Serving Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset, & Middlesex County
Rhett Cowley and I were sent out to a home in Jackson. This home had previously been serviced for bat exclusion by Little Rascals by Cowleys, our wildlife division. In this TAP insulation project, Rhett and I would be removing all of the fiberglass insulation in the main attic space, as this insulation had bat guano (droppings) and urine saturation and staining. The insulation has to be bagged in the attic before it can be transported down to the dumpster container to prevent contamination.
Following the removal of all of the affected insulation, all of the bat droppings must be HEPA vacuumed. A HEPA vacuum is used to prevent air borne contamination of the dangerous guano. Afterwards, we completely sanitized and deodorized the entire attic using a professional grade chemical treatment. The following day I returned with James Baggata, another wildlife technician and TAP installer to prepared the attic by enclosing the recessed lights and installing baffles to allow air flow from the soffits. Then finally, the TAP Pest Control Insulation is blown in.
The installation of TAP will not only help repel many common pests, but can provide savings on energy bills and add a sound insulation to the attic.
A homeowner in Jackson, NJ, contacted Cowleys after finding mouse droppings in their basement. Although most everyone uses their basement for storage, this particular home had a significant amount of “stuff.” It was filled with storage totes, furniture, and most everything else that families accumulate and rarely use that is then brought downstairs into what I like to call “the land of no return.” Cluttered basements have a major downside: they offer mice almost unlimited harborage areas. Mice thrive in locations where there is limited access due to clutter, especially when items are directly against the outside walls and no elevated off the ground. Ideally, homeowners should keep items 6” to a foot off the ground and 1-2 feet away from walls. These gaps allow for inspection access around the home’s interior perimeter. Mice have poor eyesight and rely on tactile sensation and the smells left by other mice. As such, they like to form travel lanes along the edges of walls. Along these travel lanes, you often find mouse droppings in corners where the mice rest.
I explained the relationship between basement storage issues and mice problems to the homeowners. I was happy to hear that they were going to listen to my advice by rearranging their storage items and clearing out what they were no longer using. The homeowners told me that this infestation and my advice had motivated them to do what they had been thinking about for awhile —having a garage sale and donating items to charity. Charitable donations of household items are not just a good deed and a tax write-off — it’s also a great way to keep your home clutter-free and remove harborage areas for rodents and other pests to hide and nest.
In the meantime, I set up rodent bait stations around the basement perimeter and sealed up access holes around some incoming utility lines. This particular job is a great example of showing how pest control is a team effort with the pest control service and the homeowner. Working together is the key to preventing infestations and getting them resolved quickly when they occur.
A homeowner in Jackson, NJ contacted Cowleys because of a problem with burrowing groundhogs (woodchucks) digging away at his home’s foundation around the inside corners of the house. For homeowners, these ground squirrels are one of the most damaging pests that can invade your yard. They not only wreak havoc on your lawn from their burrowing activity, as this homeowner found out the hard way, they can damage your home’s foundation if their burrowing activity is adjacent to your home.
As you can see in the photo, the foundation has a brick overhang. Often, we are able to deal with groundhog infestations with “Dig Defence,” an underground fencing system made of heavy galvanized steel. We frequently recommend this product since it does not degrade underground. Also, because Dig Defence is a trenchless system, it is relatively easy to install for experienced installers. However, in the wildlife control business, we must deal with the situation we are given, and find those solutions that will work for those situations. When it comes to wildlife, it’s never one size fits all. Here, because of the overhang, we could not install this type of fencing. So, we had to do this the old-fashioned way.
For this groundhog problem, I first wanted to do a trapping set-up. I was able to trap and relocate two groundhogs. While removing these two problem animals will help, I suspected that there were others, and trying to catch all of them would have been an exercise in futility. First, with all of the increased activities, these rodents are skittish and will shift their movement to avoid the traps. Also, this neighborhood was highly conducive to groundhog activity and I could see them thriving here. The entire neighborhood had strep banks with heavy cover, which is ideal for their burrowing activity. Also, there was plenty of food. Many of the neighboring homes had bird feeders and flowers providing them with virtually unlimited food sources.
After completing the trapping, it was time to do the heavy lifting. We pulled back off the rocks around the foundation where the animals were burrowing. Next, we had to dig out the dirt. With a trench dug out, we put in hardware cloth and secured it with masonry screws. This groundhog exclusion will not only work well, it matched up with the house and was aesthetically appealing. No doubt, there was one of our tougher groundhog exclusion jobs, but the end result was well worth it.
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Here at Cowleys Pest Services we not only adhere to the highest pest control standards, our goal is to provide you with an excellent experience and service in Jackson and nearby NJ.
From your first phone call through treatment and follow-up we at Cowleys Pest Services pledge to give you great customer service while fixing your pest problem.
Since 1991, we have been treating a wide variety of pests, bedbugs, insects and rodents -- just contact us to get more details on your home or building's issue. Take advantage of our expertise to get rid of unwanted pests or animals in your Jackson, NJ home.
At Cowleys Pest Services we also have pest control plans where we routinely inspect your home or building and apply needed solutions ahead of developing a recurring pest problem. Our pest service plans have different levels too, to best suit your needs that you can change over time if needed. From our Green Service Plan to our Platinum Service Plan, we'll keep your home pest-free.
Recently, I went out on a service call for a new homeowner in Jackson, NJ who was having an issue with "jumping spiders" in his crawl space. As soon as I entered the crawl space I was greeted by a large infestation of camel crickets.
