post

Get Rid of Rats

Rats are small, warm-blooded rodents. They can be found almost everywhere in the world; however, the two most commonly found in Georgia are roof rats and Norway rats. They have large front teeth that allow them to chew through almost anything. Because of this, they can easily chew their way into your home and take up residence. They are extremely dangerous because they carry diseases and parasites. Rats like to get in attics, basements, porches, under concrete and behind walls. Once there, they reproduce quickly. The process to get rid of rats is called animal proofing.

Because they can fit into a hole the size of a quarter, it is not very easy for people without experience to get rid of rats. It takes a lot of experience and diligent work. Rats are creatures of habit; getting to know their tendencies matters a lot in how you get rid of rats effectively and permanently. There are also other factors such as building architecture, rat behavior, locations of rat runways in attics, etc. that have to be taken into account as well.

At Georgia P.A.W.S, we follow these steps to get rid of rats:

Step 1 – Thoroughly inspect the entire house or building to find any and all entry holes. And I mean holes as small as ½ in diameter! We then put together a quote that outlines all areas that need to be animal proofed.

Step 2 –Once a plan to get rid of rats is agreed upon with the homeowner, we immediately set traps for control (traps are checked daily to every other day). We schedule a day (usually within days) to come back out and do the full exclusion (the process of animal proofing or in this case, rat proofing, a house). Depending on the size of the house, this process will take anywhere from half a day to a full day. Our technicians install galvanized drip edge along the entire roof line of the house (where the construction gap is located). They screen roof vents and seal around plumbing and a/c penetrations.

Step 3 – After the animal proofing is complete, we continue to monitor and check the traps that were set for control. We remove any trapped rats and re-set traps. Typically it takes about a week to ensure that all are gone from the house.

Step 4 – Depending on how bad the rat infestation was, we may have quoted an attic restoration in our plan to get rid of rats. Rats can cause serious damage to insulation with their urine, feces, etc. Not only can this be dangerous to your health but it can also reduce the energy efficiency of your insulation. If this is decided on, we will remove all contaminated insulation, disinfect the attic, and reinstall fresh blown-in insulation. One big benefit to removing all the insulation is that it allows the electrical work to be examined and repair by an electrician if necessary. Because rats love to chew, they are notorious for chewing on electrical wiring once they have made their way into an attic. Did you know that a very large percentage of electrical fires were started by rodents?

post

Attic Noises! What is taking shelter in my house?

There could be a number of attic noises that you may hear – the pipes, the house settling or possibly just the wind. However, the most common cause is that of an animal (or animals…)! You can find them living in attics, walls, ceiling gaps, and in crawl spaces. Usually, it’s fairly easy to tell if the sound is coming from an animal, as opposed to just house noises. An animal moves, it scratches at random; it thumps, scurries, and pitter-patters around. You may even hear what sounds like marbles being rolled around!

Sound is usually the first clue people get when they have a critter problem. Of course, there are other signs that you have animals in your attic. They can cause odor issues, or damage to your home such as chewed wood, duct work or wiring. They may even contaminate your insulation with feces reducing its energy efficiency. But most of the time, it’s the attic noises that people notice first. This is when it is best to address the problem. If left unchecked, most animals in attic will cause damage. Sometimes the damage can be significant (such as damaged insulation or chewed wiring) and dangerous (such as a lung disease that develops from bat droppings called histoplasmosis). The problem is, once they find a nice attic to live in, they stay there a long time – they don’t just move out for no reason. They must be properly removed.

Attic noises explained:

So what are that attic noises? I’m going to analyze the different types of sounds you might hear, so that you can get a clue as to which type of animal is living inside your attic space:

  • Daytime attic noises that sound like quick scurrying, chewing and scratching… You probably have squirrels in your attic.
  • Nighttime attic noises that sound like fast pitter-patter, chewing and scratching…You probably have rats in your attic.
  • Some daytime, but mainly nighttime attic noises that sound like heavy thumping, vocal calls or growls, chewing and scratching…You probably have raccoons in your attic.
  • Day or Nighttime attic noises that are slow and slithering…You probably heard a snake in your attic. However, keep listening – the snake is probably after some kind of food such as a rat!
  • Sunset attic noises that sound like light scurrying with high pitch chirps…You probably have bats in your attic.
  • Nighttime thumping attic noises along with chewing and scratching sounds…You probably have opossums in your attic.
  • Nighttime attic noises that sound like marbles being rolled around…You could have flying squirrels, in your attic.

Whatever kind of animal is in your attic, we can confirm for sure, properly remove them, and animal proof your home so that future ones do not become roommates! Call us today to schedule a free inspection at 678-313-3781.

post

Attic space for lease – Free rent!!

The weather is turning colder and the season for giving is in the air. You have cranked up the heat and it is getting nice and cozy inside… Well, look out! The animals outside may be looking for a place to take shelter and they are defiantly not going to be paying any rent.

