida! How to get rid of armadillos is really a two-step process. Gainesville Wildlife Control uses both trapping and control to remove this digging pest from your yard. Armadillo trapping in Gainesville FL is very difficult because this species rarely conforms to conventional trapping methods and their armored bodies destroy a normal humane trap in less than 24 hours. Specialized traps are used in the removal of armadillos. Depending on the situation, control methods can be customized for your home. Armadillo controls consist of mechanical methods and/or use of deterrents. While there is not an effective chemical deterrent on the market designed for armadillos in Gainesville Florida, by controlling multiple factors, we at Gainesville Wildlife Control are able to effectively control armadillos in most situations.
If you do happen to encounter an armadillo, chances are, it will run quickly away, making a grumbling sound in Gainesville FL. They can be fast! Of course, if they do run away, they will likely return if they have already made a burrow and found a food source. So, it is best to call a professional in Gainesville Florida.
Bats in Attic - Bats are one of the most unique animals in the world. They are the only mammals that can fly, are primarily nocturnal, and eat a diet made up of almost exclusively insects. They are very beneficial to humans because of their affinity for many flying insects, such as mosquitoes, but if they find their way into your home and take up residence in Gainesville FL, they can also be some of the most destructive, dangerous and expensive pests to control.
Bats in Attic - Bats in Attic in Gainesville Florida - Bats most often enter a home or other structure through small gaps or cracks around the walls, roofline, chimneys, or gable vents of homes. They can enter through a gap as small as the tip of your little finger, which means almost every home or building is susceptible to them, unless it has been professionally bat-proofed. Having bats in your attic or any other part of your home in Gainesville is a serious problem. Not only do they urinate and defecate anywhere they roost, causing staining and odor problems, they are associated with dozens of diseases which are dangerous to humans, including histoplasmosis (a lung disease caused by the spores of fungus which grow on their droppings or guano) and rabies. Bats are the cause of most rabies exposures in humans because they are the most common rabies vector which we come in contact with, mostly because they infest our homes on a regular basis. Not all bats carry rabies, but there is a high enough incidence of the disease that any exposure carries that risk.
Bats at Entry Point - If you have bats in your home, you cannot afford to ignore the problem. Not only does the danger increase the longer they are there, the cost of control and removal will increase the longer you wait. They will continue to contaminate and ruin insulation, wall boards, and anything else they come in contact with. Eventually your home will begin to take on a foul odor, which may be difficult or impossible to fully remove.
To get rid of bats, they must first be safely and humanely removed from the structure in Gainesville FL. Since bats are a protected species, this must be done by a trained professional. Gainesville Florida Wildlife Control technicians are experts at Gainesville bat removal, and are equipped with the proper safety equipment and knowledge to perform exclusion and repairs to your home or business so they cannot reenter. Once the bats have been excluded, they can do any cleanup necessary to make it safe for humans, and can even remove and/or replace contaminated insulation from your home. Although bats eat insects, there are also many types of insects (including roaches, mites and ants) which live in bat roosts. These must also be exterminated to fully complete the job. Our technicians are licensed and trained in Gainesville to perform this service as well.
Once Gainesville FL Wildlife Control has removed all bats from your home or business, we stand by our work and can usually provide you with a renewable warranty against further infestation. If you have a recurrence of bats through work that Gainesville Wildlife Control has performed, we will remove them and make any repairs needed for the duration of the warranty. We can handle all aspects of bat control and removal, and look forward to making your home or business safe from bats for good!
Bird Feces on Ledge - Birds in Gainesville FL can cause huge problems for property managers, homeowners, storeowners, and others. The diseases, odor, and unsightliness of their fecal matter would be bad enough without mentioning their flocking and noisy behavior. There are many species of birds that can be considered nuisance birds. Blackbirds, starlings, pigeons, sparrows, grackles, vultures, and woodpeckers are just the most common nuisance birds. These birds can cause serious health risks from fecal matter accumulation, ecto-parasites, and food contamination. Birds can also be a noise disturbance when flocking, fire hazard when building nests, general nuisance when destroying property, and deterrent from businesses when flying into or around potential customers. If you are wondering, “How do I get rid of birds?”; contact a professional today. Nuisance bird problems will get worse if left alone. A professional bird removal specialist will be able to use methods like bird spikes, bird deterrent, bird repellent, bird wires, bird netting, and may perform bird trapping, roost site removal, population control, baiting, or bird removal as well. Control of pest birds in Gainesville is a very involved process and may include one or more of these aforementioned bird proofing solutions.
Bird droppings are a serious inhalation health hazard. The droppings often harbor fungi that can trigger serious, even fatal diseases. It is vitally important that you hire a professional bird specialist in Gainesville Florida to cleanup or remediate bird waste. The birds must first be trapped, removed, excluded, deterred, or controlled before the fecal matter can be cleaned up. The bird poop must then be treated, removed, and disposed of properly. The area where the birds were present should be sanitized, deodorized, and treated for ecto-parasites. No matter how large or small your bird problem may be, do not ignore it. Gainesville FL Wildlife Control technicians are the licensed professionals you need to solve your nuisance bird problems.
