Recently, I was dispatched to a home in Long Branch, NJ that was plagued by mice. Vermin were running around the basement and first floor of the home as if they owned the place. And based on the level of infestation, I have to admit, they temporarily had the upper hand! But now that I was here, it’s game over for these rodents.
Mice are overwintering pests that make their way into homes as outdoor temperatures drop. They can potentially contaminate food and leave droppings wherever they go. Mouse and other rodent infestations pose a serious risk for transmitting Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) and other serious diseases. HPS is an infectious disease that starts with flu-like symptoms and can progress to life-threatening respiratory problems. Any activity that puts you in contact with rodent droppings, urine, saliva, or nesting materials can place you at risk for infection. Also, when mouse droppings dry and are disturbed, particles can become airborne and you can actually breathe them in. That’s why you never want to go into a small enclosed area where there is a rodent infestation without proper personal protective equipment like HEPA masks.
Mice tend to enter homes through access points in and around the foundation to get inside the basement or crawl space. Once there, they use wall voids to speed throughout the house, usually finding their way to the kitchen because of all the food attractants. Since mice are so small, there are often many entry points we are unaware of. They only need an opening about the size of a dime to make their way in. As such, they can easily squeeze their way inside through gaps and cracks in the foundation. Also, I’ve seen many homes where the mice have run along the sill plate until they find gaps around piping entering the home, such as a gas pipe behind the stove or water lines under the kitchen sink.
During a rodent inspection, I generally start with the kitchen since this is their usual target destination. I then work backward to see how they are gaining access to the kitchen. With this home, after inspecting the kitchen for evidence of mouse activity, I moved to the basement where the homeowners had noticed most of the rodent activity. I inspected the entire home and even found mouse droppings in the attic, indicating to that mice had made their way throughout every floor of the home.
While baiting for mice in the different areas of the home, I noticed daylight by the sill plate in the basement right by some wires. If daylight can shine in, it’s a good indication that there is enough of an opening for mice. A mouse can enter a home through a hole as small as the diameter of a dime. Since mice don’t have collarbones, if a mouse is able to poke its little snout through a hole, the rest of its body will follow. Upon further inspection, I found a large hole in the foundation — a hole large enough for a rat to enter let alone a tiny mouse. Someone had stuffed the hole with a rag. With the teeth and claws of a rodent, a rag would do absolutely nothing to deter a determined mouse or rat from getting into the house. I stuffed the access hole with chew-proof copper mesh to block any more rodents from entering. With the bait stations set up throughout the home, it will not take long for the rodent population to substantially decline. The objective, of course, is to get the rodent population down to zero. One mouse roaming around a home is one mouse too many!
I scheduled a two-week follow up to reinspect, replace the bait in the stations as needed, and determine if additional bait stations are necessary. With a heavy mouse infestation, it is important to have successive follow-up visits until there is no more observable rodent activity.
A homeowner in Long Branch, NJ, recently purchased a home and while walking around the exterior perimeter, found something missing that was quite important — a cover over the crawl space entry. He knew that it would only be a matter of time for mice and other pests to access the crawl space and the opening was a major problem for letting in hot humid air. He knew that Cowleys did a wide variety of crawl space repair and improvement work and contacted us to see if there was anything that we could do.
Cowleys had the perfect product: An Everlast cover that our contractor crew could easily custom fit to completely seal his crawl space access.
These covers are custom provide a perfect seal for most any crawl space opening.
They can be installed against wood framing or masonry, work exceptionally well, and look great. These doors, made of a hard durable plastic, stand up to New Jersey’s worst weather and keep out mice and other pests. These crawl space covers are far superior in performance to wooden or metal doors since they can’t rot, warp, crack, or rust. As a bonus, they never need to be painted. Also, even though these covers form a tight seal over the crawl space access, they are easy to open with four easy-to-grip knobs. Just twist them off, and you’re in!
This Long Branch homeowner could not have been more pleased.
Recently, I went on a service call for a new residential client in Long Branch, NJ who contacted us to resolve an issue with birds nesting inside her home. Before beginning my inspection, I spoke to the homeowner about the bird infestation. Whenever possible, I always try to speak with homeowners about whatever rodent, pest or wildlife issue they are dealing with. This preliminary information helps me identify the problem, target my inspection, and find the best solution. Here, the homeowner told me that she saw a bird hovering around on the exhaust vents on the side of her home. Birds are attracted to exhaust and dryer vent ducts to nest because they are private places to lay their eggs hidden from potential predators and they like the warm air that flows through them. So, I already had a good idea of the problem.
