When Should I Call a Professional Exterminator?

Some of us have a proclivity for DIY projects. You might have a passion for fixing up the old lawnmower or fashioning a coffee table from wood pallets. Being able to do it yourself is great – it gives you a feeling of satisfaction that you are capable and skilled, and it likely also saves you money.

However, not every task is suitable for DIYers. For instance, you may be tempted to try to control a rodent infestation on your own with traps from the local hardware store. But, you’d be much better off calling a professional animal control service to deal with those rats – it’s just too risky to do it yourself.

Rodent Problems

When there are rodents living in your house, there’s no time to waste. If left alone, they can do significant damage to your home. Rodents have a need to gnaw on objects to file down their ever-growing incisors, and they aren’t too picky. Furniture, walls, doors, baseboards, and many other things make great rat chewing objects.

Their urine and feces also create complications for homeowners. Not only will their excrement undoubtedly give off unpleasant odors, it destroys whatever it sits on. Many walls and ceilings have been completely ruined by rodent infestations due to their waste alone.

Experts Required

Rodent infestations can happen right under your nose, so don’t be ashamed to call a professional. After all, it’s hard to notice one rat in the garage or attic in the course of daily life. It’s likely not until the rodent problem gets out of hand that you will begin to notice the signs. Once you observe rat droppings scattered around areas, bite marks on various surfaces, or even the odd rat scurrying in or around your house, it’s time to call Critter Control® of Ft. Lauderdale.

Snakes in Your Yard Mean Rats in Your Home

Which would you rather have on your property, snakes or rats? The answer is most likely neither, though one does a lot more harm than the other. Rats are notoriously invasive, and once they make it inside your home, they will cause all sorts of problems. On the other hand, snakes are naturally shy and cause very few issues for homeowners, since they normally don’t have a reason to bother us. It is only the common fear of snakes which makes them so undesirable around our homes.

The truth is, you will often find one when you see the other. Snakes are drawn towards rodent populations because they present a wonderful feeding opportunity. Rat infestations can contain dozens and dozens of the critters, which means several full bellies for a snake.

If you see a snake or two consistently hanging around your house, it probably signifies that you have a rat problem. In this case, the presence of the snakes is a positive thing, because they are helping you eliminate the troublesome pests.

How to Get Rid of Rats

You can’t leave all the work to the snakes – you must also act to eliminate the rodent infestation in your home. After all, you aren’t exactly going to let a couple of snakes inside your house to help you out, since they don’t belong there either. But, once you get rid of your rodent problem, you almost certainly won’t see the snakes in your yard anymore. Get rid of the rats, and you will have solved your critter problem.

That is often easier said than done. Rat infestations are incredibly difficult to fight against because rats are such fast breeders. Even if you manage to capture a few of them in traps, their numbers will still continue to grow. And if you don’t deal with the issue as soon as you discover the rodents in your house, they can do significant damage through their chewing and excrement.

Seeing snakes in your yard and rats in your house? Don’t waste precious time trying to take care of the problem yourself. The longer the infestation lasts, the more damage the rats will do, and the more money you will have to pay for repairs. Instead, call Critter Control® of Ft. Lauderdale immediately. Our trained technicians will apply their vast knowledge and experience with rodent infestations to your situation. We lead the nation in quality animal control service, so you can be sure that you are in good hands with us. For a free consultation, call us today at 954-467-6067.

How Bat Guano Can Ruin an Attic

Bats are extremely helpful creatures in our buggy Florida environment. Without them, the populations of mosquitos and flies would balloon out of control. But, bats are not quite as helpful inside your house. They can cause a myriad of issues if they are allowed to roost in your attic for an extended amount of time. The worst thing about having bats in your attic is not the disruptions they cause; they are quiet and shy creatures which don’t make a lot of noise. Far worse is the guano, their excrement, which collects under their roosting sites.

What You Should Know about Guano

Guano can resemble rodent droppings, but it has a couple important differences. First, scattered pieces might look shiny or speckled, since bats consume a lot of insect wings. Guano is also more dusty than rat droppings, and will completely crumble when disturbed. Often, you will find it primarily in concentrated areas directly under roosting sites, so you might observe characteristic piles of the waste rather than dispersed pieces.

Guano Damage

There are several factors which can determine the extent of guano damage.

  • Location of the piles: If the guano has built up in a fortified section of an attic, you will be safer than if it piles up on top of drywall. If you’re not so fortunate, the weight of the guano can bear down on the wall, causing structural damage.
  • Proximity to air ducts: You don’t want to breathe in spores of any kind of waste, so if the pile of guano is near any vents or ducts, you will want to consult a professional.
  • Amount of time: If the bats have been in your house for a long period of time, you will likely have significant piles of guano. Larger piles mean more damage and a harder cleanup.
  • Attic insulation: One of the things most commonly ruined by guano is attic insulation, since the feces can become mixed into both fiberglass and loose insulation. In this case, you will have to throw out your old insulation and replace it.

