This Brielle, NJ homeowner had a raccoon enter the attic through the soffit. The soffit is the underside of the roof overhang. It is commonly made out of aluminum or vinyl and has passive vents providing much-needed ventilation and air circulation to the attic and expelling the rising heat, which causes all sorts of problems both during the summer and the winter. Unfortunately, soffits, especially if they are damaged, are a favorite access point for wildlife to enter your attic. Raccoons and squirrels are innately able to find and exploit the weak points into a home, and soffits are at the top of the list of favorite entry points.
Cowleys wildlife technicians had already come in to trap the raccoon, and immediately afterwards installed a temporary patch to seal the area. However, the homeowner wanted a more aesthetically pleasing repair. Cowleys has a home improvement division that, among other things, has an experienced crew that repairs damages caused by wildlife, termites, and other insects. The homeowner was quite pleased with our repair of his home, and so were we!
This residential customer in Brielle, NJ, had used Cowleys to help him deal with crawl space flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. At that time. the homeowner contracted Cowleys to remove his moldy insulation and install an encapsulation system. Crawl space encapsulation transforms damp vented crawlspaces that are often fraught with mold and pest issues into clean, dry, attractive and energy efficient spaces.
This heart of our encapsulation system is a super durable 20 mil thick polyethylene vapor barrier that blocks moisture, outside air, and pests from getting into your crawl space. We also use other crawl space products as necessary, such as vent covers, drainage matting, and commercial-grade dehumidifiers.
Following this encapsulation, the homeowner no longer had water or moisture issues in his crawl space. According to him, his crawl space was now as dry as a bone. However, at the time, he elected to not replace the moldy water-damaged insulation that we removed. Not surprisingly, for a few winter seasons, he had cold floors above the crawl space. He decided this was no longer tolerable, and he called us back to install some good insulation.
We recommended JM ComfortTerm insulation, a Formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation with R-values up to R-30 (12” thickness). Its batts and rolls are wrapped in plastic for less dust kick-up during installation and also has a vapor-retarder plastic facing. Now, with the crawl space insulation job completed, this home will be more comfortable, and this thermal envelope will help with the home’s indoor air quality and dramatically improve the home’s energy efficiency.
A homeowner who resides in a residential community that we service in Brielle, NJ, noticed mouse droppings in his utility room and contacted the property manager, who relayed the problem to us. I was immediately dispatched to resolve the rodent infestation. Mice are overwintering pests that look to invade our homes to escape the harsh outdoor elements as temperatures drop.
Upon arrival, I grabbed my flashlight and started my inspection in the basement. Rodents often find their way first into a home’s basement or crawl space before finding their way to the living areas of the home, especially the kitchen where they forage for food. Suffice it to say, once your home has mice, they won’t hesitate to make themselves at home, depositing their droppings everywhere and crawling all over and under every counter and appliance in your kitchen. My primary concern during a rodent inspection is finding potential entry points. I conduct a thorough inspection of the sill plate where utility, water, and electric lines of through the sill to the outside. Often, I find gaps in these areas, and it doesn’t take much of an opening. A mouse only needs a gap of about 1/4”, or the size of a dime, for them to squeeze through. Cowleys technicians emphasize and proactive exclusion for the long-term elimination of rodents in a home. It’s all well and good to set bait traps to get rid of the mice in your home, but you also need to locate and seal all of the entry points to stop more mice from making themselves at home.
During my inspection, I located two utility lines from the AC unit where the caulking had deteriorated, leaving a gap for mice to enter the home. These problem gaps were a definite entry point for mice and they needed to be closed. I sealed these gaps around the utility lines with chew-proof copper mesh. After I was done, no more mice would enter this particular home. Going forward, if these mice want to stay warm in a home, they’ll need to bother someone else!
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We not only adhere to the highest pest control standards, our goal is to provide you with an excellent experience and service.
Take advantage of our expertise to get rid of unwanted pests or animals in your Wall Township, Brielle, or nearby NJ home.
I was recently dispatched to a home in Brielle, NJ that was undergoing some extensive renovations.We were told that there’re “flying insects” bothering the workers. Upon arrival, I observed some insects crawling around and underneath the exposed Tyvek house wrap, attached to all of its nooks and crannies.
Upon closer examination, I saw what I was dealing with. These were European hornets building a nest in a wall void. With European hornets, you’ll rarely see those freely suspended football-shaped nest that are common with bald-faced hornets and paper wasps. Instead, just like here, they usually build their nests in a hole or cavity. With these insects, their nests are usually hidden and difficult to reach and treat.
European hornets, like many other stinging insects like yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets, are social insects that live in large colonies. Social insects are often highly territorial and will aggressively defend their nests. European hornets happen to be especially intimidating because of their size. They are one of the larger stinging insects we regularly deal with — about an inch long!
European hornets have orange, brown, and yellow markings. Because they have a bit of yellow in them, they are often confused with yellow jackets. These hornets just happen to be much larger than the slender yellow jacket. For homeowners, it’s enough to know that both are aggressive insects that can deliver painful stings. Also, if these insects get inside a home, they can build nests inside wall voids, chewing their way through sheetrock.
