While most snakes you encounter are harmless, many of us still don’t want to come across one in our yard or home. While our first instinct may be to run, most snakes are actually beneficial to have around – they help keep other pest populations under control (rodents, frogs, etc.).
Snakes will come into your yard in search of 2 things: shelter and food. Snakes will seek out shelter to have a place to rest, breed, and hunt. Common places snakes are found include overgrown grass, dense brush or shrubs, leaf piles, rock piles, compost, or areas with moisture like underneath bird baths, around leaky faucets and hoses, or near ponds or swimming pools. Snakes will also come looking for food. Snakes love to eat rodents, moles, frogs, fish, snails/slugs, and other small insects.
If you prefer not to encounter snakes around your home, here are 7 natural ways you can keep snakes away.
Get Rid of Food Sources
Snakes will come around looking for food so if your home provides them with that, you’ll be more likely to encounter them. Getting rid of these food sources will encourage snakes to move along in search of something to eat. Make sure common pests that snakes like to eat are kept under control. Scheduling routine pest control can help with this.
Get Rid of Water
Snakes are also attracted to areas with a lot of moisture. Eliminate standing water in your yard where possible. Repair leaky faucets and replace leaky hoses. Keep pools, ponds, and other water features maintained. If using sprinklers, make sure they are running in the morning so the water has time to soak in or evaporate before it gets dark. This helps keep soil in your yard from being too wet.
Get Rid of Hiding Spots
Snakes will look for places around your home to hide so they can breed and rest. Get rid of coiled hoses or use hose boxes. Avoid using rock piles in your landscaping, if possible. Store firewood in boxes or elevate it when possible. Keep your grass mowed and dense brush cleared out. Seal off or add fencing to any open areas under sheds or other buildings. If you are using snake-proof fencing, make sure it is made of steel mesh or plastic sheeting, it is at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep, it is flush with the ground, and it is angled outward.
Use Snake-Repelling Plants
Some plants are known to repel snakes. Try to incorporate these plants into your landscape design where possible. Common snake-repelling plants include marigolds, lemongrass, Mother-in-Law’s tongue, wormwood, onion, and garlic.
Fill In Burrows
Gophers, moles, and voles dig burrows across your yard. Once they’ve been eliminated, these old gopher holes and burrows can remain on your property. Snakes will commonly use them for shelter as they provide a great place for them to hide, rest, and breed. Fill in any of these holes and burrows with dirt or gravel. This will help deter snakes from using them.
Use Natural Predators
Snakes have a few natural predators that can help keep them away. Common snake predators include cats, raccoons, pigs, turkeys, guinea hens, and foxes. Keeping any of these animals around your home will help deter snakes from coming near. You can also buy fox urine and sprinkle it around your property to help deter snakes, as well.
Use Natural Repellents
There are several natural products that are known to repel snakes. These natural snake repellents can be used around the perimeter of your property, around pools, along the edges of ponds, and anywhere else you have noticed snake activity.
- Ammonia. Ammonia is especially effective around pools and ponds. Soak rags in ammonia and put them in unsealed plastic bags. Place the bags around pools and ponds to help keep snakes out. For best results, change them out daily.
- Naphthalene. Naphthalene is commonly found in many commercial snake repellent products. It can also be bought in pure form and used around your property.
- Sulfur. Sulfur offers twofold irritation to snakes. It puts off an odor that snakes dislike; it also irritates their skin. You can use sulfur around the perimeter of your property or anywhere snakes have been spotted. It’s best to use gloves as it can also irritate human skin, as well.
- Clove and cinnamon oil. These two natural ingredients work best when combined together to repel snakes. Mix them together in a spray bottle and spray anywhere snakes have been seen.
- Garlic and onions. Garlic and onions not only work when planted in your yard, but they also work as a natural snake repellent product as they both contain sulfonic acid which is known to repel snakes. Chop up both garlic and onions and mix them with rock salt. Sprinkle the mixture around your yard to repel snakes.
