A homeowner in Hazlet contacted Cowleys after finding a mouse infestation in his basement. Once temperatures drop, mice and other overwintering pests try to make their way into our homes to shelter themselves from the harsh winter elements.
Mice are nocturnal creatures that do their foraging in the dead of night, so they tend to stay out of sight. More often than not, you’ll notice signs of mice activity well before actually seeing one of these scampering pests. If you do see a mouse during the day, it may be a sign of a heavy infestation. The most common sign that you have a mouse problem is their small and dark droppings that they leave behind, often inside cupboard tops or along skirting. While mice and the size of their droppings are small, the quantity of droppings is a whole different story — a single mouse can produce upwards of 70 droppings a day! Mice also leave behind hairs, rub marks along regularly traveled routes, and track footprints in dusty places. Besides their droppings, other signs are smells (the ammonia-like smell of urine and the stench of a dead rotting mouse carcass are particularly pungent), and scratching noises, which often heard at night when they are moving about. In addition, you may find easy-to-shred nesting materials and track footprints in dusty places.
Whenever I am dispatched to resolve a mouse infestation, after talking to the homeowner to get an idea of where the creatures are nesting and harboring, I first perform a thorough inspection. During the inspection, I meticulously do an inch-by-inch inspection of the interior and exterior perimeter of the home in order to find possible access points. Mice entry points can be easily overlooked and are a challenge to locate — they only need an opening about the size of a dime to squeeze their way inside. My inspection includes checking all of the utility lines and pipes entering the home to ensure sealed tight and that their are no gaps. With this particular job, even after re-tracking my steps at least three times, I could not find a single possible entry point around the foundation. From my early pest control days, I knew that a common access point was the garage door area. I checked the garage and the weather strips and garage door jams were perfectly intact. Finally, I checked around the home’s siding. And bingo - I found a very obvious entry point that would lead the mice into the garage, and from the garage into the basement.
I sealed the gap in the siding. In the basement’s interior, I placed RTU bait stations that automatically lock once a rodent enters, and placed LP (low profile) bait stations around the exterior of home along with a dozen snap traps. I was confident that this internal-external trapping arrangement would capture most of the mice, if they were still around. After a three day follow-up, I returned to the home. No mouse activity was found other than a deer mouse caught in a snap trap.
Two weeks later, I followed up once again, and still there was no activity. At this point, there was no longer an active infestation and mice were not gaining access into the home. I told the homeowner to always be on the lookout for mice activity, and if there was a problem, we’d be back to handle it. Mice infestations are not a one visit and your done problem. You often need to set additional traps and re-inspect, so it may take a few visits by the pest control tech to make sure that these pests are out of your home for good.
I was recently dispatched to a home in Holmdel, NJ to treat the damage caused by woodpeckers following a carpenter bee infestation. Carpenter bees are large bees that will bore holes into wood in order to lay their eggs. This boring not only causes damage to the wood through unsightly holes, but also allows water to seep into the wood, causing wood rot.
This homeowner had old wooden fascia boards near his roofline. Carpenter bees had laid eggs in the fascia. Woodpeckers then came along and tore up the facia in order to reach the larvae. Woodpeckers love carpenter bee larvae! It’s fairly common to see woodpecker damage following a carpenter bee infestation — and woodpeckers can do a lot more destruction to homes and other wooden structures in a much shorter time frame than insects can do.
To deter the woodpeckers from causing any more damage, we installed aluminum fascia over the wood. These birds have no interest in trying to peck their way through aluminum.
A homeowner in Holmdel, NJ was having issues with carpenter bees infesting the wood fascia boards in his house. Carpenter bees, large, shiny black bees, are destructive wood-boring insects. The female bee burrows into the wood to lay her eggs while the male hovers around nearby to protect the queen from any predators or other males. The tell-tail sign of a carpenter bee infestation is sawdust, commonly known as sass, collecting below the holes where the bees have bored into the wood. As this homeowner found out, besides the drilling damage from carpenter bees, the larvae attract noisy woodpeckers that drill holes along the bee homes to reach and feed on the larvae. Woodpecker activity results in long trenches and holes along the wood. Needless to say, after the cumulative effect of carpenter bee and woodpecker activity, a home can suffer quite a bit of damage. The damage is more than unsightly. The holes can allow water seepage into the wood, weakening it and causing wood rot which it, turn, can lead to other insect and even wildlife infestations. Squirrels and raccoons commonly exploit weaknesses in a home’s structure, especially damaged fascia boards, soffits, or roofing shingles, to gain access inside the attic.
