June 21st, 2009
This past week we switched phone companies at our office. This may sound simple but it turned out to be quite a project. Trying to coordinate the switching of phone numbers from one company to another was very frustrating. It took about 40 phone calls, 3 dozen emails and even a few faxes. As a result the phone system at our office was down for Thursday afternoon, all day Friday and all day Saturday as well. If you called during that time you either got a busy signal or a “this number is not in service” message. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. As of right now all our phones are back up and running.
In the field we’re seeing very large colonies of bats in the last few weeks. We’re also seeing juvenile bats in several different stages of development. This presents a very tricky situation. You must proceed with caution when doing any type of bat removal service this time of year. Being able to detect the prescence of a maternal bat colony inside of a structure is a skill that very few people have.
Calls for raccoons have started to dwindle as this year’s juvenile coons are now very large and traveling on their own. Just last week I found myself chasing 4 juvenile raccoons in a 110 degree attic.
I’ve also been training for this year’s Pann Mass Challenge. I haven’t had much time to ride but I have been running or doing some type of cardio just about every day. I did 70 miles on my road bike last weekend and felt really good. I’m planning on doing 4-5 more training rides on my road bike and i’m not worried about being physically ready for the ride. However with the recession and our country’s current economic crisis i’m finding that fundraising has been harder than in year’s past. I’m not doing very well to date and could really use some support. If you are able to put a few doallars towards a very worthy cause you can donate here - BatGuys 2009 PMC
May 7th, 2009
Since my last post (been way too long!) spring has arrived across our service area. I have evicted several female raccoons with juveniles from both chimneys and attics in the last 3 weeks.This year’s juvenile squirrels are now mobile and are big enough to leave the attic and forage on their own. These little guys have been showing up in our traps for the last 2 weeks or so. Calls for bats have also started to come in since the last blast of warm weather. Overall it seems like it’s a “late spring”. What I mean by that is- this year’s juvenile critters seem to have been born a few weeks later than normal.
As I mentioned in my last post I am riding in this year’s 2009 Pan Mass Challenge again. I have been training every day as I have been for months and despite a couple nagging injuries things are going well. I haven’t actually got on my bike yet (next week) but I have been running several miles each day and also training with weights. I’m planning on doing just 7-8 training rides this year. Last year I probably did 3 times as many training rides andgot a little burnt out. I enjoy cycling but i’d rather ride a mountain bike.
In the last 3 weeks i’ve lost two friends to cancer. My uncle Eddy died two weeks ago after a 5-6 year battle with the disease. Then last Saturday a member of a fishing organization that I belong to, John Grzesiak also died of cancer at the age of 34! The purpose of this ride really hits home when something like this happens. I have plenty of motivation to kick ass on this ride but to lose 2 people close to me within 3 weeks makes me angry.
Visit my PMC Page and use the EGIFT button in the right-hand column to donate to my fundraising campaign and help me kick cancer’s ass.
March 18th, 2009
Last year I wrote about some of the strange voicemail messages that are left on our answering machine. We get everything from people reporting domestic animal abuse to calls for injured seagulls to hilarious prank calls. I recently created a page on our website and uploaded a few of these voicemail messages so that all our visitors can enjoy them. The Crazy Voicemail page can be found here.
Besides that we are starting to see some signs of spring out in the field. Female raccoons are breaking into attics and chimneys looking for a safe place to give birth. We have also been trapping pregnant female squirrels on quite a few squirrel jobs as well. At this time we have yet to encounter any juvenile animals but it won’t be long before we do. I’m anxiously awaiting our first raccoon pups of 2009.
February 17th, 2009
I’ve signed up for my second annual Pan Mass Challenge. My 2008 ride was such a positive experience that I knew before I got off my bike that i’d be riding again in 2009. I raised over 5k in 2008 and I hope to surpass that amount in 2009.
Once again i’ll be accepting donations to my fundraising campaign. You can use the link below to make a donation.