Dead Animal Removal & Odor Control Gainesville Florida Wildlife Control can locate and remove almost all dead animals in walls, find dead animals in attics and basements and control these odors. Dead animals cause foul odors, breed bacteria and molds and can make an area unusable for a long period. Gainesville FL Wildlife Control can disinfect and deodorize an area in Gainesville after or in response to a dead rat in a wall,remove guano and fecal materials from attics and crawl spaces, or remove dead deer or dogs from yards and properties. Gainesville Florida Wildlife Control Inc. has the experience to handle all types of organic odor control caused by various wildlife in and around your home and business. We also can control the insects, bacteria and molds when animals die in buildings, or leave behind their droppings and waste. Large amounts of guano and fecal materials are prime source of disease spores and molds and should never be disturbed unless properly treated and contained. Gainesville FL Wildlife Control always has the proper skills and equipment to safely and effectively remove these wastes.
Excluison in Gainesville: Gainesville Florida Wildlife Control technicians will trap and remove animals in Gainesville FL that do not belong in your home. Once the animal is removed, the technician will perform an inspection to determine the point of entry and identify other potential points of entry, recommending the best method to prevent unwanted lodgers. In many cases, exclusion is required to prevent animals from re-entering a residence. In addition, the entries that one animal makes can be expanded upon and used by other animals in Gainesville that were not previously there. It is important to eliminate these entries with reliable construction techniques. Gainesville Florida Wildlife Control technicians take great pride in their exclusion work. They make sure that entryways are completely covered and inaccessible to unwanted guests. In addition, Gainesville FL Wildlife Control technicians see to it that exclusions are as cosmetic as possible, tailoring shapes and colors of construction materials to match your home. We believe that the only thing that should be visible is your beautiful, pest-free home in Gainesville.
If you have been hearing strange noises in your attic at night, chances are you might have flying squirrels in Gainesville FL. Flying squirrels are nocturnal and they often leave their nests because of parasites that might have taken over. The problem is, when they come into your attic seeking safe haven, they often bring some of these parasites (such as fleas) with them. In addition to gnawing on wires and soiling your insulation with their excrement, they can also get fleas on your pet! Another reason that flying squirrels might seek shelter is to hide from predators. The flying squirrel is quite a popular prey item among arboreal snakes, owls, and others.
These little guys can create quite a ruckus and can keep you up at night. Often, it will be a female with babies that will be found in attics in Gainesville, nesting in insulation. Flying squirrels in Gainesville Florida have babies at least once a year, in the spring, but if conditions are favorable, they will have babies again in the fall!
Perhaps the most interesting feature of flying squirrels is their ability to glide – they do not actually fly. They do this by stretching out their patagium, a flap of skin attached to the forelegs and the hind legs. They can sometimes be seen gliding from branch to branch and right into your attic in Gainesville FL!
Insulation That Pays You Back in Gainesville!
When animals such as squirrels, raccoons, rats, bats, birds, or mice take up residence in your attic in Gainesville Florida, they destroy the insulation. Insulation makes great nesting for mothers and babies and becomes contaminated with feces and urine. The heating and air conditioning system carries the contaminated air throughout your home, causing severe respiratory problems, such as asthma. Gainesville FL Wildlife Control technicians are trained in the removal of contaminated insulation and the re-installation of a variety of insulation.
Blown In Fiberglass Loose-Fill in Gainesville: The U.S. Department of Energy states that one of the most cost-effective ways to cut heating and cooling costs in order to make a home more comfortable in Gainesville Florida is to add more insulation in the attic. The formaldehyde-free blown in fiberglass loose-fill insulation Gainesville FL Wildlife Control installs will reduce noise and is fire-resistant and noncombustible.
Icynene Insulation in Gainesville: Icynene Insulation is the leading 100% water-blown soft foam insulation. It creates a superior air-seal which effectively minimizes air leakage, and delivers advanced moisture control, healthy air, and energy savings of up to 50%.
Bora Insulation in Gainesville Florida: Gainesville FL Wildlife Control offers a special Pest Resistant Insulation which will help prevent an infestation of self-grooming insects such as roaches, ants, earwigs, crickets, beetles, and certain termites where the product is applied.
OpossumThe Opossum, sometimes misspelled as possum, is the only North American marsupial. Opossums do have a pouch where their babies live, after they are born. Females will typically have no more than ten young. Opossums are generally nomadic since they live close to where they find sufficient food, water, and shelter. Most calls for opossum removal come from seeing them eating dog or cat food on the porch, or they come from hearing bumping and banging under the house at night. Opossum removal is usually accomplished by trapping.
Opossum in Trap Opossums in a trap - Opossums will play dead when threatened. This is actually an involuntary response to the threat of a larger animal in Gainesville FL. When playing dead the opossum releases a foul smell from its anal glands which adds to the show. When they don’t feel threatened enough to play dead, the opossum will growl and hiss in an effort to look and sound vicious enough to scare the other animal away. If continually threatened, they will bite to defend themselves.
Opossum Entering TrapOpossum entering trap - The opossum does seem to have a resistance to rabies, because opossums have a lower basal body temperature than most other mammals. Though they aren’t often infected by rabies, opossums do carry fleas and intestinal parasites that can often have an impact on humans and domestic pets in Gainesville.
So, if you suspect an opossum in Gainesville is using your home as a den, you should certainly call the professionals at Gainesville FL Wildlife Control. We can diagnose your problem, trap and remove the offending individuals, and provide the necessary repairs to cover holes and construction gaps that may be allowing them entry into your home.
