All Posts by David Jackson

1 Attic Pest Removal Strategies – Identifying Noises, Contol Tips & Prices

Pests in the United States have been a serious and costly problem to many homeowners. Many houses in suburban areas get infested by various pests such as: rodents, insects, reptiles… and their homeowners hate to deal with this issue because it is expensive.

In addition, if a house gets infested, its price of sale will be lower. I mean, who would knowingly buy an infested house? Or a house that can, easily, become infested?

Invasive species such as rodents or insects do not have the intention of ruining your house. They just want to have a safe shelter and a continuous source of food to guarantee survival.

And maybe you may wonder how wild animals can fit to live in closed areas such as attics and houses. Well, squirrels and woodchucks leave the wild life because they do not have the sufficient means to defend themselves from lethal predators that put their species in danger.

A closed area, like an attic, is the perfect place for a colony of rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons… It provides them with all the calm and safety they want and they do not have to forage long distances for food; they can just sneak to your trash or your kitchen and steal all the food they want.

An attic will also improve their habit of gnawing as attic pests consume the wood of walls, the stored old clothes, the wood boxes of storage, and the electric wires.

For these reasons, you should know that your attic is in danger or may have, already, been infested. Therefore, you should take some measures to protect yourself, your property and your environment.

What kinds of pests are able to infest attics?

Kinds of pests that are able to infest your attic

Your attic is threatened by many pests, and it is important that you have multiple protection systems to avoid all of these pests. But first, you need to know about these pests and why they infest your attic. You should study their behavior to guarantee a perfect treatment or a strong protection.

Rats

Rats are in the top because they are most likely to invade your attic. There is even a species called “roof rat” which likes to live on roofs and in attics.

The roof rat or black rat is a perfect climber, it likes to live in dark, quiet and closed areas and attics are more than perfect in providing these conditions.

Roof rats have a destructive behavior which can be responsible for ruining your whole house structure: they gnaw wood from the walls, scratch walls when climbing, chew electric cables, feed on stored clothes, and leave their feces everywhere. In addition to that, they carry a stinky smell which is able to spread in the whole house, creating anxiety and stress.

Rats have a fast reproduction behavior which means that a couple of rats will become a colony of up to 20 rats in 1 year, and these 20 rats don’t have a problem with turning your attic into a big nest or a “rat Villa”

Mice

Mice, cousins of rats, are just tiny rodents with a massive destructive behavior. The house mouse is a species of mice that lives in houses; it likes to invade houses because of the commensalism relationship between him and the human victim: the mouse uses the human resources without harming it, but it is more harmful when mice gnaw the wood furniture or the wood walls and practice their unpleasant chewing habit.

Mice are nocturnal, so they sleep 12 hours when the day light is up and then wake up at night and start foraging for food in your house. They build an initial nest in the attic to provide shelter, warmth and safety, and then they start seeking out food sources such as: trash, stored food, garden fruit and insects in the attic.

Squirrels

Squirrels are also rodents, and they are wild rodents; but in the US they are the most common pest found in attics. How can a wild rodent invade your attic and make it its home?

Well, as said above, squirrels are small rodents that cannot defend themselves in front of dangerous wild predators, therefore, they choose attics of houses in the suburban areas, where they can have shelter, warmth and protection. It is quite near to the wild life so they can forage for food but, by the end of the day, they will return to their safe shelter in your attic.

The Eastern Gray squirrel is the most commonly known species as an attic invader. This squirrel can’t resist the cold rough weather in the wild, so it chooses to live in an attic to provide warmth and safety. It has a bushy and fluffy tail, it looks cute, but do not forget that it is a pest, and it is a serious threat to your well-being as long as it lives in your attic.

Bats

When it comes to bats, everybody starts to feel scared. Of course it is scary to have bats in your attic, but only 13% of infested attics in U.S suffer from bat infestations.

This scary animal is also a rodent, a flying rodent, which makes it worse. Bats are strict nocturnal, which means they are active only at night, and when they are active they forage distant areas for food sources and then they come back to your attic.

The only problem with bat infestations is that they have a significant smell in their feces which is so frequent and this smell is able to transmit diseases.

Bats are smart rodents which won’t make you see them; they will choose tiny holes in your attic and stay there. Therefore, it is really critical once infested by bats and really complicated to exterminate them.

Raccoons

Raccoons are not rodents, and among all these pests we are listing, this could be the most dangerous pest.

Raccoons are as big as dogs – or maybe bigger – since a single raccoon measures 16 to 28 inches (40 to 70 centimeters) long with a fluffy tail addition that is 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 centimeters) long and weighs 8 to 20 pounds (3.5 to 9 kg).

Making of it the biggest attic pest as far, its size makes you wonder how the extermination of this pest is even possible.

Usually, only a raccoon female would invade your attic to give birth to her young in a safe and warm place. And since raccoons are perfect climbers, they won’t face any problem when climbing your walls to gain entry to the attic. And their strong teeth give them the ability to smash little pieces of wood around the perimeter of your roof and create a hole to your attic.

Opossums

The opossums are wild animals, but opossum females choose to invade an attic to breed a liter of young in a dry, safe and warm place away from wild predators.

Adult possums are also sometimes found together in the same attic; in that case, your attic would be ruined in few days.

Opossums invade your attic usually in May and June, but they also come back in December to overcome the coldness of winter.

Opossums are also dog-sized animals which are 11.8 to 35.4 inches (30 to 90 centimeters) and a single possum weighs up to 14 pounds (6.4 kg).

Bed bugs

Wondering how bed bugs have the ability to infest your attic?

Well, it is often possible to suffer from bed bugs in the attic. They could be brought to it from old infested clothes or boxed or transmitted to the attic though wood cracks.

Bed bugs are like any other species, in search of a safe place to build their nest which is called “harborage”. And if they find an attic, they will become permanent residents in this attic, and it would be so hard to detect them since they mark their food trails with pheromones and follow it when the night comes, so they won’t be under your bed, they will be in your attic but they will not have a problem with sucking your blood.

