Posts Tagged ‘wildlife removal’

Vampire Bats Can Donate Blood To Others Of Its Kind

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Vampire Bats Can Donate Blood To Others Of Its Kind

A recent study has shown that female vampire bats can share blood with their friends. Bats are amazingly altruistic creatures. Bats are known for being socially sophisticated mammals, but they are probably even more generous to those in need than you are. Vampire bats have a particularly bad reputation because people think that these bats would love to drink their blood. However, vampire bats don’t consume human blood, and the blood they do take from other animal-hosts is in such small amounts that the animal hosts don’t even realized that they are being robbed of their blood. Female vampire bats form a tight community. During the colder months, female vampire bats will keep other bats warm with their body heat. Female vampire bats will also help other females care for their young. But only recently have experts learned that they share blood.

If a female vampire bat should be hungry, and/or does not have enough food, then other female vampire bats will regurgitate blood into the mouths of other starving females. I guess if it is hungry enough, then it will eat anything. Some females are more altruistic or more selfish than other females. Some females are ready to share their resources, but others are stingy with their resources. If a female bat within a community is known for being selfish, then other female bats will avoid sharing any of their food with her. Experts believe that this behavior reinforces altruistic behavior. Helping other female vampire bats in need is more important than letting other female vampire bats die. Eventually, after being denied help when they need it, selfish female bats will learn to be more giving, or else run the risk of being ignored by the group. Within the community female vampire bats, they can only survive if they help others.

Have you ever witnessed animals demonstrating altruistic behavior?

Why You Should Never Have a Raccoon as a Pet

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Raccoons don’t normally come to mind when I think of animals people keep as pets, but apparently a number of people out there think that having a raccoon for a pet would be fun. Let me stop you right where you are, and tell you that is a very bad idea, so just forget about it immediately. There are numerous reasons why no one should have a wild animal, let alone a raccoon, as a pet. Raccoons are definitely wild animals, and even if they are “tamed” they still retain many of those wild instincts, and require very high maintenance and an experienced, knowledgeable guardian. This is not like your average house cat by any stretch of the imagination.

You cannot cage a wild animal, as that is just inhumane, but on the other side, letting a pet raccoon just roam around your house is a very bad idea. They are very destructive and unpredictable around humans as well as other pets. They are also extremely hard to house train, so you would most likely end up with one just doing their smelly business all around your home. They are also notorious for biting, which means you’ve got a serious medical and insurance liability on your hands at all times. Aside from all of this, where are you going to take them to the vet or when you want to go away on vacation? Not many vets are trained to treat raccoons, and you are going to have a very hard time finding a raccoon babysitter. These little bandits need constant attention and care, and will play their own little tricks on you like repotting all of your houseplants, stripping your bed sheets, or removing all of the buttons from the jacket you foolishly left lying around. Are you starting to get the picture? Don’t try to have a raccoon as a pet. It just doesn’t work out no matter how you look at it.

Have you ever considered or has a friend considered having a wild animal as a pet? How did that work out?

Wildlife Removal

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Nuisance Wildlife 101

A guide to identifying common wild animal invaders

 

wildlife101While they might seem cute and cuddly scampering about in the great outdoors, wildlife presents a unique set of dangers if they try to make their homes inside ours. It can be very unnerving to discover wildlife in your home because one raccoon is a lot bigger than one ant, and animals can be more aggressive if they are frightened or feel threatened while trapped in an unfamiliar environment.

While many common pest-proofing techniques will keep out wildlife pests as well as insect pests, you should take several additional precautions to be sure your home is not attractive to wildlife. Opossums and raccoons can be attracted to garbage, so keeping trash in sealed bags and disposing of it regularly will reduce the chance that pests raid your garage or garbage cans. And cutting back tree limbs from the roofline is a good step to discourage squirrels from getting access to the attic.

Even when following steps to prevent wildlife, it is important to look for signs of a possible intrusion. These pests tend to be more of an issue in fall and winter as the animals search for a place to stay warm over the winter. Gnaw marks on wires, insulation, or walls, feces in the attic or garage and scurrying sounds in the walls can all be indicators of a wildlife pest infestation. Here is a guide to some of the most common critters that bother homeowners:

Bats

Bat

  • Appearance: Bats have hairy bodies and can vary in color from tan to black. They have four appendages. The front two are used as wings and all four are used for crawling. Different species are different sizes but the average adult bat is 2 3/16” to 7 ½” (5.5cm – 18.8 cm) in length with a wingspan anywhere from 6-15” (15.2cm – 38 cm).
  • Region: Bats occur throughout the U.S. except in colder regions where tree growth is limited.
  • Habitat: Where bats prefer to roost depends on the species, but all enjoy dark, secluded and protected areas that can include attics, churches, tree cavities or caves.
  • Threats: Having bats in a structure can pose several serious health threats to humans. Bats are known carriers of rabies in the U.S. and can infect other animals and humans. It is important to seek medical attention if you’ve had any unprotected contact with a bat. Bat droppings can also cause disease such as histoplasmosis, and bat mites and bat bugs may become common in a home with an infestation.
  • Unique fact: In many states, bats are protected mammals. Check with animal control or your local wildlife service for any regulations before bat-proofing your home.

Opossums

opossum

  • Appearance: Opossums are white or grey with a pointed face, hairless ears, and a rat-like tail. They can grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat.
  • Region: They are commonly found in the eastern, central and west coast regions of the U.S.
  • Habitat: Opossums prefer to make their homes near streams or swamps, but they can live in many areas including arid climates, woods and open fields. They are known to take shelter in the burrows of other animals and are commonly found in tree cavities and brush piles.
  • Threats: If an opossum makes its nest in your in attic or garage, it can get very messy. They can also destroy poultry, game birds and their nests. In rare cases they may bite if threatened.
  • Unique fact: When startled, opossums will bare their teeth and hiss.

Raccoons

  • raccoonAppearance: Raccoons are black and gray and known for the black “mask” over their eyes. They are very furry and have a ringed pattern on their tail. Fully grown, a raccoon can be about 2-3 feet in length.
  • Region: They are found in all regions of the U.S.
  • Habitat: Raccoons are common in forested areas with access to a water source, but they can also be found in fields near livestock watering areas. They build dens in a variety of places including hollow trees, ground burrows, brush piles, barns, haystacks or rock crevices
  • Threats: Raccoons are one of the major hosts of rabies in the U.S. They are especially a threat in areas where their populations are growing like the eastern part of the country. They are also known to raid garages and garbage cans left by the street in search of food. Damage to roofs and chimneys can be caused by raccoons searching for a place to build their den.
  • Unique fact: Raccoons are very intelligent and have a very highly developed sense of touch.

Tree Squirrels

  • squirrelAppearance: Squirrel populations in different regions vary in their coloring and can be whitish, gray, yellow, red, brown, or even black. They have a long furry body with a bushy tail and can be 6-15” tall. A squirrel’s tail can be just as long as its body.
  • Region: Squirrels are found in all regions of the Unites States.
  • Habitat: In the summer, squirrels will likely nest in tree cavities or build nests in branches. They may overwinter in tree holes but are also known for invading homes and structures looking for a place to keep warm.
  • Threats: All tree squirrels are considered pests because they frequently enter attics in the winter, but they rarely pose a health threat to homeowners. Outdoors, these squirrels can damage electrical wires and telephone lines.
  • Unique fact: Some squirrel populations have adapted to living in urban environments and are often the only wild animals, besides birds, that some people ever see.

Wondering how to properly handle a nuisance wildlife problem? These animals can carry disease and may cause physical harm, so removal should be handled only by a pest professional with the proper protective gear and training.

A HIDDEN DANGER IN THE HOME

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

COCKROACHES: A HIDDEN DANGER IN THE HOME

Cockroaches are more than just a household nuisance; they are also significant danger in the home. Bug Busters warns that cockroaches can pose a health threat to humans by spreading many different types of bacteria that can increase asthma and allergy symptoms, especially in children.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that cockroaches are known to spread diseases like Salmonella by picking up germs on the spines of their legs. Furthermore, their saliva and droppings contain allergen proteins known to cause allergy flare-ups and increase asthma symptoms.

“During the colder months, the threat for accumulated cockroach allergens is elevated because people spend more time indoors, thus increasing their chances of encountering cockroaches,” said Court Parker, COO at Bug Busters USA. “Since the temperatures are still dropping in certain regions across the country, it’s not too late for homeowners to take preventative measures to keep cockroaches out of the home.”

NPMA experts advise homeowners that cockroaches prefer warm, moist places with available food sources, so it’s important to eliminate those attractive environments. Homeowners should pay special attention to kitchens and bathrooms — especially under appliances and sinks — as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations. In addition, homeowners should vacuum frequently, and keep counters and floors clean at all times.

“If a cockroach infestation is suspected, a licensed pest professional will properly identify what species is present and recommend the best course of treatment,” added Parker.

