Humane Ways to Get Rid of Mice

Humane mice trappingWhen discovering mice in your home, it’s understandable to want them out as quickly as possible and by any means necessary. While there are several methods to successfully evict mice from your home, your conscious may ultimately encourage you to elect a gentler, more humane approach to get rid of mice.

Inhumane Mice Removal

Homeowners often become so enraged at the presence of uninvited pests that they attempt to take matters in their own hands. Often, this results in more of a mess than the initial infestation as mouse traps, toxic poisons, and self-removal can cause unintentional injury to humans, children, and pets. Mice can also transmit diseases like to humans who do not handle them with proper equipment and care. Fortunately, the professional mice removal experts at Critter Control® of Tampa can help.

Humane Mice Removal

At Critter Control® of Tampa, we practice safe and effective mice removal methods through our CritterSafe® program. By utilizing non-lethal live-catch traps instead of baited snap traps, our experienced technicians are able to safely capture, remove, and release nuisance mice back into the wild at an off-site location. Once all the rats are removed from your property, our experienced technicians will repair any damage they caused and seal off entry points into your home to keep them from returning.

While extermination is our last resort, if the infestation is too great for a non-lethal approach, we use eco-friendly sprays that are both pet-friendly and non-toxic.

Professional Mice Removal

Stop dealing with the noise, damage, and odors of mice. If you have an infestation of mice in your home or business, rely on Critter Control® of Tampa to permanently solve your mouse problem. To get a free estimate or learn more about our CritterSafe® removal services, call us today at 813-948-0870.

How to Remove a Dead Animal Smell

Remove dead animal smellWild animals occasionally escape into businesses and residential homes in search of food, warmth, and shelter. Home and business owners will often use traps and poisons to combat the infestation. While such methods can indeed kill a pest, they will only serve to create additional problems. Now, instead of a living animal hiding within their property, there’s a dead one. If left undiscovered for an extended amount of time, the smell of a dead animal can be overwhelming, nauseating, and difficult to remove. Here are some steps for removing a dead animal smell.

Eliminating the Odor

Candles, potpourri, and air-fresheners may produce a pleasing aroma, but they will only mask the smell of a dead animal. Store-bought sprays are simply not powerful enough to neutralize the stench of decomposing flesh. Opening up your windows and airing-out the interior of your home may provide temporary relief of the bad smells, just make sure no other animals sneak inside during the process. To permanently remove the smell of a dead animal, you must discover its source.

Finding the Source

The first step in eliminating a dead animal smell from your home is locating the carcass. If any traps you’ve set are free of dead animals, then you must sniff out the source of the smell. Use your nose to determine where the stench is strongest. Because most wild animals prefer to nest in dark, warm spaces, your attic is where the smell is most likely originating from. The dead animal can also be in your walls. Once you’ve isolated the smell to a specific area of your home, you can then work toward discovering and removing the carcass.

Handling a Dead Animal

If you’re able to locate the carcass, be careful not to approach it without the appropriate safety equipment. Wild animals, alive or dead, can transmit a variety of infectious diseases to humans. Gloves, goggles, and a face mask are necessary to prevent the spread of disease. Perhaps instead of spending time and money buying odor eliminators and safety gear, it’s better to rely on the experience of wildlife removal experts to remove the dead animal and its smell from your home.

Professional Dead Animal Removal

With over 30 years of experience, Critter Control® of Tampa is equipped to handle any issues that arise from an infestation. Our technicians will not only remove all living and dead animals from your residence, but they will also clean up and repair any damage done to your home. To reduce your risk of infection and ensure that the dead animal, infestation, and smell are permanently removed from your property, contact Critter Control® of Tampa. Call us today at 813-948-0870 to schedule a consultation.

Types of Plants That Repel Wild Animals

Plants that repel wild animalsThe natural benefits of plants and herbs are most commonly used to enhance meals and cure ailments; however, there are claims that certain plants can help keep wildlife away from your property. While plants may not prove to be permanent pest deterrents, anything can help when trying to protect your home and garden. Here are a few types of plants that are known to repel wild animals.

Prickly Plants

Vegetation with sharp thorns or prickly surfaces is good at keeping nuisance wildlife such as raccoons and rabbits out of yards and gardens. Their soft paws are quite sensitive to the pointy textures of squash the rough and bristly leaves and stems of oriental poppies. A thorny rose bush barrier around the perimeter of your property can also help to prevent wildlife access.

Allium Plants

The destructive underground tunneling of moles and voles can ruin your lawn or garden. Many gardeners swear by the pest-deterring effects of alliums. In addition to tasting good, odorous alliums like onions, garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots have been known to keep the subterranean pests and rabbits away.