As I inspected the exterior of the home to find the birds’ point of access, I came across a damaged plastic exhaust vent. Contractors debate plastic vs metal vent covers, and plastic has certainly become more popular in recent years, especially the new plastic resins like polypropylene. Unfortunately, there are also cheaper plastic vents installed that are prone to cracking and breaking down from exposure to the sun and the harsh outdoor elements. Over time, plastic exhaust vents can get beaten up pretty badly. Occasionally, when the fan turns on, the vent fins get stuck open, and that was the case here. As often happens, birds exploit the vent opening to build a nest inside the home. Damaged exhaust vents not only allow birds and other critters to gain access to your home but also allow moisture to come in, which can lead to mold and mildew problems. However, the biggest risk of all is the nesting material obstructing airflow and creating a fire hazard.
After carefully removed the nest, I sanitized and deodorized the vents with a solution that targets bird mites. Bird mites are parasites that feed on the blood of birds. When birds leave their nests, the mites are left behind without a suitable host for their next blood meal. They will make their way into a home, and once inside they will take over, climbing all over your walls, ceilings, and beddings. To make matters worse, bird mites are tiny and semi-transparent, so they are extremely difficult to detect. Bird mites are the main reason why extreme care is needed when removing a nest. The last thing you want to do is disrupt the mites that are crawling in and around the nesting material.
After removing all remnants of bird activity, I replaced the vent with a newer, upgraded exhaust vent with new fins. As added security, I placed a screen on the inside of the vent to prevent any more birds from attempting to access that area. Now, after completing this job, this home is bird-free with a new and improved exhaust vent. Best of all, there is a homeowner who is immensely relieved that her bird problem is gone!
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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 Long Branch 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 Long Branch, 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.
I was asked to resolve a hornet infestation in Long Branch, NJ. As shown in the photo, the hornet’s nest was hanging perfectly from a tree branch. I treated the nest and removed it from the property without incident. This dispatch took place in early November when temperatures had already dropped. Not surprisingly, most of the Hornets had already left the nest to seek overwintering sites to escape the harsh outdoor elements and there were not many hornets remaining inside the nest when I had opened it.
These particular hornets are social wasps that live in colonies made up of a queen and supporting workers that build and expand the nest, take care of the larvae, and forage for food. They make the nest using a papery material of chewed-up wood fibers mixed with their saliva. Normally, these hornets prefer to build their nests in trees, as they did here, although sometimes we see them attached directly to homes underneath eaves. Social wasps are aggressive and territorial if they feel their nest is being threatened. Also, a wasp is capable of stinging multiple times since their stinger is not barbed. Although yellow jackets tend to be the most aggressive wasp, these paper wasps should still be approached with caution. They can and will sting if provoked.
The wasps only use the nest for only one season. However, removing the nest once it is dormant will not resolve the issue because the surviving wasps, come spring, will simply construct a new one. The most effective treatment is to kill the queen and the rest of the colony before removing the nest. This can be done using an aerosol formulated for an instant knockdown up to 20 ft away. A light application is enough to kill not only the wasps in he nest but any foraging wasps that are returning as they pass through the nest opening and come into contact with the product. Since most of these wasps had already left the nest to overwinter, this homeowner may find himself with a new wasp nest in the spring. If so, I told him to contact Cowleys should these wasps return, and we’ll be there immediately to take care of the new infestation.
A homeowner in Long Branch, NJ contacted Cowleys nuisance wildlife division because an animal had “burglarized” their home and set the alarm off while the family was away enjoying a short summer vacation. The homeowner thought that the trespassing animal was a squirrel; however, upon arrival, I could easily tell by the distinctive tracks that it was a raccoon. Raccoons have nimble hands and feet that, somewhat like humans, contain five long digits with small sharp claws that leave little indentations above the digits. The front tracks are smaller than the hind tracks and have a crescent-shaped palm pad. The hind tracks have a large palm pad that is curved and gets larger to the outside. When raccoons walk, their hind foot lands next to the opposite front foot creating a paired pattern of front-hind prints. Squirrel prints are much smaller that raccoon tracks, with multiple pads small digits.
I started my inspection to determine how the animal was able to gain access inside the home. I climbed up the ladder to check the roof line around the soffits and fascia boards and saw no obvious points of entry. I know how these guys think, and without finding an entry point for these large animals, by process of elimination considered the chimney to be the home’s weak spot. Just as i suspected, the chimney had to cap making it easy for wildlife to enter a home, especially if the chimney flue is not closed.
The solution for this infestation was to monitor the activity at the chimney opening so that we could later install a chimney cap. We don’t do any sealing of entry points until we first determine that there are no animals still inside the home. A wildlife technician will never separate the helpless babies from the mother. The objective with wildlife control is to trap and relocate the entire family.