These carpenter bees were persistent. After a few treatments, the bees and the woodpeckers would return. A permanent solution was needed to prevent these re-infestations, and Cowleys home improvement crew was called in. To repair the damage, we removed the damaged wood fascia and replaced it with a high-performance exterior cellular PVC trim. This material won’t rot, cup, split, twist, or warp, and carpenter bees, or woodpeckers for that matter, can’t drill into it. The new fascia looked great and blended in with the house. The homeowner was relieved that the carpenter bee infestation was gone, and he no longer had to listen to noisy woodpeckers chipping away on his home.
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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 Hazlet and nearby NJ.
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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 Hazlet, 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 sent to a home in Hazlet, NJ, to resolve a carpenter bee infestation. Homeowners will often find these large bees hovering around the outside of their homes searching for mates and favorable sites to construct their nests. At first glance, they resemble bumble bees, but carpenter bees have a bare and shiny black abdomen while that of the bumble bees is hard with yellow markings. After mating, the fertilized female carpenter bee excavates galleries in wood to deposit her eggs. A common sign of a carpenter bee infestation are deposits of “frass” beneath the entry hole. This is what we call the sawdust-like material produced from their tunneling. Their holes appear to be perfectly round and about a half-inch wide. These bees seek out bare, unpainted woods that are often weathered and soft from water damage. Painted and pressure-treated woods are much less susceptible to nesting. With these infestations, common nesting sites around homes include eaves, window trim, fascia boards, siding, wooden shakes, decks, and outdoor furniture. These bees return to the same sites year after year expanding and reusing existing tunnels and building new ones.
While carpenter bee damage is usually not nearly as extensive as termite damage, it can still be considerable and a major headache for homeowners to fix. The holes allow water seepage into the wood and some homeowners will wake up to the sounds of woodpeckers pecking away at the wood to reach carpenter bee larvae, one of their favorite foods!
To show the damage that these bees can cause, before starting treatment, I took photos of the bees’ nesting/excavating activities around the front door and side fascia boards.
Often, homeowners will contact Cowleys because of a bad smell. Odors can be a sign of a mold problem. Sometimes, unusual smells are an indicator of wildlife activity. You’d be surprised how much one tiny rotting mouse carcass behind your refrigerator or some other appliance can stink!
A homeowner in Hazlet, NJ, contacted us because of a bad smell coming from her basement. As soon as i walked into the house, I knew there was something going on downstairs. It was a putrid smell. I started my inspection. At first I could not figure out where the smell was coming from. I checked behind the false walls and the unfinished areas of the basement and even checked behind the drop ceiling. Nothing. I noticed that there was a refrigerator in the corner and thought that it may have turned off by mistake and there was food rotting in there. As I got closer to the fridge, the smell become worse. And then I saw something on the windowsill — a pack of fish. My first thought was that the homeowner was just thawing out some fish for an upcoming meal. However, this did not smell like anything that I’d want to eat. I touched the package and it was hot. This fish had been sitting out for quite awhile. You did not have to be a fishmonger to know that that this fish had long since spoiled and was now stinking up the entire home.
The homeowner was a little embarrassed, and I told her not to be. We sometimes get calls that turn out to be “false alarms” or that the problem was not what the homeowner thought it was. That smelly fish could have easily turned into an attractant for insects, rodents, or wildlife. It is far better to call us and have us come out for an inspection than to ignore a problem and hope that it will go away. Most problems don’t self-resolve.
I was recently sent to a condominium complex in Hazlet, NJ for which Cowleys handles all of their pest control needs, both periodic preventative inspections and treatments as well as being ready to handle any active pest infestations as needed. On this particular visit, I was called to the complex in order to treat and remove a wasp nest that had formed in an entryway.
