Case Studies

Pests We Treat Case Studies: Mice, Bats, and Birds OH MY! Mice, Bats, and Bird Control Services in Marlboro, NJ

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 by Scott Dellett

Challenge

I was dispatched to a residence in Marlboro to assess a mouse infestation. For pest control technicians at Cowleys, mice are the most common rodent infestation. Because of their skeletal structure, house mice easily squeeze through the tiniest of holes and gaps. Since mice don’t have collarbones, their only limitation for squeezing into something is their skull, and once you take away their fur, there’s not much left. No one has ever accused a mouse of having a big head! Mice prefer to nest in dark secluded areas where there is little chance of disturbance, especially where nest bedding material like insulation is readily available.

Upon arrival, I did what I always do. Homeowners have first-hand experience from living with the infestation and I talk with the home occupants to “get the scoop” and gain a better understanding of the infestation — what was seen, where they were seen, and where there are signs of infestation activity or property damage — and then conduct my own thorough inspection. This particular job highlights why a good pest control technician must conduct his own thorough inspection of the property without any preconceptions of what he may find. This Marlboro homeowner had a few more issues other than mice.

First, I came across some droppings And to my surprise, they weren’t mice droppings. They were bat droppings! The picture with the stink bug next to the dropping (yes, he had stink bugs as well) is to give some relative scale of size. With rodents and insects, droppings can help identify the pest and, almost like a trail of breadcrumbs, provide a roadmap of their activity. The size, shape, color, and even undigested particles in the droppings all provide important clues. For example, the droppings of a house mouse are about one-quarter of an inch with one or both ends pointed. Bat droppings are tubular, long, and segmented, similar in appearance to black grains of rice. Unlike droppings from other rodents, they do not harden and can be identified by breaking into a powdery substance when crushed. Although difficult to see in the picture, bat droppings usually contain white speckles, which are the remains of undigested insect wings. Bat guano can be extremely dangerous. Breathing in the airborne fecal spores can cause a variety of serious respiratory problems including histoplasmosis. You should only be around bat droppings if you have proper protective equipment. As you can see, for pest control or wildlife technicians, identification of fecal deposits provides a goldmine of information!

What I did not picture here, since it may be visually disturbing to some, were two dead and decayed starlings found in the attic. I don’t want to go as far to say that this home was a nuisance wildlife zoo, it was unusual to find a home that had a simultaneous mice, bird, and bat infestation.

The attic, basement, exterior, and living spaces where mice activity were observed were baited and the observed entry points were sealed. An exclusion for the bats and birds has been scheduled with a Cowleys nuisance wildlife technician. Cowleys also has a special Bird Control division whose technicians are experienced with a wide range of deterrents and exclusion devices. Starlings can be especially troublesome nuisance birds. They are very aggressive and will drive native birds out of their territory. Although I only observed the two dead birds, starlings can potentially gather in flocks numbering in the thousands. Starling nests can clog gutters and drainage pipes, and, just like bat guano, bird feces contains bacteria, fungi, and parasites that pose a health risk. Also, the uric acid in their feces is strong enough to corrode stone, metal, and masonry. As part of our bird and bat removal services, we will be sanitizing and deodorizing this homeowner’s attic to safely remove the potentially toxic bird and bat droppings.

Although this Marlboro homeowner called Cowleys for a few mice, it’s a good thing that the called. As often happens, when a pest control tech gets there, he may find other more serious infestations that the homeowner was not even aware of. We will now able to timely resolve these infestations before there is any more property damage or potential health risks to the home’s occupants.

Solution

The attic, basement, exterior, and living spaces where mice activity were observed were baited and the observed entry points were sealed. An exclusion for the bats and birds has been scheduled with a Cowleys nuisance wildlife technician. Cowleys also has a special Bird Control division whose technicians are experienced with a wide range of deterrents and exclusion devices. Starlings can be especially troublesome nuisance birds. They are very aggressive and will drive native birds out of their territory. Although I only observed the two dead birds, starlings can potentially gather in flocks numbering in the thousands. Starling nests can clog gutters and drainage pipes, and, just like bat guano, bird feces contains bacteria, fungi, and parasites that pose a health risk. Also, the uric acid in their feces is strong enough to corrode stone, metal, and masonry. As part of our bird and bat removal services, we will be sanitizing and deodorizing this homeowner’s attic to safely remove the potentially toxic bird and bat droppings.

Although this Marlboro homeowner called Cowleys for a few mice, it’s a good thing that the called. As often happens, when a pest control tech gets there, he may find other more serious infestations that the homeowner was not even aware of. We will now able to timely resolve these infestations before there is any more property damage or potential health risks to the home’s occupants.