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Barney joined Cowleys team as a pest control technician in order to serve our customers the “Cowleys way.” Barney is no stranger to hard work, and he brings what is most important to us -- an exceptional work ethic. Previously, Barney worked for the Freehold Township DWP where he provided maintenance services for the Township roads and infrastructure. For those residing in the Freehold area, the Di Bennedeto family is well-known. His great grandfather, Joe, was owner of Joe’s Barbershop on South Street, whose ownership was passed on to Barney, his grandfather, and is currently owned by his uncle Mike. Bruce Springsteen spent his childhood living in Freehold and, in his youth, went to Joe’s for his haircuts.
Many here at Cowleys have known him and his family for years, and he is the perfect fit for our work culture and our focus on delivering exceptional customer service. Barney is as honest and dependable as the day is long.
When not working, Barney enjoys playing in a men’s softball league, bowling, heading to the Shore during the summer, and having a good time with family and friends including spending time outside with his four beautiful dogs!
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.
Cowleys handles all of the pest control needs of a community of homes in northern Howell, NJ. Recently, I was contacted by the property manager and asked to inspect and treat a resident’s home for ants, and did so. Whenever I am at a residence, I always perform an exterior perimeter inspection for pest activity. Often, we uncover a pest infestation that the homeowner had no idea was lurking right outside their door!
Here, I came across an active bald-faced hornets nest. The homeowner was shocked that he missed their activity. These particular wasps are close relatives of yellow jackets and they are just as nasty and aggressive, singing anyone or anything that comes into the “danger zone” around their nest. These wasps, unlike bees, can sting repeatedly, so a swarm of them can pose quite a dangerous situation.
Bald-faced hornets often build their paper-like nests of chewed wood mixed with their saliva in shrubs, trees, and sheds, usually 3 to 4 feet off the ground. They also will attach their nests right onto homes. Here, the wasps built their nest in the overhang between the soffit and gutter. In late summer, insect activity is at a peak since they have been active for quite awhile and you’ll start seeing some large, mature colonies with potentially hundreds of workers.
During the day, these nests are exceptionally active with workers hovering about the nest, flying in and out. It’s pretty much impossible to sneak up on them, so treating these nests must be done carefully. I did not want to take any chances and put on my protective bee suit. First, I sprayed the opening of the nest with a foam that kills the wasps almost instantly. It is important to quickly knock down the population as fast as you can once you rile them up. I waited a few minutes for the product to work. After I saw no more activity, I removed and bagged the nest, taking it with me off the property. It is important to remove all remnants of activity so that other insects are not attracted to the same area.
The homeowner was thankful that I located and treated this wasp infestation before anyone was stung.
Recently, a was sent to a residence in Howell, NJ. The homeowner had contacted Cowleys after a surprise run-in with two mice in the kitchen the night before. Since mice are nocturnal, if these is a mouse sighting, it is usually at night when they are doing their foraging. Mice are experts at staying hidden and you’ll usually find signs of mouse activity like droppings, nesting materials, and relocated food well before observing the rodents themselves. Also, mice don’t travel far from their nest and they are not loners. Mice live in groups known as a horde or mischief of mice, so if you see one or two, it’s a safe bet that there are quite a few others hiding in the wall voids or behind your kitchen appliances.
I first checked the basement. Often, mice first gain entry through gaps and cracks around the foundation. The perimeter of he home appeared well sealed with no obvious entry points. Asking the homeowner, where he saw the mice running to before he lost sight of them, and he said they had scampered from a closet to underneath the refrigerator. Mice commonly nest underneath refrigerators because the area is well hidden and warm from the motor. Here, I moved the fridge to look behind and there were no openings in the wall behind. Next, I checked out the closet, and found a hole in the wall along with mice droppings in the area. When these mice weren’t foraging for food in the kitchen their home was a wall void that they accessed in the closet.
I temporarily sealed the hole with chew-proof copper mesh until the homeowner could permanently have the hole patched. I also placed rodent stations in the closet, and for good measure, also put two rodent stations in the basement. Upon a closer exterior perimeter inspection, I found one potential crack that could have ben used to gain entry into the home. I also sealed this opening with copper mesh and also set up another rodent station nearby. With these internal and external holes closed, the mice infestation should resolve. I told the homeowner to contact us if he saw any new signs of mouse activity, and we would be out there again for a follow-up.
Recently, a homeowner in Spring Lake, NJ, contacted Cowleys because a hornet nest had formed on the soffit of her home. It was built fairly high up, so it wasn’t a major threat. Hornets can be aggressive and territorial and will attack if their nest is threatened. Here, there wasn’t much traffic around the nest and everyone was a safe distance away. The homeowner’s concern was that the hornets would gain access inside the home through the attic. To avoid this and any other issue with these stinging insects, I proceeded to remove the nest.
Hornet nests have an entry hole where the foraging wasps enter and exit. I watched their flight pattern in and out of the nest and set up my extension ladder on the opposite side of their activity. I had no interest in meeting these wasps head-on! I climbed the ladder and treated the nest with an aerosol that quickly knocks down the population. I then waited until the wasp activity dramatically slowed down. I reached by nest with the bee pole and gave it a good wack to knock it to the ground so that I could bag it and take it with me off the property. The homeowner was relieved that this nest was removed off her property. There are some people that have no tolerance for stinging insects, and this homeowner was one of them! I was glad to help.