- Vinegar. Standard vinegar is an effective snake repellent around water sources. No dilution is necessary. Pour standard white vinegar around the edges of ponds and pools for snake deterrence.
- Lime. Lime is effective when mixed with hot pepper or peppermint oil. Mix these together in a glass bottle and apply around the perimeter of your yard.
Despite our best efforts, snakes can still make their way into our yards and homes. If you have a problem with snakes, contact your local pest control company who specializes in snake removal who can help you properly identify the type of snake you have (venomous vs nonvenomous) and help safely and humanely remove it from your property.
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South Florida Pest Control Tips
Purchasing and owning a home is a serious investment for every homeowner. Ensuring that it’s aesthetically pleasing, in good repair, and healthy is at the top of our minds. The last thing we want to deal with is a pest infestation, though it’s likely to happen from time to time. While spotting one or two pests is not usually a big deal, if the problem becomes bigger than we can handle, it could be time to call an exterminator. Check out our top 5 signs that it’s time to contact your local South Florida pest control company.
Finding rodent droppings is one of the first indications that a rat is inside your home. Rat droppings are found in dark, undisturbed places in the home, including basements, attics, or crawlspaces. If these creatures find their way inside, they can cause serious destruction, such as chewed electrical wires that can lead to house fires. They’re also known to carry diseases, putting your family’s health at risk.
Nests are usually found in basements, attics, or even old cabinets. Pests such as mice, birds, or rats will nest in your home to find a safe place to search for a food source, keep warm, and breed. Finding a nest usually means that the pest population inhabiting your home is getting larger.
Noises & Smells
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to scratches, tapping, or squeaking coming from the walls or attic? No, you are not in a horror movie, it’s an indication of a rat, rodent, bird, or termite infestation. These sounds can follow with strange, alarming smells such as the pest’s droppings or urine.
If you start to notice your home or the items in your home are damaged, it’s a sign that pests have snuck in. Spotting chewing or gnawing marks on our furniture, clothes, or walls indicates that rodents such as rats or mice are inside. Ants and termites are likely to destroy wood throughout the home, affecting your home’s structural integrity. Other pests, such as bed bugs, will often eat our bedsheets and mattresses.
Recurring Pest Problems
Many pests can be easily removed or controlled through some do-it-yourself pest control. But, sometimes, as much as we try to remove these pests ourselves, it might be time to call in the professionals for routine pest control service. Pest Control includes a thorough inspection of your home, pest identification, locating pest entry points, and ongoing treatment and pest prevention. Request a free pest control estimate now to get started.
South Florida Rodent Control
While rodents are known to infest during the winter months that doesn’t mean they won’t sneak into your Florida home during the summer months. Once inside, rodents can cause significant damage to your home, including destroying insulation, chewing electrical wires, and leaving their droppings behind. Every homeowner should be aware of the types of rodents popular to their area and how to prevent them from infesting.
Norway rats are larger rats with hairless tails and grey coloring. These rats tend to be ground dwellers, meaning they like to habitat in sewers or burrows, especially within the coastal communities in Florida. You can usually find their nests near homes or businesses, as they will forage for food in open garbage cans. These rats find their way inside through entry points close to the ground, such as your indoor plumbing drain system. Once infested, a female Norway rat will produce tons of offspring, growing an infestation very quickly!
Smaller than Norway rats, a roof rat can weigh a half a pound or less! These rats are usually identified by their tail as it is longer than the distance of their body. Because of their slender body and longer tail, they are great at climbing, utilizing this skill to climb onto roofs through trees, shrubs, or power lines, typically nesting in the attics. These rats tend to stay in a familiar area, avoiding exploration. If an area provides shelter and a food source, they will stay close or habitat there.