If bed bugs are found in an attic, it means that the whole house is suffering from a severe infestation.

Hazardous insects: wasps, bees, flies…

Many other hazardous insects may also settle in your attic and become a dangerous pest to your house, such as: wasps. They are most likely to build their nest in your ceiling or in the attic and attack all the humans in the house. They present a danger to young people which can become extremely allergic to wasp bites, and also flies which present a major nuisance in a particular house flying around and transmitting diseases from dirt to human food.

Several other insects may also become hazardous when infesting an attic, so make sure to protect yourself from these pests.

How can these pests get into your attic?

You may wonder how these big wild rodents or mammals can get into your attic? Well, they have needs, and they must fulfill these needs to guarantee the survival of the species. A single raccoon cannot pass 3 years in the wild, majorly because of predators and rough conditions, while in a safe attic, a raccoon can live up to 20 years. In this case, you may think you are helping the environment, but the true issue here is that the wild animals won’t give up their wild habits and will keep practicing it in your attic.

Most rodents gain entry to your attic through small holes, even undetectable small holes in the scale of 1.5 inch (4 centimeters) long which are usually around the perimeter of your roof.

Many other openings can present entryways for wild mammals and rodents such as:

  • Soffit vents
  • Chimney pipes
  • Sewer pipes
  • Eave gaps
  • Open windows

Other animals chew their way inside, like raccoons, if they find a subtle piece of wood that is easy to crack, they force their way in by cracking it. Squirrels and rats, also, chew wood to gain entry to safe places.

Potential damage caused by attic pests

Attic pests are very destructive, and they leave huge damage in the area they infest. Attics, for example, get ruined because of a wild infestation.

These mammals and rodents are used to living in the wild, so of course they are destructive and they can never act as domestic pets in your attic.

The potential damage caused by attic pests varies from simple fecal pellets all over the attic to the total destruction of the roof:

  • Piles of fecal matter: if you get infested by either a rodent or a mammal, you will get tons of fecal pellets all over your attic. These animals consume a lot of nutrients daily and have fast digestion systems inside their intestines; therefore, they will fill your attic with feces.

Squirrel feces are similar to rice grains and are 1/3 inch long.

Rat feces are similar to those of squirrels but pointed in the extremes.

Opossum feces are huge turds: large and bigger feces.

Raccoon droppings contain berries.

Bat feces have a strong offensive smell which is able to cause lung disease.

  • Wood damage: rodents like squirrels, rats and bats have a bad habit of chewing wood and scratching it. A colony of rats can chew a whole attic in a couple of years and bats would ruin the whole structure because of their destructive scratching.
  • Damaged cables: if you have any electric wires or sewer pipes or TV cables, be sure that they will be chewed sooner or later if you have a rodent in your attic. These animals like to chew any material and they will cause potential fire accidents.

Signs of having intruders in your attic

As any other kind of pests, attic pests also leave clues and signs behind them. These signs may lead you to a particular infestation and it may help you start your plan to exterminate the attic pest you are suffering from:

  • Irritating noise: these wild animals make strange irritating noises, especially bats which make scary painful noise and raccoons which make identifiable noise while in the attic because of their large size.

Young opossums also make a noticeable noise which is most similar to pup noise.

  • You may also see the animals infesting your attic such as raccoons and opossums due to their big size and their diurnal (during the day) activity.
  • Unpleasant odor of bats is also noticeable, and it gets quickly spread in the whole house once a bat has infested your attic. This odor is contaminated and it is able to transmit lung diseases.
  • Feces all over the attic are the best sign of rodents as they leave a lot of feces behind them. Types of feces are listed above in the “potential damage” section.
  • Wood scratching is also a habit of rodents, raccoons and opossums, they like to climb walls and by that horrible scratching that are able to ruin the entire structure.
  • Gnaw damage: Rodents, and especially squirrels, are perfect chewers, who will gnaw every material in their way leaving behind chew marks which are remarkable: small teeth marks all over the ceiling or the material stored in your attic.

Prevention tips that will help you protect your attic:

“Prevention is better than cure”. That’s why we always add prevention tips to our articles, to make you avoid nuisances and protect yourself and your property from pests.

Regular inspection: Our first tip is always regular inspection of the house. You should inspect your property, including your attic once every month so you can exterminate an early infestation before invasive species can reproduce and become a terrific problem.

Inspections should be done professionally. All pipes, holes, stored material, wood cavities have to be inspected. And if no sign of infestation is found, you can make sure that you are safe.

  1. Trimming or removing trees: all trees around the house borders should be removed, you may ask why? Well, squirrels like to live in trees and to move in trees and most of their activities are done in trees. So a tree limb reaching your roof could be a way for squirrels to enter your attic. Trim all the limbs and remove the trees around the perimeter of your walls.
  2. Using fences: Installing a wire fence in the boundaries of your property can be able to block rodents or wild animals from passing to your backyard and then from invading your attic. While this method could be very useful with big-sized mammals like raccoons and opossums, it doesn’t work with rodent like squirrel or rats which will easily overcome the fence through its holes.
  3. Sealing and closing holes: to guarantee that none of the invasive species listed above don’t gain entry to your attic, seal all the holes that may lead to your attic and fix all the wood cracks or replace your old useless ceiling because many species can force their way in by chewing wood and creating small entry holes. 

Extermination tips: getting rid of attic pests

Once your attic becomes infested by a pest, you should take all measures and be ready for any possible damage to your building structure.

Follow our guide to exterminate any kind of attic pests and save your attic:

Getting rid of rodents and mammals:

Due to their big size and their wild life experience, rodents and mammals are not easy to remove from your attic. It takes a lot of effort to exterminate them. But instead of hiring an expert, here are some useful tips that may help you:

  • For mice and rats, it is better to use a snap trap. Install a snap trap in your attic with full precision – it needs to be near to rat and mouse nests to become effective – bait the trap after a week with a piece of cheese and enjoy the result. This method is not effective in case of huge colonies.

