Serving Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex County
A homeowner in Lincroft had been dealing with mice in their basement, attempting to handle the problem on their own for quite some time. According to the homeowner, they would trap some mice, and drive them 4-5 miles away to a wooded area, and release them. Thereafter, new “replacement” mice would soon appear. This cycle went on for a while. Finally, they decided that their DIY plan of action was not working, and they contacted Cowleys for a permanent resolution of the problem.
A mouse infestation will not be resolved unless and until their access points into the home are identified and sealed. Without doing this exclusion work, you’ll be in the same situation as these homeowners and dealing with a never-ending stream of mice. Also, I pointed out to the homeowners that, although they had good intentions by not immediately killing the mice, they did not do them any favors by releasing them into a strange area. These relocated mice would likely die because they don’t know where to find adequate food, water, or shelter in their new surroundings, and in their weakened state would likely succumb to predation.
Upon arrival, after speaking with the homeowners, I grabbed my flashlight and began my inspection. Finding the access points for mice presents a challenge for pest control technicians, especially if they really want to do the job right. Unlike larger wildlife that will use of carve out readily noticeable entry points into the home, mice can get through extremely small cracks and gaps. Because of their fur, mice are even smaller than their appearance. They only need a 1/4" diameter hole (about the size of a dime) to squeeze through. Mice don’t have collarbones. The rule of thumb is that if a mouse is able to poke its little head through a hole, the rest of their body will follow.
Looking for any potential entry points, I thoroughly inspected the basement perimeter, paying careful attention to any gaps around utility pipes or wires going through the foundation wall. These are often the preferred entry route for mice. I found two areas of concern: A PVC pipe discharge line from the sump pump and an outdoor water spigot. Both had sizable gaps that would easily allow rodent entry.
Before laying out my equipment that I’d be using to control the mice, I first grabbed my hepa-vac to vacuum up all of the rodent droppings. Mouse droppings are toxic, and may contain many dangerous pathogens, including hantavirus. When the droppings dry out, spores can become airborne if the droppings are disturbed, creating a potential health hazard, especially in an enclosed area like a basement. After cleaning the area, I set up some rodent bait stations around the sill plate in the basement, dusted the two openings with a tracking powder, and sealed the holes from the outside with copper mesh.
The homeowners were relieved that they would no longer be dealing with mice, a problem that had been going on for far too long.
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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 Lincroft 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 Lincroft, 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 Lincroft, NJ to deal with a wasp infestation. Upon arrival, I saw that I was dealing with baldfaced hornets. These aggressive, territorial social wasps are part of the yellow jacket family. Their coloration is readily identifiable: black with white markings on their face and abdomen. They are exceptionally strong wasps that can drill their stingers through thick clothing, and even worse, a single wasp can sting multiple times since they don’t lose their stingers. The wasps that we know as yellow jackets usually build their nests in underground burrows and other cavities. However, baldfaced hornets are aerial yellow jackets that build their distinctive spherical paper nests above-ground in plain sight,
These wasps make their nests from chewed wood fibers that they mixed with their saliva to hold everything in place. Every baldfaced hornet nest is built from scratch each year, starting in early spring when the queen locates her nesting location. These nests are not reused, and the queen are the only members of the colony that survive the winter. This nest that I was called to remove here in Lincroft was a mature end-of-summer summer nest that easily had a few hundred workers. As you can see in the photos, a mature nest can grow quite large — upwards of two feet long and more than a foot in diameter!
A baldfaced hornet nest has a thick, multilayered outer shell with a single opening toward the bottom. This opening is used by the wasps to enter and exit the nest. These nests are often attached to tree branches or shrubs, but they are also built in places where the wasps pose a threat because of their close proximity to people. We are often called out when the nests are attached to or in close proximity to homes, patrons, or sheds. While we often find these nests built under roof eves, they can be built virtually anywhere — even on the the top of a window frame on the side wall of a garage! Because of its location, I was able to get a good view of the nest on both sides.
Removing a hornets nest is risky business. With stinging insects, a DIY project can easily turn into a trip to the emergency room. It’s far safer to hire a professional service to remove the nest. These insects deliver a sting you won’t soon forget, and from personal experience, these wasps can sting someone who is protected with a full body suit.
To remove the nest, I first used an aerosol to knock down all hornet activity. Once the hornet activity around the nest has stopped, I then remove the nest, package it, and take it with me. There is always a chance of a few stunned, but still alive, hornets inside the nest. With a baldfaced hornet infestation and other nest-building stinging insects, I remove the nest off the property. With these large multi-layered nests, there is always a possibility that there are live wasps hiding inside — and when they emerge they will be quite upset that their nest has been disturbed!
Recently, I was sent to a home in Lincroft, NJ after the homeowner contacted Cowleys because of a large swarm of “wasps” outside her home. Upon arrival, I asked if anyone had yet been stung. She replied, fortunately no.
Once I started my inspection, I immediately understood why no one in the home had escaped the wrath of a swarm of aggressive wasps. These insects weren’t wasps at all! These were a type of fly known as hover flies! These are true flies, just like annoying houseflies, so they don’t sting. How do you tell the difference between a fly and a stinging insect? Count the wings! Flies have only one pair of wings, while bees and wasps have two. I have a saying about the difference: Two wings fun, four wings run!
Many animals especially reptiles (like snakes), amphibians (like frogs), and insects (like yellow jackets) use warning coloration. They have bright colors to warn others to back off. Bight colors let other animals that I’m dangerous — I bite or sting and have a toxic venom that will put a world of hurt on you! Common bright warning colors are reds, oranges, and yellows. There are usually distinct marking with contrasting colors that make them easy to notice. People, like most other creatures, are programmed to fear anything with black and yellow coloration. Even little toddlers will run away in fear of bees and yellow jackets. Hover flies engage in animal mimicry. Mimicry is where an animal “mimics” the look of a more dangerous animal. Hover flies mimic stinging insects. Animals innately know that striped insects are bad news so they leave them alone. Mimicry is especially common with snakes. King and milk snakes with their bands of red, black, and yellow mimic the venomous coral snake, and the harmless gopher snake shakes its tail like the poisonous rattlesnake.
It is understandable why this homeowner thought these flies were wasps. You really have to know what you are looking for to tell the difference. Most wasps have antennae shaped like bullhorns that being more on the sides of the head and protrude outwards. Hover fly antennae begin more directly in the front of the head and are much shorter and smaller. A hover fly abdomen is somewhat flat while a wasp has a much rounder abdomen and have a slender wasp waist that narrows between the thorax and abdomen. Also, wasps often have a pair of spots along the back of their abdomen and hover flies do not.
Hover flies are named that for good reason. They are top-notch “hoverers,” far better than bees or wasps. With an amazingly fast wing beat, they easily hover over flowers until ready to feed on the flower nectar or pollen, and look as though they are standing still in the air. Hover flies are beneficial garden insects. They are significant pollinators and their larvae does a great job consuming garden pests, especially garden-destroying aphids. Once I explained to these homeowners the type of “infestation” on their property, they were quite relieved. I suggested that there was no reason to get rid of these insects and the homeowners agreed. They were quite insistent that they wanted to let these beneficial pollinating insects continue “doing their thing.” I was happy to give these homeowners’ some peace of mind. Not every job we go on winds up involving a nuisance pest.