Ranging from 5 to 7 inches in length, a house mouse has a long, rough tail with light brown to black coloring. These creatures are also known to be great climbers with a keen sense of hearing, touch, taste, and smell! The house mouse is known to live around homes, farms, and businesses. When they find a food source, they will establish a territory 10 to 30 feet in size. If they infest a home, they will gnaw on surfaces to wear them down, causing extensive damage and contamination.
If you have a rodent infestation or want to get on top of rodent prevention, reach out to your South Florida wildlife control company for a Rodent Control Inspection and Estimate.
Commercial Pest Control in South Florida: Restaurant Rodent Control
Florida continues to be a hot spot for food and dining. With popular tourist and local spots in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples, Miami, and many more, the restaurant industry continues to boom. As summer approaches, we can expect an uptick in restaurant reservations from those visiting. Now is the perfect time to ensure that your restaurant has placed proper preventative measures to avoid rodents.
Have a Garbage Routine
This one might be obvious, but it is one of the most crucial factors in avoiding rats and mice. Food scraps and leftovers that restaurants discard is a major attraction to these creatures. Look to remove all leftover food as soon as possible, emptying the trash cans several times a day. You will want to ensure that all trash cans and dumpsters have secure lids. Look to position the outside trash containers away from your restaurant building and entrances to help discourage rodents from entering.
Protect & Clean
In a restaurant, it’s impossible to remove all food and water that rodents are attracted to. However, you can protect and secure the food inside your restaurant. Look to cover all food until it is ready to be prepared and ensure that you’re dining, and kitchen areas are clean throughout the day. If any food spills occur, make sure you clean them up as soon as possible, remembering to check crumbs settled into crevices and along baseboards.
Keep Up Repairs
Keeping your restaurant up to date in repairs will help to prevent rodents from entering. Rats can enter buildings through gaps small as a size of a quarter, while mice only need an opening the size of a dime! To help prevent their entry, make sure that all exterior cracks and crevices are sealed, install door sweeps, repair torn window screens, and fix any water leaks.
A rodent infestation can be extremely harmful to any business, risking a negative reputation in the process. Consider investing in Commercial Wildlife Control for your South Florida restaurant, as these professionals will provide your business with a customized prevention and treatment plan.
South Florida Bird Control
As much as we enjoy the beauty of birds, they can start to become a nuisance when they destroy our property. These creatures will often leave behind their droppings, harming your home and posing a health threat. Learn more about the hazards birds can pose to your home and how you can deter them away.
Seeing bird droppings all throughout our property is never ideal, causing considerable damage. Their droppings can corrode and stain roofing, gutters, paints, shingles, and more. Other bird damage includes electrical equipment, causing costly repairs. While their droppings can be overall irritating to clean, they are also known to carry over 60 diseases including E. coli, salmonellosis, and cryptococcosis.
When birds create their nest in your home, the location can cause noise and further damage. Their nests will clog gutters, cause roof damage, block chimneys or air ducks, ruin insulation, and more. Birds nest may also carry various pests such as lice, mites, and other insects that could potentially invade your home.
There are some easy, do-it-yourself preventative measures that every homeowner can place around their property to help deter birds away including:
- Install a decoy bird in your yard such as owl, hawks, or falcon statues.
- Place wind chimes or ultrasonic noise machines throughout your property
- Clean any spilled grains or birdseed from feeders daily
- Block all openings in your home, including lofts, vents, and windowsills
- Consider contacting a professional pest control company in South Florida who can provide you with a customized inspection and treatment plan
South Florida Pest Control Locations Near You
Raccoons are one of the most easily recognizable pests that homeowners deal with. These common wildlife are known for their distinctive black masks over their eyes and ringed tails. Raccoons have gray and black fur and are about the size of an average housecat or small dog. They have 5 fingers on each hand and are extremely coordinated. They are highly intelligent with excellent memories. Raccoons are found in every state of the US.
Raccoons are scavengers and mostly hunt for food at night. They will eat almost anything. They are also highly adaptable allowing them to live in a wide variety of habitats (urban, suburban, rural, forest, mountain, coastal, and more).
