Nelson, a much welcomed 2017 addition to the Cowleys team, joined our established construction/home improvement crew. He works on a wide variety of projects including repairing the aftermath of destructive wildlife intrusions, crawl space repair, weatherization of homes through cellulose insulation, mold treatment, and other home improvement services. Nelson is systematic, analytical, and thorough in his work and thrives on finding solutions to the most complex repair problems. When, at first blush, a home appears to be in shambles and the damage irreparable, Nelson views the situation as an opportunity and a challenge.
Nelson joined Cowleys with a strong background in the construction trades, bringing extensive experience in home repair and improvement to Cowleys. He comes to us with a decade of experience in fire, water, and mold remediation and an unmatched expertise in the clean-up and restoration process that follows potentially catastrophic events. Homeowners facing severe mold issues will benefit by his keen understanding of the processes necessary to make homes and other structures safe and inhabitable once again. Besides his experience in fire, water, and mold restoration, Nelson is a carpenter and framer by trade, so he can handle virtually any home improvement or repair project thrown his way. He also worked for a number of years in installing all types of insulation.
In his spare time, Nelson enjoys working out to keep him fit and injury-free for the physical demands of his job. As a Long Branch resident, he is a stone’s throw away from the beach and takes full advantage of all of the outdoor opportunities available for those of us lucky enough to live at the Jersey Shore. Nelson also enjoys unwinding and relaxing with his good, positive friends, sometimes going out to the movies or some event, and oftentimes just hanging out and enjoying good conservation over a quiet dinner.
Recently, we went on a service call to a home in Red Bank, NJ after the homeowner contacted us after hearing... Watch Video »
To keep the air quality of your home healthy, prevent damage to your attic and roof, and keep your HVAC system running cost-efficiently, it’s important to maintain an air barrier between the living space of the home and the attic. Simply put, everything works better when attic air is kept out of the house and house air is kept out of the attic. Why? Let’s start with keeping attic air where it belongs. If you’ve ever ventured into the attic, especially during the warmer months, you know that attic air can be outright nasty. It often contains dust particles and other contaminants — contaminants that can cause health problems for the home’s occupants. The less attic air that enters your home’s living spaces, the better.
Just as important, we want to keep living space air out of the attic. Living space air can can be filled with water vapor. When that air is exposed to colder attic temperatures, the vapor gas condenses into water droplets that can potentially cause roof rot and mold growth (unfortunately, mold is an all-too-common attic contaminant). Living space air naturally tries to move up into the attic, especially in the winter, because of the “stack effect.” Heated air rises and expands. As air heats up, its molecules are pushed farther away, making it lighter (that’s why hot air balloons float). The air pushes upward against the attic floor. If there is a way for the air to find its way in, it will. Air leakage into the attic stresses your HVAC system, increasing your heating and cooling bills. There are a number of possible sources of air leaks, but attic hatches are at the top of the list. More often than not, attic hatches are unsealed and have gaps that allow for unwanted air movement. There is an easy solution for this: Attic stairway covers.
The homeowner mentioned to us that he was concerned that his attic hatch was causing significant air leakage. We had the perfect product: the Hatchmaster Attic Stairway Cover. This lightweight, durable cover secures around the perimeter of the attic hatch frame. It’s made of double-bubble reflective insulation, has a 15 R-Value, and a heavy-duty zipper to open and close.
Over the years Atlantic City Electric has been having issues with barn swallow flying in and nesting above the I- beams in the loading dock area. When asked by Cowleys pest control company for a solution, we immediately went out to the job site and installed Bird Slope on top of every I- beam. Bird Slope prevents birds from landing and nesting in those areas permanently.
A commercial facility in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, nearby Atlantic City, was having an on-going problem with birds gaining access to a tool storage area of the building. The manager contacted Bird Solutions By Cowleys to resolve this bird infestation once and for all.
