Serving Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset, & Middlesex County
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Here at Cowleys Pest Services, we not only adhere to the highest pest control standards, but our goal is also to provide you with an excellent experience and service in Mercer County 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 Mercer County, 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.
A Cowleys bed bug team was dispatched to a home in Pennington to treat a bed bug infestation. The inspection, the most critical part of any bed bug service, must be thorough and systematic in order to identify those areas in the home where there is an infestation. Hopefully, the infestation is localized, but if the homeowner waits too long, the infestation inevitably spreads throughout the home. We focus on those areas where people sleep and rest — beds, sofas, and recliners — and surrounding areas where they may hide. The bed bugs hide in the nooks and crannies of furniture and surrounding areas waiting for us to sleep or rest, so they can feed on us for their blood meal. Bed bugs are parasites that feed exclusively on blood, preferably that of humans. We look not only for bed bugs in all their stages — eggs, nymphs, and adults — but evidence of bed bug activity such as bed bug casings and droppings.
For those rooms in the home with confirmed bed bug sightings, thorough vacuuming is an important initial step before applying any product applications to those areas of concern. With mattresses and box springs, because we want to avoid applications entirely, vacuuming becomes especially important to remove the sticky bed bug eggs and any live, active bed bugs. It is important to vacuum each and every side of the mattress and boxspring, and over every seam and crack and crevice where the bugs can be hiding. After vacuuming, the mattress and boxspring are encased in a protector to completely seal the furniture and prevent any bed bugs from escaping. All vacuums used for bed bug treatments must contain a HEPA filter and operate with a removable bag system. The vacuum bag must be sealed in plastic and immediately removed from the home.
In the two-week followup, we will thoroughly re-inspect, and apply additional applications to areas of concern. In our final inspection, two to three weeks later, we make sure the home is completely free of bed bugs, again applying a light chemical application to any areas of concern. After this visit, our 90-day “no bite no sight” warranty goes into effect.
Cowleys received a call from a Princeton homeowner who had been seen “a small army” of yellow ants in his crawl space and all over the vent cover leading into the crawl space. These particular ants are citronella ants, and get their name from the citronella odor that they emit when threatened or crushed. These ants feed on the excretion of aphids and mealybugs that feed on the roots of shrubs, and the swarmers (winged ants), which are much larger than the workers, are frequently confused with termites.
Upon arrival, I inspected the crawl space and immediately came across a customer DIY moisture barrier. Unfortunately, weekend handyman projects usually don’t have the same results as professional installations. That was clearly the case here. The crawl space was humid and filled with moisture, and this barrier, a jerry-rigged tarp, was doing little to stop moisture and humidity from entering the crawl space. Upon further inspection, I noticed citronella ants surrounding the outer areas of the tarp. I rolled up part of the tarp, which was loose, to better inspect the area and observed numerous citronella ant trails criss-crossing the crawl space.
I treated the crawl space as well as the exterior of the home. In addition, I spread a granular bait that the ants will pick up and bring back to the colony, killing the queen. With the queen dead, the entire colony will soon eliminated. Killing a few foraging ants will not stop the infestation. To successfully resolve an ant or other insect infestation, you must kill the colony.
Like any rodent, squirrels are compelled to chew on things ... and they are chewing all the time. Rodents are the single largest group of mammals with more than 2,000 species. Besides squirrels, those rodents that we are most familiar with are rats, mice, woodchucks (groundhogs), beavers, and those “adorable” rodents like hamsters and gerbils that kids want to keep as pets. All rodents (from Latin rodere, “to gnaw”) have one thing in common: four long front-most teeth (incisors), two on the upper jaw and two on the lower. Their constant gnawing creates perpetually sharp chiseled edges. Like all rodents, a squirrel’s front teeth will grow throughout their entire lives, and they do so at a pretty rapid pace. To prevent them from growing too long, squirrels must constantly gnaw in order to file them down. If they didn’t, we would have millions of scary saber-tooth squirrels running around giving us nightmares!
This behavior doesn't necessarily mean that squirrels are trying to gnaw their way into your house. Cowleys sometimes receives calls from homeowners who are concerned (or even convinced) that some crazy squirrels are hell-bent on trying to chew their way inside. After investigating, more often than not, we find that the squirrels just using a part of the house as a file to grind down their teeth. Squirrel gnawing is wildlife dentistry!