2009 PMC Fundraising Campaign
January 5th, 2009
A couple weeks ago I was checking squirrel traps in Roslindale when a squirrel ran across the street in front of me and climbed a tree in my customer’s front yard. I noticed that the squirrel was carrying a large object. Once he got up to a branch I could see that it was a piece of pizza and he started eating it. Why eat nuts when you can have just dig a slice of pepperoni out of someone’s trash? Make sense.
The snow and ice have us pretty well shut down across most of our service area. It is impossible to safely work on roofs that are covered in ice and snow. We still get the same number of service calls in these conditions but we’re just not able to perform any work. Things are so slow that I’m sitting in my office writing about squirrels eating pizza.
November 24th, 2008
Since the arrival of the cold weather we have been inundated with calls for flying squirrels. These nocturnal critters have been keeping homeowners awake and driving them crazy all across our service area.
Last week I completed a flying squirrel removal service for a woman in Norton Ma. that asked me to trap the flying squirrels in her attic and then release them in the woods behind her house. I completed the job on Thursday afternoon and set over a dozen live-catch traps in her attic. This was a large colony of flying squirrels so I knew that I would have lots of them in my traps when I returned to check them on Friday morning. Knowing that I would have lots of squirrels and that I would be releasing them I brought my two year old son with me to check the traps on Friday morning. Flying squirrels are his favorite animals and I knew he would enjoy getting up close and personal with them.
Friday morning we returned to the attic to find 13 flying squirrels in the traps. A very good catch for one night. I transferred them all into two traps and we brought them out into the woods behind her house. One by one we released the flying squirrels back into the wild. Kyle was amazed to see them bolt out of the trap. Some stopped immediately and started drinking rain water from the tops of the leaves on the forest floor while others ran for the safety of the trees. Once in the trees several squirrels jumped and glided from tree to tree. I was fortunate to get a couple of decent photos of them in flight. We spent about 45 minutes releasing the squirrels and watching them in the trees. A very enjoyable experience for us both.
October 19th, 2008
It’s been way too long since my last entry. Since mid-september the calls for squirrels have been coming in steadily as the first blast of cold weather sends them looking for a warm place to reside for the winter. One call in particular turned out to be VERY interesting. A man called last week and told me that he had a squirrel in his fireplace that he’d like to have removed. Nothing unordinary about that, it happens all the time. However when I asked him how long the squirrel had been in his fireplace he responded “since last November”.
This is where it gets interesting. About this time last year this squirrel fell down their chimney, past the damper and ended up behind the glass doors inside their fireplace. After seeing it scratching on the glass doors they thought that it must be hungry so they got it some peanuts and even a bowl of water. The squirrel then disappeared back up into the chimney. The following night the squirrel appeared in the fireplace and began scratching on the glass doors again. So once again the homeowner gave the squirrel some more peanuts and filled it’s water bowl. This cycle went on and on over the last year. Each day the squirrel would scratch on the glass doors and the homeowner would feed it. During this time they weren’t quite sure if the squirrel was leaving the chimney or not but they kept feeding it and even enjoyed seeing it appear every night. Finally they decided that they were going to use their fireplace this year and that the squirrel would have to be evicted so they called us.
Mike went out and inspected the situation. He found that the inside of the chimney in which the squirrel was residing had a ceramic liner (which makes it impossible for a squirrel to climb) and it was also full of cobwebs. He concluded that there was absolutly no way that the squirrel was leaving the chimney and that it had indeed been living inside this chimney/fireplace for almost a year. There was also a pile of peanut shells inside the fireplace that was about 5 inches high from all the peanuts that the squirrel had eaten over the last year. I don’t have a picture of any of this because Mike is a dufus and never thinks to take out his camera that I spent $500 on and he never, ever uses.
He ended up trapping the squirrel and releasing it in the yard. The poor squirrel is probably in terrible shape after a year of very little physical activity. It now has to get back to foraging for it’s own food and acting more like a wild squirrel.
One more strange story for the “now i’ve seen it all” pile.