Our two-man crew inspected the area to determine how the birds were gaining access. It did not take us long to find the opening. The problem was a gap above an I-beam that gave the birds wide open access. To restrict the bird from further entry, we constructed a bird barrier by closing this space off with hardware cloth. With this access point permanently closed, birds will no longer be able to enter this space and make a mess of things.
This homeowner in Princeton, NJ found herself with bats nesting under the fascia leaving guano (the excrement of birds and bats) deposits all over the deck. Bat guano happens to be an excellent organic fertilizer because of its high nitrogen and phosphorus, but it is also a health hazard. Bat and bird guano can contain numerous pathogens including a fungus that causes histoplasmosis, a serious chronic lung disease, and exposure, Including breathing in these airborne particles, is dangerous for homeowners. Also, bats are major carriers of rabies. Bat infestations need to be removed and professional experienced in excluding bats from nesting in your home should be brought in. This is not a DIY project and you should not be working in a bat-contaminated area without proper protective equipment. For this home, I completely covered the fascia with a metal barrier to keep them from roosting in and between the fascia board.
Recently, a homeowner in Freehold, NJ, found himself with both a bird and squirrel infestation in his attic. It’s more common that you would think having different wildlife infesting a home at the same time. An entry point that’s good enough for one animal is often good enough for others. Our nuisance wildlife technicians had already come in to trap the squirrels. Once all the wildlife was removed, they located and sealed up the entry points that allowed the invading wildlife access to the attic.
Then it was our turn. A two-man crew from the Cowleys contractor division was called in to handle the aftermath of this infestation. Unfortunately, once birds or other wildlife take up residence in the attic, there is often more is involved than the animal eviction and sealing the entry points to prevent a re-infestation. Once inside, these animals often cause a significant amount of property damage. As the squirrels and birds did to this home, they turned the attic into a bona fide health hazard by leaving behind a mess of dangerous waste materials. These droppings can contain all types of disease-transmitting pathogens that can trigger serious chronic respiratory diseases and other health issues. Once animal droppings are dried out or disturbed, waste particles can become airborne, traveling throughout the entire home. “Dirty” air filled with microscopic particles from animal waste (or mold for that matter) deposited in a nonliving areas of the home like attics and crawl spaces circulates everywhere throughout the living areas of the home, endangering the home’s occupants.
Our job was to clean up this mess and make sure that the the attic was made safe and looked as good as new. After an attic wildlife infestation, the insulation is often ruined. Insulation not only acts like a sponge for wildlife waste, but also makes for excellent nesting material. Fist, we safely removed all of the damaged and waste-contaminated insulation from the attic. Next, we thoroughly hepa-vacuumed, sanitized, and deodorized the entire attic. We not only remove the dangerous waste, but just as important, we remove the lingering smells and remnants of the infestation. It is important to wipe out the wildlife scent markers so that more wildlife is not attracted into the home.
Finally, as a licensed installer of TAP Insulation, we replaced the ruined insulation with our own. TAP stands for the three key properties of this insulation: Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control. TAP is blown-in cellulose insulation that, unlike fiberglass batts and blankets, blown-in insulation effectively covers every attic corner, nook, and cranny, providing complete insulation coverage. We blew in a full 12’ of TAP. This insulation offers top-notch thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties. Also, this homeowner was pleasantly surprised to learn that TAP insulation, unlike regular insulation, has a pest control component. Its paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is harmless to people (and wildlife), but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites. The old batt insulation had an R-value (thermal resistance) of 30. Now, with TAP, the insulation was boosted up to an R-value of 42. With a more energy-efficient attic, this this homeowner will save on future heating and cooling costs.
As you can see from the photos, after completion of this job, the attic looked brand new. Although this wildlife infestation was one big unexpected headache for this homeowner, he appreciated that, when we were done, he was left with a better attic.