I treated the opening with a highly effective dust. When insects comes into contact with the dust, they bring it back with them and share it with the rest of the colony. Here, once I applied it, the hornets did not even want to advance into the opening. After treatment, it takes about a day for the activity to cease. Now, the home renovations could proceed uninterrupted without anyone worrying about being stung.
Two members of Cowleys residential home improvement crew were sent to a home in Brielle, NJ to conduct an inspection for a gutter cleaning.
Your gutter system is designed for one purpose: to capture and direct rainwater off your roof and away from your home’s foundation. Extensive damage and expensive repair bills can result from clogged or otherwise obstructed gutters. Types of damage include wood rot, stagnant water around the perimeter leading to foundation damage (and even collapse!), damage from water seeping into your basement or crawl space (which can also trigger mold growth and attract insects and wildlife), damaged shingles/roofing, damage from water seepage into your attic and eventually into your home’s living spaces if severe enough, damaged fascia boards on which the gutter system is attached, landscape damage to trees and shrubs around the base of the home, and ice dam formation on the lower edge of your roof in the winter.
At a minimum, gutters should be cleaned annually. However, if you have deciduous trees (such as the Northern red oak, our official New Jersey state tree!) growing nearby your home, a gutter cleaning performed twice per year would be safer. Gutter cleanings are especially during the fall when leaves are falling.
Cowleys offers full gutter cleaning services, a critical home maintenance task that homeowners ignore at their own peril. A professional gutter cleaning is especially important for those homeowners who do not have the time, interest, or mobility to climb up and down ladders to do it themselves.
Recently, I was performing a routine servicing at the clubhouse of an active “over 55” community in Brielle, NJ. Upon arrival, I spoke with the property manager to determine what pest issues, if any, had been reported to him. He told me that a hornets' nest had formed on a tree in the front yard of one of the homeowners in the community. Because of the cold weather over the past few weeks, I was confident that the nest was likely abandoned.
I arrived at the residence to assess the problem. The homeowner greeted me and told me that he had not seen any wasps, but he was highly allergic to stinging insects and concerned when he found the nest. He did not even know the nest was “hiding” in the tree until the leaves had dropped. I explained to the homeowner, that unlike yellow jackets, these wasps are not particularly aggressive unless they feel threatened. He was not bothered by these wasps all the time they were there because he did not bother them. Also, in colder climate areas like New Jersey, Hornets will abandon their nest in the winter. Only the young queen and her eggs survive by finding some protected area like under tree bark or behind the siding of a home.
The nest was empty with no active wasp activity. For the homeowner’s peace of mind, I removed the nest. I set up a ladder and used a putty knife to remove the dormant nest attached to a tree branch. The homeowner was visibly relieved that I was able to remove the nest and take it off the property. For those who are highly allergic to stings, it can be a life-threatening emergency, and I understood the homeowner’s concern.
I was sent to an older home in Brielle for an annual inspection covered under our carpenter ant contract. The home had previously been treated for an infestation of these wood-destroying insects, and I wanted to make sure the home was still free of any infestation. Usually, you will find carpenter ants nesting inside dead, damp soft wood. Unlike termites, they do not consumer the wood; rather they bore holes to establish and enlarge their nests. They are capable of hollowing out sections of trees, and, one particular species, the black carpenter ant, likes to infest wooden buildings and structures, causing major structural damage. I thoroughly inspected inside the home and along the sill plate in the basement, and found no evidence of carpenter ant activity. But as often happens, when inspecting for one insect you find evidence of another. With this Braille home, one of the main beams was damaged by powderpost beetles, a type of wood-boring beetle capable of causing extensive damage, in part from the wood being exposed to water damage from the exit holes. (See picture.)
Powderpost beetles are the most destructive beetle pest of seasoned wood. They are second only to termites in the amount of damage caused to wood and wood products. These small, wood-boring insects damage both hardwoods and softwoods, although hardwood infestations are more prevalent. The term “powderpost” refers to the type of damage done by these insects. The larvae of these beetles feed on wood and, given enough time, can reduce it to a mass of fine powder. You’ll see this powdery wood dust as the beetles emerge from their nests. Powderpost beetle larvae spend months or years inside wood while developing, feeding mainly on the starch content. Their presence is only apparent when they emerge as adults, leaving behind pinhole-sized openings. They may also leave piles of powdery frass, which is the waste excreted by the insects when boring through the wood.
The interior and exterior of this home had been treated three years prior after a Cowleys technician had discovered carpenter ant activity by the back porch area. Since the property was covered by a warranty plan, after treating to the exterior of the home, I informed the customer about the powder post beetle damage in the basement. We set up an appointment to treat the support beam before any more damage could be done.
This Braille job is yet another example of the importance of periodic, thorough pest inspections. Insects are seeking to infest your home from every direction, underground, on the ground, and in the air. Pest inspections are a critical part of those steps a cautious homeowner takes to protect his home investment. Insects, especially termites and wood-destroying ants and beetles, are silent destroyers of property. Early infestation detection translates into easier, localized treatments and less property damage.