Best product in markets is made2catch Classic Metal Rat Trap 4 pack only for $14

  • For raccoons and opossums, it is quite more complicated. Since females get to your attic to give birth to a liter of babies, they become extremely aggressive in the protection of their young. Therefore, these mammals should be treated carefully. It is best to use cage traps to catch raccoons and opossums as they are not so smart and they will just follow the bait, by that they will get easily caught and sent away.

Simply, install the trap cage near to the nest and bait it with a cantaloupe. Enjoy the results.

Best product in markets is Havahart 1045 Live Animal Two-Door only for $52

  • In case of bats, it is critical, since these animals are not easy to deal with and there are no effective devices in the markets which allow exterminating bats. Physically removing these pests is necessary and that must be done by a bat control professional.

Prices vary from $600 to $2000 to successfully get rid of bats.

Getting rid of insects in attic:

Not too many insects are able to infest your attic, but when it happens, it becomes as critical as animal infestation.

Although insects won’t chew electric wires or fill your attic with feces, but they are responsible for damaging wood and transmitting diseases. Therefore, getting rid of them is mandatory.

  • Many products could be used to exterminate insects from attic, starting with insecticides which are very effective in case of bed bugs. You just have to spray the entire attic with insecticides and wait for a couple of days until bed bugs leave or die inside it.
  • Electric repellents could also be used in this case. Since insects are extremely sensitive, ultrasonic sounds can be able to repel them forever.

Last Things You Should Know About Attic Pests

Attic pests cause serious damage to any type of buildings and they, mainly, infest attics. Raccoons, rats, mice, squirrels, opossums, bats… are all mammals which are big-sized and it is undoubtable that they are a major nuisance to the human life. Wild animals live in the wild, why do they have to invade our homes? Well, they have to invade your attic to protect themselves and guarantee survival. But they won’t if you protect your attic and follow all the prevention tips.

We hope this article was useful to you and your attic pest wonders are all answered.

Other Resources About Attic Pests

  1. How to Pest Proof Your Home – Entomology at the University of Kentucky
  2. Integrated Pest Management Strategies – Never Pest

 

2 Bed Bug Removal Guide – Tips You Need to Know to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Insects are responsible for many pests around the world. They were created to guarantee the ecological balance. In addition to this mission, they invade houses and cause damage either to human properties or health.

Bed bugs are one of most destructive species of invasive insects. Bed bugs invade, as called, beds, especially wooden beds, which present a perfect shelter for these tiny creatures.

Bed bugs have become declared a pest in the U.S since the 1940’s and have cost the government since then a lot of money to control this pest. But nothing worked, and bed bugs have been expanding and presenting a serious threat to homeowners.

Physical and biological facts about bed bugs:

Bed bugs – scientifically called Cimex lectularius – are invasive insects considered in the U.S. as pests. These annoying insects are parasites; meaning they are related to the human because it provides food for them: blood.

Bed bugs feed frequently on blood, especially human blood, similar to fleas. But they have a different look than fleas and their scientific classifications are different, therefore, bed bugs need to be well studied and this article contains a huge amount of useful information that may help you better know these parasitic insects.

  • Bed bugs are 0.16 to 0.2 inch (4 to 5 millimeters) long and 0.06 to 0.12 inch (1.5 to 3 millimeters) wide, which means they are truly tiny creatures that are hard to detect.
  • Bed bugs are reddish brown small insects that look almost red directly after ingesting human blood.
  • Bed bugs have flat oval shaped bodies with an oval abdomen which is segmented into 5 parts. Usually, female’s abdomen is bigger than the male’s as it used it for laying eggs.
  • Bed bugs have a straight pair of antennae used as sensors to danger or to vibrations.

Bed bugs are tiny insects that don’t carry a lot of physical or biological specifications. But as tiny as they are, they have a very typical and complex behavior which needs to be identified.

Behavioral characteristics of bed bugs

As cited above, Cimex lectularius have a typical behavioral despite the fact that they are so small.

  • Feeding: Bed bugs feed on blood which is why they infest the human body. These insects are parasites; it means they use the human as a host which provides their needs. And the fact that they infest beds is because it has the perfect conditions as a shelter and as the availability of food source: which is the human when he falls asleep. So, bed bugs bite you while you are sleeping and suck all the blood they want and then come back to their shelter which is under your bed.

Bed bugs are nocturnal, they only feed at night and they are not active when exposed to day light, they like quiet and dark places.

Bed bugs can also infest pets. When there is no availability of human blood, bed bugs bite pets and suck their warm blood.

The most special feeding behavior of bed bugs is that they can survive up to a whole year without feeding on any source, which is a very rare characteristic.

  • Reproduction: When bed bugs infest an area, they start by mating in order to form a huge colony to guarantee the survival of the species. Mating in bed bugs takes place through traumatic insemination in which the male injects its sperm into the female’s abdomen and when inseminated, it takes the female a day to lay down 1 or 2 eggs.

Bed bug eggs are so sticky in a way that it sticks to flat vertical surfaces without falling down, which helps the colony to survive and expand.

Bed bug nymphs are uncolored and very small: they are 0.06 to 0.08 inch (1.5 to 2 millimeters) long and 0.03 to 0.05 inch (0.7 to 1.25 millimeters) wide.

  • Social communication: As many insects, bed bugs use several ways to communicate between each other. They are smart creatures that need communication to organize their colonies and guarantee its survival, for that purpose, bed bugs use pheromones and kairomones to communicate.

Pheromone is a chemical substance secreted by the glands in the bottom of bed bug’s abdomens. It is used to mark trails which lead to food sources or to call for mates during mating season or to mark trails to other nests or even to warn other colonies of a potential danger.

Kairomone is a semi chemical substance similar to urine, secreted by bed bugs to warn others from areas treated with pesticides.