We received a call from a homeowner in Freehold, NJ who was suffering from raccoons in her attic. After our wildlife team took care of the raccoons and blocked up their entryway we needed to take care of the damage they did in the attic. Her attic had been decimated by raccoons. There was an abundant amount of raccoon feces and urine all over her attic. Raccoon feces and urine are harborage areas for viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Most notoriously the parasite Bayliscacariscc procyonis — also known as "raccoon roundworm.” Once it enters a human, serious symptoms can emerge within days. This parasite invades the lungs, liver, heart, eyes, and brain and sparks serious inflammation throughout the body. While some people make a full recovery, the infection can leave others blind, in a coma, or with permanent brain damage. It's sometimes fatal.
First, we put on our personal protective equipment and removed all of the soiled fiberglass insulation that contained raccoon droppings and urine. Once raccoons made their business in your attic and on your insulation, you have to get rid of it. Afterward, we carefully removed all the contents and then sanitized and deodorized the attic. Not properly cleaning up your attic can lead to serious health risks. By using a broom or vacuum, you increase the risk of dangerous air particles raising, hence increasing the risk of contracting the roundworm parasite. Finally, we blew in cellulose insulation. Cellulose insulation is made from ground up recycled paper. It is treated with different types of applications that aren’t hazardous to humans and provides resistance to mold, pests, and fire.
April showers bring May flowers, including heavy rains into crawl spaces! Recently, we received a call from a homeowner in Farmingdale, NJ who had an issue with their crawl space. During heavy rainfall, their crawl space kept getting flooded and the sump pump wasn’t working properly. Not having a clean crawl space can have a major impact on your family’s health in so many ways. In fact, 40% of the air in your home comes up through the crawl space. This means that moisture, mold, dust, and pathogens can seep into your home, where you're breathing it in. Asthma or allergy symptoms could be a response to this. Once we arrived at the property, we put on our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), full-face respirator masks and began our inspection. After thoroughly inspecting the crawl space, we discussed with the homeowners what they needed. A crawl space encapsulation.
Crawl space encapsulation eliminates moisture, prevents damage from moisture, keeps unwanted critters out, and saves you money on your utility bill. First, we removed all the debris out of the crawl space. Then we laid down drainage matting which will allow any water to work its way over to the sump pump. Once that was done we dug a hole to remove the old sump pump and installed the new sump pump. Then we filled the outside of the hole with stones to allow water to make its way into the sump pump. Finally, we lined the entire crawl space with a vapor barrier liner. The vapor barrier is a 20-mil 7-ply sandwich of high-and low-density polyethylene with a polyester-cord reinforcement. It's also treated with an antimicrobial finish that protects against mold and mildew growth. This vapor barrier is made-to-take-a-beating and is puncture and tear resistant. Now the homeowner will no longer worry about their crawl space getting flooded.
These homeowners in Edison, NJ had with a squirrel infestation in their attic. A team from our nuisance wildlife division handled the trapping and relocating of the trespassing critters, and also sealed up their entry point. However, as often happens, the nesting wildlife made a mess of the attic. There were toxic droppings all about. When these droppings dry out or are otherwise disturbed, particles can become airborne and circulate throughout the home. If breathed in, these microscopic spores can trigger serious respiratory diseases. In addition, as often happens, the sponge-like attic insulation becomes contaminated from animal waste.
A two-man crew from Cowleys contractor division was called in to deal with the aftermath. As part of the clean-up, we carefully removed the contaminated insulation, used a powerful HEPA-vacuum to clean up the droppings left behind, and finally sanitized and deodorized the entire attic. After a wildlife infestation, it is essential to remove all signs and indications that there was once wildlife activity in the attic. Otherwise, the attic can become an attractant for insects and other wildlife that pick up on the lingering smells, and if you’ve ever dealt with one of these infestations, those smells are pungent! Also, an attic must be properly cleaned after a wildlife infestation to ensure the health of the home’s occupants.