Aromatic Plants

While the sweet smell of flowers can be quite alluring to humans, some scents can be overwhelming for invasive wildlife. The flowers of the crown imperial give off a musky fragrance that smells like a fox to squirrels and other rodents. Daffodils also make for a similar rodent deterrent while lavender, mint, marigold, sweet pea, amaryllis, and oak and bay leaves are reportedly effective at repelling mice.

Poisonous Plants

There are a few plants that can harm not only invasive animals, but domesticated pets, as well. Be careful when planting castor beans and daffodils. While the fragrance of a daffodil can make for a good pest deterrent, ingesting any part of the flower can result in severe vomiting, pain, and even death for an animal. The same goes for castor beans. Should a dog, cat, or other pet get into the alleged mole repellent, contact a pet poison helpline.

Permanent Wild Animal Removal

To avoid harm to your pets and ensure an effective solution to wild animals on your property, contact the wildlife removal experts at Critter Control® of Tampa. Our experienced removal technicians will quickly and safely remove the pests and keep them from returning to your property. Call us today at 813-948-0870 to schedule your free home consultation.

Symptoms of a Sick Bat

Bats are found in a variety of habitats across the state of Florida including grassland, woodland, and urban. As the human population continues to grow, bats are forced to look for homes elsewhere, often inside of your attic, barn, or shed. And, while you may fear bats because of negative things you have always heard (they are bloodsuckers, dirty, carry rabies, etc.), bats provide an invaluable pest management service and are significant pollinators that enable us to enjoy many of our favorite fruits and flowers.

What to Do if You Encounter a Bat

Contrary to belief, not all bats have rabies and not all bats seen during daylight hours are sick. While they are nocturnal and typically active at night, it is not unusual to see a bat in the daytime.

Regardless of the time of day you see a bat, you should never try and approach it or handle it. Watching wildlife from a distance is fine but getting close to it puts you at risk of getting sick.

Common Symptoms of a Sick Bat

Although many bats are healthy, they can become ill just like any other mammal. Therefore, it is important to know what signs to look for should you ever encounter a bat on your property or out in the wild.

Some signs of illness include erratic movement, aggression, unusual flight pattern or inability to fly, foaming at the mouth, and loss of fear of humans. If you encounter a bat showing any of these symptoms, it is best to leave the area and call a Critter Control® of Tampa wildlife removal experts right away.

Professional Service You Can Trust

If you need to remove bats from your home or business, contact the professionals at Critter Control® of Tampa for assistance. With over 30 years of experience, we can solve your bat problems safely and effectively. Call us today at 813-328-6646 or fill out our online form and we will get back to you shortly.

What Types of Animals Gnaw on Electrical Wiring?

Have you recently noticed your lights flickering or a smoke smell coming from your attic? If so, you could have a critter problem. Rodents such as squirrels, mice, and rats are notorious for gnawing on electrical wiring. While their gnawing is a means for survival in the wild, it can cause many issues for home and business owners.

Why Rodents Gnaw

To help keep their ever-growing incisors worn down, rodents gnaw on doors, windows, floors, walls, and wiring. If a rodent’s incisors grow without constraint, they will curl around or straight up — piercing through their jaw and eventually killing them.

Potential Problems

When animals gnaw on wiring, they can create a short, causing lights to flicker, circuit breakers to trip, and partial power outages that result in residents losing power. It is also possible for the rodent to get electrocuted and die, creating an odor problem as the body decomposes. The most dangerous problem, however is the possibility of a fire due to the exposure of the copper inside of the insulated wire. When the current gets hot, it can overheat wood and other flammable materials in the attic and start a fire.

Prevention Tips

The best way to keep rodents from gnawing on the electrical wiring inside of your home or business is with preventative measures such as:

  • Routinely cleaning your attic to help deter rodent nesting or identify an infestation
  • Repairing holes and cracks
  • Replacing loose roof tiles
  • Limiting access to your roof by trimming tree branches
  • Covering pipes and vents with wire hardware cloth

The Critter Control© Difference

Do not let rodents put you and others in danger. For over thirty years, we have helped remove animals from Tampa homes and businesses. If you have found chewed electrical wiring in your attic and suspect you could have a rodent problem, please contact Critter Control© of Tampa today by calling 813-328-6646.

Ways to Prevent Wild Animals from Being Attracted to Your Home

As Florida’s population grows, rural and natural areas are converting to urban use, forcing wildlife to wander in search of food, water, and shelter. In residential neighborhoods, animals find things to eat such as pet food, fallen fruit, bird seed, compost, and trash. Once the animals realize they can get an easy meal on your property, they will look for a safe place to nest, birth, and raise their young.

If your home’s structure has weak points, the animals that make their way inside will quickly realize they have everything they need and rarely leave on their own. To decrease health risks and lessen the amount of damage caused by a squirrel, mice, rat, bat, or raccoon infestation, it is vital you contact Critter Control© of Tampa as soon as possible.