  • Relationship with humans: the relationship between bed bugs and humans can either be a relation of commensalism or of parasitism. Commensalism means one of the two parts benefits from the other without affecting it. In our case: bed bugs suck the blood of the human without affecting it, in better words, without causing harmful bites or transmitting diseases. Otherwise, there is parasitism which means benefiting of the other at his expense. It’s the case where the bites of bed bugs become highly allergic and cause harmful itching and identifiable swelling.

Regardless, bed bugs are considered a dangerous pest in the US and they should be exterminated when they infect a property, because they can be responsible for a huge material and health damage in the infested area.

Bed bugs: a serious threat to human health

Do bed bugs present any danger or threat to the human health?

Well, medicine has proven that in spite of their ability to carry pathogens, they are unlikely to transmit it to humans; they are here just to suck blood and live in peace. In fact, it’s true that bed bugs don’t transmit dangerous diseases, but their bites can cause an extreme allergic behavior and drive the victim crazy.

Bed bug bites cause itchiness swelling and redness of the bitten spot. Some pharmaceuticals could be prescribed to the bitten individual such as: antihistamines and corticosteroids.

Bed bugs also cause a psychological discomfort such as: anxiety, sleeplessness… and it could ruin the psychology of an individual when he lives near to bed bugs.

How do bed bugs get into your house?

Bed bugs, like any other pest, are not stupid insects to come from the front door and wait for you to smash them, they get into your house by many ways, and when they find the perfect location, they start building a suitable nest for a huge colony, and that huge colony may be under your bed.

  • Bed bugs don’t originate from nowhere, they gain entry to your house through unchecked transported luggage. For example, if you have a guest and his luggage is infested, then surely your house will be infested as bed bugs crawl from one place to another, quickly, to hide. This makes them become undetectable.
  • Hotels and motels are the most common places that suffer from bed bug infestations, as the turnover of travelers is continuous, infestations may occur at any time, and you could be easily infested when checking-in.
  • Bed bugs, also, love wood furniture, and once you buy used wood furniture, you should, carefully, check if it contains any minimal infestation, then you can put it in your house.

While it’s hard to detect bed bugs when entering your house, it’s never impossible to detect their signs of evidence.

Signs of having bed bugs in your property

It is true that bed bugs are so hard to detect because of their tiny bodies and their special defensive behavior (they only move at night and in quiet and dark places) but there are some signs set by our experts to help us find and identify bed bugs:

  • The first sign is bed bug bites: they are most similar to mosquito bites but they come in a row and more than 3 or 4 bites could be found in the same area. Bed bug bites could cause itchiness, swelling and sometimes allergy.
  • Blood stains on your pillowcase can present a main sign of a serious bed bug infestation. If you are not suffering from any disease that will cause bleeding on your pillowcase, then it is surely, a bed bug which was on your pillow.
  • Start checking under your mattress, look for rusty fecal spots, they are usually accompanied with shed skin and laid eggs. Some bed bugs can also be identified. If not under your mattress, inspect near to your bed.
  • Strong unpleasant odor could be smelled around the bed. When bed bugs are reunited, they spread an offensive odor which is easily identifiable.
  • Check cracks and holes in the wall as bed bugs like to live in walls and in wood cracks which provides for them a cool moisturized harborage.
  • Bed bugs don’t fly and don’t jump, they just crawl from place to another very quickly, so don’t take them for ants or fleas.

Tips to prevent bed bugs

Bed bugs are a major source of nuisance, and as a homeowner, knowing that this insect has become a dangerous pest in the US; you should start planning how to avoid this pest and prevent being infested.

  • Regularly inspect your house to guarantee that early infestations get exterminated. Inspect, carefully, all corners, wood furniture, beds, mattresses… every month.
  • Beware of bed bugs in hotels, inspect your hotel room before opening your suitcase and lying on the bed, you could bring bed bugs home if you don’t take care.
  • Vacuum your house every week, to keep every spot well aerated and kill any possible bed bug.
  • Use a multi-layer cover for your mattress, it shall reduce the distribution of bed bugs.
  • Some electronic devices could be used to repel bed bugs and to block them from staying in your property. These devices send ultrasonic waves that affect the neurological system of the bed bug and drive it out. The best product in markets is Hoont Indoor Powerful Plug-in Spider and Bed Bug Pest Repeller with Night Light available on Amazon for only $20.

Getting rid of bed bugs

If, unfortunately, the pest infested your property and your prevention plan didn’t work, don’t lose hope; these insects are not immortal, and exterminating them is not that easy, but it is doable and efficient.

The treatment of bed bugs is various, many ways are available, and you can choose the most suitable for your case. Here are some of the best ways to treat and exterminate bed bugs forever:

  • Steaming: steaming is a simple general way of housecleaning but when it comes to bed bugs, you need to precisely identify the harborage and steam it with a low temperature in order to freeze the bugs and kill them.
  • Heat treatment: mostly like freezing, but it just gets done with high temperature. In both cases, bed bugs can’t resist the extreme rough temperature and will quickly die. Heat treatment is expensive and needs special equipment which is better done by a professional.
  • Pesticides: when it comes to pests, pesticide sprays are always a solution, but is it effective with bed bugs. Well, some poisonous insecticides can be effective and exterminate bed bugs if precisely sprayed.
  • Encasement: many people choose not to kill bugs but to use encasements in order to cage bugs inside the bed encasement until they die. Encasements are tissue covers for the infected mattress which don’t allow bed bugs to come out and bite you while you are asleep.

Bed bug interceptors: This method is a modern way to get rid of bed bugs. It is something like a plastic plate that catches bugs in your wood furniture and blocks its movement. The best product for this purpose in the market is Climbup Insect Interceptor Bed Bug Trap for only $13 on Amazon.

