How to Get Rid of Mice Now: The Ultimate Guide

Photo Credit: Blondinrikard Fröberg

One of the most common home invaders for centuries has been the rodent. Between mice and rats, these pests can damage your walls, eat your food, and cause all sorts of problems. Today we will pesent you with the ultimate guide on how to get rid of mice once and for all.

 

Why Are There Mice in Your Home?

Unfortunately, mice infest homes because their natural habitat is shrinking and they seek food, water, warmth, and shelter.

It is important to identify whether you have one mouse or an infestation. Mice and rats are closely related, but methods for removing mice differ slightly from rat removal due to the size of the intruders. Luckily, it is possible to identify these invaders without having first spotted one.

Mice versus Rats

A rodent infestation needs the proper management depending on the rodent that invaded your home. Here are the main differences between mice and rats so you know what you need to do.

  • Mice are curious, so you will be seeing them around more often than you are likely to see rats.
  • Most mice species are smaller than most rats species.
  • You are more likely to find mice burrowed in walls. As a comparison, rats usually dig deep under the house, plants, etc.

     

Why Should You Get Rid of Mice?

Rodent infestations pose numerous health risks. While a larger infestation poses a more significant threat, even a small number of invaders can be dangerous. There is a chance that disease and parasites accompany your mouse problem.

Parasites

The term “plague rat” is based on the 14th century outbreak of bubonic plague, more commonly known as the “Black Death”. The plague’s bacteria Yersinia pestis remains a threat today; although another strain of Y. Pestis which caused the Justinian plague has become extinct. The virus is transmitted by fleas which generally feed on rats, gerbils, and other rodents.

  • Fleas, ticks, and mites also lead to other diseases such as Lyme disease.
  • Because they feed on blood, these parasites can transmit illness from one host to another. They can also be a threat to humans and pets, especially those with a weak immune system.

Diseases

One of the most dangerous diseases spread by rodents is Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, or HPS.

Spread through contaminated waste or saliva from rodents, the virus may take up to five weeks before symptoms show. Different strains are transmitted by particular species of rodent, with the most common North American strain coming from the deer mouse.

Early symptoms include:

  • chills,
  • fever,
  • muscular pain,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting.

As the virus breaks down the capillaries in your lungs, it causes them to fill with fluid. This leads to difficulty breathing and organ failure if not treated immediately. The mortality rate for the North American variety is 30%.

Other dangerous diseases may also be spread through rodent feces or contact:

  • rat bite/Haverhill fever,
  • lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis,
  • leptospirosis,
  • salmonellosis,
  • and tularemia.

How to Identify a Mouse Infestation

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The first step is to determine if you have a rodent problem.

  • As with many forms of animal infestation, scratching or scuttling sounds are indicators of unwanted housemates.
  • The smell of urine is another indicator of an infestation, and rodent urine is particularly strong and musky.
  • Gnaw marks and chew holes are a third clear sign of rodent activity.

Droppings are not only a means to identify a rodent problem but also a way to identify the type of rodent.

Rodent droppings tend to be capsular in appearance and may accumulate quickly, even if there is only one pest.

The types of droppings are:

  • Mouse: under a one-quarter inch and pointed at the ends
  • Norway Rat: larger than a one-half inch with blunt ends
  • Roof Rat: more massive than one inch with pointed ends

Shinier droppings are fresh, whereas older droppings tend to be dull and crumbly.

  • If there are multiple sizes, then you likely have a larger infestation of both adults and pups.

Mice Removal Methods

Let’s learn how to get rid of mice depending on the severity of the infestation and the main area of the infestation’s occurence.

How to Get Rid of Mice in House

  • The first step in eliminating rodents is to find the entry points and block them off using metal or epoxy.
  • As mice can enter through cracks or holes as small holes, this is a time-consuming yet necessary task.
  • Once you are certain that no more may enter the home, the methods of dealing with your infestation will vary somewhat.
  • The second step is to make sure they have no food sources. Keep all foods in metal containers or the refrigerator, and place boxed goods is a well-sealed area that has already been checked for possible entry points.
  • Doing so makes trapping rodents easier and may even encourage some to leave on their own.
  •  

How to Get Rid of Mice in the Walls

As you know, mice can climb walls to an extent and can live inside them.

An infestation in your walls or ceiling can prove very difficult to deal with. Rodents will find your insulation an attractive nesting material and may chew through wires or plastic pipes. Worst of all, their waste will be mostly hidden, meaning it is more difficult to clean up after getting rid of them.

Here are the issues you need to consider before you start getting rid of mice in the walls by yourself:

  • Using poisons may mean that the rodents will die within your walls.
  • They also can take several days to kill the rodent.
  • Meanwhile, children and pets will also be at risk of exposure to the poison.
  • If using traps, remember that the process will take time and that numerous traps should be placed.

Given all these issues, the best method to get rid of mice in the walls is to use traps or to call an exterminator.

 

 

How to Get Rid of Mice in the Garage And Attic:

The garage and attic can be frustrating sources of infestation. In addition to checking walls for entry points, you should consider the garage door as a possible entry point.

  • Make sure that the garage door seals well when closed, leaving no room for the pests to squeeze in.
  • Once again, traps are the most effective solution.
  • If your garage is a place where children and animals are not permitted to play, then snap traps may be extremely useful here. In your attic, find the food source and use snap traps.
  • However, as snap traps will sometimes misfire, live traps remain the best solution.

How to Get Rid of Mice Naturally

Over the years, there have been many claims of products and processes to remove mice. Some of these methods are more useful than others. The following methods are some of the more commonly suggested solutions but are by no means the only ones.

Cats

Photo Credit: Denis Defreyne

Contrary to popular belief, not all cats love hunting mice. Let’s learn a few things and bust a few myths about the all-time-favorite cat and mouse conflict.

  • Indoor cats who are well-fed may find a mouse to be an exciting play toy for a while, but will eventually grow bored.
  • Cats are also less immediately effective against infestations.
  • For a house cat, contact with a dead mouse means exposing your household to the risk of diseases to which the cat is immune.

Overall, cats represent the best solution to get rid of mice naturally, as long as you do not deal with a severe mice infestation and the cat wants to and is able to play its predatory part.



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Mouse Repellents

There are countless forms of repellent out there, from sprays to oils and beyond. Some of the most vehicled DIY ideas out there include the following:

Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence that any of these repellents work. According to specialists from the National Pest Management Association, such home remedies do not come with a scientific backup.

In conclusion, you could find yourself wasting a lot of money before finding one which has any effect on your unwanted guests. It is better to avoid using these at all.

Sonic Deterrents

Specialists agree that sonic deterrents are ineffective against rodents and other invasive species.

  • The use of lights is also inefficient, as a hungry mouse is a bold mouse.
  • Your money is better spent on mouse traps or a professional exterminator.

Mouse Traps

The most effective method of removing mice continues to be the humble mousetrap.

While some are lethal, many new traps capture the mice without harming them. It is a good idea to become familiar with the many types out there before selecting which to use for your infestation problem. Keep in mind that mice and rats will require different traps due to the size difference.

Traditional Snap Traps

The snap trap is a simple device which has been used effectively for over 100 years. It remains highly popular, although there are some drawbacks.

  • As these traps use a basic spring-loaded bar to crush the mouse, they often fail to kill the mouse.
  • Instead of smashing a leg or tail and leaving the rodent in pain.
  • Another drawback to the snap trap is that it is susceptible, leading to accidents.
  • Children and pets are also at risk of being injured by snap traps.
  • Finally, as the trap is intended to kill, it can cause unwanted exposure to disease through the rodent’s blood.

Humane Mouse Traps

Humane mouse traps are designed to be both effective and safe. Unlike a snap trap, the moving parts generally consist of either a door or ramp.

  • The biggest downside to a live trap is that captured rodents must be released at least one mile from your home, preferably in a wooded area, so that they will not find their way back.

How to Use a Door Trap

  • To use a door trap, place some bait in the trap.
  • Peanut butter and brie are both highly effective, although many different foods will work, including dog food.
  • The mouse enters the trap to get to the food, knocking over the support for the door.
  • The door shuts, leaving them trapped.

Traps which employ a ramp follow the same principle, but may sometimes catch more than one mouse.

  • Bait them as you would a door trap.
  • The mouse will follow the scent of the food, walking over a hinged ramp to get to the food.
  • Once past the ramp, it raises again, leaving the rodent trapped.

Glue Traps

Another form of trap that has gained in popularity is the glue trap.

  • This is a strip of paper with a sticky substance on it similar to flypaper, which is one of the best ways to get rid of mice.
  • The rodent’s feet and fur will get stuck to the paper.

While useful, these traps will sometimes suffocate the rodent, plus there is a risk of a child or pet getting held to one.

  • It is better to avoid these and buy a humane trap instead.

Homemade Mouse Traps

Over the years, people have invented plenty of homemade trap options, some of which work better than others. These have varying results, and some are designed for single use, while others may catch various rodents. If you decide to make your own trap, be aware that there is no guarantee of success.

Simple Mice Traps

Simple traps involve cardboard or heavy paper base, some form of containers (such as a tin can), bait, and a prop.

  • The bait is placed under the container, which is then propped upright by anything from a toothpick to a quarter.
  • When the mouse enters, the prop is knocked away and the container drops, trapping them.
  • The trap and its base lid are then used to transport the mouse far from your home.
Multiple Traps

An example of multiple traps requires a large bucket, an empty can open at both ends, a dowel that is longer than the barrel, and a paint stick or other “ramp”.

  • Drill holes in the bucket near the top and insert the dowel with the tin can in the middle.
  • Smear peanut butter on the can and place your ramp.
  • The mice will climb up and fall into the bucket while trying to reach the bait.
  • The whole trap may then be used to transport the captive rodents.

Professional Extermination

In many cases, it is either easier or cheaper to hire a professional exterminator. In any case, it is best to deal with the rodent problem before they cause too much damage to your furniture.

This may save you time and money, depending upon the size of the infestation. As mice are one of the most common pests, it is easy to find an exterminator in your area.

What Should I Expect?

A professional exterminator will examine the house for runs, entry points, and other signs of infestation.

  • Once they have identified an infestation and the type of rodent you have, they will seal off the entry points.
  • Next, depending upon the severity of the infestation, they will either set traps or spray.
  • Finally, most exterminators will do a follow-up visit to ensure the removal was complete.

What Are the Do’s and Don’ts to Get Rid of Mice?

Do’s:

  • Knowing what rats prefer for nesting materials, nesting areas, how far they’ll travel and their daily needs.
  • Figure out what mice are after and how they get things done, before you set your trap placements accordingly.
  • Force the rodent into a squeeze play by placing objects in its way.
  • Get rid of mice by depriving them of nesting areas, hiding places, food, and water. Without these fundamental requirements, mice will not be able to reproduce and spread on any area.
  • If you have some pet food in the basement or garage, store them in a sealed container.
  • Make sure all your groceries are well contained and sealed, so they do not attract mice.
  • Know how mice get into your house or property and seal it up if there are holes, cracks or any possible point of entry.
  • Block them or fill them up with cement or caulk or whatever works to prevent rodents from infesting your home.

Dont’s:

  • Don’t put any person, pet or any non-target thing at risk with a wrong trap placement. This will prevent any accidents or injuries if done right.
  • Also be mindful of mouse droppings and mouse urine because this can cause leptospirosis which is deadly to humans.
  • Don’t limit yourself to traditional snap traps if you have some serious mice infestation.
  • Know all the possible and available options such as mouse repellent, glue traps, mouse poison, and professional pest control.

How to Pevent Mice

The best pest control one can think of is prevention. Before you begin dealing with a mice infestation and look for solutions on how to get rid of mice, consider the following ideas on how to prevent mice invading your property in the first place.

  1. Keep your property clean and tidy, with no organic debris lying around your yard, garden, or around the house.
  2. Seal entry points like cracks and holes on the house’s exterior (entry points of pipes as well) with the help of caulk, steel wool, or both.
  3. Regularly check the basement, attic, garage, crawl spaces, garden sheds, and so on. Seal all possible entry points and keep them clean, dry, and tidy at all times.
  4. Screen vents and chimney openings.
  5. Fix broken screens and add new ones on the interior of your house door and windows.
  6. Dispose of the trash regularly.
  7. Eliminate all food leftovers from the property, even pet food.
  8. If you compost, keep your compost pile as far from the house as possible.
  9. If you store firewood, keep the wood pile dry at all times and at least 20 feet away from the house.
  10. Clean, trim, and cut back from the house the shrubery, plants, and trees.
  11. Eliminate all moisture areas that can attract mice to nest and breed: leaking pipes, clogged drains, etc.
  12. Store food in airtight containers.
  13. When you arrive home, inspect all your grocery bags, boxes, etc.
  14. If you identify loose mortar and weather stripping in the basement foundation area or around windows, replace them.
  15. Invest in a cat that you know is able and willing to catch the occasional mouse.