In extreme situations like the one where squirrels are really doing a number on the house, wildlife technicians at Cowleys can perform a "free roaming" squirrel trapping service that will reduce the squirrel populations in the immediate vicinity of the home. We’ll trap and safely relocate as many as we can away from your residence.
As a wildlife technician, I’m often asked if there is an effective squirrel repellent. The most effective one that I’ve found is a spray made of cayenne pepper. There are plenty of recipes online to make a spicy cayenne pepper broth. Some add other food items for good measure that squirrels hate like chopped onions or chopped jalapenos. Another effective squirrel repellent is red fox urine. If you don’t want to go through the time and trouble of collecting it yourself, you can buy it online or at most hardware stores. It should be noted that any of these repellents are a temporary deterrent at best.
I was called upon to treat a termite problem at a house in Hightstown. Termite damage often remains hidden until there is extensive damage to the home. However, there are two important earlier signs of a termite infestation that homeowners should be aware of. One is the mud tubes formed by termites so they can move from the nest to the wood food source without being exposed to the elements. the other sign of termite trouble, and by far, the more visible of the two, is termite swarms. This homeowner went through the frightening experience of witnessing a termite swarm take place inside his own home.
What are swarmers? Swarmers (flying termites), also known as winged reproductives, belong to a termite colony along with the workers and the queen. They emerge during the spring to search for mates in order to start a new colony. As soon as they mate, they break off their wings. Since termites are attracted to light, homeowners may find piles of termite wings on windowsills or on countertops near light sources. When a termite colony swarms, thousands of winged termites are potentially released. They may enter homes from the underground colony through cracks in the slab construction. Even though nearly all swarmers will die if they emerge inside a structure, it’s still important to contact a termite pest control professional immediately. An inside swarm like the one experienced by this homeowner is a sure sign that there is a hidden termite infestation on the property.
As part of my inspection, I had to determine where these invading insects had entered the home, so I could treat the soil where the termite nest had formed. At the base of a wall in the laundry room, I found a plumbing clean-out pipe. These pipes are used to access the home’s sewer line to clear out clogs. Right next to the pipe, I discovered a termite mud (shelter) tube in the wall void. That was how these sneaky wood-devouring insects were finding their way into the home!
Now it was time to get rid of these property-destroying insects. To eradicate the termite colony, I first needed to drill a small hole through the laundry room floor to gain access to the ground area where a termite nest was buried below. I then injected a powerful termiticide into the soil underneath the slab to reach the termites using a slab injector that I locked down on top of the hole. This non-repellant application is carried back to the nest by the workers where it will be transferred like a virus to the other termites. Soon, the entire termite colony will be killed. This home will now be protected against termite damage from this underground nest.
I was at a Windsor residence conducting one of our inspections that comes with our home protection plan service packages (HPP). I wasn’t expecting anything too unusual on this sunny spring day, but, as I learned a long time ago, the day of a pest control technician is often filled with many “surprises” waiting for us around the corner.
Today I came across a beautiful shiny black spider. It was about a half-inch long with shiny black legs. I later saw that had an interesting hourglass marking on its abdomen. For those who don’t know spiders, it may have looked like just another harmless house spider. But don’t be fooled by appearances. This “itsy bitsy” spider was none other than a Black Widow — the most dangerous spider found here in New Jersey.
Poisonous spiders are those spiders whose venom can cause a serious reaction in humans. Fortunately, there aren’t that many of them. In New Jersey, the most common poisonous spider, by far, is the black widow. This spider gets its ominous name from its most unusual behavior — after mating, the female will, on rare occasion, eat the unsuspecting male spider!
Although black widow venom can cause a serious painful reaction, death is very unlikely. Even though their venom is much more toxic than the venom of a rattlesnake, a single spider just can’t inject that much of it in a single bite. If medical treatment is obtained soon after the bite, most symptoms can be alleviated. Also, you only have to worry about the females. The male black widow’s fangs are too small to break human skin, and the juveniles of either sex are also harmless to humans. Only female black widows can bite through a person’s skin and inject enough venom to cause a painful reaction.
As shown in the photo, this spider was a proud mom that just had lots of newly hatched spiderlings. The female lays several batches of eggs that may contain several hundred eggs each. However, very few, perhaps a dozen or so, manage to survive the incubation period. The vast majority of them are cannibalized by their sibling spiderlings. Talk about a spider-eat-spider world!
