Before & After

Cowleys Pest Services Before & After Photos

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Dirty, dusty crawl space shines in Lawrence Township, NJ

Recently, homeowners in Lawrence Township, NJ in Mercer County contacted Cowleys to upgrade their dirty, dusty crawl space. Crawl spaces are perhaps the most ignored areas of a home. They can also be fraught with problems that can affect the living spaces above. Dirty crawl space air circulates throughout the home, so even if you don’t see what’s going on down there, the crawl space in a very real way is visiting you on a daily basis. Crawl spaces are also notorious for high indoor humidity levels, for mold growth, and their damp, dark environment attracts insects. Many homeowners deal with pungent smells and poor indoor air quality because of problem crawl spaces.

This homeowner was bothered that there was a filthy area right below their first floor and decided it was time to do something about it. Cowleys has an experienced contractor crew that can improve crawl spaces in a variety of ways, up to and including the installation of a full CleanSpace encapsulation system. Crawl space encapsulation seals off the outdoor elements that can trigger all sorts of problems. Even if you don’t see puddles of water in your crawl space, ground soil is naturally saturated with water. By definition, any crawl space with a soil floor is damp and filled with moisture most of the time. 

For this homeowner, we installed thick mold-resistant drainage matting to create a barrier between crawlspace and floor, a primary entry point of unwanted groundwater.  We wrapped the walls with SilverGlo wall insulation, an Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) product coated in a mold-resistant aluminum and put protective warping on the crawl space pillars as well. Finally, we put in a heavy-duty 20-mil CleanSpace vapor barrier. Our vapor barrier is much thicker and sturdier than a regular liner, and we mechanically fasten it to the walls. When, on occasion, you or a repair person need to access your crawl space, the barrier will not pull off or tear.

Once we completed the installation, these homeowners now benefitted from a home with a clean, improved crawl space. This home improvement will make their home more comfortable for the family, improve the indoor air quality, and reduce the risk of crawl space mold growth. For these homeowner, an added benefit was that their crawl space could now be used as a much-needed clean and dry storage area. 

Eliminating yellow jackets in Princeton, NJ

Recently, I was sent to a homeowner in Princeton, NJ who was having a problem with yellow jackets. It’s bad enough when you see these nasty stinging insects flying around outside your home, but here, it was even worse. They had made their way inside one of the downstairs rooms.  

I needed to determine how they were gaining access inside the home, and start with an exterior perimeter inspection. I observed yellow jackets flying in and out of an opening in the siding. Yellow jackets are ground-nesters. They usually build nests inside cavities. Often, we find them in hidden locations such as rodent burrows, behind bark, or in hollowed-out  stumps. They also make use of man-made structures and will build their nests attached to eaves, or like here, behind siding. Yellow jackets are strong, hardy insects that are powerful enough to chew through drywall and even plaster, so they can make their way from wall voids into the living areas of home, a frightening experience for any homeowner, to say the least. These yellow jackets were likely nesting up in a ceiling or in a wall void, and a mature nest can grow to be quite large with several thousand members.  The little bit of good news was that, according to the homeowner, no one in the household was allergic to wasp stings. Nevertheless, yellow jackets are aggressive, territorial wasps. They often sting without provocation, and their stings pack a wallop. It was important to have this infestation resolved quickly.

I treated the opening with a highly effective dust that will be carried back by the foraging wasps to the nest, spreading throughout. The residual dust will continue to work for months, killing any emerging wasps. This hidden nest should be completely neutralized within a day, and this family will no longer have to worry about these stinging insects. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bat and Racoon Solution with TAP insulation in E. Windsor

 

This Windsor homeowner had suffered through both a bat and raccoon infestation in his attic. Cowley's worked with the homeowner to evaluate the problems, and identify a solution that would revitalize and protect their attic. We cleaned the attic, sanitized, deodorized, and then installed TAP Pest Control Insulation to insulate and protect against future pest problems.

