Monday, September 23, 2013

New College Graduate?

Yellow jackets and White faced Hornets are usually amazing engineers. Those large gray paper nests they build will stand up to just about anything. They start the nests in mid-May and they just get larger and more populous as the summer goes along. You would think that being made of paper, a good heavy thunderstorm would wipe them out, but the rain just runs right off them. Occasionally, you'll see one built in a location that makes you wonder if they have lost faith in their Engineering Dept. Maybe it's a new college graduate in charge, and they figure they need some extra protection, just in case, so they built their home here!

Bat Exclusion Season

        Soon (3 or 4 weeks from now), bats will be leaving their summer roosts (your attics, louvers, shutters, or soffits) for their winter hibernation. Relax, not everyone has bats! Bat exclusion can then be done without worrying about having to get the bats out first (98% of the time that is true). On a rare occasion, you may get one macho male bat who thinks he can overwinter in his summer roost. Those that attempt that normally die over the winter. Once bats leave, we can go over the house and close up any possible entry points, so when the bats return in the spring, they can't get back in. It is much less expensive doing it this way, than having to gets the bats out first.
         Yesterday, we did a job in Roxbury, where the customer had bat droppings accumulating on the patio under the louvers (the slatted vents for the attic) of his house. We put up the ladder, climbed up, and checked. Didn't know if the bats were living in the louvers, or the louver screening had failed and they were in the attic. No bats in that one, screening was intact, so we sprayed the live wasp nest we found, removed all the old wasp nests, and covered the louver with hardware cloth. Now to the other end of the house, put up the ladder, and along with the wasp nests, were two Big Brown bats hanging on the screen under the louver slats. Screening on that one was intact, too. It was a little chilly, so the bats were a little lethargic. When I shooed them out, they didn't fly, they just opened their wings, and kind of parachuted to the ground. We picked them up with gloved hands, put them on a stone wall in the sun, and a few minutes later they had warmed up to the point where they flew off, but in the meantime, I got these photos.
           Went back up the ladder, cleaned out the wasp nests, and installed hardware cloth.  Another successful job!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

All the Comforts of Home, in this Heat!

       My stepson (Matt) and I went to Roxbury yesterday to check out a house that was having a "Mysterious noises in the attic" issue. Could be raccoons, mice, flying squirrels, or gray or red squirrels. As we inspected the house, the home owner showed us a picture of a raccoon that another Pest Control company had trapped, several weeks ago, on the roof, right where it had been getting into the attic. OK, that eliminates raccoons!
        We found several possible spots where critters could be accessing the attic. We decided to go in the house and check out attics, or at least Matt could. I'm getting too old for that, especially in this heat. There were several different parts of the attic to check. Matt went into a couple, didn't stay very long, because of the heat, came back down, and said that there was a lot of mouse and flying squirrel droppings. He then headed for the last attic to be checked. The one near where the raccoon had been captured. Up he went, and shortly he was back down, with a smile on his face. I asked him what he was smiling about, and he said that the raccoon had ripped a hole in an air conditioning duct right next to where it's nest was. Apparently, it was getting too hot up there even for him, so he decided to get some AC for his nest. You won't find many animals smarter than a raccoon.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's Snake Season!

       SNAKES! Oh, the horror! The phobia a lot of people have about snakes probably goes back to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. They are not anything to fear. Despite what a lot of people think, snakes are not slimy, they are very dry to the touch.
        I have been getting snake calls for a couple of weeks now, and there is really not a lot that can be done to get rid of them. There is really no way to "bait" or trap them. They can be removed by carefully picking up by the head, putting in a container, and relocating. Calling someone like us (unless it is in a basement) usually does no good,because by the time we get there the snake will be gone. If you have one in your yard, it's because you have the three things that all living things require-food, shelter, and water. They have probably been around for awhile, but being very secretive, you just never saw them. Snakes are totally harmless, even the venomous ones - the Copperhead and Timber rattlesnake here in CT. They will just lay still until the "threat" is past and will only bite if handled or feel they are cornered. You may have walked past one in the past and never even realized it. Snakes will not chase you, and they will not "attack" you. They just want to be left alone to go about their business. Snakes are extremely beneficial because they eat insects, small rodents, and other small critters. Snakes may occupy an abandoned rodent burrow, but cannot dig holes by themselves. Snakes have their place in nature like all other animals. Please, DO NOT KILL THEM! Below I have posted pictures of the most common snakes in CT, and a little bit about each.
        I have shown the copperhead and milk snake side by side because the milk snake is most often mistaken for a copperhead.The copperhead is very uncommon and rarely seen. Note that on the copperhead the dark bands are much wider on the side than on the back, it's overall coppery color, and the head which is much wider than the body. The milk snake's bands are the same size all the way around. If it is seen, it's belly has a blue and white checkerboard pattern. It has a "V" or "Y" mark on the top of it's head, which is only slightly wider than it's body.  Milk snakes occupy typical habitat around houses and will occasionally get into a basement.
      The Garter snake (not "garden" or "gardener" snake) is arguably the most commonly seen snake in CT. It inhabits lawns, gardens, brush piles, stone walls, etc. Their pattern and coloring can vary greatly, but always consists of a dark gray to blackish color with thee light yellowish colored strips running the length of the body, They can be easily moved along by using a broom or something similar. They do no harm.
       The Northern Water Snake is found around slow rivers, lakes, ponds, and swampy areas. It is fairly common and is NOT a Water moccasin(or Cottonmouth). They feed mostly on frogs and fish, but will take a occasional bird, bird egg or rodent. Water moccasins are a southern snake and their range only extends up to southern Virginia. While they can act aggressively, they are totally harmless, and will leave if given the opportunity.
       The Ringneck snake likes woody, rocky habitat and are very commonly found in basements. They are grayish black on the back with a yellowish ring around the neck, and a yellowish colored belly. This is a smallish snake with a huge one being two feet long, but most are less than a foot long.       
        Snakes found in basements can be removed by putting something, like a wastebasket, over them and slowly pushing a piece of cardboard under the wastebasket and then taking it outside and releasing it.
       These are probably the four most common species of snakes seen in CT(I am not including the Copperhead, because they are NOT common).
        For info on the other 10 species native to CT, go to