Additional Resources

  • Professional Wildlife Removal offers a current national directory of rodent exterminator services.
  • Tomcat offers detailed information on rodent species and methods of extermination.
  • For more information on the ongoing threat of bubonic plague, BBC News discusses the efforts to study mutations in the Y. pestis bacteria.
  • The Mayo Clinic provides extensive information on HPS, including risk factors and other important information.
  • You will find an extensive list of rodent-transmitted diseases on the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to Get Rid of Mice: Summary

How to Get Rid of Mice in the House?

Here are the best solutions to get rid of mice:
1. Set traps according to the severity of the infestation
2. Call an exterminator
3. Homemade mouse traps

How to Prevent Mice?

1. Seal all entry points, holes, and cracks with caulk, steel wool, or a combination of the two.
2. Keep the house and the surroundings clean and tidy.
3. Eliminate all moisture sources.
4. Move firewood away from the house.
5. Screen vents and chimneys, add screens to the interior side of house windows and doors.

What is the most efficient way of getting rid of mice if the infestation is severe?

If things are bad, call a professional exterminator.

How to Get Rid of Gypsy Moths

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Moths are relatively harmless, but they can be annoying if you have a lot of them buzzing around especially if you like to spend time outdoors.  Gypsy moths are different than a lot of harmless moths because they can damage trees and are a big problem in the forests of the northern United States.

Gypsy moths are a failed experiment that took place in 1869. The cost of silk was high, and the United States wanted to start a silkworm industry so they could take advantage of lower costs due to transport and rarity. This didn’t work out, and the gypsy moth soon found its way into the forests and backyards of America.

Gypsy moth caterpillars emerge in early spring and through the middle of May. The larvae emerge and feed mostly at night on leaves on host trees. This can lead to major defoliation in record time. This means that gypsy moths need to be prevented or eliminated as soon as possible when you realize that this is the problem. Large areas of damage may need to be assessed by a forestry professional as well as an exterminator to come up with a feasible and effective long term plan.

Here are a few ways you can prevent and rid your home and property of gypsy moths. Taking action with sprays as soon as you see larvae is often the most advised method, especially if this is your first time seeing them on your property.

Defoliation Is a Big Deal

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Defoliation of trees and shrubs is something that the caterpillars that turn into gypsy moths are notorious for doing. If you care about your trees, then it is important to get rid of gypsy moths as soon as you realize that there is a problem.

Defoliation occurs mostly at night so when you wake up in the morning and trees look more ragged, then this is a sign that you have a gypsy moth problem to deal with. There are other larvae that can also contribute to defoliation. So take a look at the situation before you just treat for one thing.

Commercial Insecticides

Gypsy moth insecticide should be applied at the beginning and throughout the first half of the month of May. If you have people in your home that have a tendency to be sensitive to chemicals or have experienced allergic reactions in the past, then you need to consider insecticides carefully. If your moth problem is minor and you haven’t tried much, you may not want to use insecticides to start with.

Gypsy moth sprays should be applied right after larvae hatch to be the most effective. Applying after this time can be helpful, but good timing is going to offer you the best results for your time and money.

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Add Light

Gypsy moths like dark, secretive spaces. When you reduce the habitat for gypsy moths, you reduce their numbers and the chances that they will reproduce. Large flood lights around your home or landscape lighting can all be helpful and can make your property easier to get around and more secure.

There is a lot of lighting to choose from that is very beautiful so don’t think you have to put lights like those you see at parking lots up around your home.

Recognize Eggs and Eliminate Them

During winter and early spring, it is fairly easy to locate gypsy moth egg mass before they hatch out into caterpillars. The gypsy moth eggs are usually attached to wood, tree bark, or anything that is left outside during most of the year. Look for brown oval egg sacks. Scrape the gypsy moth egg masses into a soapy water solution and discard in the trash and you will do a lot to decrease the numbers of moths you have to deal with next season. This can take some investigative work, but it is something you can do without buying or spraying anything at all.

Use Microbial Insecticides

Bacillus thuringiensis is available at almost all home and garden stores and works well for eliminating all types of moths and caterpillars. This crystal protein is ingested by the caterpillar or moth and then creates a toxin that will kill moths and caterpillars. This is a very common microbial protector that is used a lot in organic agriculture. Use proper safety gear to do this. Just because you are using a natural product doesn’t mean that it cannot irritate your lungs or skin to spray it.

 

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Make an Effort to Rid Your Home of Weeds and Debris

If you have a bunch of woodpiles around your home or business, then you need to make a serious effort to rid your home or property of them. Burning piles of wood are okay in a lot of areas, or you may need to use a container such as a barrel and get a burn permit. Wood and debris make it easy for moths to hide and also lay egg masses, so you keep getting a worse gypsy moth problem. Your local landfill may accept wood debris and other objects.

Dispose of Garbage Around Your Home

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Even those with the best of intentions may find that they have junk lying around their yard or home that they keep saying they are going to haul off. Any garbage or other junk makes it simpler for moths to share your space. If you want to rid your property of insects and other pests you have to clean up around your home. The landfill fees you may have to pay to dispose of some items are well worth it for a cleaner and happier home area.

Swat Them

If you just have a few moths, you should make an attempt to swat them. It doesn’t take much. Every one moth you eliminate is one less you are going to have to deal with later on down the road. Don’t be shy about swatting gypsy moths and let others in your household know about the devastation they can cause as well.

Traps on Trees

You can make a gypsy moth trap on a tree trunk using burlap. Adding pheromone strips can also help attract moths to your general area. You can then kill the moths when they land and become trapped in the burlap. Some people argue that the pheromone strips can just make matters worse because they draw in the moths more but if you already have a bad enough of a problem to warrant the traps then this argument doesn’t hold too much merit. To use this method just wrap the tree trunk with burlap. Tie a piece of rope or string around the burlap and then let the top form a flap. This will corral moths so you can capture and kill them.

Monitor Progress and Reassess Annually

Gypsy moth populations can fluctuate depending on the weather and the survival rate of their eggs sacks for the year. What solution works for you one season may not seem like enough one year, or it may seem completely unnecessary the following year. Part of managing pests with a more natural approach is being observant so you can take action when needed and back off when the problem is under good control.

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Replace Severely Affected Trees and Shrubs

If you have trees or shrubs that have suffered a lot from gypsy moths, you might consider replacing them. If larvae can feed on the sick trees, then they can make the problem you are having worse. Cutting back some trees from around your home can be a good idea anyway for a fire break. Doing so can also prevent falling limbs from damaging your structure.

Trees that are not healthy are more likely to shed limbs or fall over. So removing them can ensure that they are not a safety hazard to you and your family. A single tree limb can cause a lot of damage or injury all by itself. If you have an entire tree come down where you don’t want it to you could be facing a lot of repairs and a hefty claim on your insurance policy.

Deciduous Trees Affected First

It is most common for gypsy moths to damage deciduous trees first. Then they move on to evergreen trees such as spruce and pine. This is one reason you may discover that some of your trees are not as affected as others. Gypsy moth larvae prefer the rich green leaves of trees like alder and birch over the piney and astringent tasting spruce and pine.

Let Your Neighbors Know

If you don’t think your neighbors know about gypsy moths in your area, then you may consider letting them know or your local forest service. Gypsy moths have caused a lot of damage to forests and without good control, this will continue. Remember that the Gypsy moth is not a native insect so it has no place in the United States of America. Diligent control and communication will help prevent these devastating moths from spreading any more than they already have.

The gypsy moth is responsible for a large amount of the damage and losses of hardwood forests in North America. It is hard to estimate how much of an economic impact this moth has had over the years on the timber and associated industries.

Getting Help

In recent times the Forest Service and other state and local wildlife and environmental agencies have come together to eradicate and prevent the spread of gypsy moths throughout the USA.  If you are having a problem, you should let the Forest Service know. Doing this may allow you to get some free help taking control of the situation. At the very least you will know more so you can make a better choice for your property and help prevent the problem from spreading to others.

Usually, the branch of the Department Of Agriculture that is responsible for gypsy moth programs is the local agricultural extension agency. Make sure you are aware of what is involved with the solutions they suggest, so you are not surprised with the results.

Don’t Panic

The gypsy moth has been in the USA for a long time now. Although it can cause a lot of devastation, it is not going to completely take out your forest unless you have a very severe problem and do nothing to stop it.

There are plenty of cases where gypsy moth populations have been successfully brought under control. Even in cases where the infestation is most severe, and the problem is let go, the tree mortality rate rarely goes above 20%.

Gypsy Moths Are a Food Source for Pests

When it comes to nature, there is a definite pattern and cycle for most anything. The gypsy moth is no different. Predators include deer mice and shrews. This also means that if you have a major insect population that you are helping support a population of rodents and other predators. In turn, this population could be drawing in still larger predators such as hawks or owls. Breaking the pest cycle is a real challenge that homeowners face all the time.

Unfortunately, birds themselves do not seem to consider gypsy moth larvae a desirable food choice. It is believed that the larvae are rather hairy, unlike the fat, smooth grubs that birds desire most of all.

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Natural Insect Predators

Ants and ground beetles are some of the more common insect predators of gypsy moths. Of course, you may not like having a lot of ants around but if they are mostly in the wooded areas around your home they are going to be a lot better than gypsy moths devastating your entire property. Ground beetles are harmless and great predators to encourage. You don’t have to do much to encourage these natural predators short of not targeting them with sprays and other eradication efforts.

Getting Rid Of Pharaoh Ants: Things You Should Know

Pharaoh ants also known as Monomorium Pharaonisare, small light red insects with black markings on their abdomen. They resemble Thief ants, but they have a lighter shade to them. These particular ants are more yellowish than reddish. They are a different ant species from carpenter ants. Monomorium Pharaonisare will create what is called a colony of pharaoh ants. Pharaoh ant Monomorium Pharaonisis native to Africa and has successfully invaded areas on every continent except Antarctica.  They are most commonly found within the Southern United States but typically found all over the United States.

 

What Are Pharaoh Ants Colonies Like?

Image source: Video screen capture, by Dominic Thorpe, via YouTube

A colony of pharaoh ants constitutes of thousands of workers and one queen ant. When disturbed, colony members migrate to other locations to establish new colonies. Ant colonies can form several other ant colonies, drastically increasing their numbers within an area. This process is known as budding.

Monomorium Pharaonis Reproduction

Monomorium Pharaonis mature in about 45 days from egg to adult. Queens can live up to 39 weeks and during the period, lay as thousands of eggs. On the other hand, workers only live to 10 weeks.

Nests and Trails – Where Can You Find Pharaoh Ants?

Being tiny insects, pharaoh ants aren’t easy to find. They hide their nests in undisturbed locations and can travel far from the nest to look for food, by marking their trails with pheromones. Monomorium pharaonis are quite persistent and build large colonies.

Indoors, they prefer living in recessed areas like wall outlets, wall voids, under wooden floors, and under appliances for protection. Outside buildings, pharaoh ants are mostly found under the foundation or in shaded areas.

Other areas you can find pharaoh ants in your home:

  • Bathrooms and kitchens: Workers are can easily be spotted trailing through baseboards, windowsills, electrical wires or the plumbing system.
  • Around countertops, drains, toilets, sinks, and water sources.
  • Close to food sources. However, their nests might not be close.
  • Outdoors: Gardens and lawns, especially those with a constant supply of water.

Why Should You Rid Your Home of Pharaoh Ants?

When these ants nest on wooden structures, they can weaken them, causing costly damages. They’re a common cause of foam insulation damages.

They can also be a nuisance if they get into kitchen cabinets looking for food. Since they’re extremely adept at finding their way, they can make holes through your food packaging.

The risk worsens if the pharaoh ant’s nest is far from water supply since they end up traveling further.

While pharaoh ants don’t sting, they can bite – but this is not very common. Keep in mind that they bites are capable of transmitting diseases. They can also contaminate your food – especially with their diverse food preferences.