Baby Raccoons - Many consider raccoons to be cute and cuddly creatures. This is a dangerous assumption. Raccoons are the primary vector species for rabies in the southeast. (Rabies is most often transmitted by contact with the saliva on an infected animal.) Even when another animal is infected, the disease itself is often of the raccoon strain. Raccoons in Gainesville Florida can also carry parasites that can impact humans or domestic animals. Examples include: raccoon roundworm and fleas. These reasons, among others, are why raccoon control and raccoon removal is so important.
Raccoons in Gainesville FL have litters that range in size from three to eight young. Female raccoons in urban areas will often have their young (called kits) in attics in Gainesville. Females have a strong maternal instinct anyway, but they can become quite vicious when protecting their young in and around human dwellings. Though some small bachelor groups have been observed, raccoons are not pack animals. Most groups of raccoons seen together are a mother and her young. Male raccoons tend to stay near females during breeding season but move off on their own long before the young arrive in Gainesville Florida.
Two popular myths are that raccoons always wash their food and that raccoons lack salivary glands. Raccoons in Gainesville FL will often wet their food, but it is suspected that this helps with tactile sensation more than to clean their food. Raccoons do in fact have salivary glands. Remember that to transmit rabies their saliva has to come in contact with a bite or other break in the skin.
So, if you suspect raccoons in the attic; hear noises in the attic at night; or have raccoons raiding your trash cans you should certainly call the professionals at Gainesville Wildlife Control. We can diagnose your problem, trap and remove the offending individuals, and provide the necessary repairs to cover holes and construction gaps that may be allowing
Rats are some of the most destructive, dirty, and dangerous pests to have in or around your home. Since they are rodents, they must constantly chew or gnaw on hard materials to keep their teeth worn down. This can include almost any part of your home, including wood, metal or plastic pipes, siding, air conditioning ductwork, wiring, even concrete! Not only is it destructive, their affinity for wiring insulation can cause a fire hazard. They can breed up to 6 times in a year, producing 5-10 babies each time. Once they take up residence in your home in Gainesville FL, they can quickly multiply, increasing the damage and danger to you and your property.
Rats in Gainesville have very poor eyesight, and they adapt to this shortcoming by urinating and defecating almost constantly. They follow these trails of urine and droppings (also call pellets) to find their way around their environment, and in and out of your home or business. These droppings can create odor problems, as well as diseases, including salmonella, hantavirus, tularemia, and many others. Homes with a rat infestation will often require extensive repair and cleanup (disinfecting) in order to make them safe to live in.
There are two types of rats that typically cause problems in the United States. They are the Norway rat, which is also called the sewer rat or wharf rat. His cousin the Roof rat, also known as the black rat, is just as destructive, but tends to be a better climber than the Norway rat, as a result it is more often found in the attics of homes and businesses than the Norway rat. Although they are different species, they inflict the same types of damage and cause the same dangers to you, your family, and your property.
Control and extermination of rats involves a series of steps in many situations. The first step is removal, which usually means trapping all of the rats living in the structure in Gainesville Florida. Rodenticides or poisons are usually not the best way to remove an infestation initially because they often cause you to have dead and decomposing animals in the structure of your home, which can lead to further contamination, terrible odors, and insect problems. A thorough inspection to identify entry points on your home will often reveal a need for exclusion to prevent reentry of rats once the initial removal is completed. Because rats can squeeze through very small openings, it is often impossible to fully ‘ratproof’ a structure. In many cases, we can implement a control program to prevent a reinfestation which will include retreatment if needed.
Don’t think just because mice are small that they are any less destructive to your home and property. They can enter through even smaller openings in Gainesville FL, and they reproduce just as quickly. As a matter of fact, they are actually more prevalent than rats are across the country. There is literally nowhere that they are not found, and they have even been known to make their way into homes in the packing of furniture and appliances straight from the warehouse! Without professional treatment, there is no way to be fully protected from these little pests in Gainesville. They carry the same dangers and diseases that their larger cousins do, and can be even harder to detect and remove due to their small size and smaller range.
If you know or suspect your home may have rats or mice in Gainesville Florida, don’t wait! Call Gainesville FL Wildlife Control, we have a staff of Wildlife Removal Company Specialists who are fully licensed and insured. We are experts at the control and prevention of rodents in both residential and commercial areas.
SkunkSkunks are mustelids, which means they are related to weasels, minks, and ferrets. Although their cousins might emit certain odors, the skunk has an amazing capability to project the contents of its anal glands and spray someone or something that may pose a threat. The spray is pungent beyond belief, and sadly, tomato juice will not take it away. Skunk odor is caused by a chemical compound that can be treated and broken down by skunk and odor removal specialists. Skunk odor removal is not for the amateur or weak-stomached. It should be left to professionals with the proper skunk odor removal products.
In addition to their offensive smell, skunks can be quite destructive. They can prey upon small farm animals, ground nesting birds, honey bees, and they are known for their ability to dig holes. Skunks can destroy lawns, flower beds, gardens, and golf courses with their digging. Skunk trapping or skunk removal is often necessary when skunks burrow and den under porches, sheds, or foundations. After trapping, it is often necessary to exclude skunks from reentry. Exclusion of skunks requires some type of permanent obstruction blocking skunks from re-digging the burrow.