Additional Bed Bug Removal Resources:

  1. Bed Bug Infestations in an Urban Environment by CDC.gov
  2. Bed Bug Prevention Strategies – Never Pest
  3. Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) and Clinical Consequences of Their Bites – Journal of American Medicine
  4. What You Never Knew about Bed Bug Bites… – Never Pest
  5. Do Bed Bugs Spread Fast?  – Never Pest

Do I Need Termite Protection? Termite Protection Plans Recommendations

Do you need termite protection? Well, who doesn’t? Termite infestations are a serious nuisance and a dangerous phenomenon in the world. These annoying insects invade a house and make sure they won’t leave until they ruin the entire structure.

From Drywood termites to Dampwood termites and also Formosan termites, the danger of termites is the same.

If you live near to a colony of termites, it presents a serious threat to your property. Especially if you are a homeowner, you would care for everything in your house ranging from the basement to the garden, and finding a termite colony would not satisfy you.

People nowadays think that modern buildings are resistant to termites. Well, they are wrong. As long as there is wood and humidity, nothing is resistant to termites.

Therefore you should beware and protect yourself from such nuisance.

Why should be concerned about termites?

Termites feed on cellulose-based substances such as wood, paper, dirt… And if you are living in North America, then your house is almost completely made by wood. Therefore, termites are a serious threat to your house.

There are many types of termites that could infest your property and we are citing them from the least to the most dangerous:

  • Dampwood termites: as it is called, this particular kind of termites likes to live in the “damp wood” as they have a necessary need of moisture and cool air. Damp wood is a wet material which allows to Dampwood termites to build their nests and form a massive colony.

This type of termites is considered the least dangerous because they don’t have a fast destructive behavior as others.

Dampwood termites are usually found in cold areas in U.S.A such as Northern U.S.A.

  • Subterranean termites: these termites like to live in the soil and build their nests, usually underneath wooded areas such as your basement or your garden plants.

Subterranean termites build mud tubes on the walls starting from the ground to reach their food source. These mud tubes are made of wet soil and fecal pellets.

This type of termites is more likely to live in hot weather as the soil provides all the necessary moisture and the perfect conditions they need.

Subterranean termites are found almost in the whole US but most spread in the south.

  • Drywood termites: when it comes to Drywood termites, everybody has a story to tell. This type of termites has infested almost all the houses of the US and still causing damage until now. It is probably the most commonly known species in North America and it is known by its ability to live in dry wood and in hot temperate areas. It always infests walls and house structures. Thanks to their ability to fit in the ambient conditions with no special need to high level of moistures, we can say they are the most expanded termites especially in the southern regions of U.S.A.

Drywood termites form several colonies and have a fast ability of reproduction, which is why their infestation is the worst pest that could happen to a property. And their treatment is hard.

  • Formosan termites: similar to subterranean termites, Formosan termites just have a more destructive behavior. That’s why this kind is considered as the most dangerous termites in the U.S.A and North America in general.

A single colony of Formosan termites can reach a million individuals in just 1 year and this colony has the ability to ingest 13 ounces of wood daily (400 grams) and, then they can ruin a whole house structure in few months.

Formosan termites are commonly found in the coastal southern regions of the U.S.A.

As the estimated cost of damage caused by these few species of termites is up to $5 billion for the U.S government, then you – as individual in the U.S society – you must worry about termites and fight against them.

Consequences of Termite Infestations

In order to make you worry about termites and know the damage they are able to cause, here we are providing you with some fatal consequences of termite infestations:

  • Wood damage: these insects have the ability to damage a large amount of wood in few days. They generally infest wood furniture, wooded walls, or wooded house structures causing cracks and holes in the exterior of wood. They can also be accompanied with a wet spot presenting the exact location of the colony.
  • Structure damage: as they can damage the structure of your house, some homeowners have admitted that their house fell due to termite infestations proving evidence how these termites can cause catastrophic damage to your property.
  • Plant damage: termites are also able to invade your backyard if there is any firewood or decayed wood. Subterranean termites are most likely to infest your garden because of the wet soil and they will mud tunnels that reach trees, then they will damage your trees and flowers as well as other types of termites which don’t have a problem with infesting any type of areas as long as there is enough cellulose to form a massive huge colony.

Termite Prevention

As termite infestations are dangerous and you are convinced with the danger they will put you in, you may be looking for some ways to prevent termites. Prevention is better than cure, and you need to protect your house before termites dare and gain entry to it.

  • Keep inspecting your property regularly; maybe you can stop a termite infestation before it expands.
  • Keep termite attractors such as firewood, mulch, debris… out of sight and away from the house.
  • Check your water tubes and pipes, there might be a leak which provides a wet environment for subterranean termites.
  • Keep dead trees or tree stumps away from the house.
  • Remove all climbing plants against walls as they can present perfect nests to some termites which will infest walls.
  • Keep your trees and plants well-trimmed.
  • Reduce humidity and moisture by ventilating closed wet areas such as the basement or the attic.
  • Use chemical barriers if necessary. These barriers contain chemical substances which are repellent for termites. Some physical barriers could also be useful.

Woodchucks

Homeowners in North America suffer from various kinds of pests. We have always talked about the danger of insects for homeowners but we've never mentioned the serious problems caused by animals. Some big animals are also considered as pests in North America. One of these annoying destructive pests is the woodchuck.
Woodchucks are cute but only when they are out in the wild. When these pests invade houses and properties, it becomes a serious problem that needs an immediate solving.

Therefore, British settlers tried to combine between their language and the Algonquian language so this groundhog became “woodchuck”. Woodchucks are commonly found in the wild, especially in Pennsylvania, this state is well-known by its woodchucks. But the problems begin when a woodchuck invades a property. This animal has the ability to ruin the entire backyard in a few weeks. Woodchuks are also known for their gluttonous eating. This specie can eat 3 pounds (around 1.4kg) of potatoes in 30 minutes. Groundhogs have a destructive habit and they feed on vegetables, therefore they have to be kept away from house gardens or backyards.

Physical or biological characteristics of woodchucks:

As the woodchuck looks a lot like its cousin the squirrel, it has some different biological points. The woodchuck is more likely to contact humans than a squirrel. And for that, the groundhog needs special abilities to protect itself, avoid danger and guarantee its survival.