Finally, after everything was cleaned up, we installed approximately 10” of our blown-in TAP insulation. TAP stands for Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control, which are the three key components that make this insulation such a great homeowner investment. This product offers superior thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties. The ten inches of TAP that we installed for this homeowner translates into a 40 R-value, more than enough thermal resistance (insulating power) to deal with the temperature extremes that come with living in New Jersey. Because a higher R-value increases the efficiency of the HVAC system, these homeowners will save on their cooling and heating bills. This insulation offers a pest control component, a benefit not available with most other insulation products. Its paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is harmless to people, pets, and other animals, but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites.
Recently, our crawl space specialists completed an upgrade for a home in Point Pleasant, NJ. The homeowner thought that after a recent heavy rainstorm he better check his crawl space for water. It was a good thing he did. The crawl space had stagnant water along with high humidity levels. He was concerned, and rightly so, that mold could develop. Moisture build-up in crawl spaces creates an ideal environment for mold growth. When hidden mold forms in the non-living spaces of homes like crawl spaces, basements, and attics, airborne spores circulate throughout the entire home adversely affecting air quality for the home’s occupants, and those sensitive to mold can develop respiratory issues. Excess moisture can lead to structural damage, including wood rot wood and rusted metal, and is also an attractant for insects and wildlife. Mosquitoes, for instance, breed in standing water.
Prior to entering the crawl space, we donned our personal protective equipment. Mold is a bio-hazard in enclosed spaces and proper safety precautions must always be used. With gloves, masks, and goggles in place, we began a thorough inspection of the crawl space. There were multiple water puddles throughout the crawl space, so the area was ripe for mold growth. However, after inspecting every nook and cranny of the crawl space, we couldn’t find any mold growth that had yet taken hold.
Continuing our inspection, we concluded that the moisture was coming up right through the dirt floor soil. Soil is a porous medium that acts like a sponge. About half its volume is air space and the other half is mineral and organic. It can soak up a large amount of water from above and below. Different soils have different water-holding capacities based on its porousness up to its point of saturation when all its pores are full. After rainfall, soil soaks up water, and once the soil is saturated, it will form surface puddles along with moisture and humidity. Although it was a good sign that there was not yet any mold growth in the crawl space, with this level of moisture build-up, it was only a matter of time before mold would form. This was a case where a homeowner had the foresight to realize there was a potential problem and contacted us early on. Usually, we are contacted after mold has already formed.
It was time for us to upgrade the crawl space. For this job, the homeowner requested that we install a vapor barrier. But not any vapor barrier. Many of the vapor barriers installed are no better than contractor bags. We use super-durable, 20-mil 7-ply plastic sheet material made up of high and low-density polyethylene with polyester-cord reinforcement. These barriers are as tough as nails and can be walked on without fear of tearing. We placed the vapor barrier on the dirt floor crawl space and anchored it directly into the wall. This barrier will deter moisture from entering the crawl space. A dry crawl space prevents mold growth and other water-related problems.
This job was a great example of a homeowner taking a proactive approach to prevent mold and mildew growth. Crawl spaces are notorious trouble spots for homeowners. It’s far better to identify and fix crawl space water and moisture problems before mold takes hold.
Recently, Cowleys installed two commercial-grade whole-house dehumidifiers in homes in Manasquan, NJ to deal with chronic high indoor relative humidity levels. High humidity can trigger dangerous mold growth and generic dehumidifiers are not built to work in the challenging environment of crawl spaces and basements. The SaniDry dehumidifiers we install and service are powerful machines that automatically empty, usually into sump pumps, so there is no water pan to empty or overflow. They turn on and off automatically with a built-in hydrometer.
As many of us remember from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 or the many Nor’easters to hit the Atlantic coast, heavy rain can cause serious flooding in basements and crawl spaces, especially in our hard-hit coastal communities. Because of the high water table and potential for flooding in Manasquan, we wanted to install them in a way that would decrease the risk that they would be submerged should water flood the basement or crawl space and allow them to continue working. We framed boxes high above ground level to place the machines to keep them safe and operational should the home suffer from a major water intrusion event. We may not be able to prevent flooding, but there are preventative steps we can take to minimize flooding damage.
