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Dealing with Racoons in Winter

Filed under: Nuisance Wildlife & Animal Control,Pest Control,Pest Management — Megan Howard @ 5:08 pm December 24, 2012

During the Winter season many animals, such as the raccoon, seek shelter to escape the cold weather. Raccoons are a common sight throughout North America, and can be identified by the black rings around their eyes that make them look like they’re wearing a mask. Being nocturnal, they’re active mainly at night scavenging for food, and will search through just about anything to find it, including trash heaps. Their diet consists mostly of fruit, but they’ve been known to eat meat as well.

Raccoons look friendly, but they want your food

 

Raccoon Behavior

Unlike other animals, raccoons do not hibernate during winter. They retreat to the safety of their dens or resting places during extremely cold weather, and will spend most of their time there, emerging only to hunt or scavenge for food. They are able to co-exist with humans, and are not afraid of them, but are usually gentle creatures that won’t attack unless provoked. Complicating this, however, is the fact that they are known rabies carriers, and you should avoid contact with them whenever possible, especially if they show symptoms of the disease.

Raccoon Control

They make homes out of hollow trees and burrows within the ground, and when those locations are unavailable, they seek shelter within human homes. Often times, our homes are attractive locations to animals because they have all the necessities available: food, water, and warm shelter. In order to keep them out of YOUR home, the first thing you should do is to seal all cracks and gaps around the sides of your home to keep them from taking advantage of the spaces between your walls for shelter. Ensure that any trees growing near your home don’t have branches they could use to gain access to the upper floors of your home, as they are excellent climbers and won’t hesitate to do so if given the opportunity. They also have a tendency to exploit weak spots in your roof, especially if those spots were damaged by rain or other inclement weather.

Next, if you live on a farm or keep any livestock, ensure that all livestock feed and/or pet food is stored in sealed containers, because raccoons can and will eat it. Do the same thing for any garbage cans outside your house; ensure that the lids are tightly sealed and won’t come off if they’re knocked over. Some homeowners also use electric fences to protect their home and gardens, but this method is not seen as humane by some groups, and may or may not be legal depending on where you live.

Raccoons will climb into your home

If raccoons do manage to take up shelter in your home, don’t lock them in. This may only lead to them getting aggressive, and causing property damage or injury, or dying in an offensive manner. If this is the case, you should call a professional for assistance in relocating the creatures to a more suitable location, such as an animal shelter or den.

Horizon Pest Control can help prevent animals from entering your home. We also offer humane animal trapping and exclusion service. To learn more about how we can help, kindly visit Nuisance Animal Control.

 

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An Overview of Common Winter Pests

When winter comes, animals start retreating into burrows and dens to hibernate the season away, waking up only when spring comes around. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to every animal, and despite the frigid cold weather there are still plenty of pests people need to worry about while they’re getting ready to enjoy the warmth and comfort of their homes.

Below is a quick rundown of the most common wintertime pests encountered in North America.

1. Carpenter ants

These ants don’t usually bother people, even during the summer when they’re active. Their presence in your home during the winter, however, indicates that there is a nest in your home somewhere that needs to be dealt with. The biggest problem with carpenter ants is that they make their homes within wood, tunneling through it to create the chambers they live in. This weakens and damages the wood, endangering the structural integrity of your home and leading to costly repairs.

Carepenter Ants eating your home

2. Mice

One of the most common pests in America, these creatures often seek food and shelter within the walls of your home when the weather is cold. They can squeeze through the smallest of cracks, and have the tendency to breed very quickly, leading to massive infestations in short periods of time.

Common Household Mouse

3. Rats

The bigger, badder counterpart to the mouse, rats are just like mice in a lot of ways, and arguably worse. They breed just as fast as mice, and like to make their homes within attics, between walls, and under the foundations of human homes. They’re known disease carriers, have a tendency to chew through things like electrical wiring, and like to tear open exposed trash bags to scavenge for food scraps in your trash.

4. Firewood pests

This category consists of several insects, including various ants, beetles, carpenter bees, and termites. If you stack firewood outside your home, take steps to ensure that they are properly stored so that they stay dry and don’t gather moisture. Damp firewood attracts a insects that build their homes within the wood, making them all but impossible to remove with traditional surface treatments, like pesticides. A word of warning: burning firewood that’s been treated with pesticides will release toxic fumes that are harmful to humans.