  1. Besides the bulky structure, the woodchuck is very flexible and moves very quickly.
  2. Woodchuck’s chunky body is supported by 4 little and solid legs that are barely visible. These 4 legs carry off pointed claws in order to make the digging of underground halls easier.
  3. The body of a woodchuck contains a bushy tail. The fur is usually, brownish gray, but there are also albino woodchucks which are white, and melanistic woodchucks which are black.
  4. A woodchuck’s body weight ranges from 5 to 10 pounds (around 2.2 to 4.5 kg) and some wild woodchucks can reach 14 pounds (6.3 kg).
  5. The groundhog's length is usually, between 16 and 20 inches (40 to 50 cm), including the tail which is 4 to 7 inches long, while some wild woodchucks can reach up to 31 inches (80 cm).
  6. Woodchucks’ eyes and ears are well-adapted on the top of a flat head so they can easily check for danger before getting out of the burrows. That’s why woodchucks are identified in cartoons by small eyes and ears looking out of a burrow edge.
  7. The woodchuck has 4 front long incisors used for cutting and eating fruits.
  8. A woodchuck can live from 3 to 6 years, while wild groundhogs sometimes reach 10 years.

Important things you need to know about woodchucks:

The woodchuck may be a wild animal that is destructive for properties, but it turns out to be that it is also a cute pet that has many special things to tell.

Behavior

Woodchucks are smart and flexible wild animals, which allows them to fit in the wilderness and co-exist with other species. There are many woodchuck predators, such as coyotes, bobcats, foxes, raccoons, wolves, bears, cougars, eagles… That’s why groundhogs face frequent danger in the wild, and are most likely to live in closed areas; that’s why they invade properties. When a woodchuck is facing danger, it makes a sound like a whistle to alert other groundhogs. It's how it got the name “whistle pig”. This innocent animal may squeal when fighting or being injured to ask for help. Woodchucks have a very special ability: they are very good swimmers and spectacular climbers. Despite their chunky bodies, they swim really good, in order to avoid less skilled predators, or they climb to surveil their nests and check for food sources.

Diet

Woodchucks are herbivores that like to eat in the early morning or in the evening hours. This voracious animal eats 1/3 his weight daily. It has many favorite greens such as: carrot tops, beans and peas, flowers, apples, dandelions, clovers, barks, alfalfas. Sometimes they also eat insects such as: grasshoppers, termites, grabs... etc. Woodchucks don’t drink water, they replace their liquid need with the juice supplied by fruits. They can make their own juice with ice or rain water, and they don’t need to drink water.

Burrows

With their curved pointed claws, woodchucks dig their own burrows to assure a safe place for sleeping and hibernating. A single burrow can reach 5 feet in depth (1.5 meters) and 30 feet in lenght (9 meters). Woodchucks are so smart that they dig complex burrow systems underground, containing many chambers such as: a chamber for sleeping, a chamber for food reserve and a toilet. There can be 2 to 4 entrances to a single burrow. A main entrance is dug from above, so there are always soil mounds around main entrances. The second entrances are dug from below so they are hidden and hard to find. Woodchucks use secondary tunnels for protection; they can escape the burrow through them when it gets invaded. Inactive old burrows can be used by other wild animals such as rabbits, red foxes, opossums…

Hibernation

Groundhogs are some of the few mammals that truly hibernate in winter. To overcome the hard conditions of winter (cold temperature and fickle weather) especially the woodchucks that occupy cold areas such as Alaska, Canada and the northern United States, these wild animals use their burrows to go through a long hibernation. The process starts in October and ends in March or April. In some temperate places, hibernation can take only 3 months until the coldness of winter is gone. As a preparation for hibernation, woodchucks eat a lot during fall (mid-September, October). They do this in order to achieve a maximum weight, which will idealy assure a safe, and long a hibernation. Some woodchucks use secondary burrows for hibernation as the original one can be invaded, or because it's not warm enough to overcome the coldness of winter. Hibernation burrows are so deep that they are usually dug below the frost line. This way the burrows can provide a stable warm temperature for the woodchucks. Exactly after hibernation, the reproduction season of woodchucks takes place, as they leave their nests (hibernation burrows) seeking for mates to reproduce.Female woodchucks breed in mid- or late April. The gestation period of woodchucks is 31 days in which the mated male and female occupy the same burrow. The cycle ends by breedinga cub of 2 to 6 baby woodchucks. The usual number of newborns is 4. In a few months, the young woodchucks fit in the wilderness, and begin their own journey, digging their own burrows and seeking for food by themselves.

Relationship with animals

the groundhog is considered as the most solitary animal in the wild, it likes to live alone in its own burrow and seek for its food by itself, but some exceptions can be made such as for mating period, the mated pair has to occupy the same burrow but in general, these animals are always alone. In case of predator invasion, woodchucks reunite to fight together or to make their whistle sound to alert other woodchucks. This defensive system is found mostly in every species in the world, they protect each other to guarantee the survival of the species.

Relationship with humans

When it comes to human-woodchuck relationships, it is more complicated. Woodchucks consider humans as predators and they fear them, while humans also consider woodchucks as pests and do their best to avoid or exterminate them. It is known that woodchucks have destructive behavior and they ruin backyards very quickly, but they also like to live in closed protected areas and they dig their burrows near to structures or wire fences. The conflict happens because humans care for their gardens, and farmers do not want to lose their crops as a result of the woodchucks' gluttony.

Why are woodchucks considered as a pest in U.S.A?

With their herbivore diet and deep burrows, woodchucks can represent serious problems to homeowners or farmers. In the U.S.A, the government has considered them as pests and there are many laws that organize the treatment of woodchucks.

For Farmers

Woodchuck burrow systems cause a variety of agriculture problems. Mounds left beside burrow holes can harm farm machines. Also, woodchucks would ruin a whole yearly crop of fruits in a field that is invaded. Horse owners have something to say about woodchucks too, many horses get injuredby tripping over burrow holes.

For Homeowners

If you are a homeowner and you have a beautiful garden in your backyard, you should protect it from woodchucks as much as you protect it from insects and termites. Woodchucks love garden plants as there's a variety of them and can damage an entire garden in a few weeks. Another problem are the burrows which can become a home for other animal that will munch on your beautifil flowers. Furthermore, groundhogs like to dig their burrows in wooden areas such as house basement walls and they might end up destroying them. Woodchucks also might ruin electricity cables that run underground, as a direct result of their burrow digging. While woodchucks carry out this destructive behavior and the government considers them as pests, you need to find out how to prevent these animals from ruinning your garden.

Prevention of woodchucks

Woodchucks are smart animals that escape the wild life and inhabit suburban properties, so they can gain some safety and protection to guarantee the survival of their species. They use some smart ways to get into your property and start ruining it. However you can avoid a woodchuck invasion before it happens with the right means of prevention.

  • Fencing the property boundaries: the thing that woodchucks are most afraid of are “fences”. Therefore, you should fence your property boundaries before you get invaded by a woodchuck. Use a wire fence dug 3 feet underground to assure that no woodchuck could dig underneath it, and keep it as high as 3 feet so no woodchuck could climb it.
  • Getting a dog: if you really care about your backyard and you don’t want any plants ruined, get yourself a dog and be sure that no wild animal will get to your backyard. Woodchucks hate and fear dogs so they will never dare digging your backyard, while there's a dog around.
  • Eliminating attractive material: woodchucks get attracted to fruits as they love to eat garden vegetables and also love nesting in wooden areas. Keeping firewood piles in your backyard will attract woodchucks for sure. Reap your fruit trees on time in order to have more for yourself, and less for your garden invader.
  • Plant Repellent Plants: Some plants like spearmint, lavender, oregano, garlic, and other repel not only woodchucks but other types of insects and animals as well. Also, pepper or curry powder can help repel woodchucks because they do do not enjoy the smell of these either.

Inspecting your property

It is important to regularly inspect your property and seek for burrow entrances that could be accompanied with soil mounds. Maintaining frequent human activity in an area will cause a potential danger to woodchucks, and they won’t occupy that particular area.

How to get rid of woodchucks

As woodchucks are considered as pests, getting rid of them is necessary and should be done very carefully and professionally. If an invasion happened and the prevention didn’t work, you cannot stay away and watch your garden get eaten by a voracious woodchuck. You have to do something to protect your plants and kick out these annoying wild animals. The identification of woodchucks may be hard, as they are smart animals and they get out of their burrows only in the early morning and in evening hours.

Signs of identification

  1. Claw Markings: woodchucks leave easily identifiable foot tracks, 5 toes on the front foot and 4 toes on the back foot, with a total length of 4 to 5 inches both. These tracks are usually deep in the ground, as the woodchuck claws are pointed.
  2. Feeding Damage: seeing the feeding damage caused by woodchucks on a garden plant is easy. A ¼ inch tooth marks on a fruit or a vegetable and sometimes the lower area of a tree trunk, doesn’t need a hard work to be recognized. This is a clear sing of a woodchuck invasion.
  3. Soil Mounds: when woodchucks dig their burrows, they leave soil mounds beside the entrances and these mounds are easily recognizable.

Several ways to get rid of or repel woodchucks

  • Bait traps: Woodchucks could safely be exterminated by bait traps. It is so easy; you just buy a groundhog trap such as Havahart® X-Large 1-Door Trap for only $75, Havahart® Large 1-Door Easy Set® Trap for only $57 and then place the bait inside it. The best baits used to trap woodchucks are cantaloupes, which get cut to cubic small pieces. You first put some pieces around the burrow entrance and a trap 3 feet away from it and the trap will automatically close on the woodchuck so it can be exterminated.
  • ​Chemical repellents: some chemical repellents with shrill odor could be used to repel woodchucks. Products like Critter Ridder® Animal Repellent Granular which is a granular chemical substance costs only $10 or Critter Ridder® Animal Repellent Ready To Use Spray- 32 Oz which is liquid for the price of $24. When put in the burrow entrance these substances will make the woodchuck leave immediately because of the strong repulsive scent.
  • Electronic repellents: some electronic repellents which send ultrasonic magnetic waves could be put near the woodchuck burrows. These materials could drive the animal crazy and force him to leave their nest. This way is not as efficient as others but it is the safest. It protects your property and even the woodchuck, so the treatment may remain humane. As cited above, the repellents used to get rid of woodchucks in this article are for humane use, some other ways could be followed to exterminate woodchucks forever, such as shooting them, sealing their burrows with fumigants or toxicants… etc.









Additional Resources:

  1. Preserve Landscapes and Gardens by Discouraging Deer, Woodchucks and Rabbits – Michigan State University
  2. Ground Hog Management – NeverPest
  3. Problem Wildlife in the Garden and Yard – National Pesticide Information Center
  4. Woodchuck Droppings Identification Guide – NeverPest
  5. Non-Chemical Control of Woodchucks – Montana State University
  6. Managing Woodchuck Problems in Missouri – University of Missouri 
  7. Dealing with Woodchuck Damage – University of New Hampshire

Squirrel Poop Identification – Health Risks, Diseases & Dangers of Squirrel Feces

Squirrels are unique animals in that they eat their own poop for nutrients. Therefore, they only poop at night and in isolation, since they do not want anyone to know about the position of their food. In fact, squirrels are so good at hiding their poop that it gave birth to a myth that they do not poop at all. Urban Dictionary describes it as ‘something which does not exist. As the waste travels down the large intestine, it comes to its end where magic causes it to disappear.’ As much as the latter statement can be laughed off, the reality is that most of us have not seen, stepped on or smelled any squirrel poop. This makes finding and knowing about squirrel poop extremely rare for the general public. However, squirrels do poop and we are going to discuss about it in this article.

