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Recently, we were contacted by homeowners in Millstone Township, NJ who decided to have a dehumidifier installed in their basement as a permanent long-term solution to their chronic humidity problem. High moisture environments in crawl spaces and basements invites mold, insects, and even structural damage to the home.
The readings on our hygrometer, which measures the humidity (amount of water vapor) in the air, confirmed that this basement had an unacceptably high level of humidity. Homes require an acceptable range of humidity for our comfort and health, and air that is too dry or too wet can be the source of problems for a home’s occupants. Our homes are most comfortable at humidity levels between 30 - 50%. Almost always, the problem with basements and crawl spaces Is too much humidity. High humidity levels can cause condensation on windows, wet stains on walls and ceilings, musty odors, and over extended periods of time, wood rot and structural damage. humidity levels rise above 55%, a home is ripe for mold growth. Mold spores attach to wet or damp surfaces, consuming whatever organic material that it grows upon.
Based on the size (cubic volume) of the basement and its humidity level, we recommended a SaniDry XP commercial dehumidifier. We only install SaniDry commercial-grade dehumidifiers. These machines are specifically designed and manufactured for the challenging environments of basements and crawl spaces. Generic residential dehumidifiers simply aren’t up to the job. For example, the SaniDry XP 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 most important 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 will overflow and the machine usually huts 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 small condensation pump that pumps the water through a 1/2” condensate hose that runs to the outside of the basement. For this installation, we needed to drill a 1/2” hole through the foundation wall to run the hose outside. The installation went off without a hitch. Now, this basement will no longer have chronic humidity issues. The home will be more comfortable and the risk of dangerous mold growth has been removed.
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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 Millstone Township 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 Millstone Township, 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 was performing a routine servicing for a commercial kitchen in Millstone, NJ that was having issues with a roach infestation, specifically, German cockroaches. Of all the species of roaches, German roaches are one of the more common infesting roaches. Unfortunately, these small roaches are one of the fastest reproducers in the roach family, and a German roach infestation can quickly spiral out of control if not timely treated. It can take only two months or less for a newly hatched nymph to start reproducing, and every roach “case” can contain upwards of 40 roaches. A single female roach and her offspring can produce tens of thousands of roaches in just a year! Roaches are also highly resilient insects that hide in deep cracks and crevices, and since they are light sensitive, you rarely see them during the day. It often takes multiple treatments to fully resolve the issue. Also, with commercial kitchens, it is important for kitchen staff to institute proper sanitation and hygiene protocols to remove the food debris and other attractants that allow these insects to thrive.
This particular job demonstrates the importance of insect monitors. In restaurants and other facilities with food preparation and storage, it is essential to monitor insect activity levels. These monitors serve as our eyes between visits and help us assess the level of pest activity and where the activity is taking place, and helps us frame the most targeted treatment to eradicate the infestation. I like to set the monitors about every six feet around the kitchen.
For roach treatment, we often use an Insect growth regulator (IGR) application that inhibits their lifecycle by preventing the insect from molting, injecting it into their deep harborage sites. In addition to our treatments, we work with the kitchen staff to identify issues that are likely exacerbating the infestation from stacking cardboard boxes inside to dirty mops and drains filled with grease and food debris.
Recently, I was sent to a group home in Millstone Township, NJ to conduct a bed bug inspection at a group home. Although a bed bug infestation can happen anywhere, there is a higher risk in higher density living arrangements such as apartment buildings, college dorms, using homes, and, like here, group homes. The more visitors and the more people coming and going, the higher the likelihood that one of these bugs will be transported inside.
The manager had me inspect the first room where there was believed to be an infestation. The mattress in this room already had an encasement on it because of prior bed bug issues. I saw that the encasement had staining indicating that there was still an infestation problem. I then found two live bugs as well as fecal stains around an outlet behind the bed. Bed bugs often crawl into the plug holes and hide behind the outlet plate in the wall as a harborage area. And then I found the area of heaviest infestation — a night stand box that the resident was using for storage. Bed bugs almost always stay close to their food source so they don’t have to venture far for their next blood meal. While bed bugs may be on the mattress, box spring, and headboard, they are often nearby in night stands, curtains, and other “nook and cranny” hiding spots nearby the bed of the victim. Bed bugs feed on us when we are perfectly still sleeping or resting, so beds are the most common feeding location for these pests.
When late summer and autumn rolls around, along with the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall, spiders become very active, and with their increased activity, there is a substantial increase in the number of spider sightings in and around homes. Most are harmless to people and, because they feed on a wide variety of insects, they do a good job keeping down pest populations. Spiders are one of the best natural biological forms of pest control.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all spiders are our friends. Homeowners should be aware of two poisonous spiders found in New Jersey. The black widow and the brown recluse inject a toxic venom when they bite. These particular spiders are especially dangerous to our vulnerable populations — the elderly, young children, and those with already compromised immune systems. Even though spiders seek to avoid human contact (they can’t use us as food), like many insects, many will still deliver a painful bite if threatened. Please don’t touch or otherwise handle spiders, and let your kids know that spiders are not living toys.
Large spider infestations in a home need to be treated. Often, we find that when spider populations are blossoming inside a home, it’s because there is a plentiful food source for them — some other insect infestation that the homeowner may not even be aware of. Homeowners should consider a a large number of spiders in their home as a visible sign of another insect infestation.
