Recently, a homeowner in Freehold, NJ, found himself with both a bird and squirrel infestation in his attic. It’s more common that you would think having different wildlife infesting a home at the same time. An entry point that’s good enough for one animal is often good enough for others. Our nuisance wildlife technicians had already come in to trap the squirrels. Once all the wildlife was removed, they located and sealed up the entry points that allowed the invading wildlife access to the attic.
Then it was our turn. A two-man crew from the Cowleys contractor division was called in to handle the aftermath of this infestation. Unfortunately, once birds or other wildlife take up residence in the attic, there is often more is involved than the animal eviction and sealing the entry points to prevent a re-infestation. Once inside, these animals often cause a significant amount of property damage. As the squirrels and birds did to this home, they turned the attic into a bona fide health hazard by leaving behind a mess of dangerous waste materials. These droppings can contain all types of disease-transmitting pathogens that can trigger serious chronic respiratory diseases and other health issues. Once animal droppings are dried out or disturbed, waste particles can become airborne, traveling throughout the entire home. “Dirty” air filled with microscopic particles from animal waste (or mold for that matter) deposited in a nonliving areas of the home like attics and crawl spaces circulates everywhere throughout the living areas of the home, endangering the home’s occupants.
Our job was to clean up this mess and make sure that the the attic was made safe and looked as good as new. After an attic wildlife infestation, the insulation is often ruined. Insulation not only acts like a sponge for wildlife waste, but also makes for excellent nesting material. Fist, we safely removed all of the damaged and waste-contaminated insulation from the attic. Next, we thoroughly hepa-vacuumed, sanitized, and deodorized the entire attic. We not only remove the dangerous waste, but just as important, we remove the lingering smells and remnants of the infestation. It is important to wipe out the wildlife scent markers so that more wildlife is not attracted into the home.
Finally, as a licensed installer of TAP Insulation, we replaced the ruined insulation with our own. TAP stands for the three key properties of this insulation: Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control. TAP is blown-in cellulose insulation that, unlike fiberglass batts and blankets, blown-in insulation effectively covers every attic corner, nook, and cranny, providing complete insulation coverage. We blew in a full 12’ of TAP. This insulation offers top-notch thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties. Also, this homeowner was pleasantly surprised to learn that TAP insulation, unlike regular insulation, has a pest control component. Its paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is harmless to people (and wildlife), but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites. The old batt insulation had an R-value (thermal resistance) of 30. Now, with TAP, the insulation was boosted up to an R-value of 42. With a more energy-efficient attic, this this homeowner will save on future heating and cooling costs.
As you can see from the photos, after completion of this job, the attic looked brand new. Although this wildlife infestation was one big unexpected headache for this homeowner, he appreciated that, when we were done, he was left with a better attic.
Recently, a homeowner in Freehold, NJ contacted Cowleys because of a troublesome mouse infestation. Mouse droppings were all over the home. This poses a serious health hazard because droppings can contaminate food surfaces, and contain many dangerous pathogens. For animals that weighs less than an ounce, mice can transmit serious diseases and cause significant property damage with their incessant gnawing. We see a sharp spike in mouse infestations when outdoor temperatures drop in the fall and winter, and the rodents are looking to escape the harsh outdoor elements.
Upon arrival, I stated my inspection to determine where there was active rodent activity and how they were gaining access inside and around the home. Because of their size, finding mouse entry points is a challenge. They only need a space around the diameter of a dime to gain entry inside a home. Here, there was extensive rodent activity in the kitchen, which is common since the mice are attracted to accumulated food debris and the heat and moisture in this part of the home. Mice are especially attracted to appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators because of the heat generated by the motors.