Prevent Animal Invasions

Homeowners who have faced animal infestations know first hand how difficult and costly they can be to get rid of, which is why it is important to prevent animals from entering your home in the first place.

Make your home and property less attractive to animals by:

  • Cleaning up any accumulated seed around bird feeders or removing the bird feeders
  • Bringing pet dishes inside at night
  • Storing outside garbage in secure containers
  • Cleaning grills and outdoor kitchen regularly
  • Covering and securing compost piles
  • Placing wire around gardens
  • Picking up fallen fruit from the ground
  • Stacking firewood two feet off the ground and away from your home and fence
  • Removing debris, dead trees, and brush piles
  • Cutting grass and trimming bushes
  • Installing a fence around entire property

Eliminate Entry Points

Animals are pros at finding ways to get inside your home. But, the professional wildlife technicians at Critter Control© of Tampa know how to detect and repair entry points to prevent animal infestations.

Potential entry points include:

  • Deteriorated siding
  • Holes and cracks in your home’s exterior
  • Uncovered pipes, cables, and vents leading outside
  • Damaged soffits, gutters, and fascia
  • Loose roof tiles
  • Holes in window and door screens
  • Gaps underneath doors and around windows

Professional Service You Can Trust

Protect your home from unwanted animal intruders with Critter Control© of Tampa’s residential services. Whether you currently have an infestation or want to prevent nuisance wildlife from moving in, we can help. For a free estimate, call 813-328-6646 or fill out a form online.

How Can I Tell if an Opossum is Sick?

Nocturnal and docile creatures, opossums generally do not pose a threat to humans. As a carrier of many diseases, however, opossums can become sick with an illness that they can then transmit to humans and pets through direct and indirect contact.

Common Opossum Diseases That Can Affect Humans

When encountering sick opossums, humans are at risk of catching diseases such as:

Leptospirosis – if untreated, this bacterial disease can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and death. Humans can get infected by coming in contact with urine or other bodily fluids (minus saliva) and water, soil, or food that is contaminated with an infected animal’s urine.

Murine Typhus – fleas transmit this disease, infecting humans through the eye, airway, bite site, or other skin opening they scratch. Symptoms include headaches, chills, rashes, body aches, and pains.

Rabies – Many believe that the opossum they encounter who seems sick must have rabies. And while any mammal can contract rabies, it is extremely rare for an opossum because its low body temperature of 94-97°F makes it hard for the virus to survive in its body.

Tularemia – a zoonotic disease passed from animals to humans through a bite, scratch, or infected tissue. Infections in humans can also occur indirectly from a biting insect vector such as ticks and deer flies. Lastly, humans can catch tularemia if bacteria they pick up in contaminated water or soil gets into the eye, an open wound, or is digested from eating tainted food.

Whether they are healthy, sick, troubled, or dead, minimize your chance of infection by taking precautions when encountering opossums. If opossums are causing problems at your home or business, contact a wildlife professional to address the issue for you.

Symptoms of a Sick Opossum

While an opossum that appears healthy can still be ill internally, exterior signs to be aware of include:

  • Changes in the skin including discoloration, spots, or sores
  • Ulcers or tumors on the skin
  • Fur loss, patching, or balding
  • Erratic behavior including being too lethargic or too agitated
  • Foaming or frothing of the mouth
  • Trouble breathing
  • Throwing up or having diarrhea

Wildlife Removal Experts

If you have noticed opossums around your property, call the experts at Critter Control© of Tampa at 813-948-0870 for fast and effective removal. Our technicians have the knowledge and experience to keep you and others safe from harm.

Does Homeowners Insurance Pay for Attic Bat Damage?

Anyone who has ever dealt with an animal infestation in their home understands how upsetting and overwhelming it is to not only get rid of the critters but to clean up the mess and repair the damage left behind.

Damage and Disease Issues

Even if you have a few bats in your home, you want to address the issue right away to avoid the following potentially serious problems:

Structural Damage – Large colonies of bats leave droppings (guano) which pile up, creating a strong, unpleasant odor. In addition to being a health hazard, the droppings along with bat urine can put your home at risk of structural damage. Over time, the waste can drip through the attic floor, soak sheetrock and particle board, contaminate insulation, and in extreme cases cause the structural interior to collapse.

Bat Mites – also known as bat bugs, these parasites are similar to bed bugs because they consume the blood of a host. As bat mites feed on the blood of humans or pets, they cause skin irritations such as itchiness, reddening, burning, bumps, etc.

Diseases – Bats, like other mammals, can carry rabies, although the risk of humans being bitten by a bat is low. Their guano carries spores for Histoplasmosis, an infection caused by the Histoplasma fungus. Individuals who breathe in the microscopic fungal spores from the air may obtain symptoms such as a fever, cough, fatigue, chills, headache, chest pain, and body aches.

