How to Get Rid of Rats

Rat infestation is bad news for home or business owners, as they not only Tampa Ratcause physical damage while they search for food and build nests, but they bring bacteria and unsanitary conditions into your home or office which can cause illness. Debris like scraps of paper or cardboard, fresh droppings, a foul or musty smell, or scratching noises are all telltale signs of a possible rat problem.

Professional removal is always the best way to resolve an animal problem, but there are home remedies you can use to help keep rats at bay.

Home Remedies

Getting rid of rats is something than many people in the Tampa area are familiar with. You can easily buy different types of traps that promise big results, but these methods can pose their own problems, and often leave you with messy and unsanitary carcass cleanup duty. There is a variety of different natural and non-toxic remedies to keep rats away that you can try, including applying peppermint oil, ammonia, or black pepper in areas of high rat traffic which may drive them away temporarily.

Getting rid of a rat infestation is a complex problem that often requires professional assistance, but ensuring that they cannot return should also be a priority. Areas that rats can use to enter your home need to be identified and sealed off, but these may not always be obvious, as rats can squeeze through tiny openings that you may not even be able to see. Entrances and exits for rats can be hidden in walls or foundations as well, so for best results, always call a professional removal service like Critter Control® of Tampa.

Let Us Help

If you think you have rats invading your home or office, you can try store-bought or home-brew remedies, or you can enlist the help of professionals with over three decades worth of experience. The technicians here at Critter Control® of Tampa will remove the nuisance rats, seal off entry and exit points, and clean up any messes left behind. Call us today at 813.948.0870 with any questions, or to schedule a consultation

When Do Squirrels Hibernate?

Unlike many other animals, squirrel species like the eastern gray squirrel, tampa squirrelred squirrel, and fox squirrel do not hibernate during the colder months of the year. In fact, they are one of the smallest mammals that do not hibernate. Instead, they use a number of other techniques to help them survive the cold.

As temperatures begin to drop in the fall, squirrels will start making winter preparations by collecting nuts and seeds to store in safe areas like hollowed out tree trunks or inside your home. Instead of fattening themselves up at the start of winter, they have to ensure a steady supply of food beforehand so they don’t starve.

Something else that sets squirrels apart from other small critters is that they not able to build and maintain high body fat levels, meaning that if food were to become unavailable for an extended period, they would not be able to sustain themselves like other hibernating animals.

Though squirrels are primarily vegetarians, they have been known to eat small birds or steal eggs when food sources become difficult to find.

Squirrel Hibernation Misconception

Many people are under the assumption that squirrels hibernate during winter. This is due to squirrels being rarely seen out and about in the cold weather because they would rather be out of the elements just like we would. When the weather is clear you may see them occasionally, but when the temperatures drop they stay in their nests most of the time.

Squirrel Problems? Let Us Help

For reliable help with squirrels and other wildlife, contact the experts at Critter Control® of Tampa. We possess the means to not just remove the squirrels from a premise in a reliable manner, but also to eliminate potential entrances preventing future recurrences. Call us today at 813.948.0870 to learn more or to schedule a home consultation.

What Animals Seek Shelter in Tampa Homes?

Have you begun to notice things going bump in the night, mysterious bites squirrel on rooftaken out of vegetables in your garden, or a foul smell emanating from anywhere on your property? Wildlife problems in residential and commercial areas are becoming increasingly common in the Tampa area, and are caused by a variety of different types of animals. Squirrels, raccoons, rats, mice, opossums, and even bats are commonly found seeking shelter in Tampa homes.

Here are some of the signs to watch for when identifying exactly what has entered your home.

Types of Noises

If you’re hearing noises during the day, especially in the early hours of the morning around sunrise, a squirrel may be the culprit. They are one of the only non-nocturnal animals we find invading attics, and they are characterized by a light tapping noise as they scamper about, or even the occasional sound of an acorn cracking.

A slow, loud, heavy thumping noise is often a raccoon that has found its way into your attic, and light, fast pitter-pattering and light squeaking at night is likely a mouse or rat.

Entry Points and Damage

The area of your home that animals use to gain entry as well as the type of damage caused can give you an idea of the type of critter you’re dealing with. A hole larger than an inch or two in diameter is often the work of a squirrel or raccoon, whereas a tiny hole chewed in a roofing soffit or screen enclosure is typically the work of a rat or mouse, as they can squeeze through openings as small as ¼”.