I was sent to a home in Belmar, NJ to help a homeowner dealing with a bird infestation. Some birds had decided to use her chimney to nest. Chimneys can be quite popular nesting spots for birds since they resemble high perches in nature. Nuisance birds can cause significant property damage with their acidic droppings. As pretty as birds are from a distance, they happen to be dirty wildlife and are dangerous to have around homes and other structures. Their droppings are toxic and contact with them or even just breathing in their airborne particles can cause serious respiratory diseases.
First, to deal with this bird infestation, I carefully removed any nesting material and debris left behind from the birds in the chimney. I then installed a chimney cap and placed Bird Barrier Optical gel in plastic pucks on top of the chimney, gluing them in place with a silicone adhesive.
Bird control is all about behavior modification. The objective is to create a inhospitable environment, so they move elsewhere. This bird gel is one of my favorite bird deterrents. To us, this product looks like a bland, boring white gel. However, birds look at it much differently. They have far better color vision that us and see a much broader spectrum of colors. To birds, this gel looks like a giant fireball. Birds aren’t the brightest of creatures, but no bird has any interest heading into a raging fire! This big bird illusion is highly effective in keeping them away.
This Belmar homeowner was quite relieved that I had taken care of her bird problem so quickly. Once birds find a good nesting spot, they don’t usually leave on their own. As a bird control specialist, my job is to determine the best “incentives” for that property to get the birds to vacate on their own. Now, with the chimney cap and optical gel, these birds will be relocating to a friendlier location.
We went out on a call from a property manager in Sea Girt, NJ who owned a condominium complex. The property manager mentioned that the dehumidifiers in the basement of his complex needed an upgrade. The current dehumidifiers he had were too small to properly treat the areas needed and they kept malfunctioning. A dehumidifier is a great air treatment solution for removing excess moisture around your home and protecting it from damaging mold. Dehumidifiers can help relieve allergy symptoms as well as lung and respiratory symptoms. The fact that the dehumidifiers kept malfunctioning and weren't large enough to properly service the room, made them useless.
First, we inspected the current dehumidifiers to make sure there wasn't any damage to the outputs or wiring. Once we confirmed there wasn't we replaced all three dehumidifiers with commercial grade Sani-dry Sedona dehumidifiers. These dehumidifiers are perfect for commercial properties. They cost less to run than other dehumidifiers, cover over 3000 square feet and are energy efficient. What's the main difference between commercial and residential dehumidifiers? Commercial dehumidifiers can remove up to 160 pints of moisture, while most residential dehumidifiers remove up to 70 pints. Not to mention, commercial dehumidifiers operate in temperatures as low as 33° F and are constructed out of durable steel parts versus plastic materials in a residential dehumidifier. Lastly, residential dehumidifiers have a pan or bucket that you must manually empty once it's full of dehumidified water. With commercial dehumidifiers, the water is drained into a sump pump. If there is no sump pump present than we use a condensation pump to pump the water into a sink or outside the property.
Two of the dehumidifiers were in rooms that were back-to-back. We are able to place the water evacuation tube (which filters the water out of a dehumidifier) from the dehumidifiers into a commercial utility sink. As for the other dehumidifier, we were able to use the existing condensation pump that was in perfect working condition. Now the rooms can be treated properly!
Recently, we went on a service call for a homeowner in SeaGirt, NJ who had an issue with moisture in his crawl space. Moisture can seep into the crawl space through poor circulation or from the foundation walls and can lead to a number of problems, such as mold and mildew growth. As much as 40% of breathable air in your home comes up through the crawl space. Which means if mold exists in your crawl space, the unhealthy air circulating through your home can cause health problems for your family.
Once we arrived we began our inspection in the crawl space and discovered that the wooden door leading into the crawl space was rotted, damaged, and not closing properly. This was allowing not just moisture into the crawl space, but pests as well. Crawl spaces can also become a dwelling for pests if not properly maintained. Once pests enter your crawl space, they can follow heated air ducts, water pipes, and electrical wiring into your home and cause additional health issues.