Upon arrival, I found an active paper wasp nest attached to the soffit above a stairway that led into one of the units. These particular insects are called paper wasps because of the paper-like material they use to build their nest which is made from chewed up wood fibers that they mix with their saliva. They are sometimes called umbrella wasps because of the distinctive shape of their nests. Their nests have open combs with a stalk that anchors the nest to some structure.
Paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellow jackets or baldfaced hornets, and their colonies are much smaller. Nevertheless, there was a potentially dangerous situation because these wasps are still social, territorial insects. They can and will sting if they feel that their territory is being invaded and their nest is being threatened.
I was fortunate that at the time of this servicing during the cooler fall temperatures, the wasps were very sluggish and not interested in a fight. I used my telescopic bee pole to carefully remove the nest. After removing the nest, I spot treated the area to prevent any wasps from re-establishing a new nest.
I was recently sent to a home in Hazlet, NJ to remove an active baldfaced hornets nest. Baldfaced hornets, a type of aerial yellowjacket, build large nests for their every-growing colony. As the colony continues to expand, their nest keeps growing larger as well. The nest has an outer paper-like covering that they make by chewing wood into a wet pulp with their saliva. To accommodate the additional combs and cells, they will tear down the old walls of the nest to create new ones. These insects stay busy foraging for food and constantly making new additions to the nest.
The larvae feed on flower nectar or chewed up insects supplied by the foraging workers. The adults are carnivorous predators. They’ll consume meat, spiders, ripe fruit, tree sap, and a variety of other insects. Since they eat other insects, baldfaced hornets are beneficial to humans in some respects. The problem is that they are territorial and highly aggressive. So, if they happen to build a nest on or nearby a structure where people are moving about, there is too great a risk of a wasp attack to not treat the infestation. These wasp attacks can be quite dangerous since an individual wasp can sting multiple times, and for those who are allergic to the venom, it is a serious life-threatening medical emergency. I’ve been stung by both bees and wasps, and from my personal experience, a wasp sting is far more painful.
Out of curiosity, once the nest was dormant and I was able to remove it, I decided to crack it open to look inside and see what activity was going on. As you can see from the photos, the inside of the nest consists of layers of cells, shaped a bit like a pie plate, with each layer slightly smaller than the previous one. Each of the cells contains a developing larva. The queen lays an egg in each little “cubby hole,” and the larvae (grubs) will hatch in a few weeks to become worker hornets.
These wasps use their venom to kill other insects. They just happen to sting us if they feel their nest is being threatened. If you happen to come across one of these foraging wasps that is away from the nest, they have very little interest in people and it is highly unlikely that you’ll be stung. When I opened up the nest I saw quite a number of cicada killers, which is a popular insect “food” for wasps. In fact, there is one type of wasp that enjoys eating cicada killers so much that they are called cicada killer wasps.
I was recently sent to a law office in Hazlet, NJ to treat an ant problem. Upon inspection, I discovered odorous house ants around a window frame. These ants are called odorous ants, because they emit an unpleasant smell if you crush them. These particular ants are attracted to wall voids and other hidden protective areas. The foraging ants will eventually enter rooms through gaps around window frames and even making their way through wall switch plates. Usually, these ants are found in higher moisture areas of buildings like kitchens and bathrooms where they forage for food (especially sweets!) and water.
To treat this infestation, I drilled a few 1/8-inch holes into the window frame in order to inject an aerosol treatment into the wall void. The treatment definitely hit the ant nest. Ants were pouring out if the window frame, and soon died. Next, I treated the building’s exterior where I had found an ant trail going up underneath the siding. I treated the foundation with a liquid application and followed up with a dust that I puffed under the siding. Whenever I’m faced with an ant infestation, I give it “full court press,” thoroughly treating both the interior and exterior. This way, the ants have nowhere to hide, and so I’m sure to eliminate the nest. This way, the treatment is a one and done proposition. Whenever I’m finished treating an ant infestation, I’m confident that the ants are gone for good.
The attached photo shows how I drilled and treated into wall void to reach the nest. To eliminate an ant infestation, it is crucial that you kill the nest and the queen. Just killing isolated foraging ants that you see roaming about will not permanently resolve an ant infestation.