If you do suspect animal activity in your home, look for chewed up wood, wiring, cabinets, or even food containers, as these are signs of rodent activity.

Let Us Help

If animals are seeking shelter in your Tampa home, let the experts at Critter Control® of Tampa help. Our knowledgeable staff is standing by to remove the animals that have taken up residence in your home, and to repair any damage they may have caused. Call us today at 813.948.0870 with any questions or to schedule a consultation.

DIY Tricks for Getting Rid of Rats

They may go largely unseen by humans, but rats pose a serious problem for Tampa Ratbuildings, homes, and people if they are not addressed promptly. Not only is their waste an unsanitary breeding ground for bacteria, but rats will chew on anything in sight to keep their teeth trimmed to an appropriate length. They often tear up electrical wiring and attic insulation in an effort to collect nest-building materials.

What can you do to get rid of rats in your home or office?

Find the Infestation

A rat’s priorities are finding a location to build a nest and having easy access to food. A rat’s nesting location will often smell strongly of urine and feces, so follow your nose to discover where they’re holed up. If there are holes in your roof soffits or gaps in your home’s siding, the area within could be inhabited by rats.

Put Out Traps in High-Traffic Areas

After you have an idea of where the majority of your rat infestation is located, you can start placing your traps. By laying traps in the areas surrounding the infestation, you greatly increase your chances of trapping the offending rodents.

Seal Off Potential Entrances and Exits

The best way to get rid of rats is to make sure they can’t enter in the first place. By sealing up potential entry points around your home or office, you’ll help discourage rat activity while simultaneously saving money on:

  • Costs associated with repairing rat-related damage
  • Having to replace your home’s insulation due to rats using it as nesting material
  • Heating and cooling costs in your home
  • Replacing attic floors and walls due to damage from rat waste
  • Possible medical costs associated with the unsanitary conditions rats can introduce into a home or office

Allow Critter Control to Help

Though setting up rat traps seems like a simple enough process, it takes a trained professional to get the most out of them. Hiring the services of the expert technicians at Critter Control® of Tampa is the most effective way to get rats out of your home or office. To learn more about our professional rat removal services, or to schedule a consultation, call us today at 813.948.0870.

Keeping Critters Out This Winter

Winter is fast approaching here in the Tampa area, and as temperatures Squirrel on Roofbegin to drop, you’ll likely be spending more time indoors away from the cold; and you aren’t alone. Rats, squirrels, raccoons, and other critters are looking for the same shelter from the elements that you are, and that often leads them into abandoned or occupied buildings and residences.

There are steps you can take to help keep animals off of your property this winter, but to repel them, you should understand what it is that attracts them in the first place.

Just like we want to go inside when it’s cold out, animals are the same way. They have to maintain a certain body temperature in order to survive, and when you combine that with the food and water sources a home provides, the result is irresistible to critters.

In addition to the warmth and protection from the elements a house provides, the following can help attract unwanted attention:

  • Leaving messes in the house instead of cleaning them up right away, especially food or drink spills
  • Piles of leaves, wood, or other debris that could provide shelter
  • Pet food or water bowls left outside
  • Trash cans left open outside
  • Holes or cracks that provide entrance to your home

What Can I Do?

Some ways you can help keep animals away include:

  • Removing outdoor water supplies by moving pet bowls indoors, and fixing leaky garden hose spouts
  • Inspecting the outside of your home for possible points of entry. Holes larger than about ¼” should be patched or covered
  • Since rats can climb, keep overhanging tree branches trimmed and away from the roof of your home
  • Keeping your lawn free of leaf and debris piles to reduce the amount of shelter available
  • Stacking any firewood away from your home, and keep only as much as you need on hand

Let Us Help

Wild animals in or around your home can cause all sorts of problems from property damage to health risks, so it’s always best to address the issue before it grows out of hand. The above tips will go a long way towards making your property less attractive to animals, but if you do find yourself with an infestation, Critter Control® of Tampa can help. Call us today at 813.948.0870 with questions about our wildlife removal services, or to schedule a home consultation.

 

When Do Raccoons Hibernate?