Continuing our inspection we noticed that homeowner had a dirt floor crawl space and there was an excessive amount of garbage and debris scattered throughout the crawl space. Dirt floor crawl spaces attract and absorb moisture. When the dirt dries, it causes humidity levels to rise in your home. After a thorough inspection, we determined that this was the cause of the moisture build-up in the crawl space.
The best treatment to remove the moisture from the crawl space is to install a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier is a super-durable, 20-mil 7-ply plastic sheet material made up of high and low-density polyethylene with polyester-cord reinforcement. The vapor barrier resists the passage of air and by stopping air movement from the ground, it can also turn your crawl space into a semi-conditioned space – one that is close to the temperature of the living spaces above. When that occurs, your floors feel warmer in winter and your energy bills go down.
First, we removed all the sharp rocks and debris, which may puncture the insulating plastic, from the crawl space and then graded the ground to create a leveled surface. Next, we anchored the vapor barrier to the walls and placed it on the floor. We also installed an Everlast™ door to replace the damaged wooden door. An Everlast™ door is made from ½-in.-thick PVC plastic that will never warp, crack, shrink, require maintenance or painting and will prevent any unwanted pests and moisture from entering the crawl space.
With the new vapor barrier and everlasting door in place, the moisture levels in the crawl space are greatly reduced which will prevent mold and foul odors from growing and forming.
Recently, a homeowner in Lincroft NJ, contacted Cowleys because of raccoon activity in the upper dormer area of the home. Raccoon weight can vary considerably with habitat, but they generally weigh around 20 pounds, making them one of the largest nuisance wildlife that we deal with on a regular basis. These nocturnal animals are extremely intelligent, resourceful, great climbers, and with their human-like five-finger forepaws, they are amazingly dexterous. A determined raccoon will find a way to get into your attic, especially when the female is looking for a quiet, private nesting area to give birth to her kits. Raccoons, especially protective moms, are territorial and can be vicious when confronted. They are also the major rabies vector in New Jersey.
With nuisance wildlife infestations, we always determine how the critters are gaining access into the home. Because of the size of raccoons, their entry point is generally pretty obvious. Here, the raccoon was entering through the fascia area right below the roofline. Fascia boards are often exploited by wildlife because they are often weakened from water damage from the roof and gutters, and the outdoor elements. Raccoons can easily tear through these materials to gain access to the attic.
After ensuring that there were no pups inside the home, we set up traps and repaired the damaged fascia by framing in the hollowed-out area and then installing new fascia material. When we were done, the home looked as good as new!
A homeowner in Belmar, NJ, who was in the process of building his dream home, decided to invest in a dehumidifier for his basement, and he contacted us. Cowleys has a contractor division with an experienced crew that installs and services SaniDry dehumidifiers. These commercial-grade dehumidifiers that are specifically engineered for the challenging environments of crawl spaces and basements, and we limit our line to these workhorse machines. In these sub-grade areas of homes, chronic humidity is a problem, especially with our hot and muggy New Jersey summers.
Dehumidification is the only effective long-term solution to remove excess moisture in the air. High indoor humidity levels are responsible for a host of problems for including mold growth, a favorable environment for insects, wood rot and other structural damage. Also, dehumidifiers improve the liveability of a home. They help eliminate musty odors that can waft into the living areas of the home and dramatically improve indoor air quality by removing airborne mold spores and other allergens, helping relieve allergy and other lung and respiratory symptoms. After inspecting the homeowner's basement, and based on the size (cubic volume) of the basement, we recommended a SaniDry XP commercial dehumidifier.
You may be thinking why not go with a residential dehumidifier? Can there really be that much of a difference between these commercial-grade dehumidifiers and the generic residential ones? The short answer is that there is no comparison. As many homeowners find out the hard way, the generic dehumidifiers sold in hardware stores simply aren’t up to the job. For example, the SaniDry XP that we installed for this homeowner is a powerful energy-efficient dehumidifier that outperforms standard household dehumidifiers by as much as 10 times -- while using the same amount of energy to run! The SaniDry XP can effectively cover indoor living spaces over 3000 square feet, making it well-suited for basements and crawl spaces over 40” high.