During my kitchen inspection, I found mouse droppings and a mouse hole nearby the dishwasher. I cleaned up the droppings and plugged the hole with a chew-proof copper mesh. I also placed a rodent bait station underneath the dishwasher before closing everything back up. Next, I checked under and behind the stove. There were many droppings, but no holes. Moving onto the next room, I found a hole in the closet along with mice droppings. Mice are attracted to the dark, private locations of closets and it’s quite common to have an unwanted mouse encounter when opening a closet door. I did the same here: cleaned up the droppings, plugged the hole with copper mesh, and placed a bait station inside. Finally, the last location inside the home where there were droppings was the garage. The garage already had some bait stations inside and I replenished the bait.
I then turned by attention to the home’s exterior perimeter to determine how the mice were gaining access inside the home in the first place. There was a mouse hole neat the garage area that I sealed. There were already two bait stations outside the home and I replenished the bait. Based on the remaining bait, it was evident that there was heavy rodent activity around the home. With the movement of mice restricted inside the home and all of the bait stations, the mouse population and mouse sightings should dramatically drop down shortly. I’ll be returning for a follow-up to re-inspect and determine additional treatments as necessary.
We received a call from a homeowner in Freehold, NJ who was suffering from raccoons in her attic. After our wildlife team took care of the raccoons and blocked up their entryway we needed to take care of the damage they did in the attic. Her attic had been decimated by raccoons. There was an abundant amount of raccoon feces and urine all over her attic. Raccoon feces and urine are harborage areas for viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Most notoriously the parasite Bayliscacariscc procyonis — also known as "raccoon roundworm.” Once it enters a human, serious symptoms can emerge within days. This parasite invades the lungs, liver, heart, eyes, and brain and sparks serious inflammation throughout the body. While some people make a full recovery, the infection can leave others blind, in a coma, or with permanent brain damage. It's sometimes fatal.
First, we put on our personal protective equipment and removed all of the soiled fiberglass insulation that contained raccoon droppings and urine. Once raccoons made their business in your attic and on your insulation, you have to get rid of it. Afterward, we carefully removed all the contents and then sanitized and deodorized the attic. Not properly cleaning up your attic can lead to serious health risks. By using a broom or vacuum, you increase the risk of dangerous air particles raising, hence increasing the risk of contracting the roundworm parasite. Finally, we blew in cellulose insulation. Cellulose insulation is made from ground up recycled paper. It is treated with different types of applications that aren’t hazardous to humans and provides resistance to mold, pests, and fire.
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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 Freehold 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 Freehold, 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.
Today, I was performing some preventative treatments for a restaurant in Freehold, NJ that has been a long-time commercial customer of Cowleys. Pest control in restaurants is a cooperative effort with the pest control technician and the kitchen staff. There must be daily, weekly, and monthly sanitation and hygiene protocols in place, and the kitchen manager must ensure that they are being followed. Food debris and organic film accumulating on the floor or in drains often lead to insect and rodent infestations. Restaurants must have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to pests.
While doing my work, I came across an unpleasant surprise. There was a mass of fruit flies in the kitchen. For such little gnats, they can be one giant pain! A heavy fruit fly infestation can be tricky to resolve and using pest control products can only assist in eliminating these little pests. The best way to eliminate one of these infestations is to find the source where they are breeding and eliminate the breeding material. Here, I tracked the fruit flies back to a sink and an adjacent recycling bin.The sink had a significant amount of food debris that hadn’t been cleaned out for some time. That decaying food debris is a major fruit fly attractant. In fact, fruit flies can identify food debris from over 100 yards away. Yes, over 100 yards away — farther than a football field! The recycling bin nest to the sink had a sticky film of soda coating its bottom. There is nothing that fruit flies like better than a film of sweet, sugary soda.
I diplomatically asked the shift manager if she would be able to have the sink and recycling bin thoroughly cleaned as soon as possible. She was anxious to accommodate my request. The kitchen staff was going crazy with the gnats. Working in a kitchen with fruit flies hovering all around, getting in your eyes, hair, nose, and mouth is quite unpleasant, to say the least.