How to Prevent the Entry of Pharaoh Ants to Your House

To keep pharaoh ants away from your home:

  • Seal all possible entry points around the house. This includes cracks and openings on doors and windows.
  • Keep floors and counters clean and free from food crumbs.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Regularly dispose of garbage in sealed plastic bags.
  • Remove standing water outside your home.
  • Use a dehumidifier to prevent the buildup of moisture indoors.
  • Store firewood and outdoor trash cans away from your house.
  • Keep shrubbery and tree branches well-trimmed.
  • Create a preventive pest management plan with a professional.


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Baiting Pharaoh Ants – 3 Crucial Steps

Baiting is the most effective way of getting rid of pharaoh ants. Successful baiting is achieved using the following steps:

1. Identify Areas with Ant Activity

Start by pinpointing the areas with the most pharaoh ant activity. While this might not lead you to the colony, it gives you an idea of where the pharaoh ants get their food from.

2. Clean Up Your Home

Thoroughly clean your home, removing as many food sources as you can. Remove all food crumbs in the cabinets, counters, sinks, and floor. This will limit the pharaoh ant’s source of food.

3. Bait

The final step is baiting the ants.

Pharaoh ants love sweet foods such as honey, sugar, and jelly. Place these foods in areas you identified with the most ant activity. Buy an insecticide and add it to the food. Or purchase Advion Ant Gel here.or Advion Ant Bait Stations. Both the Advion Ant Gel  and Advion Bait Stations work very well. In no time, worker ants will start collecting the poisoned food and carry it to their nests.

 

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One of best pharaoh ant insecticides to use is the Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that sterilizes the queens and stops the reproduction of the ants. This gradually eliminates the colony – in a few weeks, they’ll be long gone.

Other insecticides contain slow-acting poison that kills the ants. While the worker ants might feed on the bait on site, the poison takes time to work. This gives the workers enough time to carry the poisoned food to the nest.

Natural Remedies of Getting Rid Of Pharaoh Ants

Before you start the process, locate the ant nest. To do this, simply put some sweet food around popular ant spots. Then, follow their trails. The following natural solutions work well at killing ants.

1. Boric Acid

Boric acid is an active ingredient in most ant bait and pesticides.

Mix some boric acid with water and spray the solution directly to the nest.  Alternatively, you could contaminate their food with the solution.

When using the boric acid keep in mind that it’s harmful when ingested. So keep it (and the poisoned food) away from children and pets.

2. Baking Soda and Sugar Bait

Take equal amounts of sugar and baking soda, and mix them. Place this mixture in areas where the ants look for food. While baking soda isn’t necessarily a poison, it reacts with the folic acid in the pharaoh ants which forms carbon dioxide that kills them. Sugar in the mixture is used as bait.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is harmless to humans, pets, and the environment. When it comes into contact with an ant, it absorbs oils and fats from its exoskeleton, drying them out instantly. Since the ant doesn’t have to consume the Diatomaceous earth, it’s a more effective method.

4. Vinegar

Mix vinegar and water in equal proportions. Spray the mixture in areas of pharaoh ant activity. The vinegar will repel the ants from your home.

5. Caulk

You can keep ants away from the house by sealing all gaps and possible points of entry using caulk. Also, repair any cracks and holes on your doors and windows.

6. Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil has some insecticide properties that repel pharaoh ants. Sprinkle little amounts of cinnamon oil on the ant’s high traffic areas and around the nest to get rid of them.



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When Should You Hire a Professional Pharaoh Ants Extermination Service?

When a pharaoh ant colony disintegrates, they separate and form multiple colonies. If they form these colonies around your home, the problem will intensify. You, therefore, need to be extra careful when eliminating these ants.

While baiting might sound simple, it is a complex and often drawn-out process. A professional exterminator will take all factors into account including proper ant identification, determining the best bait, and choosing the best baiting locations.

Since pharaoh ants are often confused with other types of ants, you’ll most likely approach your infestation the wrong way. With a professional’s inspection, you can be sure that you’re working on the right pest.

Based on where you live, there could be strict pesticide regulations limiting you on measures you can take to fight the ant infestation. In addition, baiting will only be effective if you are fighting pharaoh ants in a small house. For larger infestation or commercial infestation solutions, you may need extra hands.

That said, you can effectively fight small-scale pharaoh ant infestation by your own, using the tips above. However, if the infestation is complex, it is wise to get help from a professional exterminator who has a warranty for his work.

Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants the Right Way

Successful extermination mainly relies on the use of correct treatment for pests. Ensure that you correctly identify what you’re working with. This means that you shouldn’t confuse pharaoh ants for termites, pavement ants, and thief ants.

As you make efforts to keep pharaoh ants away from your home, keep all areas in your house clean and tidy. Remember that complete elimination of the pharaoh ant’s colony can take a number of weeks. You, therefore, should be patient and keep baiting until there’s no more ant activity.

If the infestation is large, don’t hesitate to look for professional pharaoh ant exterminating services. You can get a free estimate online from licensed exterminators in your area.

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Featured Image: CC BY 2.0, by Animal Diversity Web, via Flickr


How to Get Rid of Opossums: Opposum Removal & Control

Photo Credit: Shannon Kringen

Made famous for their unique ability to play dead, opossums are a mostly peaceful animal that is nevertheless a nuisance to homeowners. Opossums will raid gardens and trash, steal your pet’s food, and take up residence in your attic, garage, or under your deck. They will also enlarge holes in your woodwork, tear up your insulation, and even chew through wires.

A common misconception is that opossum and possum are the same animal, but they’re actually two different species. The opossums we’ll be talking about here live in the North of America while a Possum can only be found Down Under with Australian marsupials more closely related to Kangaroos.

M-W Dictionary also recognizes this habit of ours where people often treat ‘O’ as if it were silent (like how H sounds when pronounced aloud).

All About Opossums

The Virginia Opossum is North America’s only marsupial. When baby opossums are born, they’re about the size of a jelly bean and each litter contains between 6-9 babies.   Immediately after birth their mother pouch where she places them for 8 more weeks while predators kill off those that don’t survive quickly enough or get too big.  This is so as not to stress mom out later on down the line when food runs low.   Production usually ranges anywhere from 2-3 litters per year which means all these little critters could potentially add up fast if you have any kind lives close by because it looks like this animal would make an excellent backyard pest control officer!

The Virginia Opossum size ranges from 21″ – 36″, and its appearance does not help their image either because of the rat-like tail it has but this creature uses those animals in fascinating ways! For one thing, when climbing up tree trunks opossums use their tails as 5th appendages helping them balance themselves out while gripping onto branches.

Opossums are also one of the few animals that boasts opposable thumbs, albeit they’re on their hind feet. Opuses have shown themselves to be highly intelligent creatures, especially when tested for ability remember where food is! Once you’ve identified your trash can as a source they will come back time after time because it was easily accessible with only two paws needed thanks to its contents being memorized by the opossums last visit.

So how do you know if you have a opossum problem, and what do you do about it?

Identifying an Opossum Problem

There are many pests which might dig through your trash, leave feces around your yard, or cause other damages. However, there are ways to identify the invasive species even if you haven’t seen them.

What do Opossums Look Like?

These marsupials carry their young in pouches, making them the only marsupial native to North America. They tend to be between two and four feet in length, with weight ranging from one to fifteen pounds. An opossum has silver and black fur, with a prehensile, hairless tail which they can use for grasping objects and even hanging from trees. The rear feet of opossums have opposable thumbs which aid in climbing through trees.

Other Signs of Opossums

Due to their varied diet, opossum feces can be difficult to identify. The droppings tend to be between one and three inches long, making them resemble that of a cat or small dog. You will find these droppings near where the opossum feeds.

As opossums have a varied diet, the feces will hold a similar shape, but the color may range from a dark brown to red. One way to ensure that the droppings are from a opossum is to examine them while fresh. Opossum dung has a filmy, slightly shiny appearance, which is uncommon in other pests.

Are Opossums Dangerous?

While not as dangerous as many other species, opossums will defend themselves. They will get into fights with your pets over pet food, especially food for a cat, which they particularly enjoy. They also pose a sanitary risk and can transmit disease. However, if frightened, they will involuntarily fall over in the feigned death they are famous for. In this state, which can last for up to four hours, the opossum will remain comatose. A foul smell will emit from glands near the anus and their mouth will remain agape to further give the illusion of death.

Playing Possum

Do Opossums Carry Rabies?

Unlike many pests, opossums are highly resistant to rabies. They have a lower body temperature which makes them inhospitable hosts for the disease. They are also resistant to many other common wildlife diseases, although they may have external parasites which are carriers of disease.

Getting Rid of Opossums

People living in possum-heavy areas often have to deal with the pesky animals. They can be a nuisance, especially when they’re eating up all your food and leaving behind their own droppings that promote rats or mice infestations as well!

There are a few steps you will need to take once you realize that opossums might be your issue!

Step 1: Remove any food sources that would be attracting opossums.
Step 2: Apply some sort of opossum repellent in your garden.
Step 3: Use electronic or solar repellents to scare the opossums away.
Step 4: Be to walk the exterior of your home.  Seal any point of entry that you may see. Ensure that your chimney as well as any holes or gap accesses are blocked.
Step 5: Secure all garbage cans with lock or bungee cord lock system.

Once you have completed the steps above you then begin to confirm if you have an opossum infestation.  If yes, it is important to remove them. Opossum feces and urine can damage your home, and they are known to become aggressive when threatened. While they can be handled by their tail, it is best to leave this up to a professional, as the opossum will attempt to defend itself.

Disposing of an Opossum in Your Attic

When you have an opossum in your attic, you have the option to set traps or exclude. If you choose to set a trap, it is important to seal off any potential entry points to prevent future invasions. Be sure to release any babies with their parents at least ten miles from your home.

Exclusion is a method which works for most invasive animals. Begin by locating all possible entry points. Seal all but one of these points, and add a one-way exclusion door to the final point. These doors will allow the opossum to exit, but not re-enter. Make sure that no young are left behind, and once the opossums are gone, seal the final entry point. You will need to clean any feces or nests afterwards.

Doing Away of an Opossum In Your Yard or Under Structures

Traps are the easiest solution when facing an outdoor opossum problem. Use pet food particularly food for a cat.  If stray cats are common, use marshmallows instead for bait. Once captured, take the opossum at least ten miles away for releasing. If the opossum has been hiding under your deck or shed, then you will need to install an exclusion barrier to prevent future problems. Finally, clear your property of any potential attractants to discourage visits from opossums or other pests.

Trapping Opossums

Photo Credit: Megan Ann

The simplest way to catch a opossum is to use a large-sized live trap. This trap should be placed near an entry point or flush to the ground. Be sure that the cage is clean and odor-free. Camouflage is also helpful when placing a trap in your yard. As opossums are nocturnal, it is a good idea to close the cages during daylight hours so as not to accidentally trap squirrels or other diurnal species. Once the opossum has been captured, you should take it at least ten miles from your home to release it. Finally, make sure that any babies are released with their parents.

Types of Bait

Bait to attract opossum are in a large range of foods, making it easy to attract them, but also easy to trap them. They are partial to snails, so make sure there are none in the vicinity of your traps. The ideal trap bait is marshmallows or cat food. Be careful when placing the latter if there are strays in your area. Other foods may also be used to bait a live trap. These include tomatoes, grapes, bananas, apple slices, and melon.

Why You Shouldn’t Kill or Poison an Opossum

Scientists have found that opossums are misunderstood by many people. They’re often perceived as rat-like vermin, but the possum provides humans many unique benefits! For example: one study showed how this marsupial kills 5,000 ticks per year and removes them from its body in order to prevent Lyme disease (which can be transmitted through tick bites).

While it may seem more convenient to simply kill an opossum, this is not a good solution. Dead animals can attract more pests, and kill traps are not guaranteed to kill a trapped animal. A wounded opossum may become aggressive and attack you when you attempt to remove it from the trap.

Poisoning is even less reliable. Not only do you risk other animals getting poisoned, but it is very slow acting. A poisoned opossum may take up to one month to die, and the process is very painful. Finally, the opossum may crawl into a tight space to die, leaving a decaying corpse in a possibly inaccessible location.

Opossum Prevention

Whether you have a current opossum problem or think you are at risk of one, prevention is an important measure. Sealing up potential entry points around your home or yard will help prevent many pests from invading. Other methods may help reduce the risk of infestation by not only opossums, but also skunks, raccoons, and many other pests.