Homeowner’s Coverage

Because bats enter pre-existing holes or gaps in a home’s exterior or roof, many insurance companies consider the infestation to be a maintenance issue, and therefore will not cover the costs to remove the bats from your attic. However, if bats cause physical damage to your home not covered by your homeowner’s insurance, your policy may help pay for the repairs.

What you may be covered for depends on your specific insurer, so it is best to contact your insurance company to find out what kind of protection you have regarding the bat damage in your attic.

Bat Removal

Critter Control© of Tampa specializes in the removal of bats and can take care of the necessary clean up and repairs. For a free estimate, contact us today by calling 813-948-0870 or fill out a contact form online.

Identifying Stinging Insects

Tampa’s warm, humid springs and summers provide the ideal conditions for stinging insects. A stinging insect is any insect equipped with a stinger (usually embedded in the rear end of the insect’s body) they use specifically to protect themselves or their nests from danger. When a stinger pierces the skin, it injects just enough venom under the skin to produce a red, itchy, painful bump. People who are allergic to stinger venom suffer more severe symptoms that may require emergency treatment.

Tampa’s Most Common Stinging Insects

Bumblebees

Bumblebees have stubby wings and yellow and black patterns on their abdomens. Most of the bumblebee body is covered with orange, bristly hairs Preferring to nest in ground holes, tree hollows, under wood piles or in building recesses, bumblebees are primary pollinators that do not produce much honey.

Yellow Jackets

Larger and noisier than bumblebees, yellow jackets are easily recognizable by their bright yellow and black stripes decorating a hairy body. Yellowjackets construct nests made from a paper mache-like substance inside logs, in the ground or against building walls. Accidentally disturbing a yellow jacket nest may cause dozens of yellowjackets to fly out of the nest to defend their home by stinging you.

Wasps

Unlike the fat, round bodies of yellowjackets and bumblebees, wasps have thinner bodies marked with red, brown or black patterns. They also have pinched waists and longer wings that fold against their bodies when at rest. Wasps prefer hovering around open garbage cans, uncovered bottles of sugary drinks and dumpsters. Their paper-mache nests are sometimes quite large, resembling upside-down umbrellas hanging from roof eaves and trees.

Is It Difficult to Get Rid of Stinging Insects Nesting Around Your Home?

Simply disposing of the nest doesn’t mean bees or wasps won’t return the next day and begin re-building their nest. You will have to spray the area with a pesticide to keep stinging insects from coming back. Of course, once the pesticide’s effectiveness wears off, there’s a good chance another colony of bees will decide to take up residence where an old nest once existed.

If you’re afraid to step outside your home because of stinging insects, don’t take the chance of getting stung or sickened by pesticides trying DIY methods. Call Critter Control® of Tampa for prompt, professional removal of all stinging insect infestations.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Attic Rat Damage?

Unless you specifically asked your home insurance broker to include coverage for rodent damage in your policy, you will probably be stuck with paying for it out-of-pocket. Most homeowners insurance pays for accidental or sudden damage but not damage occurring over time. In other words, if a tornado blows the roof off, your insurance will likely pay for a new roof. If a slow water leak causes mold to develop over a period of six months, you may have difficulty getting your home insurance to pay for removing the mold.

What Kind of Damage Can Rats Do To Attics?

Rats will do ALL the following:

  • Chew through the thickest wires to create fire hazards and electrical outages
  • Urinate on attic insulation
  • Destroy attic insulation for nesting material
  • Chew holes in wood beams, eaves, and soffits
  • Leave behind a staggering amount of rat droppings. In addition to containing powerful enzymes that degrade drywall and promote mold growth, droppings emit strong odors that attract other animals.

Depending on the size of your rat infestation, the cost of decontaminating and sanitizing your attic may exceed the cost of effecting repairs.

What You Can Do To Avoid Paying for Attic Rat Damage

If you don’t want to pay higher home insurance premiums to cover rat damage, make sure you get a building professionally inspected before you purchase it. Once you’ve moved into a new home or commercial property, call Critter Control of Tampa to schedule bi-annual inspections for rat and insect infestations.

Just because you don’t see signs of rats in your attic doesn’t mean rats haven’t been checking the place out. Signs of a rodent infestation don’t become unmistakably obvious until dozens of rats have already built nests and begun reproducing. You aren’t likely to see rats running around in your home, either, since rats and other rodents are primarily nocturnal.

Call Critter Control® of Tampa today to have your home or building thoroughly inspected by expert pest technicians. We also disinfect pest-infested areas, apply prevention techniques to keep out rodents and can replace damaged attic insulation if necessary.