Skunks find easy access under deck in East Windsor

A residential customer in East Windsor contacted Cowleys because of an on-going issue with skunks. We all know the major problem of skunks: the pungent smell of their spray. Here’s a free wildlife technician tip: If you or your pet are sprayed by a skunk, vinegar or tomato juice will mask the smell until it fades with time.  Another recommended home remedy is mixing a quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of dish detergent. It’s best to discard your clothes — getting out the skunk smell out of your clothing is more trouble than what it’s worth, and you don’t want to go out on the town smelling like “Pepe Le Pew.” 

Besides their spray, skunks can also destroy lawns. Using their long front claws to dig in soil, they are expert insect hunters.  For homeowners, seeing chunks of grass peeled back is a disturbing sight. Lawns that have a heavy infestation of grubs (beetle larvae) often wind up with a skunk problem. Skunks will dig up lawns to go after the grubs. Fortunately, here, there was not any lawn damage. During the winter, while skunks don’t actually hibernate, the stay in their dens and become inactive, eating little and sleeping a lot. 

When I arrived at her home, the homeowner was quite upset, and rightfully so. She explained that she how has had a skunk problem for a while. Another nuisance wildlife company had come out there, but the technician failed to trap a single skunk. Based on her description, they set the wrong traps and used the wrong bait. Peanut butter is not the universal bait to trap any type of nuisance wildlife. For trapping wildlife, a good wildlife tech will try to bait traps with whatever the target animals are used to feeding on at that location. Wildlife is surprisingly smart and cautious, and are wary of new food sources in an area.

After listening to the homeowner’s frustrating saga that had gone on for far too long, I came up with the best solution. Just because skunks have sprayed does not mean that that they are hanging around. In fact, skunks hate that smell just as mush as we do. A skunk will never spray another skunk, especially a member of his own family. Rather than setting traps and waiting, I wanted to give this customer a faster solution, especially since the skunks were localized to a specific area under her deck. My plan was to exclude skunks and other wildlife from entering under her entire deck by installing heavy-gauge metal mesh behind a beautiful white lattice that would give the deck a better appearance. I would also installed a temporary one-way exclusion that would allow the animals to get out, but prevent them from returning. Once I knew there was no more wildlife under the deck, I’d then install the final piece of fencing. The homeowner was pleased that, with this critter control barrier in place, she would not have any more unwanted visitors under her deck again.

Groundhog Terrifies Homeowner in Plainsboro Township, NJ

Recently, we went out on a service call for a homeowner in Plainsboro Township, NJ who contacted Cowleys for a groundhog issue. As the homeowner was fixing a post in his deck, a groundhog peaked his head out! Needless to say, this scared the daylights out of the homeowner. Groundhogs are outdoor rodents that build their homes underground. An adult groundhog is an herbivore with an immense appetite, eating 1-1 ½ pounds of vegetation a day. As a groundhog prepares for hibernation by consuming even more food, there may be considerable damage to a home.

As we began inspecting the exterior of the home, we found several burrows around the deck area. A groundhog burrow is a marvel of animal engineering. These underground homes run two to four feet beneath the surface and range from eight feet to more than 60 feet long, with multiple exits and rooms. A burrow is usually equipped with two or three entrances, each of which is 10”-12” wide and marked by excavated soil. Groundhogs even build separate chambers in their burrows to serve as bathrooms!

To eliminate the problem, we dug 10 inches down and 10 inches out from the deck and installed hardware cloth around the perimeter. After installing the hardware cloth, we then placed lattice over it. This will to make it aesthetically pleasing to look at and adds an extra level of reinforcement to keep animals away. Over by the main access point, we placed a one-way exclusion device to allow any groundhogs that may be hiding under the deck to come out. A one-way exclusion device is a device that allows a critter to safely exit the harborage spot and prevent them from getting back in. Finally, we backfilled over top hardware cloth and up to the bottom of the lattice. We scheduled a follow-up inspection to monitor the harborage areas and, once the home is free of groundhogs, seal up the final piece of lattice and hardware cloth.

Total Before & After Sets: 208