Rats, mice, bats, tree squirrels, raccoons, opossums, flying squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, pigeons, starlings, sparrows and snakes are all creatures of the wild with their own specific place in the natural order of things.
They are fine as long as they stay out there and do their wildlife thing.
The problem is that once they enter a Pittsburgh residence or commercial building in search of food and shelter, the equation changes.
They become a health hazard in addition to a nuisance.
Once inside, they chew on wires which can cause fires, destroy property and landscaping, eat drywall and in some cases, carry rabies as well.
Although do-it-yourself folk remedies, including certain plants, do work with some pests, they are not that effective when it comes to repelling wildlife.
It is best to use the services of a tried and true pest-control and pest-maintenance company such as those we offer.
One vital tenet in wildlife solutions involves a focus on removal from the premises rather than annihilation.
This is not just out of kindness, as elimination can result in dead animals that are trapped inside walls and crawl spaces, which are difficult, if not impossible, to access.
Exclusionary strategies are usually employed by professionals who know where to look and the best approach to take for each type of wildlife threat.
Pittsburgh Pests That Are Considered Wildlife
The following is a list of wildlife categories and a bit on each in terms of the specific problems they present as well as our pest removal strategies.
Bat infestations are very common in the state of Pennsylvania, and their urine and droppings, which are known as guano and have high levels of uric acid, can damage and degrade the structure of homes, causing corrosion, wood decay, and staining.
The acids damage the protective patina on both copper and bronze and affect the bonding elements of stone and concrete. According to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), harming bats is illegal in most states.
Before having bats removed, check with state regulations and make sure the chosen pest -maintenance and pest-control company adheres to these regulations. Bats are integral to a healthy ecosystem because they eat insects.
They need protection because they tend to have low reproductive rates and they must be removed humanely using sustainable exclusionary strategies.
They are playful critters that are often fun to behold, and while they don’t actually damage property, chipmunks can injure ornamental plants when they are harvesting fruits and nuts.
They sometimes dig up and eat spring flowering bulbs and burrow in flower beds or under sidewalks and porches.
They are not vectors of disease, as are other rodent species, but they are not desirable around landscaping and gardens and need to be trapped and released humanely by experts such as our technicians at Pestco.
Groundhogs usually seek shelter under sheds and garages.
They damage fruit and ornamental trees by gnawing and scratching, and the entrance holes to their burrows can pose a danger to humans and horses because they are not clearly visible and they can unknowingly step inside and break an ankle or leg.
Groundhogs also carry fleas and ticks, which transmit Lyme disease and Powassan to both humans and pets.
If not properly controlled, they can cause serious structural damage when burrowing, as their tunnels en masse have been known to break apart building foundations.
These critters are not known to be aggressive, but they will bar their impressive set of fifty teeth if provoked.
If they should bite, it can be a nasty one.
They are vectors of dangerous pathogens that cause some serious diseases, such as: tuberculosis, leptospirosis, spotted fever, coccidiosis, tularemia, toxoplasmosis and others, although their transmission is rare.
Opossums are attracted to people’s houses and yards in their quest for food and water.
They will also seek out places where they can establish dens, like under porches or in attics.
Pigeons are often found around farm yards, grain elevators, feed mills, parks, city buildings, bridges, and other areas that provide shelter and nesting sites.
Large quantities of their droppings have been known to kill vegetation.
In modern times, the pigeon is probably the most serious bird pest associated with humans and their homes.
Although the presence of pigeons is also linked to the transmission of a number of diseases including: pigeon ornithosis, encephalitis, salmonella food poisoning, and others, the actual number of incidents concerning transmission is difficult to assess due to a lack of reports concerning outbreaks.
It is known, however, that if pigeon manure is permitted to accumulate, over the course of a few years, it can be a factor in the transmission of histoplasmosis, a systemic fungus disease that affects the human respiratory tract.
Pigeons can even be a threat to human safety around airports, where flocks can and occasionally do collide with aircraft and cause fatalities.
These pests seek out one location, which serves as a toilet for all.
Their feces are vectors of roundworm larvae, which are toxic to humans.
Home owners should avoid cleaning up raccoon waste and contact Pestco specialists immediately if they find one of their latrines in their yard.
Scratching in the walls or attic of a home can indicate an infestation of raccoons (or squirrels).
They very quickly can cause serious damage to walls and wires.