The biggest problem with skunks, however, is their ability to contract and transmit rabies, a deadly virus that can be transmitted through a bite or a scratch. In the Midwest, the skunk is the number one carrier of rabies! Skunks are nocturnal, and if a skunk is encountered during the day, or if it is aggressive, a person should suspect that the skunk is rabid. So, how do you get rid of skunks? Do not attempt skunk removal on your own! Skunk control is much better left up to the Wildlife Removal Specialists at Gainesville Florida Wildlife Control, which have been trained to remove and trap skunks.
Snakes in Gainesville are an increasing problem in the southeast. With the movement of food closer and closer to the homes, there are more snakes coming close to where we live. A common misconception is that there are a lot poisonous snakes. There are in fact no poisonous snakes in the world because poisons have to be absorbed through the body, whether through ingestion or dermal (skin) contact. There are, however, a number of venomous snakes that we can be concerned about in the southeast. Venom has to be injected straight into the body and can cause tremendous pain and life threatening situations. The dangers of snakes do not even stop at whether the snakes are venomous or non-venomous. Snakes will tend to have loads of bacteria in their mouths which can be transported to humans with a single bite. Most snakes in Gainesville Florida are not overly aggressive, but will defend themselves when threatened. This is why a professional snake catcher is always important when considering snake removal. Identification of the snake is also important because in order to treat for venomous snake bites, the hospital has to know which snake injected the venom to prescribe the correct antivenin treatment. As more and more exotic snakes get released into the wild, it becomes increasingly harder to identify snakes without being trained as a professional snake catcher.
When dealing with snake control, the common reaction is to call someone to remove the snake in Gainesville FL. The problem is not only does the snake not always stay in the area where it was sighted, but also there are usually more than one that are just as likely to show up. When a professional snake catcher is to solve the problem of snakes in or around the house, it is necessary to perform full inspections of the property to identify the reasoning for the snake’s appearance, which is food, water, or shelter. Once identified, the professional snake catcher in Gainesville will be able to devise the appropriate treatment that will allow him to remove and/or prevent snakes from coming back. Since the role of the snake catcher is so vital in the process, you want to choose a professional who is licensed with the state to remove these animals and will follow laws accordingly, and also one who is insured with general liability and workman’s compensation so that you as the homeowner are covered regardless of any complications that may occur. Luckily, Gainesville Florida Wildlife Control Wildlife and Animal Removal Specialists are fully licensed and insured for your Peace of Mind.
lDo you hear sounds in the attic? Does it sound like something is chewing through the ceiling? Is there an early morning party in the attic in Gainesville you weren’t invited to? If so, you just might have squirrels! Seeing or hearing them run across the roof is a good sign that you need to have a professional wildlife control specialist check out your home. Squirrels can be one of the most destructive animals that get inside homes. They move insulation, gnaw on electrical wires, and gnaw on the wooden support beams. Gnawing is the constant nibbling done by rodents to wear down their front teeth so they do not get too long. The gnawing of wiring is perhaps the scariest damage they do. By stripping the insulation from the wires, it increases the chances for a short and thus increases the risk of fire.
Squirrels are excellent climbers and to gain access to your home, they can climb straight up your wall whether you have trees touching or not. The most common reason squirrels enter a home is to give birth to their young. This typically happens twice a year (spring and fall) in Gainesville Florida.
So, if you suspect squirrels in the attic, hear noises in the attic in the morning or evening, or have squirrels crossing the roof, you should certainly call the professionals at Gainesville FL FL Wildlife Control. We can diagnose your problem, trap and remove the offending individuals, and provide the necessary repairs to cover holes and construction gaps that may be allowing them entry into your home. Squirrel trapping is the most common method for removal and we take pride in completely solving your problem with the addition of exclusion repairs.
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After we remove raccoons and or squirrels from your chimney we recommend a commercially made cap. When we remove raccoons from your attic we find an appropriate method of closing the entrance. Most raccoons enter the attic through the attic fan or through rotten wood.If the raccoon enters through rotten wood, we cover it with sheet metal so it cannot ever get back inside. All raccoon and squirrel jobs come with a free attic inspection.
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Gainesville FL residents love the outdoors: outdoor recreation, trapping, wildlife watching, hunting, fishing, gardening, hiking and camping in addition to Gainesville FL adventure sports like rock climbing, white water rafting and canoeing, skiing and other activities. Many Gainesville FL residents enjoy simply watching wildlife. Nest boxes for birds, bats, squirrels, raccoons, armadillos, snakes, opossums and other wildlife are popular items purchased or constructed by many people. Gainesville FL residents spend large amounts of money feeding wildlife -- primarily birds. In addition, gardening, landscaping and wildlife observation are popular past times for young and old alike. While many Gainesville FL residents enjoy watching wildlife, sometimes wildlife interferes with other human activities. Wildlife eat our birdseed, dig up our gardens and landscape plants, and eat or damage our fruit, flowers and vegetables. When wildlife populate a place where they are unwanted or cause damage to valuable plants or structures, they are no longer appreciated. Instead they become a nuisance and need to be trapped and removed. We will discuss some basic principles for dealing humanely with nuisance wildlife.
