Cowleys Pest Services Before & After Photos

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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.

Beach Haven, NJ home gets bird spikes on gutters

Pigeons and seagulls can find landing spots on ledges and other areas of rooftops, especially on the Jersey shore. For this house in Beach Haven, NJ, the homeowners were having issues with nuisance birds making their roof the birds new home.

These birds were landing and roosting on the gutters, causing a mess. We installed bird spikes to deter these birds and send them elsewhere.

Crawl space makeover could win an award - Crawl space repair & encapsulation in Forked River

A Forked River homeowner wanted to improve his crawl space with a better alternative than traditional vapor barriers. For better or worse, crawl spaces are a chronic problem for homeowners when it comes to water, moisture, and mold issues. Many homeowners in New Jersey, especially those from the Jersey Shore who live near large bodies of water, are often faced with crawl space issues. This Forked River homeowner, like many homeowners who live in towns near the Barnegat Bay, was no exception.

For this homeowner, we installed a full “CleanSpace” Encapsulation System. “Cleanspacing” transforms chronically wet, damp crawl spaces into clean, dry areas that keeps away water and moisture.

Removal of Hornets Nest in Millstone Township, NJ

Recently, I was sent to a home in Millstone Township, NJ for a periodic inspection and service visit that’s included in our residential home protection plans. These plans are valuable to homeowners because we often uncover pest problems that are overlooked by homeowners, especially outdoor infestations and infestations in their early stages. 

During my inspection, I observed a hornet just starting to make a nest on an overhang of the front door. Hornets are highly territorial insects and a nest in any high pedestrian traffic area is a problem. If this nest was not removed, residents and guests of this home could easily be perceived as a threat to the nest and suffer the consequences. Hornets are a formidable threat since they often attack as a swarm. Their venom is especially painful because it contains high levels of acetylcholine, a chemical that stimulates our pain receptors. Also, a single hornet is able to sting multiple times because, unlike bees, its stinger remains intact and does not become lodged in the victim. Since hornets are large insects, they carry a good supply of venom, and release more venom per sting than any other stinging insect. Suffice it to say, I was glad that I was able to locate and treat this nest while it was still in its beginning stages of being formed. By removing this nest now, this household avoided a serious stinging insect threat. 

Fortunately, since the nest was just starting to be formed it did not pose much of a threat to remove it. And that was just fine with me! First, I sprayed the nest with an aerosol foam to knock down any hornets in the nest. Once I saw that there was no more live activity, I safely removed the nest, bagged it, and carried it with me off the property. The homeowner was quite appreciative that I caught this problem early on before the hornets had a chance to form a mature nest. 

 

Total Before & After Sets: 229

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