Squirrels are the most common type of animal to find their way into your attic. And although there are several species of squirrels, the Eastern Gray Squirrel is the most common.

Squirrels are rodents and their specialty is chewing. They will chew on anything…in fact; they have to in order to keep their teeth filed down. Once they chew their way into your house, they will chew on everything they can find…one of them even being electrical wires (hello, fire hazard!) Many times squirrels are looking for a safe place to have babies. And once they find that place, be it your attic or a tree, they will return each year to have another litter and create more damage. Squirrels give birth to two litters per year, one in the summer and one in the winter.

Squirrels are diurnal (meaning they are active during the daytime.) If you hear noises during the mornings and evenings, you’ve most likely got squirrels. The noise is usually a fast scurrying sound coming from the attic or inside the walls.. Many times you’ll even hear them rolling nuts around!

Ok, so how exactly did they get into your home? It’s not like you took out an ad saying “Attic space for lease.” Truth is, squirrels can fit into pretty small holes. As small as an inch and a half in diameter. But, just for kicks, they usually chew the hole bigger for easier access. And they can climb up pretty much anything, so the entry hole can be anywhere. They like to take advantage of construction gaps and almost all homes have these. Once they have an entry hole, they will use the same one over and over again to come and go.

And like any unwanted house guest, the mess that squirrels leave behind will not be nice. To start you will find hundreds of droppings in your attic. The droppings will look like fat little brown grains of rice and are about a third of an inch long each. You could also find nesting debris, trails all throughout the insulation, and even chewed on wood and electrical wires.
So, OK, you have squirrels…what do you do? Well, let me start by saying that there are no scents, such as mothballs or ammonia that will make them leave. And neither will ultrasonic sound emitters or strobe lights! The animals have to be removed and the structure must be sealed (known as a full exclusion in the industry) so that they cannot return…otherwise, they will! At Georgia PAWS, we thoroughly seal all entry points around the entire roof line of the house. We, then, use one-way exclusion traps that let them exit the attic, but not get back in. Next we clean the attic of droppings, which could mean going as far as replacing the insulation (read more about that on our attic restoration page). Finally, the attic gets a nice fogging of DSV (disinfectant, sporicide, virucide) which helps prevent the spread of disease and removes the animal scent which can attract future animals into the home.

For more information and to schedule a free inspection, call us at 678-313-3781.
post

When squirrels get in your home…

Many people realize they have some sort of critter in their home when they start hearing scratching noises in the walls or attic. If you are hearing these noises in the daytime, you most likely have squirrels.

Squirrels have very strong teeth and jaws which they can sometimes use to gnaw holes through wood, siding, and other building materials. In fact, a squirrel’s teeth never stop growing so they are constantly gnawing on things in order to keep them filed down. If they end up inside your home, you can only image the amount of damage they could quickly cause. They are believed to be responsible for thousands of house fires every year due to the gnawing of electrical wires. Various health risks can also arise from the urine, droppings, shed fur, and parasites that squirrels bring into a home.

So basically, if squirrels get in your homes…CALL GEORGIA PAWS!  We are experts in humanely removing the squirrels, sealing your home up so they cannot return (because they will return if the structure is not sealed) and, if necessary, cleaning up the insulation and/or replacing it. Check out our section on attic restoration for more info about attic cleaning.

post

Thank You!

It is officially summer. Not that I had to tell anyone-the weather this year so far has been incredibly hot!! But the work must go on. We may give out a few rain checks, but there are no days missed because of the heat. And our technicians are real troupers! They work hard outside all day in winter months and summer. But the winter time is a cake walk compared to a summer day in Georgia…in an attic! That’s right; I said in an attic. About once or twice a week, we have a full attic restoration scheduled to do.

When most people have animals in their home, of course the first thing they want done is the animal removed. And that is our first step. But after removing unwanted critters, our next step is the seal up the structure so that no animals can return. But what about the damage that was caused while those animals were in your home? This is a service that you may not realize we do. It’s called “attic restoration.”
Attic restoration consists of the cleanup and removal of nuisance wildlife contaminant, fogging the area with disinfectant/deodorizer and full or partial removal of infected insulation. After all of that is done, we install new “blown in” insulation replacement. All of which takes place obviously in the attic. And, I don’t know if you have ever been in the attic of your home during the summer but if not, you should just step up there one day – I bet you don’t stay long. Temperatures in attics can reach well above 100 degrees!
But our dedicated technicians will stay up there all day long getting this job done. And for that service – I give them a very well deserved THANK YOU (and of course a paycheck!)

post

SNAKE!!!

So my wife and son go outside yesterday evening to take the trash out and my little boy comes back in telling me “Momma stepped on a snake.” Now, I think this must be somewhat true but I don’t hear my wife screaming. What is she doing? The last time she almost stepped on a snake, I learned she could tap dance. So I get up and go outside and sure enough, there is a big black snake slithering through the woods. She’s just staring at it…She said she almost stepped on it. I’m impressed that she’s not freaking out.