Gainesville FL State and federal laws protect nearly all Gainesville FL wildlife. These laws regulate which species can be harassed, harvested, trapped, hunted or harmed. Wildlife are generally defined as free-ranging, terrestrial animals. Fish are usually treated separately by the states. This definition excludes feral animals like cats. Generally, all Gainesville FL wildlife are protected and cannot be harmed. This usually includes snakes, lizards, frogs and toads, and all wild animals. There are exceptions, and you should learn the laws if you work with nuisance wildlife. These laws can be found on the website of the state agency responsible for wildlife protection. In Gainesville FL, that agency is the Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) of the Gainesville FL Department of Natural Resources (DNR) All native birds are federally protected in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (http://laws.fws.gov/lawsdigest/migtrea.html). Non-native and non-protected exotics are the House Sparrow , European Starling , Domestic Pigeon or Rock Dove , the Monk parakeet , and the Eurasian collared dove . This law is a strict liability law with no requirement to prove intent. This means that enforcement is absolute and not discretionary. Gainesville FL residents may not pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or possess at any time any migratory bird or any part, nest or egg. This includes all feathers, eggs, shells, nest or other part. Federal salvage permits are required to possess any bird. For the purposes of this law, all birds are considered migratory. The best advice is to leave all birds alone and as you find them. Licensed rehabilitators only can care for injured birds. Other bird protection laws include the Bald Eagle Protection Act (http://ipl.unm.edu/cwl/fedbook/eagleact.html) and the Endangered Species Act (http://endangered.fws.gov/ESA/ESA.html). Gainesville FL residents can protect property from wildlife committing or about to commit damage. Gainesville FL residents can obtain permits to trap house mice because, as an exotic species, they are not protected. Consider lethal measures as a last resort, however. Most Gainesville FL residents can deal quite effectively with wildlife using safe, non-lethal means.
Gainesville FL residents seeking assistance for dealing with nuisance wildlife have several avenues available to them. Options are outlined here. County Agriculture Extension Agent -- located in most Gainesville FL counties, the county agent will provide advice on nuisance wildlife control, damage prevention and individual removal. Gainesville FL agencies may also lend you traps and can supply printed literature for many problems a homeowner is likely to encounter. Gainesville FL State Wildlife Biologists -- may offer advice and programs. Conservation or law enforcement officers (Game Wardens) may issue permits for taking nuisance wildlife. U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Wildlife Services -- a federal agency that deals with nuisance wildlife in both municipal and agriculture settings. Wildlife Services offer two support levels: Technical Advice -- handouts, videos, verbal support and/or they will sell or loan you a trap, conduct field demonstrations. Operational Support -- they will perform certain work for landowners for a fee. A signed contract is required. In Gainesville FL, contact Wildlife Services Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCO; pronounced "newco"). These individuals own and operate their own wildlife control business and charge for their services removing, via trapping or exclusion, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, snakes, opossums, and most wildlife that is not protected. They are licensed by the state and most are insured and can often be located in the phone book under "Pest Control" or "Animal Removal Services". These Gainesville FL wildlife operators are different from the common termite control service providers and one should not be confused with the other. These Gainesville FL wildlife operators are also different from the county "dog catcher" or "Animal Control Officer." Animal control usually will not catch a skunk or snake for a homeowner, but there is a lot of variability here and each county and situation is different. One should not use a pest control (bug guy) business to remove animals, unless that pest control business is licensed for wildlife removal.
As a homeowner if you do not want to hire someone there are several options available for the do-it-yourselfer. What follows are some simple guidelines to assist the homeowner in solving their nuisance wildlife problem.
Wildlife needs three things -- food, water and shelter. Remove any one of these and the animals will go somewhere else. But remember: Treat the problem not the symptom.
Example No. 1: There is an opossum in the shed eating the dog/cat food.
Wrong Answer -- trap the opossum and relocate it. This will provide a short-term solution but not solve the problem. In a few days, another hungry animal will be back in the shed.
Right Answer -- seal the pet food in a container with a tight fitting lid, seal openings to the shed, and relocate the opossum. This removes the problem (pet food in an open and accessible container) and the symptom (a hungry opossum).
Example No. 2 -- Moles digging up the yard.
Wrong Answer -- trap the mole. This kills one mole.
Right Answer -- treat yard for grubs, trap the mole, and reduce watering. This will remove the offending animal, the food source that attracted the mole and the conditions that favor the grubs.
Learn the biology of the animal. Moles eat insects and earthworms. Watering may lure the insects and earthworms to near the surface. Moles look there for food.
When diagnosing animal damage problems, you should look for sign left by the animal. Almost all animals leave signs -- some are more obvious, some are easier to identify, but the sign is usually there somewhere. Droppings are often readily observed, especially for mammals. Fresh droppings are black, shiny and moist. Old droppings are dry, brown or gray. Black and white droppings could be from a bird, snake or lizard. Size is important for identification. Rats, mice, chipmunks and toads leave droppings the size of a rice grain. Rabbit droppings are pea size and usually brown. Deer droppings are large ovals and could be deposited loosely or in a large clump, depending on diet. Even in a clump, individual pellets can be easily recognized.