The key difference between a residential dehumidifier and a SaniDry commercial dehumidifier is its ease of use and automatic operation. A residential dehumidifier requires human intervention to empty the pan of collected dehumidified water. If not timely emptied, the pan overflows, and usually, the machine shuts off once the flow bucket is full. Our commercial dehumidifiers direct the extracted water pulled out of the air into either a sump pump or, if a sump pump isn’t present, a condensation pump that pumps the water through a condensate hose to the outside of the basement. These machines work 24/7 year-round automatically.
The homeowner was ecstatic to know that he would have clean, dry air circulating throughout his home and the reduced humidity levels in his basement would prevent mold growth. For him, this dehumidifier was an investment that protected both his home and his family’s health.
The property manager of a professional services building in Ocean Township, NJ, observed turkey vultures landing on the peak of the roof. The primary nuisance birds in New Jersey are pigeons, house sparrows, starlings, and seagulls. However, every so often, residences and commercial buildings are used as nesting and roosting spots by other bird species, including vultures!
Many are surprised to learn that there are vultures in New Jersey. We are home to two vultures species, turkey vultures and black vultures. Turkey vultures, whose bald red head and dark plumage resembles wild turkeys, are historic residents of the state. Black vultures are a more recent arrival. Vultures are nature’s clean-up crew that help our ecosystem by feeding on dead, decomposing animal carcasses (carrion). The reduce the risk of disease and contamination from rotting animals. If our road maintenance crews don’t quickly remove roadkill left behind on our busy New Jersey roadways, these birds are happy to take over. How can vultures eat decomposing, even diseased, flesh and organs without getting sick? They have highly acidic stomach acids that kills any pathogens. These acids are also their primary defense mechanism. If threatened, vultures will regurgitate its rancid stomach acids, not to mention its stomach contents, onto an intruder. Most intruders, once covered with vulture vomit, tend to rethink their plans.
Vultures are a protected migratory bird species, as are most birds. The objective with bird control is to make your property inhospitable to birds using deterrents, so they change their behavior and move elsewhere. They types of deterrents depend on the type of bird infestation and the specifics of the property. There is no one-size-fits-all single bird solution.
For this particular bird job, we installed 80 feet of shock track along the entire peak of the roof. These tracks gives off a low-volt shock should a bird attempt to land. It does not harm them in any way, but it does send a clear message to seek another area to rest. Even for birds, that aren’t the brightest, it does not take too many negative reinforcements for them to realize that they are no longer welcomed here.
Needless to say, the property manager was quite pleased for these birds to be gone. Most of the businesses operating here are for professional medical services. The last thing anyone wants to see when visiting their doctor or dentist is seeing large birds hovering overhead that are, literally, waiting for death. With the shock tracks in place, these unattractive birds will no longer be taking up residence on the roof, making a mess from their droppings and making visitors uncomfortable.
The homeowner in Red Bank, NJ, contacted Cowleys because he was concerned about his crawl space access, which was wide open. Cowleys has a contractor division that specializes, among other things, in crawl space improvements. Vented crawl spaces are often a source of many homeowner issues.
These chronically humid below-grade spaces often develop mold, and their environment attracts insects, mice, and wildlife. This homeowner was motivated to fix this opening because he has young kids who play around the house, especially now that spring is here and temperatures have warmed up. He was justifiably concerned that their curiosity may get the best of them and they could accidentally fall in the entry hole. A dangerous situation, to be sure. Candidly, upon arrival, when we first saw the opening, we were surprised that nuisance wildlife had not yet exploited this opening. There was a high likelihood, even if the homeowner was not aware of it, that overwintering mice had vacationed in the crawl space.