Opossum Repellents

While there are many different repellents available, the most effective is predator urine. This is available at most outdoor sporting goods shops in various forms. Simply follow the instructions and be aware that you may need to reapply if it rains. Ammonia is sometimes effective as well, possibly due to it being a major component in urine. Please note that no repellent is foolproof and other methods of discouragement may prove more cost-effective.

Discouraging Opossums

These creatures are scavengers, and will eat everything from flowers to compost. By removing attractive food sources such as pet food, fallen fruit, and garbage; opossums and other animals are less likely to enter your yard. If you have a garden, be sure to fence it in, and remove any water sources. Look for any holes or places where an opossum might hide, including wood piles and under structures. Where possible, remove debris and seal possible entry points under your deck or shed. Opossums seek shelter, so by denying them places to hide, they will find your yard far less attractive.

Opossum also kill and eat cockroaches, rats, and mice. Although, they will take some fruit for their efforts, opossum eat snails and slugs from a backyard garden.

Opossums are not only immune to the venom of snakes, but they also use it for their own purposes. Opossum fight off bacteria and fungi that carry diseases in a way other animals cannot.   Opossum’s cells have such low levels Of calcium phosphate compared with human beings or most land mammals.  Therefore this allows them to deal effectively against many types toxins including those found within cobra hoods!  They have no fear whatsoever to consumer dangerous vermin like rattlesnakes.
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Opossum-Related Health Risks

They are resistant to many common animal diseases, including rabies. However, they do still pose a health risk to humans. They may carry external parasites such as lice, fleas, ticks, and mites which pose their own diseases such as Lyme disease. The following are some of the diseases which may be contracted from contact with opossums or their feces:

  • Leptospiriosis – Caused by the bacterium Leptospira interrogans, this dangerous disease causes muscle pain, chills, vomiting, nausea, and neck stiffness in the first stage. The second stage, if untreated, can result in aseptic meningitis, resulting in blurred vision and yellowed eyes.
  • Chagas disease – This parasitic disease is also known as American tryposomiasis, It is both inflammatory and infectious, and most often affects children. If untreated, it can lead to serious heart and digestive issues.
  • Tuberculosis – Spread via airborne bacteria, tuberculosis is a potentially dangerous disease which affects mainly your lungs. However, it is also known to affect the kidneys, brain, and spine. Many strains are resistant to antibiotics. Symptoms may include coughing up blood, chest pain, fatigue, fever, a cough lasting for more than three weeks, loss of appetite, chills, and night sweats.
  • Toxoplasmosis – Caused by the common Toxoplasma gondii parasite, this disease may create flu-like symptoms. While not inherently dangerous, it can lead to serious complications in newborns with infected mothers and people with lowered immune systems. Some complications may include seizures, eye infections or blurred vision, and an enlarged liver or spleen.

How To Get Rid Of Cats

Cats might be one of the nation’s favorite pets, but they can make themselves pretty unpopular when they’re digging in your garden, chasing away your songbirds, and peeing on your doors.  Do you have neighborhood or community cats, stray cats and even feral cats making a nuisance of themselves around your house?  There are plenty of simple, humane ways to discourage them from coming around.

Feral Cats And Stray Cats:

Feral cats and stray cats can be dangerous and cause property damage in some cases. Unlike domestic cats, feral and stray cats they often don’t have medical shots or treatments to protect them from illness.  This makes these wild felines more susceptible to diseases like fleas, parasites (like hookworm), Toxoplasma gondii infection.  This could lead your pet into serious problems if it scratches you after scrabbling through garbage looking for food! Any feral animal will attract additional pests such a rats who love munching on any scraps left behind by the stray cats.  Another threat posed by these furry freeloaders is that since there’s no owner nearby watching over his/her territory he might resort back into poaching wildlife.

How To Tell If A Cat Is Feral?

There are no biological differences between domestic and stray cats, however it is often easier to tell a feral cat from one of those that have been bred into captivity. Feral kittens will look more unkempt with tattered fur while adults may display patches or missing tufts on their head due in part from rubbing against trees while searching for food sources outside.   This group also tends not only hang around near humans but travel together too so they can defend themselves as well if need be!

Here’s how to get rid of community cats, feral cats and just pesky cats that you do not want on or near your property:

Simple Cat Repellents

© Maresol / Fotolia

One of the easiest ways to dissuade cats from entering your property is to spread around a substance they find distasteful. Most of the scents and tastes cats dislike won’t bother you. In fact, many of them are things people find pleasant.

Citrus kitchen scraps – Many cats are put off by the scent of citrus. Take advantage of this by scattering chopped up peels of oranges, lemons or other citrus fruits around the area where you frequently see cats. Another option is to soak some tea bags in citronella oil and place them where the cats wander. The scent will last longer if you put the tea bags in closed containers with holes poked in the lids.

Natural cleaners – If cats are spraying your door or another feature of your home or garden, try cleaning it with natural oils cats dislike. These include orange, lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, cedar, and eucalyptus. All of these will lend a scent to the area that’s pleasant to people and disagreeable to cats.

Commercial cat repellents – A number of manufacturers produce cat repellent sprays based on natural ingredients such as capsaicin and mustard oil. Spray the product around your garden beds, doorway or anywhere else cats frequent, and the product’s smell and taste will keep the cats from coming back.

How Can I Keep Cats Out of My Garden Especially Feral Cats and Stray Cats?

One common complaint from gardeners is that stray cats love to use their gardens as a litter box. Not only does this cause an unsightly mess, but it also damages plants and can be dangerous for small animals like birds who might mistake the site of fresh cat droppings in your yard or flower beds as one worth investigating with its curious nose!

To keep these trespassers out you should invest some money into fencing – using either chicken wire or sturdy woven netting.  There are also cages you can purchase too for your flower beds.

Cat-Repellent Landscaping

© Matthew Benoit / Fotolia

The first step in keeping cats off your property is to make sure you’re not leaving out something that attracts them. Keep you trash cans closed securely and check for signs of a mouse infestation, such as droppings and nests, that could tempt cats to come hunt. If you’ve noticed an increasing number of cats, ask around to find out if any of your neighbors have been leaving pet food out.

If cats are using your flowerbeds as a bathroom:

It’s probably because the ground there is nothing but loose soil. This is exactly the kind of spot cats find easiest to dig in. The most effective way to cover this soil is to plant as much of your garden as possible, leaving little bare ground.

Alternatively, you can make the area less appealing by applying mulch. Choose a type that’s difficult to dig in, such as cedar chips, gravel, pumice stones, straw or cocoa bean hulls. Sprinkling fresh, unbrewed coffee grounds or cedar compost over the garden beds can also discourage cats.

Another approach is to make your garden beds a less pleasant place to walk by covering the bare areas in branches with a lot of twigs or cuttings from blackberry bushes. To ward off particularly persistent cats, lay bird netting or chicken wire over the ground, then apply mulch over it. You can also find cat repellent mats designed to be pushed into the soil. The mats are equipped with small, flexible plastic spikes that are harmless, but uncomfortable to walk on.

Plants Cats Can’t Stand

Certain plants produce a scent that’s inoffensive or even pleasant to people, but repulsive to cats. Planting these around your yard and garden will discourage kitties from coming near.

Rue (Ruta graveolens) – This hardy evergreen shrub produces bluish leaves, yellow summer flowers, and a powerful bitter odor many cats dislike. While the smell isn’t necessarily enjoyable for people, either, the plants grow low to the ground. So you’re unlikely to notice the odor.

Lavender (Lavandula) – Although long-beloved by humans, the fragrance of this flowering herb is something cats would rather avoid. To create a barrier against cats, plant a row of lavender at the edge of your yard.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) – Its citrus-floral fragrance is what earned this plant its name. In cooking, particularly East Asian cuisine, it’s used to add a lemon-lime flavor to chicken and fish. As useful as it is to humans, though, cats are put off by the lemony smell.

Coleus canina (Plectranthus caninus) – Known as the “scaredy cat plant” and “piss-off plant,” this lush herb with purple flowers is often marketed as a natural option for repelling cats. When brushed against, it releases a distinctive skunk odor. While you might think that should be enough to repel a cat, there’s little evidence it actually does. This plant might help in combination with other methods, but don’t rely on it.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – Needless to say, this herb attracts cats. But that’s exactly what makes it useful for keeping cats away from where they shouldn’t be. If there’s only a part of your landscape you want to keep cats out of, but you don’t mind them in other areas, plant catnip to encourage the cats to stay where they’re allowed.

Technology for a Cat-Free Yard

© Nenov Brothers / Fotolia

For the most persistent cats, a few lemon peels and smelly plants might not be enough of a deterrent. In this case, modern technology can help you make your yard and garden less inviting.

Ultrasonic cat repellents – These devices emit noise at a frequency that startles cats, but that’s too high for most people to hear. Most models are battery operated and activated by motion. They cover an area of around 300 square feet, enough for a small to medium front yard. If the cats you’re trying to deter already have a long-established habit of visiting your property, you might need to give the device up for some time to change the cats’ patterns of behavior.

PetSafe Motion Activated Cat Repeller  -is a great product that can be used to keep cats away from your home. The spray scatters Cats’ senses with an unscented, Surprise! This makes them think twice about coming back again in the future.  It works best for large areas though so if you want to keep certain things like trash cans or gardens clear of furry company then this may not solve all problems but will certainly help as much as possible without harming animals by any means necessary.  It also helps save resources due its environmentally friendly design and ozone-friendly components which make sure there’s no lasting effects on people or planet when finished using it up after just one use!

Motion-activated sprinklers – When they sense anyone walking past, motion activated sprinklers let out a powerful, pulsating jet of water as they rotate in a 110- to 120-degree arc. Even if the intruding cat manages to duck the water, the sudden movement and noise usually give them enough reason to avoid your lawn. Some sprinklers offer both day and night detection settings, so you can turn the device on or off as needed. You’ll probably need to change the positioning periodically, so the cats don’t merely learn how to skirt the sprinkler to avoid setting it off.

Live Cat Trap (Relocate or Utilize The TNR Method)

Live traps are one of the most surefire ways to get rid cat. Once captured, you can take your stray cats in and have them spayed or neutered at an animal control agency! Some organizations will even release them back into their natural habitat after getting this surgery done – which has shown itself time-and again as being very effective when doing so with TNR programs (trap/neuter/release).

There are many different ways to catch cats, but one of the most popular techniques is using a cage trap. This type of setup features some food and an easy-to use door on top that can be locked shut so your cat stays inside until you come back for it or release them elsewhere outside once they’re caught in place!

The second method shown in this video involves placing all sorts netsting up around where any possible prey may exist (eats). The idea behind these types of cat catching is to not let things get too far.

Getting the neighborhood cats to stop traipsing through your yard and garden takes some creativity and patience. But it is possible. Simple, affordable solutions such as laying mulch, planting cat-repellent flowers, and setting up sprinklers activated by motion will help you maintain a clean, cat-free landscape.

Termites in Winter: Active, Dormant, or Do They Die?

© chyball / Fotolia

Termites are a common household pest that feasts on cellulose in wood found in homes all over the world, with the exception of Antarctica. It is easy to see why these pests wouldn’t survive the colder climate of Antarctica but it may leave you wondering if they survive normal winters.

If you’ve wondered whether or not winter climates will stop termites, we have provided a guide that contains useful facts. Some insects may not survive colder temperatures, so it’s best to know if termites will no longer pose a problem as the seasons change.

If you suspect an infestation, read through the information provided and contact a pest control specialist or pest control company. As with any pest, it is always better to be safe than sorry so that you can take control of the situation.


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What Are Termites?

If you live in a region that has a warm climate, then you have probably heard of termites before. Termites are insects that invade your home using tunnels burrowed underneath the soil. They colonize areas and feast for years as they forage and defend against other insects and they do not bite humans.

Termites are social creatures that work together to build tunnels, feed each other and defend the colony. They thrive by eating cellulose in wood. Foraging worker termites feed on the wood and store it in their gut to later feed other termites in the nest.

Termite infestations occur in many cases without any visible signs of damage. You may not notice the infestation because these insects are subterranean in nature. Because of this, once the termite king and queen begin creating their colony, they can live underground for the remainder of their lives.

Where Do Termites Live?