For more information on cockroaches, please visit www.bugbustersusa.com

Squirrel Birth Control

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Facing a banner year for gray squirrels across the U.S., researchers are pulling out all the stops in their struggle to trim the tree dwellers’ numbers—even contraception.

Due to a warm winter and a resulting boom in nuts, the small mammals’ population is spiking, especially on the East Coast, in the Northeast, and in the Midwest. But despite their cute exterior, the animals can wreak havoc on their surroundings, devouring farmers’ crops, chewing into building wires, and stripping bark—damaging, if not killing, trees outright.

To halt the growth, birth control is the best option. But no squirrel is willing to take a daily pill, and no IUD is small enough. So how do you put a squirrel on birth control?

Thanks to decades of contraceptive research for species such as white-tailed deer, squirrel managers have two options. They can use vaccines to stop the rodents from making sex hormones. Or they can lower the squirrels’ cholesterol, the molecule from which sex hormones are made.

The major perk of vaccination is that a single injection does the job and lasts for years.

“But you have to spend time catching the squirrels, and it’s hard on them to be handled,” said Christi Yoder, a former researcher at the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. Plus, at $50-plus per squirrel—including labor and dose—vaccination is expensive.

(Related: “Birth Control for Kangaroos: Scientists’ Population Control Plan.”)

Sunflower Seeds With a Kick in the Nuts

That leaves option two: tempting squirrels with contraception-laced goodies. That’s exactly the route researchers at South Carolina’s Clemson University are taking with a cholesterol-lowering drug called DiazaCon.

Before testing the medication on campus squirrels, the team spent a year “capturing squirrels, drawing blood, [and] running bloodwork to see when hormone levels were at their peak,” said Greg Yarrow, chair of the university’s Division of Natural Resources.

The work isn’t purely scientific: Yarrow’s campus is in the throes of a nearly decade-long struggle with squirrels, and has already lost more than a hundred trees and over a million dollars in tree planting, care, and removal costs to the chew-happy rodents.

This year, the scientists began offering DiazaCon-coated black sunflower seeds—a squirrel favorite—at 16 campus feeders accessible only to gray squirrels. The drug’s been tested in lab squirrels, but this is the first time it’s been used in wild squirrels.

While the seeds aren’t exactly the same as untreated seeds—they’re pink because they contain dye and probably taste just a bit sweeter—the squirrels “don’t seem to mind,” said project leader Kristina Dunn, a graduate student of Yarrow’s.

“I’ve seen them sitting there just eating, eating, eating” the treated seeds, Dunn said.

Squirrels in the Pink

The team will continue the treatment through another year, gathering reams of behavioral and biological information as they go. At the end, they’ll assess how well the treatment worked, and whether any side effects turned up in squirrels or their predators. (Also see “New Sex Hormone Found—May Lead to Male Birth Control?”)

Most of the work will be tedious data collection—but the researchers did build themselves one shortcut.

Mixed in with the DiazaCon coating is a nontoxic dye that, once inside the body, stains the squirrels’ bellies pink—making it easy to identify treated squirrels at a glance.

“But we have all these pink squirrels on campus now. We should’ve made it orange to match the Clemson colors,” he quipped.

Wildlife Control and Removal

Atlanta Wildlife Removal

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Atlanta Wildlife Removal

Invasive Species Cause Serious Damage to Homes and the Environment

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Invasive Species Cause Serious Damage to Homes and the Environment

National Pest Management Association Reports an Increase in Insects of Foreign Origin

Invasive species, or insects of foreign origin, have increased in population and are causing serious problems for American homeowners.  According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), homeowners nationwide should remain vigilant to ensure protection against invasive insects – specifically Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) and Formosan Termites.

Homeowners should especially be aware of RIFAs, who set up quarters between boards and timbers, in cracks on concrete walls and belongings in homes.  They arrived in the United States in the 1930s and have progressively spread across the South and into parts of California and other western states.  RIFAs bite humans with their powerful jaws and sting repeatedly causing itchy blisters that can become infected.

Another prominent invasive insect is the Formosan Termite. This species entered the U.S. through military cargo shipments from East Asia after World War II.  They pose a greater threat than their native counterparts because they form larger colonies and tend to be more aggressive, thus consuming more wood at a much faster rate.  Formosan Termites are heavy contributors to the $5 billion in U.S. annual property damage caused by all species of termites.

Bug Busters USA recommends that homeowners consult a qualified pest professional to inspect the property and prescribe necessary treatments to keep their family healthy and their home safe. For more information on invasive insects and other pest issues, please visit www.pestworld.org and www.bugbustersusa.com.