Needless to say, these young homeowners were nervous — and for good reason. Nobody likes spiders breeding and multiplying in their homes, especially ones that are poisonous. Also, there were two curious toddlers at home. This was a serious situation and I took all preventative measures to get rid of this spider infestation. Now, the spiderlings would not develop and potentially harm anyone in this family. I also reviewed preventative measures with the homeowners to reduce potential spider harborage areas in and around the home.
I was servicing a regular client in Princeton. I went directly to the unit that was having the issue with the yellowjackets. The resident was even seeing the stingers in her unit. I inspected the exterior and quickly found a nest in the roof sheathing by the gutter. I proceeded to treat the opening with a dust insecticide.
During the summer, I perform a weekly servicing for a residential community in Princeton, NJ. The property manager informed me of my top priority for the day: I needed to take care of a hornet’s nest that was terrorizing residents by the swimming pool! Upon inspection, I immediately saw the problem. The nest had blended in perfectly with the tree and, even though this was a mature, large nest, it was well hidden unless you were really looking for it. A few residents had already been stung because they didn’t see the nest and made the mistake of venturing too close. Pools tend to be a problem with wasps because they are attracted to the food and sugary sodas.
Often, I can tell the wasp species based on the construction and location of the nest. With this wasp nest removal job, I immediately knew that I was dealing with baldfaced hornets. These “hornets.” contrary to their name, are actually a type of wasp. They are close relatives of yellow jackets and have the same nasty disposition. Baldfaced hornets usually build their nests in hidden protected locations, often under the eaves of buildings or hidden away in some corner of the home, Also, like here, you’ll find baldfaced hornet nests built in or trees where the nest is hidden by leaves and branches. They make their egg-shaped nests out of chewed wood and their saliva, and these nests can grow quite large — approaching the size of a regulation basketball! During the summer, a colony can easily grow to several hundred workers.
These wasps are distinctive white markings on their head and body, and they are social wasps that live in colonies. Social wasps are aggressive and territorial. They are very protective of their nest if they feel threatened, and they won’t hesitate to sting. Each wasp is capable of stinging repeatedly.
Removing a baldfaced hornet nest is a challenge, and doing it the wrong way or not having the right equipment can easily turn into a medical emergency. These wasps attack in swarms, and aggravating the colony can send hundreds of angry wasps in your direction. Just one wasp sting is painful, but multiple stings are a level of pain that you’ll never forget. I’ve been stung by these even wearing a protective suit.
It was time to get rid of the nest. First, I treated the entry and exit holes with an aerosol that kills the hornets on contact. I wanted to get rid of the nests' first line of defense — the wasps that are guarding the nest’s exterior. I soaked the nest with the aerosol, to quickly knocks down their population. Even though there may be a few more around, it is now safe enough for me to remove the nest. After removing the nest, I packaged it and took it with me. I did not want any remnants of insect activity since these wasps tend to be attracted to the same area. These wasps had already overstayed their welcome at the pool and I wanted to make sure that these wasps had no attractants that would encourage them to return.
One of Cowleys commercial accounts, an apartment building in Princeton, NJ, is serviced by me weekly to handle any pest complaints of tenants or property management. I have treated a panoply of insects there, from occasional invader insects like clothes moths and pantry pests to our “regulars” like carpenter ants & bees and all types of stinging insects. On my to-do list this week was a call from the property manager that a large yellow jacket nest was discovered in a utility room attached to the main apartment building. He had no idea how long the nest had been there or even if it was still an active nest. Since the room was not heated, I suspected that it was an inactive nest. But with yellow jackets, you don’t take any chances!
I cautiously proceeded inside the utility room and looked around to see if there were any yellow jackets hovering about. The coast was clear. There was not a single yellow jacket and given the size of this nest, this small utility room would have been an airport of yellow jackets flying about.
I used a putty knife to scrape the nest off the wall. This was an exceptionally mature nest. Had it been active, this colony would have had at least a thousand ornery yellow jackets. This was one time I was glad we were in the middle of winter when stinging insects are generally dormant, although on rare occasions we can find an active nest built inside a heated building. After removing the nest, I inspected the outside of the utility room to locate the entry point for these insects. There was a small gap in the siding where a small aluminum box was attached. The box was bent providing enough of an opening for the insects to come and go. I let the property manager know that the box needed to be replaced or at least sealed against the siding. As long as there was a gap, there was a risk of re-infestation — something I would prefer to not deal with once the temperatures start warming!