Termites tend to live in warmer climates and are found in most of the United States with the exception of Alaska. They will burrow underneath the soil and create tubes mud which they use to defend their colony and feed their young.

Termites are common in the southern and western United States. As the temperature increases, so does the likelihood of an infestation of these resilient insects.

With climate change on the horizon, many have speculated that the termite will migrate to other areas not previously affected by infestations. Termites can die off in temperatures below 48 degrees F, but they are more likely to burrow deeper and go into hibernation under the soil’s surface.

Can Termites Survive Winter?

The short answer to this question is yes, termites can survive winter temperatures. They may burrow deeper under the surface, as one of their survival strategies but will thrive if the tunnels have moisture as they can be cold blooded.

Termites prefer an environment that is warm, dark, and full of moisture. Through termite tubes, these insects tunnel in and invade your property. In the winter, winter termites who as they are cold blooded are not dormant but do experience a decrease in activity.

In colder months, a well-established winter termite colony that can maintain a moist connection to the soil will see no decrease in activity. Termites are less likely to colonize your home in winter months. However, already established colonies will continue to remain active all throughout the year.

It is important to remain vigilant throughout the year. However, Winter termites infestation can still damage your home while you remain completely unaware.


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What to Look For In Your Home

Even in the winter time, it’s best to be aware of the signs of termite infestation. Save your home from costly damage and repairs by learning the signs before it becomes a problem. Take the following steps to learn more about identifying an infestation, completing a termite inspection and getting the help you need to eradicate the problem.

  • Swarms – Look for winged termites swarming the property. This is an indicator of infestation.
  • Capture a Sample – Buy a small jar or container and put rubbing alcohol inside. Capture a sample of the insect in order to have it analyzed by an exterminator.
  • Look for Mud Tubes – these tubes are moist tunnels that worker termites use to forage, defend and feed the colony. Look inside these tubes to determine if these termites are present especially in any crawl spaces.
  • Inspect Water Damaged Areas – Damage caused by termites is similar in appearance to areas affected by water damage as well as any wood damage on foundation walls.
  • Nests – Look for nests in trees that are close to your home.  Be sure to trim all branches and trees that may be subject to a termite nest.  There may be tree wood damage present.

If a termite infestation is suspected, it is best to seek the help of a qualified professional. Your home can be termite-free with the experience that hiring an exterminator provides.

There are many DIY treatments on the market today but they cannot replace the advice that a professional pest control company can give you. Termites are resilient insects that cooperate with one another to forage on the foundation of your home.

Being able to first recognize the signs of an infestation is the key to eradicating it and preventing future infestations. You are your home’s first defense against these unwanted invaders. If you live further south in the United States, your likelihood of being infested by termites is increased.

Termites Are Around The Year Workers

If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter months, it is common to think that termites may die off or lay dormant. In some cases, this can be true. In colder climates, these pests are known for lessening their activity levels.

Termites are not likely to swarm in the winter months as they prefer the spring and fall months for colonization. You may think that you are safe from infestation from termites because of the cold temperatures. Nonetheless, it is always best to remain vigilant.

As the temperature outside drops, termite workers have a tendency to burrow further beneath the soil’s surface. Termites do this so they can maintain a warm body temperature.

Termites are year-round workers and can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home. You should act fast in the event that you suspect a termite infestation. Utilizing the help of a qualified exterminator early on will save you a lot of money in the long run.

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What Will It Cost To Hire A Pest Control Company?


Not only will an exterminator from a pest control company be able to eradicate a termite infestation, but they will also be able to provide sound advice in dealing with future problems. Termites may not bite you, but they will take a large bite out of your bank account if you don’t work to protect your property.

Before we discuss the cost of a termite treatment, let’s take into account how it is that these pests are responsible for billions in damages. They attack homes and businesses across America every year–a problem many people cannot afford to deal with on their own! The cost of termite control depends on several factors including the size of the structure, the type of construction and the severity of the infestation.

The good news? It doesn’t have be this way-termites can make your life much more comfortable by fixing up those pesky holes they leave behind when you see them coming before anything too bad happens.  However, there’s no shame taking on preventative measures instead like getting protection services such as yearly inspections or monthly treatments so you will not have so much to fix should you be caught off guard by a termite invasion.


DIY Termite Prevention Options & Tips:

If you want to keep termite workers out of your home, it’s important that moisture levels in and around the house are reduced. Here is a list on how:

1. Eliminate or reduce leaky faucets by repairing any cracks with caulk or foam.
2. Make sure water pipes aren’t exposed so they don’t drench anything below them (this includes siding)
3. Patch up exterior AC units if needed–they’re usually pretty easy fixes! Failing this step could result in poor air quality for everyone inside since these machines help control temperature changes within rooms through evaporation.
4. Repair rotted shingles on roof, soffits and fascia.
5. Store any wood of firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.
6. Insect damage originating from wood-boring is not covered by homeowners insurance.  Therefore you should schedule an annual inspection to deter termite infestation or termite activity.
7. Routinely check all foundations and crawl space for any signs of termite infestation or any termite activity.
8. Routinely check all exteriors of you room including windows, doorframes and skirting boards of any termite infestation damage or termite activity.

Will Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away From Your Home?

Some people insist that moth balls also known as Naphthalene and Paradichlorobenzene, are a good remedy for keep squirrels from causing issues around your home and repel squirrels. The truth is that this method is harmful, and you should not use them.  They also have so many negative aspects that you could write an entire book on them.

Those with children, pets, elderly people, etc., in the home, should be especially careful because the toxins in the balls could interfere with good development or aggravate existing health issues. Pets may accidentally consume them and be poisoned. There are many other squirrel repellents available in this article.

Moth Balls Are Toxic

While this method may seem to be working, they are also very toxic to wildlife. When you introduce this method, you are essentially making the choice to kill squirrels not just repel squirrels and possibly other wildlife as well. Squirrels will stash them in places where other animals can get into them and be harmed. It is cruel to make a choice that can affect so many different lives.

Spreading Pesticides All over Creates Problems

If you are into natural solutions for pests, do not be fooled into thinking that this method is a humane and natural solution. Moth balls contain pesticides. So when you use them widely, you are spreading these substances into areas where they should never be found. Squirrels can carry the balls off and drop them into a water supply, for example.

Sprays for pests can have a bad reputation. The truth is that some are probably a lot safer than moth killer products. Sprays will dissipate over time and are not in a solid form that can be distributed as widely. Sprays are far less easy for anything to get a hold of them and consume them.

These moth killer products contain some nasty chemicals. When one thinks about this a bit, it is not that surprising that this is the case. How else do you think moth balls could perform the task of protecting items from insects for many years in a confined space that might have a very large amount of insects that need to be kept at bay?

Moth balls can make their way into spaces that they were not meant for because when they are widely used they can roll or drop. You may think you picked all of them up and disposed of them only to keep discovering more. Rodents may even carry them places and hide them. So you never know when one will pop up after you dispose of what you see.

Naphthalene

This pesticide has been around a long time. It has some very nasty side effects if a squirrel or any other living creature ingests it. Naphthalene is made of coal and crude oil but is also naturally produced when things burn. Cigarette smoke is a prime example of something that emits naphthalene. When this is consumed, it can cause very serious health problems or even death if enough is consumed per pound of body weight. Symptoms of naphthalene poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and discoloration of urine. Inhalation or skin contact can cause some symptoms if there is enough exposure.

If a mammal eats a moth ball, they can quickly develop a condition called hemolytic anemia. With this condition, red blood cells break apart and don’t carry oxygen to your vital organs as they should. This is extremely serious. If there is the slightest suspicion that a person or pet consumed a moth ball, a physician should look at them immediately. Or call your local poison control center.  A squirrel that consumes a moth ball in even a small quantity will suffer a cruel death.

Paradichlorobenzene

Although slightly less toxic than naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene can still cause some of the same symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness if you are exposed to it. This chemical was released in the 1940s as a fumigant for moth control. It worked so well it is still being used in moth killer products today. It appears that this chemical leaves the system within hours but it is still not a good idea to be exposed. You don’t want pets or wildlife to ingest it.

Getting Rid of Squirrels Is Not Worth It

© scooperdigital / Fotolia

When you use this method, you are putting all the pets and animals in your area at risk of exposure to these terrible toxic substances. If your dog or cat gets ahold of any of these moth killer products, they can become very ill or even die. It is not worth it using moth balls to keep squirrels away when there are better solutions.

Alternatives

You can deter squirrels more humanely controlled using squirrel traps however do not use peanut butter as it prevents them from eating other foods.  You will need to make your home less hospitable to discourage squirrels by removing bird feeders as a bird feeder especially with sunflower seeds will attract all kids of unwanted animals.  Be sure to store bird seed in a trash bin that can be closed tight. Also make sure that your home is well sealed so that squirrels cannot enter your home through gaps and cracks. Squirrels love to get into attics by climbing tree branches. Ensure the outdoor trash bin is sealed and locked tight.  But don’t be tempted to put moth killer balls, flakes, crystals or bars in your attic even if it seems like there are a lot of squirrels to deal with. They will not always keep squirrels away.  An air rifle shot near them will scare them away too.

Other home remedies:

Home remedies for squirrel repellents to keep squirrels away that can be purchased at your local dollar store are cayenne pepper, garlic and chili powder. Sprinkle them on the ground near the plants that seem to be attracting squirrels.

You don’t want to see the squirrels hunting around your garden, but you also need a way of keeping them out. One great idea is using garlic as protection! The pungent scent will stop any animal from trying anything funny with those vegetables and flowers in front of their faces.

If you want to keep pesky squirrels at bay, mix either chopped jalapeño, pepper or garlic with either vinegar and water in a squirt bottle. When using these particular repellants it’s important to reapply after every rainfall or snow as just like garlic and spices they don’t work for long once the rain or snow washes them away.

Mixing cayenne pepper and petroleum jelly is a great way to keep pesky critters away. Just apply it on plants’ stems, fences or poles that are near your garden – the smell should be enough for them!

Peppermint is another natural way to keep Squirrels away. Drop some cotton balls with peppermint oil and place them around your garden for squirrel repellant.

You might think that the best way to keep pesky squirrels from raiding your backyard is by building a fence, but you could also try something more low-key like getting pets. Cats and dogs are naturally curious creatures who love playing with anything they can get their paws on–which includes chasing down any critter rustling through lawn clippings or peering into windows looking for food! While these furry friends won’t actually catch every animal in sight, just having one around will discourage most if not all of them from coming back when others aren’t there anymore.

Apple cider vinegar, fox urine, animal urine as well as dog hair and human hair can be purchase online here, click here.  Squirrels do not like the smell of apple cidar vinegar and will run the other way at the smell of fox urine.  Foxes are their predator so the fox urine can be very effective and will give squirrels the false impression that there is a threat in your backyard. These natural options can be spread or sprayed over your vegetable garden plants and flower pots especially your tomato plants. And these can all be used near your garbage bins or trash cans area.

Other Deterrents Include:

Motion-activated sprinkler systems are another good option for deterring pesky, hungry squirrels. The system will scare them off while also watering your grass and garden with just one press on the controller!

Mesh netting can also serve as an effective way to keep pesky squirrels out of your backyard. The sturdy material prevents them from chewing through or squeezing themselves into the tight knit holes, so it’s best utilized around flower beds and fruit/veggie patches where these pests would otherwise ruin what you have worked hard for!

You can protect existing foliage, as well as newly planted bulbs by installing a fence or using a Scat Spike Mat . Fencing or a Scat Spike Mat will keep the pesky squirrels out and provide an added layer of security for your beautiful yard!

More Options:

Another option to keep squirrels out of your garden is by using electronic devices. Motion sensitive lights and high-frequency sound emitters will send them running for the hills as soon as they sense these frighteners, preventing any unwanted invasions!

A great way to keep pesky squirrels from raiding your garden is by using bulbs as a deterrent. Many plants that repel these creatures have pretty flowers, but also smell bad and taste unappealing- perfect for keeping them at bay! Here are some ideas on how you can use this strategy in any size space: plant daffodils near vegetables; hyacinths or allium bulb go well with flower beds too . Lily of the Valley bulbs (the common name) could work really nicely if planted along side Rose Geranium and would be excellent around fruit trees like apple trees because their palette does not like it.  Peppermint might look nice scattered across the lawn and garden too.