Here in Florida where the climate is mild year-around compared to other parts of the country, hibernating animals are few and far between. While Tampa Raccoonthere are many different animal species that hibernate for the winter all around the world, the raccoon is not one of them. Raccoons are very adaptable by nature which makes them well suited for the winter months. From changing their diets to seeking shelter, and entering a state similar to hibernation called Torpor, raccoons make plenty of changes during the winter months.

Winter Diet

Raccoons are omnivores, and this comes in handy for them during the cold season when food is scarcer. They often get nutrients from plants, animals, eggs, insects, and human sources like food scraps and garbage cans. The ability to utilize any food course available makes it so that raccoons are always well-fed. Winter diets typically consist mainly of acorns, fruits, insects, and crippled animals – though they will always take advantage of the easily accessible dumpster or garbage can.

Increasing Fat Reserves

Similar to how a hibernating animal stocks up on food and fat stores before going to sleep, raccoons take steps against starvation by increasing their fat levels in the summer and fall months. This fat is then used to supplement what food the raccoons are able to scavenge, and they will typically lose 15-50 percent of their body weight depending on how severe the winter is. A raccoon’s fat stores are located mostly in the tail, which can help them stay warm by wrapping it around themselves.

Shelter

As temperatures drop, raccoons will actively build dens or seek out shelter to keep them warm and protected from the elements. In nature, they most often use hollow trees but will move into abandoned or occupied buildings if the opportunity arises.

Entering Torpor

Like some animals enter hibernation when winter hits, raccoons enter a state called torpor. Though not a true hibernation, a raccoon can sleep in a curled up position in their den for weeks, significantly reducing the amount of energy needed to survive. Their body temperatures drop along with their blood sugar during this time. On warmer days raccoons will then wake up to forage for food before returning to their den for more rest. This allows many of the benefits of hibernation while still allowing them to stay alert for predators.

Though other parts of the country would argue that we hardly have a winter at all here in Florida, animals like raccoons still take measures to ensure their survival during these months. Be wary of these critters seeking out areas of your home or property for protection, and if you do notice them, be sure to call a professional wildlife removal service like Critter Control® of Tampa right away. Call us today at 813.948.0870 with questions, or to schedule a raccoon removal consultation.

The Cost of Removing Animals from the Attic

Cost is often a top priority when considering a service like animal removal, and one of the most common questions we receive is “how much Tampa Attic Animal Removalis this going to cost me?” Because of the unique nature of animal removal, no two situations are exactly alike which means a consultation should be conducted in order to determine an exact cost. We treat each situation individually, and some of the factors that can affect cost include:

Animal Type and Population

The largest factors in determining the cost of animal removal are the type of animal, and how many of them are inhabiting your home. The smaller the infestation is and the less dangerous the animal, naturally, the lower the cost of removal. We always recommend getting help at the first sign of an infestation, and that not only helps prevent damage to your home, but it keeps the cost of removal down as well. Removal techniques vary depending on the type of animal being dealt with, which in turn can affect the overall cost as well.

Condition of the Animal

When we conduct our preliminary inspection, we always try to determine what condition the animal is in, as it affects the techniques we use for removal. Deceased animals only require carcass removal, whereas an injured or healthy animal should be humanely removed and relocated when possible.

Time of Year and Attic Condition

If the nuisance animals are nesting in a hard-to-reach area of your attic, or the weather conditions are dangerous, additional tools or time may be necessary to remove the animals safely.

Though the only way for us to accurately price your animal removal needs is with an inspection, our clients typically pay between $100 and $300 for their animal removal needs. To keep costs and damage to a minimum, do not wait to take action when you notice wild animals in or around your home. Call Critter Control® of Tampa a call today at 813.948.0870 with questions, or to schedule your home consultation.

How Do Squirrels Get in My Attic?

To many, squirrels are nothing more than cute, harmless critters seen How Do Squirrels Get in My Attic running around parks and in the trees, but to others, they pose a much more serious threat. All throughout the Tampa area, squirrel infestations are becoming more and more common, and when your home’s attic is invaded by squirrels, the results can be expensive.

How Do They Get In?

Thanks to their excellent climbing abilities and small size, squirrels are able to infiltrate an attic through even the smallest hole in a roof vent or soffit. If there isn’t a hole to squeeze through, squirrels can even chew through certain materials to gain access – meaning that even if you own a brand new home, you’re still at risk.

During your consultation, a Critter Control® technician will thoroughly inspect your home for possible entry points, all of which can be sealed once the squirrels have been removed.