Another obvious sign of animal damage is digging. Here again there are important clues to the culprit. Diameter of the hole is a clue to the size of animal culprit. If a dirt mound is present, this could be due to a woodchuck, turtle, armadillo or coyote. If a dirt mound is not present, this could indicate a chipmunk, skunk, mole or vole. Tunnels in the dirt but near the surface are likely a mole or vole. Remember, moles eat insects, earthworms or grubs. Voles eat plants and plant parts like bulbs, roots, tubers or bark. Try this simple procedure to distinguish moles from voles.
Apple test -- place a piece of apple in the tunnel under a board; if the apple is eaten, it is a vole; if not, it is a mole.
And finally, armadillos dig an inverted, cone shaped hole, 3-4 inches deep and 1-2 inches in diameter.
Other sign includes gnawing. Look for the size of tooth marks and the size of the stem or root gnawed. This will be a clue to vole, chipmunk, squirrel, beaver or rabbit. Also consider browsing by deer. Deer lack upper incisors. If leaves are pulled and have a ragged end, then deer are likely to blame. However, if leaves are clipped or bitten with clean, sharp ends, then the offender is likely to be a rabbit, squirrel or woodrat. Also, if branches are cut, then consider the squirrel or rabbit as the responsible party. Finally, ask "What was the height where damage occurred?" Deer can easily reach 4½ to 6 feet up the stem while rabbits and woodchucks reach about 1 foot or more. Vole and chipmunk damage is usually close to the ground and could be restricted to roots.
There are others signs of nuisance wildlife as well. One annoying habit of wildlife invaders is noise. Noise inside a wall could be mice. Noise inside the attic or crawl space could be mice, bats, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossums or birds. Noise in a chimney often suggests the culprit is a squirrel, raccoon, birds or bats. Attic noise at night could be mice, bats or flying squirrels, while attic noise during the day could be gray squirrels.
Do not overlook some simple clues such as time of day. A nocturnal (active at night) animal like woodrat, raccoon, skunk or opossum causes holes or other dam-age to appear overnight. Holes that appear during the day are caused by diurnal (active during the day) animals such as squirrel, chipmunks or woodchucks. If damage is to a birdfeeder due to squirrel activity, try moving the birdfeeder away from house, deck rail or tree limbs. You could also mount the feeder on a slick pole or add a predator guard.
Before you panic, spend a lot of money to hire someone or sell your house think of the model we will define as H-E-R-L. Work through this model and you may be able to solve most problems. The letters in the HERL model stand for specific actions you, as the homeowner, can take to deal with many nuisance wildlife situations. The steps in the model are outlined below.
Step 1: H - Habitat Modification
The steps undertaken to make a habitat unattractive are often the opposite of activities a homeowner might undertake to encourage wildlife and create backyard habitat. It is often difficult or impossible to both create habitat for wildlife you want to encourage and, at the same time, remove habitat to discourage wildlife. The animals cannot tell the difference and often you will be left with both attracting wildlife and dealing with nuisance species in the same habitat. By remembering and following these steps, however, you can enhance your enjoyment of wildlife around your home. Without habitat (such as, cover to hide in or food to eat) the animal will leave. Remember this simple equation: No cover = no mice = no snakes.
Mow tall grass -- many pest species (such as mice) like weedy, unmowed areas. They attract predators (such as snakes) to this food source. Remove piles Brush piles Log piles Firewood piles Rock piles Debris and Trash Bricks - stones - concrete Buckets and flower pots Cars - tires - toys Spray herbicide Roundup®, Spectracide®, Weed-B-Gone® are some examples. This will remove tall weeds, briars and vines to remove habitat. Homeowners are cautioned to read and carefully follow all label restrictions when working with herbicides. Cut dead trees and limbs Removes roosting and nesting places for bats, flying squirrels and woodpeckers. This will remove food (insects) for woodpeckers. Clean out old birdhouses and discard old nests. Rule-of-Thumb Learn the habits, preferences and requirements of the offending animal(s) and remove or modify the habitat to make your yard unattractive to wildlife pests.
Step 2: E -- Exclusion THE BEST SOLUTION
This option includes using fencing or other solid materials to exclude wildlife by creating a physical barrier. For large animals (such as wild pigs or dogs) use welded wire or "hog" wire with a 2" x 4" mesh size about 48"-60" tall. Chain link fence also works but is more expensive. Wooden fence also works. Stake or secure the fence firmly to the ground For deer, fences should be 8 feet tall or more to ensure success, but even this is not guaranteed because deer can crawl under a fence, fences can be damaged by falling limbs, or trees or other factors can allow deer inside. For small animals such as opossum, woodchuck, raccoon, fox or squirrel use chicken wire, hardware cloth or electric fence. Chicken wire -- 2 feet tall and buried 6-12 inches for diggers like rabbits, skunks, opossums and armadillos Hardware cloth -- ¼ to ½ inch mesh, 1-2 feet tall and also buried 6-12 inches will exclude chipmunks, moles, voles and other small animals from gardens and flower beds. This can be combined with decorative fence around flowerbeds and shrubbery. For certain large animals, like deer, use an electric fence. Many brands are available, including single strand "hot-tape," which consists of vinyl webbing imbedded with fine conducting wires. This is usually hooked to a 12-volt battery or 110-volt household current. Some models use solar power or D cell batteries and are very effective. Spreading peanut butter on the wire or wires (or on aluminum foil attached to the wires) will encourage the deer (or other animals) to contact the fence and receive a mild shock, which should deter future contact. These fences will deter some animals but do not have enough energy to injure animals or people.