Another way to keep the pesky squirrels from ruining your garden is by enticing them with tasty treats somewhere else. You might be surprised that they’re not actually eating those flowers or vegetables to wreak havoc, but they are just starving and need food more than anything! Place a squirrel feeder with corn or sunflower seeds at the edge of their property so as soon as one comes near it’ll have no choice and will leave your precious plants and garden alone.

You can do your part to keep pesky squirrels from wreaking havoc in the garden by following a few simple steps.Whether you choose one method or all of them, these will help make sure that they stay away and allow for peace-of mind while growing vegetables with confidence!

Moth Ball Over Use

Since moth killer products are so readily available, they often get overused in homes that are experiencing all levels of pest problems. Since they are sometimes already just sitting in a cabinet, it can be very tempting for the homeowner to attempt to use them to solve all their pest problems.

Sometimes pest control experts go into homes that have attempted to take care of pest issues themselves. They have to wear protective masks because there are so many moth balls being used in a home. This means anyone entering or staying there is at risk for major exposure and side effects from the toxic compounds found in moth flakes, crystals, bars and balls.

Squirrels Can Die in Your Home’s Walls or Attic

It is not pleasant to think about but if you use this method to repel squirrels you are at risk for the consequences of having squirrels die in your home where you cannot get to them to remove them. Can you smell squirrels?  If you smell a strong odor of decomposition, then you may have reason to suspect this is the case. It is not worth it to deal with this. There are better ways to keep squirrels away from your home.

Squirrels may just get used to the smell.  Even if they keep squirrels away and they don’t handle or nibble on moth killer products, they don’t like the odor. Often, they just get used to it and continue causing problems wherever they want to be at the time. This means that moth they can be just a short term answer anyway. You are risking releasing a lot of toxins into the environment around you for little gain. Apple cidar vinegar, cayenne pepper, pepper flakes are good and inexpensve squirrel repellents.

Using Moth Killer Products Requires a LOT of Moth Killer Products

If you are trying to discourage and deter squirrels, you would have to use such a large quantity of moth killer  throughout an area that the smell could easily permeate throughout your home. Having a lot of moth killer balls, flakes, crystals or bars in your attic can cause all those living in the home to experience unpleasant symptoms such as sore throats and headaches. Using moth balls long term can result in actual poisoning especially in younger people and those with compromised health anyway.

It Is Illegal to Use Moth Killer Products in Fruit and Nut Trees

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Not only is it a very bad idea to use moth killer products such as balls, flakes, crystals or bars, but it is also illegal to put them in fruit and nut trees to deter squirrels. The restrictions on the label mean it is illegal to use mothballs outdoors in apple or peach trees, where they can contaminate soil and harm children curious about their scent and shape.  Don’t find out the hard way that this law is enforced. Plus who wants to expose what they are eating to the harmful chemicals contained in moth killer products?

Fruit Tree Applications

Some pesticides for fruit tree borers contain paradichlorobenzene. The labels on these products should not be confused with mothballs and they are applied to the soil around your tree’s trunk in order kill any insects that have bored into it, after applying 2 inches deep at 1 inch away from bark (or 6 tablespoons maximum). A continuous circle of crystals needs to surround large trees but only one or two around small ones on their first year – make sure you read up about what kind will work best before hand!  You’ll also need some gloves when handling substances containing paradichlorobenzene flakes.

It’s important to keep apple and peach trees healthy by spraying them regularly. Spray for seven or eight different stages of development, depending on the type used – this way complete control can be achieved.  Preventive measures include clearing dead wood from around it as well removing dropped apples which may have been infested by bugs or squirrels before they fall into place; if there is too much space between fruits then more pests will enter than leave once we start thinning things out a bit at least every other year so less squashing happens when picking up fallen produce.  Non-toxic alternatives to controlling squirrels, deer and mammal pests include tying small bars of soap made from tallow around the trees.

Moth Balls Are for Controlling Clothing Moths and Nothing Else

There are a couple of moth species in the Pacific Northwest are known to cause damages, including clothes moths. Webbing Clothes Moth larvae can be found on webs and casemaking.  Tinea pellionella is another type that feed on fabric fibers like wool or cotton while they’re alive before molting into an orange casing which makes them invisible against a light background color.  This leaves behind their remains as evidence for other insects feeding upon it later down the line .  It’s important you know what kinds exist here so that you can treat them accordingly.

Unless you are storing clothes in a contained locker, then you should not even bother using moth balls for anything. They are designed with a single purpose in mind, and they are good at it. But you don’t want them exposed to the typical air anyone or their pets are breathing. There are also many other good ways to store clothing that will ensure that it is not destroyed by moths.

Mix ¼ cup of Neem oil in a 2-quart spray bottle. Fill it with water, then add 5 drops liquid soap and shake well to make your own natural moth killer! Another simple solution that works for many people is just mixing white vinegar (3 parts) to 1 part cold press olive oil – not only does this kill moths but cleans as you go along without leaving behind any harmful chemicals or toxic fumes like most store bought products do.

More Homemade Remedies

Sticking with the homemade theme, this mothball alternative might sound more at home in your kitchen than under a bed. Rest assured; it’s an effective concoction that many have used to keep moths away from their closets and dresses! You simply make up some sachet bags by mixing together ingredients like lavender, rosemary stems or thyme leaves. With these materials you get pleasant smells as well as driving off moths.

Cedar is the best way to get rid of pesky pests like moths and bugs. It’s also known as “organic moth balls,” but don’t worry – they last much longer than that! Cedar’s oils are powerful in repelling these creatures because it smells great too so you’ll never have an issue finding your clothes again.  The only downside is that you will need new cedar products every 2-3 months or so for closet storage purposes only; otherwise all those yummy scents will wear off quickly once exposed directly on counters/closet shelves.

Moth Balls Are So Smelly That You Don’t Want to Use Them

If you have never used them before, you probably don’t realize just how smelly they can be. This is a major problem for most people. There is a reason why they are usually just used for very long term storage trunks or similar. Don’t sniff too hard though because you will be inhaling poison.  Try spraying apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle as it smells much better. Also squirrels do not like cayenne powder.

The manufacturing of pesticides in itself is not good for the environment in any way. They often make their way to landfills after people get tired of them. While it is true that landfills get covered over in most instances, you are still releasing residual toxic materials into the environment. It is possible that when a moth ball gets thrown out, and birds attempt to use them for nests, thus causing them not to be able to reproduce.

Getting Rid of Moth Ball Smells Can Require Special Treatments

If you make the mistake of using a lot of these, then the smell may have permeated a lot of your home. If you stored some things nearby, it might be next to impossible to get rid of the odor. This is especially so if you went very heavy when spreading them around.

Homes that smell like them will benefit from being thoroughly aired out. Several days of airing out with large fans in place are ideal. You will want to use a respirator. Make sure that you get all them out and take them to your local trash service center for disposal. Make sure to tell them it is moth killer products, so they get disposed of properly.

If you bought a home and now realize it smells like moth killer products, you may want just to get a professional cleaner to come in. It can be a big job that you don’t want to have to deal with when trying to get into a new home.

Educating Others About Moth Killer Products

There are a lot of misconceptions and old wives’ tales out there about squirrel  repellents and squirrel control and other pests. It is important for the environment that those who know better refute any myths regarding using them for squirrels. If your friends or family are having trouble with squirrels, then steer them towards more humane and less smelly methods for squirrel repellents.

Why on earth would you want to deal with smelliness and toxic residues in your home for something that might not even work at all? While you don’t want squirrels in your attic chewing on wires, moth killer products are not the solution. Making sure your home is well sealed and there are no ways for squirrels to gain entry into your home or outbuildings is not very expensive and is a long term solution. There is a good chance that you never have a squirrel issue again if you get your home sealed against small intrusions from pests.

Moth ball pesticides are carcinogens. One of the more scary aspects of this method is that while they can have immediate major health effects they are also carcinogens. This means the more you expose yourself to these chemicals, the more you increase your chances of developing cancer later on in life. If you have kids, then you have even more to worry about. They are developing the systems of their body. So any negative substances are going to have a big effect on them.

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Effectively

If there’s one thing every gardener loathes, it’s a pest. Especially the kind that is both destructive and difficult to control. 

The Japanese beetle is a perfect example.

Don’t be fooled by its attractive colors, this bug is so destructive it can ruin your entire garden. And that is why it is important that you know how to get rid of Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles are a pest that can do significant damage to your lawn. They feed on many of the same plants you have growing in yours and their feeding leaves behind lacy skeletons, making them easy-to destroy pests! Here we list some ways for getting rid of these pesky bugs:

But what exactly is this pest and how did it find itself on American soil?

Getting Acquainted with the Japanese Beetle

Japanese beetles are a small invasive species of bugs that carry a big threat to plant life. That’s because japanese beetles eat most kinds of plants from your rose bush to your grapevine.

While Japanese beetles are one of the biggest threats to crops in the Eastern and Midwestern United States, they are a relatively new species in the region.

Before finding its way to the Americas, the Japanese beetle was mainly confined to the islands of Japan. It was kept in check by its natural predators and isolated by the large bodies of water surrounding the islands.

Unfortunately, all that changed in the 1900s when, despite laws against it, people brought in plants rooted in soil. It is believed that the Japanese beetle entered America as grubs in the soil. The Japanese beetle population exploded, and all early efforts to keep them in check were dropped. It was just too prolific of a breeder to keep up with.

Identifying the Japanese Beetle

Japanese Beetles are easy to identify, thanks to their unique colors. They feature metallic blue-green heads, copper backs, and tan wings. They also have small white hairs lining each side of the abdomen. These are distinctive color patterns you won’t find in any other beetle. Japanese beetles like to move and feed in small groups, making them a bigger danger to your plants. Some people have reported that extremely large infestations, which defoliate a plant or tree completely, may wind up killing the plant.

Breeding Cycle

In order to know how to get rid of Japanese beetles, you not only have to be able to identify them, but you’ll also need to understand their breeding cycle.

Japanese beetles lay their eggs in the soil, usually in June. The eggs then develop into white Japanese beetle grubs that have brown heads, 6 legs, and reaching sizes of up to ¾ inch in length.

The Japanese beetle grubs will remain in the soil for about 10 months, overwintering and growing in the soil. And yes, they will be feeding on your plant’s roots. This is the longest part of the Japanese beetle’s life cycle.

They will then emerge from the soil around June as adult beetles and continue feeding on your plants, this time on the leaves, bulbs, and flowers. For the next 40 days or so, the only thing the Japanese beetle will do is feed and mate.

How to Get Rid of and Eliminate Japanese Beetles – And the Complications Involved

Because it lacks a natural predator, the Japanese beetle is a bit difficult to control. That, and the fact that most pesticides don’t work makes this pest a terrible menace. So how can you control the Japanese beetle infestation in your garden?

Japanese Beetle Traps That Work Well

Because of their destructive nature, different types of traps have been invented specifically to capture Japanese beetles. These usually comprise a pair of crossed walls and a bag or plastic container underneath to capture the beetles. These traps are baited with a floral scent, pheromone, and sometimes both.

The problem with most of these traps is that they attract a lot of Japanese beetles, even those from afar off.  You don’t want to end up with a Japanese Beetle infestation.  So you can use these bag traps with Donaldson Farms Japanese Beetle Trap attractant oil to get as many of the destructive beetles trapped. It will be a great thing if all those Japanese beetles ended up in the bag traps.

Unfortunately, most of the beetles end up on the plants near the trap. This ultimately means more damage to your precious plants in your garden than how it would have been done without the trap.

Does this mean you do away with the trap then? Not at all. Read on and you’ll see how to get rid of and attract Japanese beetles using traps in conjunction with other methods.

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DIY Traps For Getting Rid of Japanese Beetles

You can also make your own DIY Japanese beetle traps using a fruit to eliminate Japanese beetles. To do this, simply open a can of fruit cocktail and let it sit for a week so that it can ferment. Get a light-colored pail and use some bricks to create an elevated platform upon which you will place the fermented mix. Next, fill the container with water until it barely reaches the top.

Like the commercial traps, this trap will attract the Japanese beetle. When it comes to feeding on the fruit cocktail, it will fall into the water and drown.

The advantage with this trap is that the beetles will head for the can, and the pail will give them more room to land near the bait, therefore increasing the chance of the beetles being captured.

Use Their Greed Against Them

As already mentioned, Japanese beetles feed on many plant species. One of their favorites are geraniums, particularly the blossoms. Unfortunately for them though, geraniums are an intoxicant for them. Once they eat them, they get dizzy and fall off the plants, allowing you to easily collect them and dispose of them.