When raccoons nest in or near your house they can cause significant damage to both your property and your health. Their damage isn’t just limited to tipped over trashcans. In their search for a nesting site they will rip off shingles, fascia boards, and even chimney vents. Once inside your home, they can destroy insulation, chew through electrical wires, and contaminate your home with urine and feces. They will dig up your yard in search of grubs and even tear off decking to get under porches and decks.
Signs of raccoons on or near your property include:
- Tipped over trash cans
- Damage to gardens or fish ponds
- Spilled or empty pet food bowls
- Knocked over bird feeders
- Disturbed compost piles
- Tracks or paw prints
- Calls that sound like an owl whistling at night
- Droppings (resembling small dog droppings, dark in color with a foul smell and often containing undigested seeds or other food)
Getting rid of raccoons can be difficult. They are crafty and can be difficult to trap. Here are some ways to prevent raccoons from taking over your home or yard.
Eliminate Food Sources
Nearby food sources will attract females to the area to nest and also allow populations to grow rapidly. Eliminating food sources makes your property less attractive to raccoons and other wildlife. Make sure to use heavy trashcans with secure lids. You may consider putting your cans in a rack or tying them to a secure post to prevent tipping. If your lids aren’t secure, use bungee cord or wire to make sure lids are secure. Bring in pet food before nightfall. Try to deter raccoons from bird feeders by using raccoon-proof feeders, hanging from shepherd’s hooks, or bringing them in overnight. Pick up any fallen fruit or nuts from the ground. Consider installing fencing around gardens, ponds, or compost piles. Electric fence is preferable as raccoons can climb over or dig under regular fencing. Don’t intentionally feed raccoons as this will only attract more and increase the population.
Eliminate Nesting Sites
Without a place to nest, raccoons will likely move on to a more hospitable environment. Clean up your yard and keep your grass mowed. Remove wood piles and thin out any overgrown shrubbery. Trim branches away from your roof, providing at least a 5′ gap between the roof and any trees. Get rid of any trellises or arbors that may allow access to your roof.
Eliminate Entry Points
Raccoons like to nest in chimneys so make sure it is sealed when not in use with a chimney cap that is tightly secured. Make sure there are no animals inside your chimney before sealing it off. Inspect the exterior of your home and identify any other possible entry points, as well. Close off spaces under porches, decks, and sheds with wire mesh. Make sure the bottom edge of the wire is buried at least 6 inches deep and extends out at least 12 inches. Make sure to back-cover the wire with soil.
Consider Other Remedies
There are several repellents and products designed to scare raccoons with motion and light. Raccoons are highly intelligent and these products will only be effective until they realize there is no threat. Trapping can also be dangerous for homeowners as these nuisance wildlife carry a wide range of parasites and diseases that can be harmful to both humans and pets. Raccoons will bite or scratch if they feel threatened or if they have their young near them. They are known to carry rabies, roundworm, and canine distemper.
If you have an issue with raccoons or any other wildlife, consider contacting a professional pest control company who specializes in wildlife control and wildlife exclusion. They can identify where raccoons may be feeding or nesting and safely and legally trap and relocate them.
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With spring upon us we can look forward to nicer weather, fresh air, and more time spent outdoors. The same is true for wildlife. This time of year these pests are emerging from hibernation in search of food, water, and the perfect nesting spot to have their first litter of the year. Here are some of the most common spring wildlife creatures and some general tips on wildlife prevention.
Skunks emerge from hibernation and become much more active in the spring. Skunks usually birth their first litters in early to mid-spring, as well. Skunks can cause damage to your property by burrowing under buildings. They are also known to spray noxious fumes when they feel attacked or cornered. Skunks are also the second most common carriers of rabies.
Although squirrels are not as common indoors as their other rodent cousins (mice and rats), once their hibernation period is over they will awaken looking for food and nesting sites. Squirrels also have their first litters in the spring. Squirrels can get into attics and wall voids, chewing holes, electrical wires, and phone cables.