Camel crickets are those nightmare fueled pests that are most notoriously known as "sprickets" (spider crickets), which is incorrect because camel crickets aren't arachnids. Also, these pets cause no harm at all to humans and their only means of defense is that they jump at predators to scare them off. They typically reside in moist, dark caves, but when it comes to invading homes, moisture-filled crawl spaces or basements will do just fine.
I treated the sill plates with an aerosol application that eliminates the camel crickets almost immediately and then applied a granular bait throughout the crawl space. Finally, I applied a liquid residual along the entire exterior of the building and throughout the crawl space.
When the camel crickets come in contact with any of these products, they ingest it through grooming and feeding. Shortly after, they are neutralized.
A homeowner in Jackson, NJ, a long-time customer of Cowleys, recently contacted us. She was fairly distraught because there was an out-of-control mice infestation in her kitchen. Mice were running around the kitchen cabinets and counters, leaving their tell-tale droppings everywhere. Once temperatures start to drop in the fall, we start to get more calls for mouse infestations. These rodents “overwinter,” that is, they seek out locations for warmth and shelter so that they are not directly exposed to the harsh outdoor elements. Mice do not have the fat reserves or the ability to hibernate like other animal. There very survival depends on finding a warm location over the winter where they have access to food and water. And our homes are an easy choice. We offer them everything they want, and usually it’s not too difficult for them to gain entry through gaps or cracks around the foundation. Mice only need an opening about the size of a dime to squeeze through.
Some feel that mice are harmless and we should just let them be. However, a mouse infestation is serious health hazard. Mice inevitably find they way to the kitchen because that’s where the food is. They can chew through cereal boxes and other cardboard containers contaminating food. Mice can also carry ticks and fleas into the home. Finally, their droppings can contain many dangerous pathogens that transmit serious, even life-threatening, diseases to people including hantavirus and histoplasmosis. When mice droppings dry out, microscopic airborne particles can be released in the air and inhaled by the home’s occupants. You do not even need to directly touch the rodents urine or droppings to get sick.
Upon arrival, I started my inspection. With a mouse infestation, the most important part of the inspection is to identify any actual or potential entry points. To do this properly, the technician must be systematic and thorough. Mice usually enter through gaps or cracks around the foundation to enter the attic and crawl space, and then travel through wall voids throughout the home. Often, like with this infestation, they forage for food in the kitchen. Here, I located large openings under the kitchen sink where the water supply was entering the cabinet from underneath. These pipes were coming in through the basement and was the likely route used by the mice between the basement and the kitchen.
I sealed these gaps around the pipes with a copper, chew-proof mesh material. It is liable and easy to form a complete seal around the pipes. After blocking their kitchen access, I set up a bait station for any mice that may still be around. I’ll return in two weeks for a follow-up to reinspect and see if there is still active rodent activity. During these follow-ups, I replace any depleted bait and take whatever additional steps are necessary until the infestation is resolved. Homeowners cannot tolerate overwintering mice in their homes. The health risk to family members is simply too great.
When I was first assigned to this particular wildlife job at a golf course in Jackson, NJ, I was reminded of that classic 1980 film “Caddyshack.” The comically deranged Carl Spackler, the assistant groundskeeper for an exclusive country club, played by Bill Murray, is tasked with stopping a gopher infestation that is destroying the course. One particularly destructive, elusive gopher outsmarted him at every turn (and even whimsically poked its head out of its burrow to dance to the movie’s theme song, the Kenny Loggins song, “I’m Alright.”) Frustrated Carl tries to shoot, drown, and even use dynamite to kill the gopher, all without success. That’s where any similarity to Caddyshack ends! Unlike Carl, professional nuisance wildlife technicians use only proper and humane trapping techniques to capture the invading animals — no shooting, no drowning, and, certainly, no explosives!
This Jackson, NJ golf course was invaded by groundhogs. Like gophers, they are burrowing rodent capable of causing extensive property damage. Gophers and groundhogs are often confused. Gophers are, by far, much smaller than groundhogs. While gophers only weigh a few pounds, groundhogs can grow to ten pounds or more. Also, gophers have thin rat-like tails, while groundhogs have bushy tails similar to squirrels. Perhaps, most important, is what they have in common. All burrowing rodents are wild animals, no matter how “cuddly” they may look. Even Punxsutawney Phil and all of the other groundhogs that are displayed on GroundHog Day are not pets. They are wild, biting animals. These rodents will become aggressive when cornered or threatened, and their powerful biting jaws and sharp claws can cause serious injury. Groundhogs are also a rabies vector species in New Jersey and must be approached and handled with caution.
From past experience, this area in Jackson, NJ is known for having high groundhog populations. This job was not the first time we were called out to Jackson to deal with groundhogs. A common issue we face with high nuisance animal populations is “trap-shy” animals. If an animal has had a close call with a trap but managed to escape, they learn from the traumatic experience, and they’ll do their best to not be tricked into entering a trap again. It’s that old saying — fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Since it is next-to-impossible to get trap-wary animals into traps the conventional way, even when enticed by their favorite, most irresistible foods used as bait, we instead use a special trap that can be placed directly over a burrow hole. This trap will secure the animal, no matter which direction it is traveling, the first time. Essentially, they enter the trap involuntary, and by not giving them a choice, we are able to trap the critters before they even know what’s up! This method of direct trapping over entry/exit points is highly effective — whether it is a burrow opening for excavating rodents like moles, voles, gophers, and groundhogs or openings used by more aerial critters such as squirrels and raccoons to gain access to attics and other structures.
I’ll be back to check the traps in a few days., and I also told the groundskeeper to contact me immediately as soon as a groundhog is caught. I’m confident that these nuisance groundhogs will be trapped shortly and their days of digging up the golf course are numbered. I won’t stop until this property is free of these burrowing, property-damaging rodents.