Rats And Mice
Rats and mice are known to cause structural damage to homes, apartments, offices and any other kind of structure that impedes their ingress.
They do this by gnawing, building nests and defecating on anything they come across.
They also destroy packaged foods, clothing, books, wood, paintings, paper and furniture.
Although a single mouse eats only about three grams of food per day, it is estimated that it contaminates and destroys 10 times more food than it consumes.
An infestation must be treated professionally by the expert pest-control and pest-maintenance technicians.
The front claws Mother Nature bestows upon skunks allow them to build burrows and tunnels under buildings, sheds, decks, and concrete foundations, which endanger the structures of homes and businesses and cause enormous damage to property and landscaping.
Skunks also eat poultry eggs, decimate greenery enclosures, rip through decorative plants and inflict great harm to apiaries.
The removal of snakes from an affected property can be very tricky and should always be done with extreme caution and only by qualified pest removal professionals.
Many venomous species look similar to those that are harmless, and knowing the difference can be a matter of life and death.
Most states require home owners to contact the local park and wildlife department prior to attempting snake removal or relocation.
Squirrels can enter a domicile or commercial building via the tiniest of openings.
Once inside, they are known to chew their way through roof shingles, house siding, and anything else blocking their ingress.
In attics, squirrels gnaw on the wiring and unity lines in the walls.
They destroy furniture, pantries, decimate food supplies and ruin gardens and landscaping in search of food.
Flying Squirrels can also do considerable damage to exterior trim and siding because they are known to create or widen entryways in their attempts to get inside.
They congregate in attics and wall voids and cause considerable damage by tearing up the insulation in walls, chewing on electrical wiring, and spreading malodors throughout a home with their urine and droppings.
Starlings and Sparrows
Neither of these bird species are native to North America nor do they have any natural predators, which makes their presence problematic.
Large sparrow and starling populations can adversely affect human health and safety.
House sparrows are known to be very aggressive and cause significant havoc in gardens where they displace more beneficial songbirds.
Their nests are often built in, on, or near buildings, where they become fire hazards.
Sparrow droppings not only deface and damage structures and are difficult to remove, they also carry and spread the West Nile virus.
Starlings prefer to feed on other larvae, but they will also consume seeds, tree fruits, trash and spilled foods.
5 Things To Know About Wildlife Removal
1. A Permit May Be Necessary
Certain animals, including skunks, raccoons, squirrels and even snakes, are considered eligible for protection, while others are not.
The state of Pennsylvania, for example, has removed protections from wildlife that appear sick or diseased, pose a risk to humans or livestock or cause damage to property.
Only the property owner or a licensed professional can remove wildlife that falls into these categories, and there are still specific rules to be followed in the removal and disposal of these wild animals.
2. Laws Protect Nuisance Animals
Even with a nuisance animal removal permit, there are still specific restrictions when trapping or removing wildlife.
In the state of Illinois, before skunks and raccoons cam be removed from a property a home owner must prove that they present a threat to human health or safety.
Skunks must be euthanized by a licensed professional, and raccoons can only be released on the same property in which they were trapped.
3. Releasing Wildlife on Government Land Is Illegal
Most states have laws prohibiting the release of wildlife on federal, state or local government lands.
It is also illegal to release animals on property owned by other people. The nearest city, state or national park is not a legal site to release wildlife, even though it may seem to be.
4. Wildlife Is Not For Sale
Most states have laws preventing citizens from keeping, selling or giving away wildlife caught on a private property.
All animals must be either released to an approved location or euthanized by pest-control and pest-maintenance specialists.
5. Wildlife Found Indoors Should Be Excluded RatherThan Eliminated
Wildlife exclusionary measures should only be attempted by professionals who attend monthly seminars to keep them abreast of new strategies and solutions.
Pesticides are used sparingly and only as a last resort.
Call Pestco For Your Pittsburgh Wildlife Removal Needs!
While the cost of wildlife control can vary by location, size of home, type of wildlife pest and other related factors, for Pittsburgh home owners, the friendly, economical and most effective solutions are those we offer.
We are a five-star, family-run company that has been in continuous operation since the late 1940s, and we offer customized service plans and guarantee results.
Call our teams today and find out how you can remove wildlife from your private property humanely and at a cost that is affordable!
Final Thought About Wildlife: The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans. ~ Jim Fowler
Photo Credits: Pixabay