Raccoons don’t usually hibernate but they are much less active in the winter. They have their young in the spring, often going in search of food and water to nourish them. Raccoons are very smart and will often get into trashcans at night. They can also be destructive to homes and lawns and will attack if they feel cornered. Raccoons are also known carriers of rabies.
Snakes start emerging from brumation/hibernation in early to mid-spring when they start laying their eggs. Snakes will often look for nesting sites in wood piles, under porches, under rock piles, and other shady, secluded areas around your home.
Most wildlife are generally harmless to humans but can become problematic if they get inside your home. Wildlife control starts at home with prevention. Help keep wildlife out with these handy tips:
- Keep garbage stored in tightly sealed trashcans or use bungee cords to strap lids closed.
- Remove any outdoor food sources such as birdseed and pet food.
- Block off any openings under porches, decks, patios, and garages with wire mesh or chicken wire.
- Keep windows locked and screened.
- Trim tree branches and shrubs away from your home.
- Clean gutters to prevent water pooling and potential nesting sites.
If you suspect a problem with wildlife or other pests, contact a professional pest control company for a full analysis and treatment plan.
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As the weather warms up, snakes will begin to emerge from brumation (a state of deep sleep that reptiles and amphibians enter during periods of cold weather). Although it can be scary encountering a snake in your yard or in your home, the majority of them mean you no harm. In fact, most don’t want anything to do with humans at all! Most North American snakes are harmless and, in fact, there are only 5 venomous snakes in the state of Georgia.
The first step in preventing snakes is to figure out what is attracting them to your yard and home in the first place. Snakes will typically come around in search of either food or shelter. By eliminating these attractants, snakes will be less likely to hang around your personal space.
Snakes will often come around in search of a place to hide out from predators or to lie in wait for their own prey. Try to avoid debris and rock piles in your yard. Don’t pile rocks up in your landscaping or let other debris accumulate in your yard. Snakes will also use tall grass to hide in so keep grass mowed short and mow it frequently. Mulch attracts both snakes and their food sources. Try to use less mulch or use another type of ground cover if possible. Store firewood away from your home and elevate it if possible as snakes will hide in the cracks and crevices.
Snakes will primarily come around looking for or chasing food. Snakes are known to feed on rodents, birds, insects, and amphibians so eliminating these pests from your home and yard will also help keep snakes away. Excessive moisture attracts all of these food sources so try to avoid overwatering your lawn and getting rid of any standing water. Pick up fallen fruit as rodents and other pests love to eat them. The same goes for spilled birdseed from birdfeeders. Feed pets indoors if possible and, if not, don’t leave pet food out overnight. Keep trashcans clean and seal them tightly. Keep garages clean and clutter free. Inside, keep kitchens and other food areas clean.
Snakes will use a variety of methods to get into your home, garage, attic, or basement. Routinely inspect the exterior of your home and try to identify any potential entry points. Seal any cracks around your foundations, walkways, and porches. Consider installing fencing made of rigid mesh that is at least 2 feet tall and buried 4″ to 6″ into the ground. You can also attach aluminum flashing to the outside bottom portion of the fencing. Make sure the screens on your doors and windows are tightly sealed and in good repair. Use galvanized screens to cover your vents and drains. Close up cellar doors, broken gutters, pet doors, unsealed basement windows, open crawlspaces, and holes in your roof or siding. Keep tree branches trimmed back away from your home. Use gravel or other uneven ground cover as snakes cannot move or hide as easily on these.
When snakes are spotted around your home your first instinct is usually to either run away or get rid of it. While they can be disturbing, most snakes are actually beneficial to have around – eating other pests and keeping their populations under control. If you have an issue with snakes, contact your local pest control company who can help identify what type of snake you are dealing with and help catch and relocate it safely and humanely.