Professional Bat Services

If you find large piles of Guano in your attic, call the professionals at Critter Control® of Ft. Lauderdale immediately. You need to take care of the problem as soon as possible to minimize the damage and repair costs. Our experts are fully certified to perform bat exclusions, should the animals still be in your attic, and also have the proper equipment to clean up guano and sanitize the space. If you’d like a free consultation or have any questions, please contact us today at 954-467-6067.

Florida Bat Protections

There is a wide gulf between the public perception of bats and their importance to the environment. Though they are often viewed as creepy and dangerous due to their association with vampires and horror movies, they are one of the most necessary creatures for maintaining Florida’s ecosystem. The populations of insects would skyrocket without bats – they eat thousands of mosquitoes and other bugs every night.

For this reason, bats are one of the most heavily protected species in Florida and in other states around the country. The Gray bat and the Indiana bat are two federally protected species found in Florida. In addition to these, the Florida bonneted bat is also a protected endangered species. There are penalties for handling, injuring, moving, selling, and killing these types of bats which can run up to thousands of dollars.

What to Do When a Bat Roosts in Your House

Tricky situations arise when bats decide to make their roost in your attic. You certainly didn’t want them to come in, and you don’t want to deal with the legal consequences of trying to get them out. But, they can’t stay – so what do you do?

It is unwise to attempt a bat removal on your own, because you may accidently hurt or kill the bats. In addition, there are certain times of year during which it is unlawful to perform a bat removal. From April 15 to August 15 is Florida’s bat maternity season, which means that it is illegal to try to get rid of the bats during the summer months. This is because bat mother typically only have 1 pup, and if you remove them before the pup can fly, it will likely die since it totally relies on the mother for food. To try to help the bat population get back to healthy numbers, the state has restricted removals during this time.

Whenever you see bats roosting in your attic, it is best to call Critter Control® of Ft. Lauderdale to perform a bat exclusion. We are fully licensed by the state to handle bats, and our humane methods are sure to keep the endangered animals protected the whole time. Call us today for a free initial consultation at 954-467-6067.

Signs You Have a Dead Animal in Your House

Nobody likes the thought of wild animals in their home. The idea that there are critters lurking somewhere in the house gives people chills. They leave frustrating messes behind and are difficult to track down. But sometimes they can pose even more irritating problems when they die in your house.

The following are obvious signs that a dead animal is decomposing somewhere inside your home. If you’ve noticed any of these, call the professionals at Critter Control of Ft. Lauderdale as soon as possible.

  • Smell – This is an undeniable, unavoidable consequence of a dead animal in your house. The odor will be so pungent and putrid that it’ll be impossible not to detect after a certain amount of time. As the body first begins to decompose, the smell may be localized and not as strong, but after a couple of days it will become overpowering.
  • Wet Spots – As disgusting as it sounds, the decomposing body will begin to liquify. Over time, this wetness will begin to seep into the walls or ceiling, depending on where the body is located. This can obviously cause damage to the structure of the home.
  • Flies – You’ve probably seen how flies flock to rotting things out in nature, whether its an old orange on the ground or roadkill. They get easy nutrients from stuff that is decomposing, and actually like to lay their eggs in rotting animals as well, since it provides plenty of food for larvae when they hatch. If you notice a sharp uptick in flies inside, there might be a dead animal somewhere.

Call the Professionals

It’s not like you need to be Sherlock Holmes to detect these signs – they’ll be so obvious that it’d be incredible not to notice them. Critter Control of Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t only remove living pests; we can help your home get back to its normal, odor-free condition by locating and removing any decaying carcasses and cleaning the mess. For a free initial consultation, call us today at 954-467-6067.

The Importance of Early Rat Removal

Though they are small, rats are not to be trifled with. They can create a myriad of problems for homeowners if they manage to get inside houses. Contaminating food, chewing on wires and walls, and soiling surfaces with excrement are just a few of the bothersome things rats can do. The worst thing you can do in this situation is nothing – the longer the rats live in your house, the worse your situation will get. Call Critter Control of Ft. Lauderdale as soon as you believe you have unwanted rodent houseguests to minimize the damage they can do.

The Snowball Effect

Rat infestations have a sort of snowball effect at play due to the rodent’s rapid breeding abilities. The brown rat, one of the most common species, can breed up to 5 times a year with litters of up to 14 young. Though by these numbers an individual rat can have dozens of babies, what really causes the population numbers to explode is the fact that the brown rat reaches sexual maturity at 5 weeks old.