As I mentioned, most spiders are harmless to people, and recently, I came across one during an inspection in Millstone Township, NJ that is worth sharing — a marble orb weaver. I just had to take a couple of pictures of this beautifully colored spider. Orb weavers are one of the more common web-building spiders. They are the spiders that build the familiar spider web of concentric circles and radiating lines that has become a favorite Halloween decoration. Their sticky webs trap insects that have made the lethal mistake of crawling or flying into their web. Once trapped, the orb weaver will deliver a paralyzing bite, and that insect is now spider food.
Orb weavers have swollen-looking abdomens and come in a variety of colors. To me, the marbled orb weaver has one of the most stunning colorations of any spider. It has a unique “marbling” of colors on its abdomen, an orange head, and black and white legs. If I were ever given the opportunity to choose the color scheme for a spider, the marbled orb weaver comes with the perfect “scary” multi-colored design.
During our monthly servicing of a commercial account, an office building in Millstone Township, NJ, I was alerted to a mouse problem in one of the office cubicle stations. We tend to think of commercial rodent problems as happening only in restaurants and other food-service establishments. Certainly, they happen there with much more frequency, but rodent problems can happen anywhere. Apparently, the office worker in this cubicle was the “Oscar Madison” of the office and did not have the neatest sanitation habits. He was leaving a treasure trove of food and other pest attractants around where he worked. This person left behind open snacks, crumbs, tea bags, and coffee pods, all of which were attracting mice. Mice have a keen sense of smell to compensate for the poor eyesight and have the ability to separate specific orders, such as food sources from the scent of predators. They also use pheromones (scent markers) to communicate with other mice, so if a mice finds some “goodies,” other mice will soon know about it.
To deal with this office infestation, I set rodent bait stations in the area as well as monitors to gauge rodent activity between visits. I politely advised the employee to leave snacks and drink packets in the break room if he did not wan to continue sharing his cubicle with rodents. The office manager informed me that there would be an enforced policy of no snacks outside of the break room if his staff was not responsible for keeping their cubicles free of food debris and other materials.
Recently, I was scheduled to treat an apartment in Millstone Township, NJ for bed bugs for one of the apartment complexes serviced by Cowleys. A week earlier I had inspected the unit and determined that I could not effectively treat the apartment. There was simply too much clutter.
This tenant had accumulated so many household items that it was difficult and potentially dangerous for this elderly women to even move about. To access some areas of the unit, you would literally have to walk sideways through narrow corridors. In these situations with extensive clutter, there is an ideal environment for pests that seek out private, out-of-the way harborage areas whether its mice, roaches, or in this care bed bugs. The more hiding places available, the more breeding and exploding pest populations. In this unit, bed bugs were able to thrive, and there may well be other yet-to-be-discovered pest problems as well.
I spoke with the property administrator and showed her the unit, which was a problem on so many levels besides the current bed bug infestation. To me, based on the condition of the unit, the tenant was could adequately care for herself. It was apparent that she needed more intervention and supervision over her living space, whether from a family member or social service agency. The administrator contacted the resident’s family and informed them that the tenant needed assistance preparing her unit for bed bug treatment. I returned a week later to re-assess. While there was still that more that needed to be done, there was enough reduced clutter for me to access and treat the bed and sofa.
In these challenging situations, we do our best to be as thorough as possible and treat all accessible areas given the constraints we are faced with. Unfortunately, severe pest control issues often involve the elderly, many of whom neither have the mobility or mental wherewithal to adequately care for themselves. Their sanitation and hygiene issues in the home not only create an unhealthy and dangerous environment for the tenant, but they also exacerbate pest infestations and make them more difficult to treat.
I carefully documented what I was able to do given the constraints, and just as important what I was unable to do because of the severe clutter issues. The property manager will continue to work with family to provide a safer, healthier living environment for this tenant. Once the clutter is further reduced, I will return to continue with my treatment plan.
During a routine home protection servicing of a home in Millstone Township, NJ, I found an active baldfaced hornets nest. These are large wasps that are primarily black, with white or ivory markings on the face, thorax, and toward the tip of the abdomen. The wings are translucent dark brown. These wasps are social insects that live in large colonies. They are a type of aerial yellowjacket that building their papery nests above ground.
I happened to get a couple of great photos of an exceptionally large baldfaced hornet that looks like it was on steroids. While these wasps are big, this one was exceptionally large. Also, these wasps tend to be aggressive and territorial only when defending their nest. This particular wasp was so docile that he landed in my hand. You can see how big this wasp was in relation to my palm.
Whenever we get called out to a raccoon intrusion, one of the first things you need to do to effectively evict and potentially trap the animal is to locate the access point into the structure. But, that's not all. I also want to pin point exactly how the animal is getting to the access, and how it's leaving. Sometimes the two are the same....some times not as in this case in Millstone Township, NJ. This raccoon was going up one place, and down another.
These two locations were on opposite sides of the house. If you have to trap away from the access, the next best place is in the animals path. If there are two, as in this scenario, I prefer to trap in the path of the animal leaving the structure. It's going out after sleeping all day, and it will be hungry. The chances are greater of getting the animal to go in the trap this way.