This means by planting geraniums close to your valuable plants and fruit trees, you can actually reduce the damage that Japanese beetles can cause on them. You can also plant geraniums around your beetle traps in order to make the traps more efficient. The trap will attract and capture some beetles while the geraniums will incapacitate the ones that escape the trap.

Those are methods that can be used to combat adult beetles. Let’s take a look at some methods that can be used to fight them at the grub stage.

Spray Your lawn with a Soap Solution

Japanese beetle larvae have been observed feeding on roots at depths of 10 inches below ground level! Japanese beetles are known to feed on over 300 species of plants, including Japanese black pine. Japanese beetle adults also eat the leaves of trees and other areas where they can reach them, so it’s important to take measures early before your prized plant is damaged beyond repair

Spraying soapy water around the affected trees and on nearby grass is one way to get rid of grubs. Fill a spray bottle with soapy water or a bucket of soapy water (dish soap works well, we also suggest Safer Brands concentrate, but any kind will do) and spray liberally every few days until you notice fewer bugs or no more bug activity in your yard or garden area.

For this method, dilute 2 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap in 1 gallon of water to use per 1,000 square feet. Spray the lawn with this solution. This will force the grubs to come to the surface where the birds will quickly swoop down on them and have themselves a good feast. Do this at least once a week until no more grubs surface.

Use Milky Spore While Japanes Beettles Are In Larva Stage

During the larvae stage, the Japanese beetle is very susceptible to a disease called milky spore disease. To get rid of the larvae, you can introduce this fungal disease into your lawn to help kill them off. The larvae will ingest the spores as they feed in the soil and get mortally sick.

However, for this method to be effective, the spore count must be up for 2 to 3 years. The good news is that the spores remain viable in the soil for many years. The bad news is that this is an expensive treatment, as you will have to treat the soil within a 5/8th of a mile radius for good control.

Employ the Use of Nematodes

Nematodes are a parasitic type of worm that you can introduce to your soil when the grubs are small. These help control the larvae population. This method works best when the lawn is irrigated before and after application.

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles – It Calls for Strategic Planning

Because of the hardy nature of the Japanese beetle, fighting it requires that you have a good strategy in place. This means you can’t rely on one type of control method if you want to win the battle. More often than not, you will have to use a combination of the methods outlined above in order to see effective results.

Whether you see immediate results or not, you will have to be patient and as resilient as the Japanese beetle itself. Failure to do so will result in your garden being overrun and ultimately destroyed.

If you are facing an infestation, know that this is war, and in a war, you do whatever it takes to win. So, go out there, set your different types of traps and engage the beetles until you emerge victorious.

How To Get Rid of Raccoons Humanely And Safely

Photo Credit: David Slater

Raccoons, those cute, bandit-faced, twitchy-nosed creatures, nocturnal animals make adorable stuffed animals, cartoon characters, and the central roles of children’s stories. Easily personified, with hand-like paws and expressive mugs, raccoons, at first sight, in a zoo, or game ranch, elicit exclamations of “aww and ooh” for their adorable appearance.

But, don’t be fooled. Those cute little bandits can rob you of plenty! Naturally nocturnal, raccoons are scavengers, demolishing your garden at night, rifling through your trash and making quite the mess. Their vandalism increases in the spring, as they become more active, breeding and increasing their population.

These adaptable creatures are known to take over burrows made by other creatures, This includes anything you may have in your yard or near your home. Only the female racoons nests with the young, and once the litter of kits arrives, dear old dad takes his leave. Spring means increased activity as the male begins to search for accommodations, and the female raccoon looks for a place to make her nest.

As the human population grows, suburban homes are encroaching more and more on the raccoons‘ natural habitat. Your home and your yard can easily be taken over by a raccoon family or two, as they burrow and nest in your mulched garden beds, sheds, insulated attics, basements and any other areas in and around your home which the raccoons may find to their liking.

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Are Racoons Bad Animals?

Raccoons are nocturnal wild animals, but it doesn’t mean that they are bad animals. They are not designed by nature to be tamed and trained to be petted like other animals. It’s illegal to capture a healthy wild raccoon and force it to live in confinement for any reason. Raccoons are notorious biters. They will bite family members, family pets, and visitors and pets if they feel threatened or for defense. Raccoons can also carry parasites and infectious diseases including rabies that poses a threat to any person and other pets.

Raccoon damage to property is also an annoyance. It can damage your garden, house interior, cables, wires, etc. If they find any entry points to your property, they can crawl into space where they can get food and probably shelter.

Where Do Racoons Usually Hide?

Raccoons are attracted to an environment that is dark, quiet and without much human activity. Raccoons will enter your property by digging or climbing and search for crawl space and places that seem uninhabited or unoccupied. The most common areas to find raccoons and that are attracting raccoons on your property include:

  • Basements are usually dark and quiet and not frequently visited; thus raccoons can find shelter in this part of the house.
  • Attics are usually not visited often, so raccoons will enjoy the isolation and enjoy the quiet space. Attics with any stored food and warm places to hide, like old beddings and old clothes, will be a hit with raccoons.
  • Crawl Spaces are a favorite hideout for raccoons and other types of animals, like rabbits, foxes, and groundhogs.
  • Walls with large amounts of space between them where raccoons can sneak can be a raccoon nest.
  • Raccoons rarely occupy bathrooms since they are used frequently. Guest bathrooms that are not used often attract raccoon activity.
  • Chimneys are the most common place to find raccoons on your property. Chimneys are dark and quiet and are not used at all during the spring and summer months. Thus, raccoons will start nesting in an unused chimney.
  • Garbage cans are very attractive to raccoons. It’s free grub for the raccoon family.
  • All bird feeders, they love any wild animal’s food especially all of the different seeds that are in bird feeders.
  • Any pet food including bird seed that is stored out and around your home, even in your garage.
  • Near and around any outside pet food bowls.
  • Any compost piles.
  • Any wood piles.
  • Fish ponds, swimming pools or any collective water source.

Peskiness

Photo Credit: Leonel Ponce

Raccoons don’t make for ideal neighbors, and they are even worse house guests. The evidence is apparent. You wake up in the morning, go out to grab the paper, or take the dog for his relief, and find your trash strewn all about your yard or pet food all scattered on the ground. The cans have been spilled over and it appears someone has been determinedly pawing through your garbage in search of something vital. You probably have raccoon problems.

Unless you are the subject of an intense government investigation, the culprit is more than likely a raccoon, or, more to the point, several raccoons. Raccoons are carnivores by nature (although many feasts just as grandly on vegetables, and, in the wild, freshwater creatures are the preferred fare), so the aroma of last night’s rib bones, bird food for outdoor bird feeders, pet food, chicken carcass, or meatloaf are quite appetizing and will attract raccoons.

An opportunistic male raccoon and his pals, or a hungry mother raccoon seeking sustenance, can easily dismantle a trash can and paw through the remains of your feast, purged property of your refrigerator or any food refuse that is in there. Outdoor grills that haven’t been cleaned or the remnants of meat burnt away are another source of appealing aromas  that will attract raccoons especially a hungry raccoon. When you feed your cat or dog outside, you are encouraging others to make themselves at home as well. As well as any and all pet food including bird food that is stored outside your home is also a target.  Even the bird food that you put out in your bird feeders. First thing you want to to do is to begin to repel raccoons.  Learn more on how to repel raccoons and not feed raccoons in this article.

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Your Yard and Garden

The small of fruit trees, berry bushes, and backyard gardens entice the suburban and urban raccoon with the promise of food. Some raccoons won’t stop at stealing a few peaches, plums, cherries, or apples. They may just make their home in your fruit tree, knowing they will enjoy a constant food source.

That prized tomato you have had your eye on for weeks, watching as it goes from a perfect green globe, to orange, to red, ripe and ready to slap between two pieces of mayonnaise slathered bread, suddenly disappears or has been gnawed just enough to render it ruined. Your squash blossoms have vanished. Even your turnips and radishes have been dug up, sampled and cast aside. They are no friend to the backyard gardener as you do not want to feed raccoons.

Your Home as a Habitat

Photo Credit: Sheila Miguez

As pesky and disruptive as these small vandals can be, their destructive yard antics can’t compare with what they can do to the inside pf your home. Areas such as attics and basements provide a fairly hospitable home for raccoons. Especially if there isn’t a whole lot of human traffic in and out.

Attic and wall insulation is easily shredded and turned into a cozy nesting place for raccoon mothers-to-be. Once the babies arrive, they will do what all babies tend to do, which is poop, pee, and eat. As they get slightly bigger, the tots will scurry around your attic, making noise and alerting you to intruders, if you haven’t yet heard mom bustling about.  You will usually hear scratching noises.

Upon discovering the raccoons in your home, you will likely find plenty of destruction has already taken place. You’ll notice air ducts tore apart, insulation where it shouldn’t be, and, in some instances, you may find stripped wires or completely destroyed vents which were used to gain access to their new digs.  You officially have a raccoon problem.

The destruction doesn’t stop there. As this uninvited house guest graduates from nuisance to a real threat, you may find wires which have been stripped or chewed through. This can pose a fire hazard to your home. The droppings and urine left behind to create a bio-hazard as raccoon droppings can contain roundworm. This is quite harmful to humans and pets. Additionally, raccoon waste carries a slew of known diseases and viruses which can pose a threat to you and your family.

Your Chimney can be Inviting

Raccoons are known for their dexterity, especially their ability to climb. Burrows and trees provide ideal nesting sites, and hollow trees are prized real estate among raccoon populations. Any long hollow area is very attractive to raccoons, and that makes your chimney an easy mark.

As a raccoon accesses your roof, and, eventually finds his way through an attic vent and into a great place to live, so, too, is he able to access your chimney. Once inside your chimney, the raccoon adapts to his new home in much the same way he or she adapts to your attic. The protection offered by your chimney is inviting and even a nesting mother finds your chimney a comfortable abode.

 

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Preventing Raccoons from Trashing your Trash

If you find a raccoon is wreaking havoc in your yard, or garden, causing you sleepless nights as you imagine the wild parties being held in your trash cans, there are ways to get rid of raccoons, before calling on wildlife experts to eradicate these ring-tailed vandals. Obviously, your first line of defense, to deter raccoons as far as your trash cans, is to make them inaccessible. There are some cans on the market that claim to be impenetrable. They lock in such a way that there are no gaps and critters can’t get in to cause damage.

These types of trash cans may not be an option for some city-dwellers, or those living in municipalities with commercial garbage pick up and trash removal. Very often, these trash companies will require you to use specific models which correspond with their truck system. What that means is that the tops are easily opened (for ease of dumping into the refuse trucks).

You can still prevent raccoons from getting into your trash or recycle bins-by simply duct taping the top shut, placing heavy cinder-block type weights on top of the garbage can or bin along with a bungee cord or bungee cord locking system or locking the cans in a trash can shed (very common in rural areas where bears and more threatening animals can be a nuisance). 

To deter raccoons completely, you can sprinkle moth balls around the area beside your trash cans, but be aware of the danger these chemically-laced, poisonous pest deterrents can pose. You don’t want children nor pets to come in contact with mothballs. You certainly don’t want these chemicals in your garden, or near any food.

Raccoons can have a very pungent smell that you will identify very quickly.  Some other natual remedies to deter raccoons include powdered cayenne pepper, hot sauce, a spray bottle of predator urine, epsom salts sprinkled around your homes perimeter and of course big dogs and loud noises.

Keeping Raccoons Out of your Yard

For raccoon problems in and around your yard and garden, the best way to control the problem is by preventing entry. How to get rid of raccoons in a backyard? Put a fence around your garden. An easy way to fence out potential invaders is by erecting a wire fence, specifically chicken, that’s at least 36 inches high and goes a minimum of a foot below the ground. The depth prevents burrowing, and the wire at that height isn’t secure enough to encourage climbing. Chicken wire is inexpensive and easily found at your nearest garden center and is a great way to get rid of raccoons.  If you need something stronger you can always use an electric fence to get rid of raccoons.

Another effective way to get rid of raccoons is to light up your garden, or yard to discourage these four-footed creepers from coming around and pilfering produce. Nocturnal raccoons enjoy the nightlife and if your yard is lit up with bright lights, it is very uninviting. Don’t feed Fido or Miss Kitty any pet food outside. At the very least, provide food and water – and a set meal time – in an enclosed area. Make a safe place to feed your outdoor pets if they are forbidden to be fed inside. This could be a garage, secure dog run or fenced kennel.