Squirrel Feces Identification

• Squirrel poop is usually very small in size (approximately 5 millimeter)
• It is elongated in shape and has rounded edges, giving it the appearance of raisin.
• The poop is red or brown in color and does not vary, since the diet of the squirrels is quite consistent. The poop gets lighter in shade with the age of the squirrel.
• Squirrel poop can easily be confused with rat poop, if a person does not know the difference between them. Squirrel poop is generally larger in size and found near the edges of the room / house, while rat poop is usually smaller in size and found randomly.

Why Is Squirrel Poop So Hard To Find?

As aforementioned, the fact that squirrels poop in isolation plays an important part in its lack of appearance. They usually dump in hard to reach places like a hole in the tree or an attic (if it is in house). Another major factor is that squirrels are mobile animals and rarely stay at one position. They are able to relieve themselves while on the run, which scatters their droppings and prevents any substantial accumulation of poop to alert us. Lastly, the color of the squirrel poop makes it a very effective camouflage in the soil and will ensure that it is never spotted.
If you have in fact spotted squirrel poop before, consider yourself as lucky as spotting the lottery ticket correctly.

What Can You Learn From Squirrel Poop?

Squirrel poop can give you certain information regarding the infestation in your house, if you come across it, such as:
• The amount of poop reflect on the severity of the infestation. More poop is a sign of many squirrels in the house.
• The age of poop is also a sign of the infestation. If the poop looks fresh and soft, then chances are that the squirrel is still in the house and you should search for it. You can block the squirrel’s exits by covering any holes or passage ways and then trap the squirrel once it shows up. If the poop is old and dry, then the squirrel is probably not in that area any more, but you should search for any opening, through which the squirrel can enter the area again, and close it.

How To Get Rid Of The Poop And The Urine?

If your house has been the victim of a squirrel infestation, you are going to find yourself in a very bothersome situation. Squirrels are notorious for causing severe damage to household items and furniture, which can prove very expensive. There are two steps in getting rid of a squirrel infestation, unlike other pests, and these include:
1. Getting rid of the squirrels
2. Getting rid of the poop and the urine
Remember that you cannot successfully get rid of the squirrel droppings, unless you complete banish the squirrels from your house. Once you have managed to exterminate the infestation complete from your home and have taken action to prevent any squirrels from coming again, you can start paying heed to the second step mentioned above. You may utilize the services of a professional pest cleaner for removal of the infestation and the poop, or may do it yourself, but beware that it can be a very strenuous and tiring process.
Upon investigation, you would have probably discovered that there is a large amount of squirrel poop and urine in hard to reach places of the house. Since the squirrels scatter their  poop and urinate as they run around, they create a mess in the whole area. If you thought that was wicked and unpleasant, squirrel urine is considered to contain pheromones. These pheromones act like natural signals for other squirrels and attract them towards the sources. Therefore, you should double check that there is no way any squirrels can enter your property. In extreme cases, you may have to completely dismantle and reinstall your loft insulation to make sure that there are no remains of the squirrel droppings in the area.
Note: Please take precaution while cleaning the squirrel pool and urine. You should wear protective attire, including gloves and mask, to withstand any smell and avoid direct contact with the waste.

Potential Threats From Squirrel Waste For Humans

It is common sense to understand that like any other organism’s waste, the squirrel’s waste can also contain dangerous microbes and diseases. These can possibly be detrimental for the health of humans, especially the very young and aged ones. However in most cases, if you dispose the waste in a hygienic and organized way, you are safe from any of these threats. The diseases that can affect you include: salmonella infection, typhus, tularemia, leptospirosis, rabies (although more evidence is required and the researchers are not on the same page regarding the transition of rabies via squirrels.) and other zoonotic diseases.
If they effect, most diseases will cause flu, diarrhea and vomiting but disease like leptospirosis can cause respiratory problems and even death.
Unlike the diseases which are rarely a problem for most humans, squirrels are transmitters of pests. These pests include fleas and ticks. Even when the squirrel infestation has been successful exterminated, there can be chances of having ticks or fleas in your home. These pests require a totally different extermination process to remove them and are generally very hard to kill independently.

How To Remove Squirrel Waste

After the removal of squirrels from your property, you need to make sure that there are no remains of the infestation. Otherwise, other squirrels will naturally be attracted towards your house and will try to come inside. Moreover, you should also get rid of any pests which might take the shape of an infestation. The cleaning involves getting rid of the waste itself and any smell of it. If you are thinking about going with the removal manually, you are in for a long and hard job as the feces are everywhere and in a large quantity: basically small pieces scattered all over the premise.
It is much better to use a vacuum to remove the squirrel poop. You should use a filter vacuum in this process. This will allow you to complete the job at a faster rate and also not come in any contact with the poop itself, making the process more hygienic overall. If the infestation is very severe, home vacuum may not work efficiently and you may require an industrial vaccum cleaner instead. However, instead of buying a new industrial vacuum, you can just call upon professional exterminators, who will make a spotless finish and charge much less than the cost of a new machine.

Squirrels Are Not Always Cute – Keep Them Out of Your Home Before the Problem Grows Worse

Everybody whose house has ever been affected by a squirrel infestation will be exceptionally acquainted with squirrel poop, and the scope of various issues that can be brought on by this little and generally harmless looking waste. There are an array of various sicknesses and conditions that squirrels are known to transmit as mentioned above, and a large portion of the most problematic ailments that are found in the squirrel populace are transmitted through poop and waste.
In the event that you are considering to get rid of a squirrel infestation, or you are wanting to go up into a loft since you think there might be squirrels present, it is essential that you have a solid plan of actions regarding the different circumstances that might occur.
To know more about squirrels, their behavior and methods of getting rid of them, you can visit the relevant section on our website by clicking here: http://neverpest.com/squirrels/

Further Squirrel Dropping Resources:

  1. Wildlife Diseases and Humans – Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
  2. Ultimate Guide to Animal Droppings – NeverPest.com
  3. How to Identify the Wildlife Species Responsible for Damage in Your Yard – University of Florida
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