Termites on a wood pile

Why should your holiday season be ruined by annoying pests? If you’ve got a pest problem that you can’t handle, contact us for assistance. To know more about our affordable and effective treatment programs, visit Residential Pest Control Programs.

Seeking Shelter in Winter

Filed under: Nuisance Wildlife & Animal Control,Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 10:31 pm December 7, 2012

Autumn is drawing to a close, and across the country temperatures are starting to drop, signalling the beginning of winter. Soon enough everybody will be seeking the comfort of their warm homes to escape the frigid, harsh coldness that winter often brings. Animals too, seek warmth for the winter, and where they can’t find their own shelter, they make do with someone elses: yours.

Why Pests Seek Shelter in Our Homes

raccoon on roofIt’s not at all uncommon to see an increase in indoor pest activity during the winter season, but to understand why it happens, you first have to understand how animals behave. Many animals, including pests, want three things out of their lives: food, warm shelter, and water. During winter, the ground freezes in some places, the weather changes, and most of what they would consider to be a natural habitat ends up becoming completely inhospitable to them.

Coincidentally enough, the fact that we strive to make our homes warmer and more comfortable during winter ends up making our homes looking like “the place to be” for animals, and they’re all too happy to move in right alongside us. This is obviously a problem, since many pests are disease carriers, and other animals are just plain aggressive towards humans. So how do you keep mother nature out?

Preventive Maintenance

The key to keeping pests out is through preventive maintenance, starting with the outside of your home. The first thing you should do is to fix any broken screens, windows, and doors and check for cracks in the walls along your house. Don’t underestimate the ability of animals to squeeze through cracks – rats, in particular, are capable of squeezing through holes at least ⅓ their size.  Plug up the holes with silicone caulk or call a general contractor to help you do this. One often overlooked area in the house is the attic.

Once the outside of your home is sealed up, work on the inside. Many animals can follow the scent of food, especially ants, who can lead other ants to food sources via Phermone trails. All food should be stored in airtight containers, and stored in either the fridge or a closed cupboard, and all surfaces should be wiped clean after every meal to remove grease and sweet, sticky residue.

Finally, trash should be stored in good, strong plastic trash bags, and the bins inside and outside your house should be sealed tight to keep anything from getting in or out. By following these steps on a regular basis, you make your home as unattractive a place as possible to animals, forcing them to pass on your house and look elsewhere for shelter.

Horizon Pest Control offers safe and humane removal of nuisance wildlife such as skunks, squirrels and raccoons. To get help or to learn more about nuisance animal removal, click New Jersey Animal Control.

Mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus

Filed under: Gutter Cleaning,Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Megan Howard @ 8:55 pm December 1, 2012

As we continue through the autumn season, animals everywhere begin to prepare for the coming winter season. It is around this time of year that certain pests are most active, and as the weather begins to get colder, they begin to seek warmth and shelter either to hibernate or wait out the winter season. One such pest is the mosquito.

Mosquito

Mosquitoes are one of the most common pests in the world, and also have the potential to be one of the deadliest because they’re known carriers of a disease known as the West Nile Virus. This disease first infects birds, who then pass it on to mosquitoes, and then to the humans they bite. Statistics have shown that the rate of infection in humans increases around Autumn, and there is even more risk of it passing on to humans this year, especially in the East Coast with the recent hurricane creating more potential breeding grounds for these mosquitoes.

This is a mosquito drinking blood and passing fluids

Symptoms of West Nile are flu-like, and are pretty mild, and can show up anywhere from 1 to 14 days out. Typical symptoms of infection include high temperature, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, stomach pain an enlarged lymph nodes.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult a medical professional for advice. Patients suffering from West Nile virus are oftentimes admitted to the hospital, and are given palliative care to manage the symptoms.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

The best way to guard against West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites. Since mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, ensure that your pools are properly maintained or drained, and remove all potential sources of stagnant water around your home. Empty flower pots, trash cans, and even clogged rain gutters can become the perfect mosquito breeding grounds with only a small amount of rainfall.

Individuals should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to reduce the number of potential bite areas on their skin, and make use of mosquito-repellents containing DEET. If you have a mosquito problem that can’t be contained through the methods listed above, contact your local pest control company for assistance.

For professional mosquito control, contact Horizon Pest Control. We will assist in eliminating mosquitoes in and outside your home. To learn more or to get help, visit Outdoor Pest Control.