September 12th, 2008
I had a very amusing incident take place this morning. I was inspecting a house for a family that had a bat flying around their living room last night. I found the bat and brought it out to my van in the driveway. I couldn’t find the container that I usually put bats in so I temporarily put him inside a Dunkin Donuts bag, put the bag inside my van and then went back inside to finish inspecting the house. 30 minutes later I finished the inspection, got in my van and started to drive to my next appointment. I was driving down the road when all of a sudden the bat swoops within an inch of my face. It somehow made it’s way out of the bag and was flying around inside my van while I was driving! I pulled over, grabbed my camera and took a couple pictures of it flying around before I caught the little guy and put him in an appropriate container. Definitely caught me by surprise. I guess I understand how my customers feel when they wake up to them flying around their bedrooms.
I guess there’s a first time for everything.
August 23rd, 2008
A couple weeks back I was contacted by channel 4 news in regards to a story they wanted to do about bats in houses. They wanted to meet me at one of the jobs I was doing to do an interview. I agreed and they arrived within an hour of the initial phone call. I even put them in touch one of my customers, a very nice woman that I had done a large project for last year.
Bat Story Look for the video in the top-right corner. Click the small thumbnail with me standing on a ladder, watch the 10 second commercial and then, and only then can you watch the video.
I have been on the news 5 or 6 times in recent years and i’ve been interviewed on everything from bats to skunks to flying squirrels. One thing i’ve learned from all these interviews is that the news reporter’s one and only goal is to get you to say something stupid. Once you’ve done that they pack up their cameras and hit the road. During this recent interview they kept firing away with questions about bats. I described in great detail how the bat exclusion process works, bat reproduction and biology, the problems that bats create for homeowners etc etc. While answering all these questions I actually kept it together, I didn’t say anything stupid and I must say that I sounded very professional for once. Then I screwed up. The reporter asked me about bats getting into the living space of houses and I said “They drop down from the attics into living spaces and chaos ensues,”. Before I was even done saying I said to myself “That’s the one that’ll be on the news” and I was right. Once I said that line they packed it up and left. If these people were to speak the truth the inital phone call would go something like this:
Reporter: Hello Mr Grady. I’m calling to see if you would agree to do an interview for us this afternoon. The story will be on tonight’s news.
Me: What will the story be about?
Reporter: Well the story is about bats in houses but we’re really just going to fire away with a bunch of random questions untill you slip up and say something stupid.
Me: Excuse me?
Reporter: Yes that’s right. We’re going to ask a bunch of technical questions on every aspect of bats and bat biology. You’ll provide answers to our questions. This will go on untill you say something foolish that we can put on the news. Once you’ve done that one of our guys will say “We got it, that’s a wrap”. We’ll then jump in our news van and take off.
Oh well. I’m not bitter about it. I just wish that the story would have been more informative. I guess I have to realize that this was the local news station and not National Geographic.
August 19th, 2008
August has always been my favorite month of the year. The weather is warm, the bats are active and the tuna fishing can’t be beat. I wish the month of August would last all year long. I wouldn’t care if I ever saw snow again.
Since my last blog post I traveled to Jamaica for my sister’s wedding and completed my first Pan Mass Challenge. The actual wedding in Jamaica was great but other than that I didn’t care for the place. I guess it’s ok if you enjoy laying on the beach drinking all day but that’s just not me. The PMC on the other hand was excellent. I had a great time and I can tell that it’s something that i’ll always be involved in. I’d like to thank everyone that donated to my fundraising campaign. I raised about $5000 for the Jimmy Fund (not done yet). A big chunk of that came from my customers and other animal removal companies in the industry. You know it’s a good cause when your competitors contribute money to help! I wrote a short story about my experience on the ride. It can be found here - 2008 PMC Story
My Friend Jeff and I also managed to catch 3 big tuna on my boat this past Saturday. Did I mention bats? Since mid-July we have been inundated with calls for bats. So much that we haven’t been able to help everyone that has called us. I apologize for this but we are a very small company and can only handle so many calls at any given time. If we can’t help in a timely manner I can usually provide you with a referral.
I actually have to cut this short to go remove a bat from a bathroom right now.