A great way to deter raccoons, and many other animals, from your flower beds and vegetable gardens, is by planting a prickly ground cover. Vines, bushes, and shrubbery that are naturally thorny are a fine natural deterrent for many different invaders. They aren’t very comfortable and make it even more difficult to get in and sample your crops.  A motion activate sprinkler also works to get rid of raccoons.

Video: Humane Raccoon Removal and Exclusion from an Attic

Trapping Raccoons for Relocation

Once you have exhausted all the ways of preventing access to your yard, flower beds, and garden, and you are still enduring the problem, you may decide to simply get rid of the raccoons. Be advised that it is illegal, in nearly every state, to:

a) discharge a weapon in a community of homes, and

b) shoot wildlife without a license.

The better option for a do-it-yourself raccoon removal is to trap the raccoon, catch the raccoon safely and humanely and relocate to a better area for him and you. Many big box home centers and pest control stores have humane traps for raccoons. If you aren’t able to locate live trapping equipment in a retail establishment, contact your local department of wildlife, or animal control. They may assist you, in most cases, free of charge.

Once you have removed the animal, take steps to shore-up your property, or, at least, your garden, to prevent the raccoon from finding his way back. You also need to realize, if one crafty critter found his way in to wreak havoc on your homegrown tomatoes, or mini-orchard, more of his kind could be lurking about. An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure.

 

Preventing Home Invasions

When it comes to your home, prevention is the only DIY way of not having the problem of a raccoon invasion. The following steps are some of the best home remedies to get rid of raccoons.

Check for Signs

If you suspect raccoons in your area-as could be evidenced by garbage can raids, and nightly garden thievery- or if you have seen raccoons around your immediate area, take a walk about your home on the perimeter and look for points of entry. Check the basement, roof line, chimney cap, open visible crawl spaces and any entry points including tree branches that could reach your home.

Block Possible Points of Entry

Once you have inspected your home, take steps to block entry by putting repairing any holes in and around vents, chimneys and anywhere raccoons could gain entry. Go up into your attic. Make sure there are screens in place over open-ended vents, pipes and an opening leading to the outside. Make sure you don’t block vents from maintaining air flow. But leave no opening unshielded.

Remove Easy Access to Roof

Trim back your trees and take care to ensure no easy access to your roof. If necessary, remove those trees which sit in close proximity to your house. They will provide the path to a perfect home for a raccoon family, as well as many other pests. Using additional deterrents, such spiking around your roofline might seem like overkill. However, if you suspect a real threat, it might not be a bad idea.

Find the Raccoon’s Entry Point

If you think you may have a raccoon coming and going, you will need to find the opening through which he or she is gaining access. An easy way to do this is by crumbling some paper and stuffing it into the opening. Newspaper or grocery bags work well for this purpose. In 24 hours, you should find the paper intact. If it has been disturbed in any way, you now know the location of the entryway.

Don’t attempt to block the entrance at this point, nor should you try to trap the raccoon. Remember, the likeliest culprit is a female raccoon with a nest. If you take the mother away from the young, it’s not only cruel and inhumane, it’s illegal in many states. Always assume that any raccoon who has gained access to your home is a nesting female raccoon with a litter of kits nearby.

Contact the Experts or Authorities

It’s imperative, once you confirm a raccoon has made a home in your attic, basement, chimney, or anywhere inside your home, that you contact either your local wildlife department, animal removal experts or a professional in wildlife removal. To go any other way could be illegal. You could end up paying more in fines and court costs than you ever would to a professional wildlife removal expert.

Repairing the Destruction Left Behind

Getting rid of the destruction that raccoons have left behind is no small nor inexpensive undertaking. For the safety of you and your family, you must remove every bit of detritus that your uninvited squatters have left behind. In order to accomplish this task, you’ll need to contact an expert in wildlife repair.

If you have hired a wildlife removal company to eradicate your raccoons, the company probably offers clean-up as part of, or as an additional, service. It’s their job to know how to safely remove the mess the raccoons have left behind. This includes any destruction, as well as effectively cleaning away any hazardous waste such as feces and urine.

You may want to contact your insurance company to inquire about coverage for this type of invasive destruction. Some homeowners policies provide for wildlife removal, and, possibly, clean-up, repairs, and restoration. You may not be covered, and might have to pay for this task out of pocket. However, it is worth a phone call to your insurer.

Community Caveats

A word of caution: You may be doing all you can to keep raccoons from your yard, garden, and home. However, your neighbor may not. Some individuals will actually encourage raccoons to come into their yard, and even up on their deck, porch, or patio. At the risk of starting a quarrel, you may alert the offender to the fact that feeding and encouraging wildlife is more harmful than not.

Welcoming wildlife poses a danger to the animal. As he begins to equate humans with food, he may come to expect all human beings of being benevolent. This isn’t the case and could end up costing the animal his life.

Another concern, in and around communities such as subdivisions and home allotments, is the threat of rabies. Raccoons and many other wild animals are known carriers of this highly infectious and deadly disease. As raccoons are, for the most part, nocturnal, seeing one in the daylight hours is unusual.

Anytime a wild mammal is acting out of character, parading around fearlessly in the open, and appearing to approach a human being, run for cover. Don’t let your pets or children outside until animal control has been notified. In many communities, the sight of a raccoon in the daytime warrants a call to 9-1-1.

Be Vigilant

Now that you understand the threat these adorable animals pose to your home and happiness, you understand the need for immediate attention. Never ignore a raccoon problem in the hopes that it will simply go away. In all likelihood, it will not. Raccoons are crafty and if they find a source of food or a cozy place to live, they are staying put.

Follow the general guidelines and other natural ways to get rid of raccoons listed in this article for prevention, even if you haven’t seen any raccoons around your home. Take steps to keep raccoons in a more affable environment, and away from your immediate area. It’s worth the extra effort to keep your home from being invaded and preserving your tomatoes for their intended spot-your sandwiches.

How To Get Rid Of Gophers: 9 Simple Tips

One day, you have spent a great deal of time and effort to make your natural grass lawn look like a golf course. We will show you ways for gopher control with out poisonous gopher bait getting rid of gophers humanely with natural gopher control methods and natuural gopher repellents.

Then one morning, you find out that your front yard masterpiece of gopher burrows and gopher tunnels now has many tunnels which are obviously the handiwork of ground-dwelling gophers. Now you know you have a gopher infestation with a possiability of multiple gophers.

Gophers present a real problem to many homeowners because they can really lay waste to a grass lawn, vegetable garden, flowerbed or fruit trees.

Image by pixabay

Aside from creating tripping hazards with their mounds and holes, they can easily kill a plant or tree since they eat the roots.

Since gophers rarely venture too far from their tunnels and they spend most of their time underground, getting rid of them can be rather tricky.

For today’s post, we are going to give some tips on how to get rid of gophers.

9 Simple tips on How to Get Rid of Gophers

These are non-lethal, natural ways to repel gophers, thus, you can get rid of them humanely without using lethal methods like gopher traps

1. Use a Gopher Mesh

You can use a gopher mesh and have it installed under natural grass lawns with ornamental landscaping.

For this purpose, you can use a chicken wire but opt for a galvanized gopher mesh since the latter holds up a lot better. A proper gopher mesh can be quite expensive but it can really save you from more headaches later on.

A gopher mesh is basically a barrier that stops gophers from digging holes in your flower bed or natural grass lawn. However, this method doesn’t prevent them from eating the roots which means that they can still kill your plants.

With that said, this is one of the most effective ways to prevent gophers from making holes in your yard.

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2. Use a Gopher Basket

If a gopher mesh is not an option, you can look into using a gopher basket.

This particular type of gopher deterrent looks like a basket or bowl and is generally made from gopher mesh or chicken wire. Again, we recommend that you go for the galvanized mesh or you can make your own if you have leftover meshes lying around.

Gopher baskets are ideal for fruit trees, succulents, rose bushes, and even vegetable gardens. These baskets will protect the main root system around the base of the plant and can greatly increase the survival of the plant.

Like with the mesh method, the gophers can still eat the roots that grow around the basket. However, this is an excellent way to repel gophers without killing them.

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3. Using Live Traps

Using live traps is a good method if you wish to relocate the bugger and off your property.

For this, you have the option of buying or renting live traps or have a professional do it for you. For many homeowners, it is far easier to hire a wildlife removal company. Trapping the animal on your own means that you will have to safely handle and transport the trap along with the gopher.

If you are really serious about not harming the gophers, make sure you are dealing with a company that actually releases them. It’s not exactly unheard of for pest companies to use live traps just to please their clients, only to kill them at a later time.

4. Install Ultrasonic Repellents

As it turns out, gophers are quite sensitive to sounds, especially loud noises. While you can add natural noisemakers in your yard, the idea might not sit well with some homeowners or their neighbors for that matter.

In this case, an ultrasonic repellent might just do the trick.

An ultrasonic repellent produces low-frequency sound waves and vibrations day and night which can be maddening to underground pests like gophers and moles. These repellents are solar powered which means that they are absolutely maintenance-free.

5. Plant Certain Plants

You are probably asking: Don’t we want to get rid of gophers because they are killing the lawn and plants? That is true but there are also plants that gophers tend to stay away from.

If you can spare some time to plan your landscaping, you can strategically plant certain plants that gophers don’t like such as lavender, rosemary or salvia. You can plant them beside your fences or around your lawn where they can act like a natural barrier. For vegetable gardens, Marigolds are known to not just repel gophers but unwanted insects as well.

This is not just an effective non-lethal way to deal with gophers but you are also beautifying your yard as well.  It’s an aesthetic way to win the battle.

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6. Use Garlic Stakes

I know what you are thinking. No, this has not turned into a guide on how to repel vampires. Using garlic stakes is a simple and natural method on how to get rid of gophers. These are small stakes that you place around your garden.

For best results, you can install the stakes near a gopher’s hole. You should be able to purchase garlic stakes or similar options at your local home and garden store or online.

7. Use Coffee Grounds

If you are a self-confessed coffee addict, this option is definitely for you.

Gophers are known to detest strong smells and it happens that coffee is one such smell. Instead of throwing away your coffee grounds, you can recycle them by scattering them over gophertunnels. After spreading the grounds around your yard, cover the holes with soil.

While this can be an effective approach, I won’t recommend using coffee grounds as a standalone option. This is only a good addition to your other non-lethal, natural solutions.

8. Castor Oil

Castor oil is perhaps one of the most effective natural gopher control methods you can use.

The most common way to use castor oil to repel gophers is to buy castor oil granules. However, there is always the option of making a DIY castor oil deterrent at home. To make your own gopher repellent solution, mix castor oil with one-part dish soap. Then, add about 3-5 tablespoons of the mixture into water. Pour the mixture near holes and other areas where the gophers are active.

Alternatively, you may use castor beans and place them in the tunnels which can repel gophers due to their smell.

Another good alternative is to plant castor bean plants around your yard. However, it is important to note that castor beans are poisonous. If you have children or pets, do not use castor bean plants or beans to repel gophers.

Using castor oil granules is much more convenient. All you need to do is to spread the granules in areas where the gophers are active. With this method, you can actually direct where you need the gophers to exit. For instance, you can spread the granules in one section of your yard. After a few days, you can spread the granules in a different section of the yard. Continue the spread to push the ground-dwellers to your desired exit.

9. Take Care of Gopher Holes

If you think you have won the battle and have finally driven away the gophers, don’t forget to deal with the holes. You don’t really want the future gophers to move back in your yard, do you? Having a good ol’ handy shovel should do the trick.

Lethal or Non-Lethal Methods?

If push comes to shove, there’s always the option of terminating the gophers altogether.

There’s no shortage of ways to kill gophers which include poisons, fumigation, flooding, and even explosive devices.

However, if you are going to use lethal methods, make sure that you do proper research. Many lethal gopher control methods can be dangerous to pets and small children, so we advise that you proceed with caution.

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Protect Your Yard from Gophers

That wraps up our list of the ways on how to get rid of gophers from your lawn or yard. Again, these are non-lethal methods and are not meant to be used individually.

My advice is that you use about three to four of these methods for the best results.

Which gopher control method do you like best? Do prefer lethal or non-lethal? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments!