Category Archive: Blog

Are You Laying Out a Welcome Mat for Rats?

Many people, especially those who live in the country, like to create a yard that is welcome for wildlife. While some will enjoy discovering new species of birds at a feeder, others may leave offerings for squirrels or even deer. However, one animal that is typically not invited to this wildlife oasis is the rat.

About Rats                                

The greater Atlanta area is home to two different species of rat, the brown rat and the black rat. Both are introduced species who boarded ships to join colonists on the way to the new world. Brown, or Norway rats, are tunnellers who keep to the ground, while black rats, also called roof rats, will enter your property through the trees, along telephone wires, and even by jumping roof to roof in densely packed areas. They are lovers of fruit and a big fan of your prize Georgia peaches.

Rat Invasions

Rats are typically not invited to an area because of the kind of destruction that can follow with them. Norway Rats damage from below; their extensive group burrows can actually destroy the foundation of a home. Roof rats can create damage in your attic, loft, or upper story that can cause roof and water damage, as well as destruction of wood, wiring, and insulation.

Rat Attractions

So why do rats choose one home versus another? The answer has a lot to do with the availability of easy food sources. Rats have relatively small territories; they’ll only go a few hundred feet from their food source to build a home if they can. The easier it is to find easy, consistent food; the better an area is for rats. In the city, an open dumpster is a perfect food source. In the country, it can be an open container or bowl of cat or dog food, a chicken feed container that’s not metal and airtight (or an overgenerous feeding schedule for your chickens), and a lot of fruit trees where dropped fruit is left beneath to rot. Acceptable habitats are also needed; basements and crawl spaces with openings, empty attics and haylofts, and even large wood and rock piles are all great home sites for these critters.

How to Keep Rats Away

How do you keep the rats from seeing a vacancy sign on your property? Start by doing a property inspection looking for potential food and habitat areas. Wildlife removal services are great help when it comes to finding the local temptations. They can advise you on the best ways to feed your pets and store your farm animal feed in ways that discourage rats. They can also look at your home and yard and make suggestions on where rats, and other rodents for that matter, can gain entry and cause damage. If you want to do this yourself, check the structure of your home and outbuildings for entrance points and focus your maintenance here. Keep pet food and any outdoor trash in metal or thick plastic, airtight containers and don’t free-feed your cats or dogs. Clean up regularly under your fruit and nut trees, and dispose of this waste far from your home and yard when possible. Check with your local rat removal service for more tips.

Squirrel Removal

Have the local squirrels decided that your garage, attic, loft, or house is a wonderful place to play? It may seem like a kind gesture to leave these little rodents a warm place to stay, but it comes at a big cost to you.

Squirrels are chewers

Like all rodents, squirrels need to chew to keep their constantly growing front teeth from overgrowing. They must literally gnaw to survive. Squirrels in your home can gnaw at your siding and insulation, causing heat loss. They can gnaw at your roof, putting you at risk for water damage. They can gnaw on your electrical wires, putting you at risk for fires.

Squirrels use homes as toilets

It’s not a pleasant thought, but it is important to know that droppings and urine can cause further damage to a home. The liquids can cause water damage to insulation and wood. It can create a moist environment that encourages mold growth. It can also be a place where leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that lives in rodent waste, can be transmitted to the humans in the area.

Squirrels are not neat house guests

Squirrels have no need to be clean in their cavity nests inside of trees. There is little concern that predators will find them if they keep their shell and seed waste in piles inside their home, so this is also how they behave in your attic.

Ready for moving day?

If it sounds to you like it might be time to help your own squirrel family find its way outdoors for good, call your local wildlife expert for squirrel removal. They can help to safely relocate these creatures, assess and close off the entrance points to your house, and help you to identify any damage to your home before it becomes a danger.

Flying Squirrel

Flying Squirrel Habitat 

Flying squirrels are one of the most interesting mammals in the Atlanta area. These flying creatures are nocturnal, and though they can’t really fly, they do a great job of gliding and can make a leap of 100 feet or more between trees or buildings. They can even make 90 degree turns around obstacles in mid-flight.

Flying squirrels love nut trees. If you have oak, hickory, or beech trees in your yard, then you are a candidate for a flying squirrel family to live or eat there. They can nest in cavities of any of these trees, as well as poplar and maple trees. In the wild, they will use a combination of cavities made out of woodpecker holes and leaf nests. There are almost always multiple nests in a male’s territory.

In your yard, squirrels may choose your siding or attic to create a home. They often will find entry through your roof and even your chimney. It’s not uncommon to find a flying squirrel exploring your HVAC system and getting into the walls through any cracks in the pipes.

If you have flying squirrels, work with a wildlife specialist to ensure that they stay in your trees and not your home. A specialist will find all the entrance and exit points in your home. They will make sure that parents are not separated from their young, a situation that causes additional problems and damage. Call us today to learn more.

Mothballs Don’t Work for Rat Removal

If you’re looking to remove rats on your own, you’ll probably come across a number of DIYers who swear by the power of mothballs. rat removalWhile these small, white balls of pesticide are good to treat moths, it is important to realize that they are a volatile pesticide that can cause neurological damage in children and illness in adults. Even with this, they are not effective at removing rats.

What are Mothballs?

Mothballs are a form of pesticide that goes from solid to vapor without liquefying. They give off gasses of one of two different toxins: Paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene. Both of these chemicals have been shown to be very poisonous to people; mothball gases have been responsible for killing some infants in Australia, leading to their ban in this nation. In the U.S, using mothballs for anything but an insecticide is off-label and illegal according to federal law.

What do Mothballs Do?

While many people believe that mothballs just smell bad, they work by creating a toxic vapor that kills insects. This vapor is not enough to kill rats unless they are trapped in an enclosed space with it over time. In people, however, it can lead to a number of serious conditions like anemia, brain damage, and jaundice.

Why Don’t Mothballs Work on Rats?

Rats are very smart; this is why they were developed into lab animals for psychological testing. This makes them difficult to bait and trap, as they are naturally shy of new things that are put in their environment. If the toxin causes problems, they’ll simply move to another area of your house, creating more damage along the way. It is important to note that the number of mothballs it takes to make a rat or mouse sick is the same amount needed to make people sick; if you are hurting the rats, you’re hurting your family as well.

Why they’re Dangerous

In many cases, the locations for mothballs may also be places where ventilation for the home can come. Basement heating systems may use air from the surrounding areas, which means that if you’ve got boxes of fume-causing mothballs nearby, you can be spreading them all over the house. The same is true if you’re redistributing heat from your attic throughout the home with fans. Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to these chemicals.

What to do if you Have Mothballs in the Home

If you are using mothballs now, all you need to do is dispose of them (place them in a sealed bag so they don’t create fumes inside your closed garbage can) and ventilate your home for a few hours to remove the gases. Place any fans you have on high to make it faster and open doors and windows in the vicinity, while closing off the rest of the house to the exposed areas. Once the gases are gone, they cannot hurt you anymore. They don’t leave a toxic residue.

What to Do Instead of Mothballs

If you suspect you have a rat problem, mothballs and other DIY solutions can make the rats shyer without actually eliminating them. Instead, call a qualified wildlife removal expert at the first sign of rat infestation; an expert will explain the extent of the infestation and give you a multi-step solution that is designed to remove the reasons the rats are around as well as the rats. After rat removal service they can then help you to clean up the mess and secure your home so that it is no longer accessible to these damaging rodents.