Signs of Squirrel Activity

The first step to eliminating a squirrel infestation is recognizing the signs of their activity. Some of the most common warning signs include:

  • Scratching or thumping noises as they run around the drywall in the attic, above the ceiling, or in the walls
  • Nesting materials such as leaves and sticks found inside your home
  • Droppings
  • Evidence of chewed wood or wires or torn insulation

If you notice any of the above signs of a squirrel problem, the best course of action to take is to call a professional animal removal service like Critter Control® of Tampa in order to prevent further damage to your home.

Let Us Help

For more than three decades, Critter Control® has been a top name in animal removal throughout the United States. Our exclusive four-step method helps us ensure that every last squirrel is removed from your home, and any damage is repaired along the way. For any questions about our squirrel removal services, or to schedule a consultation, call us today at 813.948.0870.

What Animal is Making Noises in My Wall?

When a wild animal makes its way into a home, often one of the first Tampa animal in wallsigns of their activity is strange sounds coming from the walls. It’s easy for critters to sneak into your home via the attic and quietly build their nests. Being aware of the warning signs of an animal infestation is the first step in recognizing an issue and being able to address it. Some of the most common warning signs include:

Rats – Rat activity is often made evident by signs of chewing or bite marks on food packaging in your kitchen pantry. Small, black dropping inside of cabinets and chewed or frayed wiring are other common indicators of rat activity. You will likely hear a rapid pitter-pattering noise as they scurry around your walls and attic.

Squirrels – Light-footed, quick scurrying and the occasional light tap of an acorn being dropped inside your wall are often the sign of a squirrel at work. You may hear grinding or gnawing coming from your walls as well, as squirrels have teeth that continuously grow, and gnawing on wooden structures within your walls helps them keep their teeth in check.

Raccoons – The largest of the commonly encountered invasive animals, raccoons often give away their presence due to their heavy footsteps. They are also known to tear up attic insulation for nesting, so finding small scraps of that in your home is a strong indicator.

Bats – Bats often invade attics and walls to build their nests in the nearly perpetual darkness that these places offer. Sometimes though, bats become trapped and can attempt to claw their way out, causing scraping noises on the insides of your walls.

Seek Professional Removal

If you’re faced with an animal infestation of any sort, you should avoid trying to handle it on your own. Many invasive animal species carry infectious diseases and can become aggressive if they feel threatened, putting you at-risk for injury. Instead, call the experts at Critter Control® of Tampa. Our team of knowledgeable technicians can free your home of invasive critters while keeping your loved ones out of harm’s way. Call us today at 813.948.0870 to schedule a consultation.

What is That Smell in my Attic?

Small animals like mice, rats, squirrels, and even bats are always looking Tampa animals in atticfor the perfect place to build a nest that’s away from danger and the elements. Their small size means that larger predators and even severe weather puts them in danger, and your attic makes a perfect spot for these animals to escape to. One potential downside to unknowingly harboring animals in your attic is the strange odor that can be spread through your home. Look for the following clues to help determine the origins of the foul odor.

Solid Waste – Animal droppings are often one of the easiest things to notice and can give you valuable information as to the sort of visitor in your home. Size is a major indicator, and droppings from rats are much larger than those from mice, typically about an inch long and half an inch thick. Mouse droppings, on the other hand, are typically about ¼” long and pointed at either end.

Urine – Any animal that invades your home can potentially leave urine trails in its path which can make identifying them difficult if you’re relying only on that. When used in conjunction with other evidence, however, it can be very useful. Chewed up wood and wiring are strong indicators of squirrel activity for example. Disinfection is necessary after the infestation has been removed in order to prevent bacteria and parasites from causing harm to your family.

Carcasses – When an animal dies inside your attic, they will eventually begin to give off a strong odor as they begin to decompose. When they die inside your walls or attic insulation, the damage can be extensive. Larger animals will create a stronger odor for a longer period of time, and if one happens to die near a moisture source, it can continue to smell almost indefinitely.

Minimize your Risks

It may seem easy enough to clean up animal feces or urine, but you should never needlessly expose yourself to the potential for contracting a dangerous disease. After the animals have been removed from your home, you can rely on Critter Control® of Tampa to clean up the aftermath. Call us today at 813.948.0870 with any questions about our animal removal services, or to schedule a home consultation.