Ask the Wildlife Expert!
BatGuys "Ask the Wildlife Expert" was created to provide free advice for homeowners who are having problems with urban or suburban wildlife. Here's how it works:
- Send an email to AsktheExpert@BatGuys.com that explains the details of your problem.
- While I can't guarantee that I will respond to every email, I will make an effort to do so.
- If the subject of the email is interesting and I think that other visitors may have the same problem and can learn from it I will post it on this page in the format shown below.
I will then catalog these pages to create a running archive of questions from real homeowners and answers from a qualified expert in the field of Wildlife Control. Hopefully this will become a great resource for people that have relatively simple animal problems as they will be able to visit this website and find solutions to their problems. Questions that are more complex and that require a professional will be answered privately and we may also offer free inspections for those that are located in our service area.
Ask the Wildlife Expert!
October 6th, 2006
Subject: Bat Control
I am currently in the market for a new home. My husband and I were shown a beautiful 4 bedroom colonial in Melrose Massachusetts last week. In the home inspection report it made mention of "small amounts" of bat guano in the attic of the home. When we spoke to the sellers and they said that they had a company come out to get rid of the bats 3 years ago but they did not have any paperwork to present to us. I'm wondering if this is a big problem to fix? I don't want to have to deal with a bat problem in a new house! What services are available in this situation? How can we be sure that they're gone?
Marilyn, Boston MA
Three years is a long time to go without a follow-up inspection of the house. Even if they did have the paperwork from the previous company I would still suggest getting an independent inspection before buying the house. The service that we would provide in this situation is a complete inspection of the home to determine the presence of bats. By conducting an interior and exterior inspection of the structure I could tell you with 100% certainty if there are currently bats occupying the attic-space or any other voids in the roofline of the house. If no bats are found in the house I would provide you with a detailed inspection report stating that the house is bat-free. If I do find bats in the house I will provide you with a written quote for the removal and exclusion of the existing bats and also the detailed inspection report. This inspection report allows you to purchase the home knowing that bats are not an issue or to negotiate the price of the bat removal/exclusion service with the sellers. I charge a one-time flat-rate fee for these inspection services.
On a side-note it surprises me to hear that the home inspector found the bat guano. Most inspectors do not list bat guano on their reports and seldom make mention of it.
Good Luck and let me know if I can be of any help!
September 20th, 2006
Subject: Skunk Removal
During the winter months I had a small kids pool that I had flipped over in my backyard. Before long a family of skunks started using it as a home. I didn't mind because they didn't cause any trouble and my dog seemed to know enough to stay away from them. Well, about two weeks ago my dog got sprayed in the backyard as she was sniffing around the pool. I washed the dog 4 or 5 times and I cannot seem to get the smell off of her! Can you give me any suggestions to help get the skunk smell off my dog?
Also, I flipped over the kids pool (and ran like crazy) and the skunks are now gone but the kid's pool also smells like skunk. I filled it with water last Saturday so the kids could swim and they refused to go in because of the smell! Help!
Jeanie, East Providence R.I.
For the dog you should try a product called "Nature's Miracle" skunk deodorizer. It is made especially for dogs that have been sprayed by skunks and is available at most pet stores. It is in a white bottle with red lettering. Keep in mind that it may take 3 or 4 washes to get rid of the odor on the dog and even then you may get a slight lingering odor on the dog for quite a while after.
As for the pool I will direct you to an image that my friend and fellow wildlife control operator David from Orlando created:
Mix up these ingredients (it will create a paste-like substance) and apply it generously to the pool and it will take care of the skunk odor. If it wasn't for the hydrogen peroxide I would suggest that you wash the dog in this solution also.
Good Luck with the Odors!
September 9th, 2006
Subject: Bat Guano Removal
I recently installed a bat house that I bought from a company I found on the internet. I have read that putting some fresh bat guano in the bat house will help attract bats and get them to start using my bat house. I saw your ad in the yellow pages and then I saw on your website that you provide bat guano removal services. Is there any way that you could give me or even sell me some bat guano for my bat house?
Cheri, Woonsocket R.I.