We had the perfect solution for this particular type of crawl space access — The Turtl. It’s not what you think. We didn’t block the crawl space entry hole with a giant snapping turtle! This particular “turtl” is the brand name of a solid PVC vinyl weatherproof crawl space door and entry system that eliminates the need for a crawl space door and access pit in one fell swoop.
Crawl space entry doors made of wood or steel can weaken over time through rot or rust leading to unwanted water intrusions, mold, and insect an wildlife infestations. The Turtl crawl space entry, with its locking lid, provides a tough attractive entry system that protects your crawl space from the harsh outdoor elements and keeps out insects, wildlife, and even little kids looking for trouble! The Turl crawl space access attaches directly to the foundation so it can’t shift or move. Also, it is manufactured using a rotational molding process, as are many chemical and fuel tanks, so it is seamless and can’t split. As you can see from the before and after photos, the Turtl turned an unattractive and potentially dangerous crawl space hole into a safe, protective crawl space entry system.
Recently, a two-man home repair crew went out on a service call to a home in Red Bank, NJ, to repair a wall that had been severely damaged from a termite infestation. Although the home was treated after termites were discovered, as often happens, there was already damage from these wood-devouring insects. The drywall around a window in his living room had to be completely removed and replaced.
Prior to starting our repair work, we first inspected the entire interior and exterior of the property before beginning my repairs. Even though a termite treatment was recently done, we wanted to be 100% positive that there was no more active termite activity in the home. After ensuring the home was free of termites, we began the repairs.
First, we needed to remove all of the damaged wood, insulation, and drywall. The good news from all this was that it could have been worse. Fortunately, the termite damage was limited to this one section of his home. Next, after cleaning the area, we and installed all new pressure-treated wood, replaced the insulation, and installed new drywall. Pressure treating is a preservative process that helps wood withstand the elements and ward off termites, microorganisms and fungal decay. As we were replacing the drywall the homeowner told us that he already scheduled an appointment with a professional painting company to paint and spackle the drywall.
Now, with the repairs done, the wall was as good as new! As you can see, no one would have the slightest inkling that this home once had termite damage.
Recently, a homeowner in West Long Branch, NJ contacted Cowleys so that we could capture and relocate some raccoons that infested the roofline area, and after capture, repair the damaged building materials. Raccoons are large, dexterous animals capable of causing a significant damage with their razor-sharp teeth and claws. Here, raccoons damaged some soffit and fascia materials in order to gain entry.
We secured baited traps on the roof of the building around their pathway that they were using to and from their entry point. Sure enough, the very next day, the raccoons were captured, and we then released them in a safe location in a much more suitable habitat. With the animals removed, we could remove and replace the damaged fascia and soffit materials. Once the repair work was done, the home looked as good as new. No one would have ever guessed that there was a recent raccoon infestation.
These homeowners in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, were having problems with squirrels “squirreling” their way into their attic. They were tired of dealing with these periodic squirrel infestations into their home, and contacted Cowleys in the hopes of finding a long-term solution. We had the perfect answer for them!
Our contractor division installed CritterProof, a critter protection product manufactured by Leaf Supreme, a leading designer of gutter protection systems. CritterProof is specifically designed to cover the fascia gap and exclude various wildlife that often makes their way onto the roof and into the attic. The most common “attic invaders” that we see time and time again here in New Jersey are squirrels, raccoons, and bats. Mice also find their way into the attic, but usually they first enter the home through the basement or crawl space.
CritterProof is a protective system that stops wildlife from chewing and clawing their way through the delicate fascia boards to gain access to the soffit area and, ultimately, where the attic. For wildlife, attics are the perfect refuge to escape the harsh outdoor elements and they make for a wonderful nesting area to care for their young. After all, attics are warm, quiet, private, and free from the preying eyes of predators.
A home’s soffit/fascia area is one of the more common routes we see for wildlife to gain entry. CritterProof’s unique adjustable design provides custom coverage of the fascia gap while still maintaining critical attic ventilation. CritterProof is available in black, white, and other colors by special order.