In addition to fencing, other materials are often used to exclude animals from dwellings. Chimneys -- capped to prevent raccoons, bats, squirrels and birds from entering. Soffit vents -- keep in good repair; often used as entry point for insects, bats, and birds. Gable end of house/barn -- block animals by using hardware cloth or screens but maintain airflow to cool attic and buildings. This is often the entry point for flying squirrels, gray squirrels, bats and birds like pigeons, wrens, house sparrows, European starlings and swallows. Windows and doors -- These are entry points for snakes, bugs, mice and some large animals like raccoons and opossums if the doors on garages or sheds are not closed or properly sealed. Close doors and windows; repair screens and maintain proper weather seal. Dryer vent -- entry for snakes and mice. Cover vent with screen large enough to vent hot dryer air but to exclude animals.
Caution: needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent lint accumulation. Seal around vent with expanding foam or weather seal. Pipes and cables -- electric lines, phone line, satellite or cable TV line. Mice and bats can enter through a dime-sized hole. Seal with expanding foam or weather seal.
Step 3: R - Removal or Repellents / DO NOT RELY ON REPELLENTS ALONE
Removal -- trap offending animal and relocate to a safe area ½ to 5 miles away. Move larger animals a greater distance. Remember -- you must have permission of the landowner and possibly a permit issued by Gainesville FWC before relocating wildlife. Check with your local conservation officer.
In many states it is illegal to relocate animals. Check with the state wildlife agency before moving animals.
This only treats the symptom and not the problem. It moves the offending animal to someone else's property. Generally, it is illegal to release animals on to someone else's property, and they don't want the animal in the first place. Some research has shown that translocated animals rarely survive the stress of being inserted into a strange habitat. They wander about looking for a territory and are killed by vehicles or resident animals.
Better to solve the problem using a humane but lethal trap. However, if live trapping is a solution, then there are several safe and effective trap designs. Traps such as Hav-a-Hart® or Tomahawk® are live capture traps. Glue boards for mice and snakes will allow them to be released unharmed. Pour vegetable oil on the trap to dissolve the glue and release the animal. Use gloves.
Do not attempt to handle snakes or other animals if you cannot positively identify the creature.
Use a bucket or boxes to remove the animal from the trap or encourage the animal into box with gloves and a stick or broom. Place bucket over the animal and then slide a piece of cardboard under the bucket before turning the bucket right side up. Use a net to remove frogs, birds or small mammals from garden ponds, window wells or holes. Traps and glue boards can be purchased at home improvement stores, farm and gardens suppliers, the Internet, sporting goods stores or from forestry supply companies. The Internet or phonebook are good places to locate suppliers. A call to your county agent or wildlife extension specialist will often lead you to appropriate suppliers or they may have traps you can borrow.
Repellents are widely used to discourage animal damage. There are many types and some with unbelievable claims of success. Remember the old adage -- "If it sounds too good to be true, it is!" Repellents that work with sound waves are generally not effective. Effective repellents work with taste, fear or odor. Taste repellents render a plant unpalatable to the animal. Fear invoking stimuli are said to elicit an instinctual response such as a deer reacting to predator urine. Odor repellents smell bad to the animal. Since most animals have a sense of smell hundreds or thousands of times better than our own, even small amounts may prove effective. Some odor repellents may be useless and little more than "urban legends." Many repellents work in some situations and not others, or work for a time and then loose their effectiveness. Success seems to depend on timing, the density of the animals, the hunger of the animals, and the prior conditioning of the animal. It is better to prevent an animal from browsing your plants than to stop them once they learned to enjoy the taste. Fertilized plants or plants in the early stages of growth are usually damaged more than older, coarse, or sick plants.
These products are available from home improvement stores, farm and garden suppliers, nurseries, the Internet or forestry supply companies. Most are available in ready-to-use form; some require mixing with water. Most are sprayed on plants. However, some are not labeled for use on edible crops or vegetable gardens. Read and follow all label restrictions. Human hair, soap, cat urine, garlic and many other remedies have been suggested with varying degrees of success. This table lists some of the commercially available products, some of which have been tested in controlled experiments. In general, it seems that a combination of repellents or repellents and physical barriers provide the most effective solution to preventing damage to landscape and garden plants. Other forms of repellent work with tactile or visual senses. Tactile -- water spray; motion activated sprinklers are relatively new to the market and not yet widely tested.
Light -- bright lights, strobe lights or lasers have been suggested as repellents for deer, rabbits, roost birds (especially pigeons) and other wildlife. They may work for a time but the long-term effectiveness is unknown.
Scare -- eye balloon, scarecrow, silhouette on window, owl or snake figure, pyrotechnics (noise makers). Each of these devices will provide some relief in some circumstances.
Generally, success or failure depends on the size of the animal population, palatability or growth stage of the plants, type of damage, hunger of the animal and conditioning of the animal. Let's review for a moment. Always remember that if it sounds too good to be true -- it probably is. In general, sonic devices that claim to repel animals with sound waves that only the animal can hear probably are not effective. Always use common sense and good judgement before spending money on repellent items that make unbelievable claims of effectiveness. Here is a list of other products that have been tried as repellents. Homeowners can experiment with each until they find a product or combination that produces satisfactory results.