You'd be surprised at how often I am asked to sell bat guano. I get a lot of phone calls and emails from people that are in the same situation as you. Some people even want it to fertilize their gardens. Installing a bat house on your property is a great idea and is also a fun project for the family. Attracting bats to a bat house is definitely an art and there are a lot of good articles written on the subject. With that said I have always thought that proper installation and positioning is far more important that adding bat guano to your bat house. However I do not have the proper licensing or insurance to sell bat guano. If it were not for the legal implications of the matter I would give it away and I certainly wouldn't charge people for it. The problem lies with the fact that bat guano is very dangerous to humans when it is ingested. Dried guano causes a severe respiratory infection when the small particles are inhaled and I've also read that ingesting bat guano can have terrible consequences as well. With that said I realize that you have no plans to eat it or breathe it in but I could not take the risk. A search for Bat Guano brings up several companies selling foreign bat guano. I'm not sure how our native bats would react to guano from another species of bats.
Sorry I couldn't be more help and good luck with your bat house!
July 29th, 2006
Subject: Woodchuck trapping
I have woodchucks in my woods. They're coming into my yard to eat from my garden. Do you trap woodchucks? If so how much does it cost to have it done?
Ken, Westford MA
I do not trap woodchucks in the situation you described. Free-roaming woodchucks are difficult to trap and even when you do trap one there will most likely be lots more that still remain. Let me suggest another solution. How big is your garden? If it is not too big it will be much more cost-effective to put up a temporary fence around your garden. I'd suggest a couple rolls of hardware cloth from the fence section of Home Depot (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch holes and a 2 foot by 50 foot roll will work). Install the hardware cloth much like a miniature fence around the perimeter of the garden. Use stakes every 4-6 feet and then attach the hardware cloth to the stakes. Be sure to bring the hardware cloth right to the ground or even bury it in the ground a few inches. Once complete the woodchucks will not be able to get at your precious vegetables. This should cost you about $100 in materials. Far less than a trapping service will much longer-lasting results.
June 11th, 2006
Subject: Mice Removal
I seem to get 4 or 5 mice in my house every fall. As soon as the nights get cold is when they seem to show up. I am considering buying one of those "ultrasonic sound emitting devices" to try to keep them from coming back this fall. I wanted to ask your opinion on these devices. Do they really work?
Stephen, Lincoln R.I.
Ah the "ultrasonic pest controllers". Boy have I seen a lot of these things in the field. I'll point you to the Federal Trade Commission of the United States for the answer to this question http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2001/05/fyi0128.htm. You can see on that page that the FTC calls these devices fraudulent and that there have been NO studies that show that these devices have any effect at all on animals.
I'd suggest that you try to locate the openings that the mice are using to gain access to your house and seal them before the fall gets here. Get yourself some good old fashioned mouse traps and set them in advance this year. If the mice do get back into the house you will likely catch them in the traps on the day that they arrive. You can solve your entire problem for about $3.99 per year for 1/2 dozen mouse-traps.
May 17th, 2006
Subject: Woodpecker driving me crazy!
Do you guys do anything for birds? I have a woodpecker that has ruined the fascia-boards on the left side of my house. He is out there in the early morning hours and then again right before it gets dark. I already have a contractor lined up to replace the damaged boards. I need to get rid of this bird so that it doesn't damage the new wood once its installed. Can we trap this bird? Is there anything you can do to help me?
Donna, Bolton MA
Woodpeckers are indeed tough to deal with. They are a federally protected bird. In order to trap a woodpecker you must go through a lengthy permit process that literally takes months to complete. Then if you meet all the correct requirements they will issue you a permit to kill one woodpecker. By this time at least two months has passed, the bird has already ruined your home and is long gone. I'm pretty sure they do this on purpose to further protect the bird.
However I have found something that works very well. A little-known fact is that woodpeckers are scared to death of spiders. (I've read that the reasoning for this goes back to medieval times but I'm not sure I believe it) A few well-placed giant Halloween spiders will usually scare off the most determined woodpeckers. For an average-sized house you will need 5 or 6 spiders. Staple the spiders to the areas that the woodpecker is damaging and be sure to spread them out evenly. Once this is done the woodpeckers won't go anywhere near these areas. I have used this technique 4 times and it has worked flawlessly every time. You can buy these spiders at most costume-supply companies. A Google search for "Halloween Spiders" should bring up a few places to buy them.
** Credit for this tip is given to Kirk LaPierre, a fellow wildlife pperator from Rutherford NJ who taught me the woodpecker/spider trick a few years ago **