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While some may have an idyllic picture of wildlife on their property (deer roaming across their yards, cute bunnies hopping through the garden), these nuisance wildlife can decimate your lawn or garden overnight. Squirrels digging holes, deer eating shrubs, and rabbits chowing down on your vegetables can leave you with a mess to deal with. If you don’t want to have to share your outdoor living space with these pests, consider these simple wildlife exclusion tips to prevent wildlife from taking over your yard.
Identify Your Wildlife
The first step in wildlife control is identifying which critter you have.
- Deer love plants, flowers, and edibles. Common signs include missing buds, half eaten fruits and veggies, and torn or ripped leaves. Deer droppings are pellet-shaped and their tracks look like upside down hearts.
- Groundhogs eat plants, leaves, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. They love to tunnel and their burrows have round openings with piles of dirt (and oftentimes flies) near them. Groundhogs will leave wide teeth marks on plants, fruit, and bark. Their tracks have 4-clawed toes on their front paws and 5-clawed toes on their back paws.
- Rabbits can destroy your flower or vegetable garden overnight. Signs of rabbits include piles of pea-sized droppings; neat, razor-trimmed leaves and stems; and missing plants. If they are bedding down in your mulch, you might see tufts of fur or slight depressions in the mulch.
- Raccoons are nocturnal pests that will often dig through your trash cans in search of food. They will also dig up your lawn or mulch looking for insects to eat. Signs of raccoons include torn trash bags, tipped over trashcans, missing fish from fountains or ponds. empty bird feeders, and holes in your mulch or yard.
- Squirrels will leave small holes in your planting containers or beds. You will often find half eaten or missing seedheads, fruits, and vegetables. Squirrels also love birdfeeders and can often be found raiding them.
Clean Up Your Yard
Wildlife are less likely to hang out in your yard if they don’t have a place to hide. Getting rid of wood piles, brush, and overgrown shrubbery will eliminate the majority of their hiding spots. Open spaces and neatly trimmed flower beds help to discourage them, especially rabbits and groundhogs.
Get Rid of Their Food
Another thing wildlife look for in your yard is a food source. Getting rid of their food or discouraging them from it will go a long way in keeping them out. Fill your garden with plants that deer and rabbits dislike. Pick any edible fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ripe. Collect fallen fruit and nuts before the squirrels can get to them. Don’t leave pet food sitting out overnight. Strap or bungee trash can lids onto your cans.
There are several plants you can include in your landscaping that help deter wildlife. Most animals will be repelled by the smell of garlic plants. Daffodils are a pretty addition to your garden but most animals dislike the bitter taste of their leaves. Lavender is great for repelling deer and rabbits. Marigolds work well at repelling moles. You can also use distasteful substances to spray or sprinkle around your garden or individual plants to help repel wildlife. Some substances that are effective include hot pepper extract, predator urine, castor oil, garlic clippings, cayenne pepper, putrid egg whites, and coffee grounds.
Scare Them Off
Putting deterrents in your yard can help scare these pests away. Dogs who have free run in your yard are great at keeping these wildlife away. You can also use noisemakers, motion-activated sprinklers and lights, automated sprinklers, garden spinners, decoy animals, and pinwheels to help scare them away.
You can also keep wildlife at bay by making it physically impossible (or at least much more difficult) for them to get into your yard or garden. You can put up a barrier to protect your yard or even individual plants you want to protect. Netting or chicken wire around plants or a wire cloche over plants can protect them from rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, and deer. Putting electric fencing around your vegetable gardens can exclude most wildlife as long as they can’t go over or under it. To keep deer out, fences should either be extremely high (8 feet or taller) or short, doubled, and wide (such as 2 shorter fences spaced 5 feet apart). Use sturdy wire or hardware cloth to close any openings under your shed and deck to help keep out rabbits and groundhogs, Make sure to bend the wire into an L-shape and bury it several inches under the ground to keep them from digging underneath it.
If you have a problem with wildlife, contact your local wildlife control company who can help you identify which type of pest you are dealing with and provide you with the best wildlife exclusion methods for your situation.
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