Capsaicin -- Miller's Hot Sauce® Deer Away® -- not for use on edible crops; place a band around plants or garden Castor Oil Suggested for moles -- untested Egg Solids
Mixed with mint oil and sprayed on plants Big Game Repellent® -- BGR -- non-edible plants Deer Away® -- Soluble Powder -- rated #1 in a study at Auburn University Garlic -- placed in mesh bags and hung on plants or around garden Soap -- questionable effectiveness Hinder® -- may work for deer and rabbits Human Hair -- questionable Naphthalene (Moth Balls, Moth Flakes)
Said to repel squirrels, rabbits and bats Quantity needed to be effective may sicken most people Should NEVER be used or recommended Predator Urine -- questionable; may attract unwanted visitors Methyl Anthranilate -- natural compound found in gardenias and Concord grapes (grape juice may repel Canada Geese). Water-soluble, must be re-applied after rain. When sprayed on lawns, it seems to deter grazing by Canada geese and other birds such as gulls, starlings, brown-headed cowbirds and ducks.
Step 4: L -- Lethal Control
This may require permits from federal and/or state wildlife agencies but generally is allowed for homeowners dealing with a small number of pests. Remember that wildlife, especially birds, are protected. Even if only one woodpecker is causing damage, a federal (and possibly state) permit is required.
Live trapping is not recommended for homeowners when dealing with animals such as raccoons or skunks, which can transmit rabies. Generally the animal is disposed of; many localities require testing for rabies. Leave this type of trapping to professionals. Generally, homeowners should not attempt to live capture wild animals. If, however, you are prepared to undertake live trapping, then consider these guidelines.
Once caught, the animal will be aggressive. Approach the trap slowly and quietly, cover it with a cloth, relocate the animal 5 miles away but remember, is may be illegal or ill advised to move animals. Call a professional in these situations or consult the state fish and wildlife agency.
Several brands of traps are available for live capturing animals. Most are wire but some are solid or fully enclosed. Place traps near burrows or runways.
Face trap into opening or hiding cover. Cover the trap to provide a dark area more attractive to animals. Protect trap from children and pets. Protect trapped animal from harassment by pets or exposure to sun, rain or snow. Use simple baits similar to natural foods. For predators or carnivores, use canned cat food or sardines. For herbivores, use peanut butter or sliced apples. Peanuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and oatmeal balls, walnuts or pecans may also work.
Kill traps, mouse and rat traps are readily available to most homeowners; they are simple to use and relatively harmless to humans.
Bait with peanut butter -- a small amount on the bait pad Place the trap so the bait pan is next to the wall Other types of traps are multi-catch mousetraps; pigeon traps with swinging, one-way doors and numerous other designs. Consult a nuisance wildlife operator for details. Poison Bait -- Many homeowners can use a poison bait to control rats and mice or other small rodents. These baits are sold at home improvement stores, lawn and garden stores or hardware stores.
Place bait in areas where animals are active -- look for droppings, nest material or food caches. Place bait inside a shoe box that has had 1 or 2 holes cut in it will encourage mice into a dark, safe area for feeding. Use caution with poison baits. Animals do not die immediately -- it may take several feedings. The animal may die in an inaccessible place (attic, duct work, crawl space, inside a wall) and produce unpleasant odors. Some animals, like chipmunks, may horde the bait thus leaving a homeowner to think the bait is ineffective. Be patient or try trapping.
Protect children and pets from poison baits.
Baits are best used in an outside building or under careful observation. Other traps include glue boards that contain a non-toxic glue that animals like mice and snakes run or crawl across and become stuck. They can be safely released by pouring vegetable oil on the board to dissolve the glue.
Many other items and remedies have been suggested. Most are untested but appear to have some value in limited situations. Try a variety of approaches to solving your specific problem and see what works. Remember, many solutions are temporary. Animals learn to avoid our traps or get accustomed to various odors, sprays, scare devices or other solutions. In general, noise repellents are not proven to be effective against moles, bats or rodents. Snakes are deaf, so this won't work for them either. Powders such as naphthalene or sulphur may have some limited effectiveness in confined situations but are not likely to be effective when broadcast over a large area. In fact, these common chemicals can be harmful if used incorrectly. Always read and follow labels.
Other products that claim to be effective may not have been tested in controlled environments and should be viewed with caution. Always read labels and follow directions. Do not apply pesticides or toxicants without proper safety equipment and training. Do not use in a manner inconsistent with the safety label.
Numerous books are available about dealing with wildlife in home and garden situations. Local libraries and on-line bookstores may carry these items. County agricultural extension agents are an excellent source of information, knowledge, reading material and, sometimes, they sponsor classes or clinics for gardening and landscaping. The Internet has a vast amount of information, if you spend the time searching. A very valuable source of information is the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management at the University of Nebraska. Other sites include Land Grant University Extension Service Web pages, state wildlife departments, on-line bookstores, and both private and commercial product Web pages. It is good advice to remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And in general, when dealing with nuisance wildlife, often several techniques used together work best. Patience is often necessary as well as some imagination.
Your county agricultural and natural resource agent or state wildlife specialist can offer other suggestions and specific advice for dealing with nuisance wildlife.