This is why it is so critical to remove the rodents as early as possible. Left unchecked for just a couple months, the number of rats in your home will have multiplied. However, it is far harder to detect just a couple rats in your home than dozens. Don’t ignore your intuition if you think there could be animals in your home – call the experts at Critter Control to come assess the situation for you for free.

Rat Infestation Experts

If you try to deal with an infestation by yourself, you run the risk of giving the rats more time to breed. In addition, your traps may capture many adult rats and you could be lured to a false sense of security. If they have been living in your walls and breeding, then there could be a new batch of young too small to move around and be taken by your traps. Without any adults providing them food, they will die in the walls, emitting a foul odor which could take weeks to fully go away.

Your best chance of completely solving your rat problem is to hire the professionals at Critter Control. Rat infestations require experience, knowledge, skill, and patience. Countless rat removal jobs have equipped us to deal with infestations of any magnitude successfully. We are experts at inspecting houses, removing critters, sanitizing and repairing damaged areas, and preventing future issues. Take advantage of our free initial consultation offer by calling 954-467-6067.

Common DIY Animal Control Mistakes

With a wealth of information readily available to anyone with internet access, it is no surprise that the DIY craze has exploded recently. From learning how to make the dish at your favorite restaurant to fixing a car, the internet offers “how to” videos for almost everything. But, just because there’s a video teaching you how to do something doesn’t mean the information is accurate and helpful. One thing you can’t afford to get wrong is nuisance animal control – a poorly executed job can end up costing you money and putting you or the animal in harm’s way.

Here are a few of the most common mistakes that DIYers make when trying to get nuisance pests out of their homes.

Sealing Off the Home Before the Animal is Gone

You may have seen raccoon scurrying around in your attic, and, furious that the animal got in your house, you go on a hunt to discover how it got in. In your frustration, you close off all the gaps you can find on the exterior of your home.

But, this mistake can prove costly. Without the ability to get out of your house, the animal will likely starve to death and die in your attic. When this happens, the body will decay and give off horrible smells, in addition to becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. You never want to seal up your home until you are positive all the nuisance animals are gone.

Using Poison

While it may seem like the best option for solving your pest problem, poison is a terrible idea. Though it seems like a relatively hands-off, easy-fix solution, poison can quickly backfire on you. It is also illegal to use on many nuisance wildlife in Florida.

A pet or child might find the poison and ingest it, leaving you with a dangerous situation. Or, the animal might take the poisoned bait, only for it to scurry away back to its den in the walls and die there hours later. Then, you will be subject to a horrible stench for weeks without being able to find or reach the body of the animal. DIY poison placement is never a responsible or effective solution.

Forgetting to Deal with the Main Issue

The vast majority of DIYers and even some pest control services don’t completely grasp the whole issue. They will catch and remove nuisance animals from your home, and think the job is complete.

But, this is like dumping the water out of a sinking boat without plugging the hole in the bottom. The conditions which first drew the pest to your house remain the same. An exemplary professional animal removal service will not only help you take care of the pests in your house right now, but will also help you guard against future invaders as well. Removing the animal is only part of the solution – you also need to get rid of any attractants and re-fortify the exterior of the house to prevent them from easily regaining access.

The Best Animal Control Service in the Business

The difference between nuisance animal control experts and DIYers is vast. At Critter Control of Ft. Lauderdale, we use our years of experience to see what others don’t. We not only know the most effective and humane methods to remove pests, but we can also identify better than anyone else how the critters got into your house. But we don’t stop there – we can fix these structural weaknesses along with any damage and messes the animals left behind. See the Critter Control difference for yourself and call 954-467-6067 for a free consultation.

Rodent-Proofing Your Home

For many, the idea of rodents in their home is the stuff of nightmares. rodent proofing homeRodents like rats and mice are notorious home invaders, living alongside humans all over the world. They are especially problematic because they chew on housing structures and wires, contaminate food in the kitchen, leave excrement wherever they go, and make scuttling and squeaking noises at night. Though rodents can make their way into virtually any structure when motivated, there are things everyone can do to rodent-proof their home.

The key to rodent-proofing is simple: while you can’t necessarily make your home impenetrable, you can remove the desire of rodents for getting inside, which is the most effective prevention method possible.

Eliminate Food Sources

The number one attractant for rodents is food, so if you can eliminate alluring smells and easy meals, the critters won’t be drawn to your home. Here are the most common sources of food that attract rodents:

  • Bird feeders
  • Dog food kept outside or in the garage
  • Pungent garbage
  • Fruit trees

Even if all of these food sources are well-sealed, if they give off strong smells, rodents will be drawn to them. Getting rid of enticing smells of food is the first step to deterring potential rodent pests.