If there is a fruit fly infestation in your home or business, the sure fix is finding and removing their breeding source. Sometimes, it takes some investigation to locate the source and thoroughly clean the area. If the problem is a drain coated with food debris, cleaning out the drains may require a bioenzyme drain gel and a long, flexible drain brush. The breeding source can be anywhere — from a hidden spill underneath an appliance to a dirty mop in the utility room. However, once their source is gone, the fruit fly population will soon die out.
Recently, we were contacted by one of our larger commercial customers, a large residential community in Freehold, NJ. One of the homeowners complained to the property manager that his home was being invaded by “little red bugs,” and I was sent out immediately to resolve the problem.
I immediately identified these bugs as boxelder bugs. These destructive pests are named after boxelder trees, one of the trees that they commonly infest. Although these bugs seek out the seeds of boxelder trees, we also find them infesting maple and ash trees. These oval, black bugs with reddish-orange markings on its back are about 1/2" long. Boxelder bugs molt numerous times on their way to adulthood and the nymphs look nothing like the adult bugs. The tiny baby nymphs are often completely red in their early stages. No doubt, it was these little red nymphs, which are often found in huge clusters, that caught the attention of this homeowner.
During the spring and summer months, you’ll often see these bugs “sunning” themselves on the tops of rocks for warmth. However, once cool temperatures move in during the fall, they look for warmer places to overwinter and escape the harsh outdoor elements. This is when we find these bugs inside our homes. Often, they escape notice for quite awhile. However, problems start when homeowners start turning on the heat as temperatures continue to drip during the fall as winter approaches. Insects naturally respond to temperature changes and are stimulated into activity by the artificial warmth. Believing that spring has arrived, they become active once again, and enter the living spaces of the home in search of food and water.
The homeowner did the right thing by notifying us of the boxelder problem in the summer. It is far better to deal with bug infestations found outside of your home in the summer before they start looking to overwinter. With insects, because of their size, it’s relatively easy for them to find ways to access your home where they can become a major nuisance. For example, boxelder bugs may stain your furnishings with their wastes and feed on certain types of house plants.
For this outdoor boxelder bug infestation, I treated all of the areas where these bugs congregate including the rocks in the landscape bed, a maple tree growing close to the home, and as a precaution, I also treated underneath the adjacent siding. I wanted to be sure that this infestation was eliminated while the bugs were still outside. The infestations will become more complicated to treat in a few months once temperatures drop and the pests find their way inside.
Recently, I was sent to one of our commercial accounts, a medical office in Freehold, NJ. Based on the description of the infestation given to us over the phone, we suspected carpenter ants, a major pest problem this time of year. Sure enough, during my exterior perimeter inspection of the building, I observed numerous trails of carpenter ants. These large ants, up to 1/2 inch in length, are wood-destroying insects (WDIs). Although there are numerous insects that either consume wood or bore holes in it for nesting, the most common invaders are carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and the “kings” of property damage — termites. Carpenter ants excavate galleries in wood, most often untreated, moist, water-damaged wood. Outside, carpenter ants commonly nest in trees, tree stumps, leaf litter, and firewood. Inside, they are often spotted around doors, window sills, sinks, and areas around roofs and chimneys.
To resolve this infestation, we treated the exterior of the building with a termidor (fipronil) application. Although this application is mostly widely known for use with termite control, we use it for other pest control situations as well, including as an exterior perimeter treatment for property-damaging carpenter ants and plain old nuisance ants. Termidor works exceptionally well for carpenter ants as a foundation or perimeter spray. Just like with termites, the workers pick up the product as they travel back and forth from the nest, soon contaminating the rest of the colony. The objective with these types of social pests is to kill the egg-producing queen. Killing isolated foraging ants will not resolve the infestation.