Milk Snake          


Northern Water Snake

Garter Snake
Ringneck Snake

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Omigod, It Must be Rabid

Another refresher course from a previous post. We've already been doing squirrel and raccoon babies. Skunks are starting to give birth just about now.

Spring is a few months away, and that will mean animal babies all over the neighborhood. Baby birds with their mouths wide open in nests, waiting to be fed. Pollywogs swimming in vernal ponds. Baby raccoons, skunks, foxes, possums, etc. living huddled together in hollow logs and trees, in old stone walls, under sheds, decks, and raccoons in chimneys. They could be at your house. You're sitting at your kitchen table late one morning in late May, drinking coffee, and watching the new leaves on the trees and the new green grass filling in after the winter. Suddenly you see it! An adult raccoon is walking across your back lawn, It's daylight, and they're nocturnal. They aren't supposed to be out in daylight. Something must be wrong. It must be sick. Could it be rabid? Relax. You're right, they shouldn't be out during daylight, and normally aren't, but out back is that old dead tree with the hollowed out area near the top. You've been planning on having it taken down, but haven't gotten around to it. Well, inside that tree are four baby raccoons about four weeks old and they are hungry and getting hungrier every day. The days are getting longer, the nights shorter, and the babies need to be fed, so the mother is forced to stay out during some daylight in order to get enough food for her kids. A normally nocturnal animal, seen outside in daylight during April, May, June, and into July is not a major cause for concern, as long as they appear to be acting normally. It's that kids will be kids and they need a constant supply of food. Always use caution around wild animals, but in this case, enjoy watching something you normally don't see.


        I posted this a couple of years ago, but I figured with warm weather approaching, it is time for a refresher course.

        Snakes - Oh, the horror! I guess it all goes back to Adam & Eve and the infamous serpent. Snakes are not slimy, in fact they feel quite dry to the touch. I can see some people shivering out there already. We are probably one the few pest control companies out there that advertise that we "do" snakes. What do we "do" with snakes? Well, let's give you a little background first. I get calls for snakes, and nine times out of ten they are "copperheads". No, not really, but that's what the customer thinks. After all they don't have a rattle on the end of their tail, so they can't be rattlesnakes and after all, if it's a snake, it must be poisonous, right? Wrong! I've hunted, fished, and trapped my entire life and I have never seen either a Copperhead or Timber rattlesnake, the only poisonous snakes in Connecticut and which are very uncommon and rarely seen. Most snakes seen around homes in residential areas are Garter snakes (not Garden or Gardener snakes), milk snakes, ring neck snakes, northern water snakes (not water moccasins) or smooth green snakes. All are non-poisonous and totally harmless. Although they may appear aggressive, especially if they think they are cornered, they will not attack or chase you. Like any animal they just want to left alone to go about their business. They are very beneficial and good to have around. They feed on insects and rodents. How do we handle snake calls? If the snake was seen outside, not much can or has to be done. Occasionally, a snake will be found in a basement. These are usually ring neck snakes (a very large one might be a foot long), or milk snakes. The others are not usually found inside. There are 14 species of snakes native to Connecticut. I have listed the more common ones. Others can be found on our website, ( So, basically, in most cases not much is done with snakes, because of the "nature of the beast", so to speak. When we do capture a snake it is released my backyard. I like having them around.