"Brian was very pleasant and knowledgeable."
Brian was very pleasant and knowledgeable.
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Brian has been with Cowleys since 2016, and is one of our pest control technicians. He handles insect and rodent infestations for both residential and commercial customers.
Brian joined Cowleys with more than ten years of experience in pest control. He is a licensed NJDEP commercial pesticide applicator and holds both a Core certification and a Category 7A certification for general and household pest control. He enjoys the problem-solving and the detective aspect of pest control and the satisfaction of removing stubborn infestations and making structures safe and pest-free for their occupants.
As we get into the winter season and temperatures start dropping, mice become more of a nuisance for homeowners. For survival, these overwintering pests look for warm, dry places to escape the harsh outdoor elements — and our homes are often their targets. Unlike larger wildlife, mice can find the smallest entry points around a home’s foundation to gain entry. They can gain entry through an opening as small as the size of a dime. If they can poke their letting snout into an opening, the rest of the body will follow. Common mouse entry points are garages and crawl spaces. Once inside, mice will travel through wall voids to stay out of sight as they forage for food.
I was sent to a home in Manasquan, NJ to deal with a mouse problem that was frustrating this homeowner. For mouse infestations, it is critical to perform a thorough inspection of the interior and exterior home perimeter in order to find and seal all of the potential rodent access points. Often, there are droppings and other signs of mouse activity around the openings. Once we find any openings, we assess the problem and seal the gap using a variety of different methods. Because rodents have powerful incisors and an amazing capability to chew through many building materials, we will use chew-proof mesh to ensure that the opening is permanently blocked. With access points blocked and bait traps set, it does not take long for any mouse infestation to be quickly dealt with.
A homeowner in Keasbey contacted Cowleys after hearing strange wildlife scratching and scurrying noises in her basement and inside her wall voids. Mice use wall voids to travel unseen inside a home when foraging for food. Even though mice inevitably find their way into the kitchen for food, they may be nesting anywhere. Rodents have a “gift” for staying out of sight since these nocturnal creatures do their foraging at night. Often, you’ll see signs of rodent activity well before spotting a live rodent, and it is important to keep your eyes, ears, and nose open. Mice populations increase rapidly, and you want to address these infestations as early as possible.
This homeowner was quite happy to see me when I arrived, and was thankful that I was sent out immediately to deal with the infestation. For a homeowner, those unfamiliar squeaks and scratches can be quite disturbing, and she wanted whatever trespassers were hiding in her home to be gone.
All indications were that this home has a mouse infestation. I inspected both the home’s interior and exterior for rodent activity. Although the mice themselves may be hard to spot, they are messy creatures that leave behind plenty of signs, including clusters of their tiny, dark pellet-like droppings, smelly urine, chewed wires, and clumps of insulation, paper, cardboard, or other nesting materials. Sometimes you’ll see mouse markings on walls, which are stains left from the dirt and oily residue in their hair.
Also, during a rodent inspection, I am always on the lookout for potential access points. Entry points need to be identified, so an exclusion can be performed. Exclusions prevent more animals from finding their way inside your home using the exact same routes. In this home, I found several gaps around pipes and other areas, as well as a small basement window that had been left open for some time giving the rodents an open invitation for entry.
I closed the window and spoke with the homeowner about making sure that all ground-level windows stay shut. After setting a rodent tracking powder inside the gaps and voids, I sealed them with copper mesh. Copper mesh effectively blocks out mice. Mice can chew through wood and a lot of other material, but not this stuff. After treating burrows and patching the holes and gaps, I set up rodent bait stations around the exterior of the home and inside the basement in order to trap any mice still lurking in and around the home.
I arrived at a home in Fords, NJ to inspect for possible rodent activity in the attic. The homeowner, who was hearing light “pitter-patter” noises in the wall voids and attic at night, suspected a mouse infestation.
I’m often asked why attics such a popular location for mice to live and breed. Well, from their perspective, this “penthouse” location offers everything that a mouse could ask for in a home — it’s warm, dry, small, dark, safe, and out-of-the-way. Also, there is little human traffic up there. Other than using the attic to store clothing and other household items, a home’s occupants rarely venture up there, so mice have the place all too themselves. Attics also offer mice a ready supply of comfy insulation that they use for nests, and there are a virtually infinite number of nooks and crannies to explore and hide in.
Once mice infest the attic, they not only destroy expensive insulation with their droppings and urine, but they can also chew on electrical wires, creating a potential fire hazard. Mice in the attic are a health hazard for the entire home. While mice may live in the attic, they are scavengers that venture throughout the entire home in search for food. And they inevitably find their way into the kitchen where they bore through cereal boxes and other cardboard containers, contaminating food and spreading disease. Mice are especially attracted to homes where pet food is left out all day. For a mouse, there is nothing better than a continuous supply of food left out in the open for the taking.