During our inspection, we observed that the rear of the building faced a wooded area. An inspection of the trees close to the building revealed that many of them were infested with carpenter ants. I treated the trees with a waterproof long-term residual dust using a bellow hand duster to apply the product in the numerous holes bored out by the ants. Since these ants were nesting outside of the building, I wanted to see if we could knock down the ant population by treating the exterior first and delay applying product inside the building, especially since it was a doctor’s office. There was no sense in unnecessarily treating the inside if the infestation could be successfully resolved outside. I’m confident that those foraging carpenter ants that manage to find their way inside the building will soon be gone once the outdoor nests are eliminated.
While conducting a servicing at one of our accounts, a large residential community in Freehold, NJ, the property manager informed me that one of the residents had a wasp nest above her front door. Stinging insects, especially aggressive, territorial wasps, are a high priority infestation, and I immediately attended to this problem.
When I arrived at the resident’s unit, I observed active insect activity around the nest. I treated the nest with an aerosol and waited until all insect activity stopped. I then removed and bagged the nest so that I could transport it away from the premises. Fortunately, no one, including me, was stung. Whenever I am dealing with a wasp, yellow jacket, or other stinging insect infestation, if I am able to kill the insects and remove their nest without being stung, it’s automatically a good day for me!
New Jersey is one of the top states for reported Lyme Disease cases, and most of tick bites happen in May, June, and July. Ticks cling onto vegetation, and when a host brushes by, the tick climbs aboard and looks for a place to attach. Many sufferers of Lyme disease have been bitten by ticks right in their own backyards.
Fortunately, homeowners can dramatically reduce the chance of tick bites and Lyme disease. First, any of us who live in New Jersey and enjoy the outdoors should always be aware of ticks. We should routinely do tick checks on ourselves and on our children whenever returning from the outdoors. Second, you can actively reduce tick populations around your own home.
I recently serviced a homeowner in Freehold Township who requested our tick-reduction program, a series of well-timed, targeted treatments to knock down ticks at all stages of their life cycle. First, I conducted a property analysis to determine the tick activity level and design an appropriate treatment plan for that home's specific landscaping and surrounding environment. There are numerous ways to make your yard less attractive to ticks, from placing a wood chip barrier along wooded areas to to simple steps like frequent mowing and yard debris removal. By restricting tick migration and tick harborage, tick populations drop dramatically.
In addition to this "habitat modification," I apply a tick treatment to those areas where ticks are likely present such as tall vegetation as well as the lawn perimeter, paying careful attention to forest lines. This targeted approach is most effective for long-term tick control. And for households with children and pets, this approach is far safer than blanket treatment of the entire lawn.
With tick-reduction programs, early spring is the ideal time to begin treatment. Spring is a peak time for eggs and tiny nymphs. Reducing these younger tick populations in the spring means less adult ticks down the road. Also, because of their size, nymphs are difficult to detect and these tiny ticks can just as easily transfer diseases through their bites.
As a home protection technician, one part of my job I especially enjoy is helping families enjoy their property during the spring and summer. For me, looking forward to these precious months is what gets me through our tough New Jersey winters. For me, there is a lot of satisfaction helping a family and seeing their kids enjoy their own backyard without the threat of biting, disease-carrying ticks.
This picture was taken in an apartment in freehold today. This book to the untrained eye would seem harmless. It was in fact a mystery novel but that's not the point of this story. This particular book was from the public library. The black stains on the pages are fecal stains from a bedbug. This resident informed me that she's had the book for quite some time and always reads in bed. If she had returned this book what's to say she wouldn't also transport bedbugs as well. Just be careful of what you bring into your home not knowing where it was before. Used furniture, borrowed items, even belongings of close friends are harborage areas of bedbugs.
This past week I was scheduled for a termite treatment in Freehold, N.J. I explained to the customer that the treatment for termites is a chemical treatment to the soil which included digging a trench around the exterior foundation of his home. The customer was concerned that his landscape that he prides was gonna look horrible after the job was done. I assured him I'd do my best to make it look like I was never there. Another happy customer.