Removing Shelter Spaces

The other thing which could persuade rodents to stick around is an abundance of perfect rodent dens or shelters. Make sure none of the following spaces are available for curious rodents:

  • Open garages
  • Outdoor clutter/trash
  • Branch piles
  • Firewood piles
  • Overgrown trees/shrubs overhanging the house

Any cover rodents can find on the ground will entice them to make your house their home. They especially love big piles of clutter because these afford them plenty of space, protection, and concealment from natural predators and the weather. If they manage to find these spaces, they may get the idea to try to make it inside the house.

Sealing Up Gaps

Finally, don’t make it easy for a rat or mouse to stroll into your house. Shockingly, rodents can fit through any crack or gap in the house only a ¼” big, so your house may not be as secure as you think. Some of the most common spots rodents use to get inside homes include:

  • Gaps in garage door/side doors
  • Cracks in windows and frequently-used doors
  • Chimneys
  • Areas around pipes and air vents
  • Soffits and eaves
  • Attic vents

If there are any cracks or crevices in your home, you’ll want to seal those immediately. A rodent would much rather squeeze into your house than spend time gnawing its way in.

Even if you take all of these steps to make your home as least appealing as possible to potential rodent invaders, they could still chew their way in if they are motivated. When this happens, and you discover rodents in your home, don’t panic – call Critter Control of Ft. Lauderdale immediately. With decades of experience in nuisance animal control, we are the industry leaders in thorough, humane, professional rodent control. Time is of the essence in a rodent invasion, so call us today for your free consultation at 954-467-6067.

Did You Know Bat Extermination is Illegal?

Many people seek bat extermination once they identify a problem in their homes. However, killing bats or even forcefully removing them is illegal. Due to the importance of bats on the environment, they are a protected species. If you believe you may have a bat problem, it’s critical you reach out to professionals who know how to ethically and legally handle your issue.

Bat Risk Factors

Having a bat in your home can be incredibly stressful and dangerous for both your family and your home’s structure. The bats may use your attic or chimney as shelter and cause some damage in the process. The damage they leave in homes typically stems from their living habits, as they don’t normally chew holes or rip things apart.

Bat guano, or droppings, carry fungus spores for Histoplasmosis. If dry droppings are agitated, they can crumble and the spores release into the air.

In addition to the droppings, bat urine seeps through the insulation, particle board and ceilings in your home. It can cause some damage to the insulation, but also leave an awful smell. You’ll know urine is an issue if you smell a strong ammonia-like odor coming from your walls or ceiling.

Using a Professional

Because there are such hefty legal implications on bat treatment, we urge you to use a professional. After your free  consultation, we will develop a plan that works for your needs and repair any damage done due to the infestation. Give Critter Control® of Ft. Lauderdale a call at 954-467-6067 or contact us online for a fast, free estimate today.

How to Get Rid of Mice in the Walls

You may be thinking, “Did I just here a noise coming from inside my living room wall?” In all likelihood, there could be some mice making a nest there. Your house provides the best possible shelter for mice, and they can thrive with the safety, climate control, and nutrition it offers. Although inside walls may seem like a strange place for mice to live, it is actually perfect for them. Mice like dark, tight spaces to hunker down in the daytime because it makes them harder to find. It also makes them hard to remove, but it is not impossible to get rid of mice in your walls.

Know the Signs

First, it is important to identify that the critters living in your walls are in fact mice. Here are some clues which can help you nail down the culprit.

  • Sounds: small squeaking noises, tiny paws scuttling, faint scratching
  • Feces: small, oblong brown pellets
  • Tracks: front feet have 4 toes, and back feet have 5; will likely appear near entry point of the wall
  • Chew Marks: signs of gnawing on baseboards, drywall, or furniture
  • Smells: urine/feces odor near the walls, perhaps also the smell of dead mice trapped in the wall

By noticing one or more of these signs, you can determine if indeed the creatures living in your walls are mice, or maybe something larger.

Forming a Plan

Now that you’ve positively identified the mystery animals in your walls as mice, you must form a plan for getting the pests out of your home. Normally, this means betting that the mice come out of the walls at night in search of food. Many people will place traps along the wall where the mice reside, or in other places where they have noticed signs of mice activity. But, things can get complicated if it turns out that mice have died inside the walls – they need to be removed quickly to avoid horrible smelling odors, the spread of bacteria, and damage to the structure of your house.

The Total Mice Control Solution

If you have mice living in your walls, eradicating the pests, cleaning the mess, and repairing damage can be a gargantuan task. Let the experts at Critter Control® of Ft. Lauderdale take care of the problem for you. We know that each situation calls for a unique solution, and we are well-equipped to handle any mice infestation, no matter how severe. Call us today for a free consultation at 855-501-7119.