While in the attic, I observed several areas with the most obvious sign of a mouse infestation: distinctive pellet-shaped mouse droppings. A single house mouse can deposit up to seventy-five pellets daily. Multiply that by a dozen or more mice and it doesn’t take long for these filthy droppings to accumulate. I also observed rodent burrows, those little tunnels and runways, in the insulation. Finally, during my inspection, I look for potential access points. In this attic, there were gaps and open voids around electrical lines and pipelines, giving them easy potential entry points.
I started my treatment by setting a tracking powder inside all rodent burrows, pathways and entry points. Mice may hide in the attic, but they have to leave in order to feed. Mice come into contact with the tracking powder because these creatures of habit use the same runways and entry points over and over. This potent powder, which adheres to a rodent’s fur and paws, is ingested when the rodent grooms, killing them soon thereafter. I also sealed and patched the rodent entry points with copper mesh. Finally, I set up rodent bait and snap traps in the attic. After finishing my interior service, I moved to the outside of the home, inspecting for possible entry points. I found a large potential rodent access point around the A/C unit lines going into the home. I sealed that opening and treated around the area. Finally, as an extra precaution, I set up some exterior rodent bait stations.
I explained my findings and treatment to the homeowner. He was pleased that he was well on his way toward having this troublesome mouse infestation permanently resolved.
I was sent to a home in Cliffwood, NJ when the homeowner contacted Cowleys after finding a wasp nest above a window in a seldom used room.
Upon arrival, I went to the room where there was a wasp nest. Based on the shape and construction of the nest, i immediately recognized it as a mud dauber nest. Mud daubers are solitary wasps that, unlike social wasps like yellow jackets and baldfaced hornets, do not live in colonies with a queen and hundreds of specialized workers. Instead, each female breeds and tends to her own. For the most part, solitary wasps like mud daubers are not territorial with regard to their nests. They are not aggressive, and they seldom sting people.
These wasps also known as dirt daubers or mud wasps, and for good reason. The female constructs small nests by carrying little mud balls to the nest site. She uses the nests to keep her eggs warm. The nests are built as cylindrical tubes that look like a pipe organ (the most common species in New Jersey is known as the organ pipe mud dauber).
I removed the active nest that already had several eggs and wasps in various stages in their life cycle. Homeowners can control mud dauber populations in their home by controlling spider populations since they live, for the most part, on a steady diet of spiders. By sealing cracks where spiders can live and regularly removing spider webs, you should not have a problem with mud daubers. However, if you do start seeing these strange little mud nests around your home, call a pest control technician to remove them. While these guys are not actively looking to sting, if you start trying to scrape away their nests as a weekend DIY project without the right equipment and products, you’re asking for trouble.
Tennis, anyone? Recently, I was sent to a country club in Wall Township, NJ that was having a wasp issue near their tennis courts. Fortunately, none of the members had yet been stung, and I was glad that I could remove the nest before anyone had an encounter with these stinging insects.
Upon inspection, I found that a baldfaced hornet nest had formed on a nearby tree. A mature nest can grow quite large and house hundreds of wasps. Baldfaced hornets are a close relative of yellow jackets, and they are just as aggressive and territorial. These wasps are readily identified by their white markings on their face and abdomen. They commonly build their nests off tree limbs, but we also find them attached to homes and other structures.
Like all social wasps, they aggressively respond to their nest being threatened. Before starting treatment, I alerted a pair of players in the court that I would be treating the nest and they may want to consider a brief delay of their match. They wholeheartedly agreed!
I treated the nest from a safe distance, first using an aerosol to knock down the population before removing the nest. Once I observed that there was no more wasp activity around the nest, I removed it from the tree, and bagged it so I could take the nest with me. I thanked the players for their delay of game, and with the nest removed, their match could continue without these stinging spectators nearby.
Recently, I was called to a home in Asbury Park, NJ to handle a mouse infestation. As often happens this time of year when temperatures drop, mice seek refuge inside homes. Here, the homeowner found two common signs of mice — droppings and noises in the wall voids. Mice are nocturnal and do their foraging in the quiet of night. Often, the mice stay hidden but leave a trail of droppings behind. Here, the homeowner told me that he found droppings in their bedroom closet.
During me inspection, I found a trail of droppings along the bedroom baseboard heaters (mice are attracted to anything generating heat) leading to the bathroom. I also found mice were chewing up pieces of toilet tissue paper and the cardboard rolls and using it as nesting material. Whenever dealing with a rodent infestation, it is important to determine their entry points into the home and how they are able to move about once inside so that their access points can be sealed. Here, I found that there were gaps around the water pipelines into the bathroom, which explains why the homeowners had heard noises inside the wall voids. I sealed the gaps around the pipes using expanded foam resin and installed interior rodent bait stations in the bathroom. With the bait stations and access points sealed, these homeowners will not have to worry about mice scurrying about their bedroom and bathroom.
I was called to a community in Oakhurst, NJ where a homeowner was concerned about a huge hornets nest on a tree outside of a school bus stop. I arrived after all children were in school to treat the nest. I dusted the entrance/exit of the nest and then poked a hole in nest to eliminate the population trapped inside the nest. After allowing a few moments to pass, giving a chance for the treatment to take effect, I cut the nest off the tree. It's quite interesting to see the inside of the nests.