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This homeowner in Princeton, NJ found herself with bats nesting under the fascia leaving guano (the excrement of birds and bats) deposits all over the deck. Bat guano happens to be an excellent organic fertilizer because of its high nitrogen and phosphorus, but it is also a health hazard. Bat and bird guano can contain numerous pathogens including a fungus that causes histoplasmosis, a serious chronic lung disease, and exposure, Including breathing in these airborne particles, is dangerous for homeowners. Also, bats are major carriers of rabies. Bat infestations need to be removed and professional experienced in excluding bats from nesting in your home should be brought in. This is not a DIY project and you should not be working in a bat-contaminated area without proper protective equipment. For this home, I completely covered the fascia with a metal barrier to keep them from roosting in and between the fascia board.
Recently, homeowners in Lawrence Township, NJ in Mercer County contacted Cowleys to upgrade their dirty, dusty crawl space. Crawl spaces are perhaps the most ignored areas of a home. They can also be fraught with problems that can affect the living spaces above. Dirty crawl space air circulates throughout the home, so even if you don’t see what’s going on down there, the crawl space in a very real way is visiting you on a daily basis. Crawl spaces are also notorious for high indoor humidity levels, for mold growth, and their damp, dark environment attracts insects. Many homeowners deal with pungent smells and poor indoor air quality because of problem crawl spaces.
This homeowner was bothered that there was a filthy area right below their first floor and decided it was time to do something about it. Cowleys has an experienced contractor crew that can improve crawl spaces in a variety of ways, up to and including the installation of a full CleanSpace encapsulation system. Crawl space encapsulation seals off the outdoor elements that can trigger all sorts of problems. Even if you don’t see puddles of water in your crawl space, ground soil is naturally saturated with water. By definition, any crawl space with a soil floor is damp and filled with moisture most of the time.
For this homeowner, we installed thick mold-resistant drainage matting to create a barrier between crawlspace and floor, a primary entry point of unwanted groundwater. We wrapped the walls with SilverGlo wall insulation, an Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) product coated in a mold-resistant aluminum and put protective warping on the crawl space pillars as well. Finally, we put in a heavy-duty 20-mil CleanSpace vapor barrier. Our vapor barrier is much thicker and sturdier than a regular liner, and we mechanically fasten it to the walls. When, on occasion, you or a repair person need to access your crawl space, the barrier will not pull off or tear.
Once we completed the installation, these homeowners now benefitted from a home with a clean, improved crawl space. This home improvement will make their home more comfortable for the family, improve the indoor air quality, and reduce the risk of crawl space mold growth. For these homeowner, an added benefit was that their crawl space could now be used as a much-needed clean and dry storage area.
Recently, I was sent to a homeowner in Princeton, NJ who was having a problem with yellow jackets. It’s bad enough when you see these nasty stinging insects flying around outside your home, but here, it was even worse. They had made their way inside one of the downstairs rooms.
I needed to determine how they were gaining access inside the home, and start with an exterior perimeter inspection. I observed yellow jackets flying in and out of an opening in the siding. Yellow jackets are ground-nesters. They usually build nests inside cavities. Often, we find them in hidden locations such as rodent burrows, behind bark, or in hollowed-out stumps. They also make use of man-made structures and will build their nests attached to eaves, or like here, behind siding. Yellow jackets are strong, hardy insects that are powerful enough to chew through drywall and even plaster, so they can make their way from wall voids into the living areas of home, a frightening experience for any homeowner, to say the least. These yellow jackets were likely nesting up in a ceiling or in a wall void, and a mature nest can grow to be quite large with several thousand members. The little bit of good news was that, according to the homeowner, no one in the household was allergic to wasp stings. Nevertheless, yellow jackets are aggressive, territorial wasps. They often sting without provocation, and their stings pack a wallop. It was important to have this infestation resolved quickly.
I treated the opening with a highly effective dust that will be carried back by the foraging wasps to the nest, spreading throughout. The residual dust will continue to work for months, killing any emerging wasps. This hidden nest should be completely neutralized within a day, and this family will no longer have to worry about these stinging insects.
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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 Princeton 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 Princeton, 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.