We got a call the other day from a homeowner who had found a snake in her closet. She was brave enough to take a trash can and turn it upside down over the snake. Check out the picture…she duct taped it to the floor! That snake wasn’t going anywhere else in her house!! woodstock homeowners snake trap

This time of the year brings all kinds of snakes out and sometimes in…But snakes don’t just want to get into a house; the reason they are sometimes found there is because they are looking for food, water, or shelter. It is very common to find a snake in a garage during the summer time. The cool floor feels good on a hot day plus they may be hunting rodents that are living there. Be sure to keep your garage door closed as much as possible to prevent them for making it inside.

So what do you do if there is a snake in your house? If brave enough, you can remove it yourself. But if not, try to keep it isolated in one room. Close the door to the area and put rolled up towels down to seal the cracks. Next, call Georgia P.A.W.S.

Our trained technician will come out and remove the snake. Next, he will do a thorough inspection to determine the entrance point and any possible entry points.  Because snakes go into a home looking for food and their food source is rodents, we will be looking for signs of rodents. If signs of rodents are found, we will recommend a full exclusion be performed on your home. This process involves sealing any entry points such as holes, cracks, vents and construction/builder’s gaps so that no animals can ever re-enter.  (FYI-The construction/builder’s gap is a gap intentionally left by the builder between the roof decking and fascia board.) Georgia P.A.W.S uses the highest quality galvanized metal flashing to seal up each entry point area. This prevents rodents, squirrels, raccoons or any other nuisance animal from chewing into the structure. Once this process is complete, you can rest assured that you won’t have snakes, much less any other animals.

post

I Had Rabies (well, maybe…)

It was Friday night and I was at my grandmother’s house trying to enjoy my delicious birthday dinner. But I couldn’t. I felt like I was coming down with something; my body hurt and I was getting the chills. In fact, by the time I left her house, I looked like I had hyperthermia because I was shivering so profusely. I went home and took the hottest bath I could possibly take…still uncontrollable shivering. OK, so I’ll take some kind of flu medicine and try to get some rest. But I couldn’t. Then it hit me…what if I had rabies?!?!

I had spent the last week catching raccoon after raccoon. I had scratched my hand on one of the cages…AHHH, that scratch! It was now all raised and was not healing properly… So, next I did what everyone does these days; I Googled it. Before I could finish typing in the word “rabies”, up popped “rabies in humans.”  I clicked it. Then I see the most horrifying words…”Early rabies symptoms can be flu-like.”

Panic!!! I woke up my wife and two year old son and insisted we go to the emergency room because I had rabies.

My wife tried to calm me down but it was too late, everything I kept reading made me think more and more that I had rabies and this was the end. After waiting and waiting for what seemed like forever in the ER, I finally got to see the doctor. No relief there though. He proceeded to tell me and I quote: “Mr. Massey, if you have rabies, is there anything I can do for you? No!” What? No? What kind of doctor was this? He went on to tell me that the only way to determine if I had rabies was to find the raccoon that was in the cage that I scratched my hand on and test him. How was I supposed to do that?! And even if I could, the testing could take days maybe even weeks and if I did have rabies, that would be too late!

The only thing they could do was give me a series of shots that would potentially stop the disease if it was not too far progressed but there was really no way to know for sure. I would just have to endure these shots and wait it out and hope I didn’t start drooling at the mouth (literally, that’s what can happen!)

So, I had FIVE shots that night and then came back over the next three weeks for THREE more! All of which turned my insides to liquid. I just couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was going to start drooling and having convulsions and hallucinations at any minute… But I never did. After about a month of this whole ordeal, I either survived rabies or never had it. We’ll just say “I survived rabies.” That sounds much tougher!

According to the CDC, raccoons are the most common carriers of rabies. But the disease can also occur in animals such as skunks, bats, coyotes, and foxes. Animals infected with the disease often act oddly. A bat may wander out in the daytime or a raccoon may seem unafraid of humans.

Having these animals in your house can not only damage the structure of your house but they can also spread a variety of diseases!

post

Bats in Your Attic?

Have you peeked into your attic lately? It is a good idea to do so every few months. You could have any kind of new resident shacking up with you. Bats are notorious for living rent free in attics across the state. If you suspect this is your situation, the best method for resolving the problem is for a full exclusion to be performed by a professional like Georgia P.A.W.S. Remember, bats can carry rabies. Extreme caution should be used when near them.

To get rid of bats in your home, you must seal off their entry point and all other potential entry points. This is something many professionals refer to as ‘full exclusion work.’ You will not get rid of the bats if your simply remove them or move their roost site to another location on your home or building. Bats are creatures of habit-they will return to the same structure to try to get back in. ‘Bat-proofing” a structure is a very detailed process best handled by a professional; if the proper steps are not taken to remove and exclude bats from a structure, the problem may not be resolved.

Once all bats are removed and the building is “bat-proofed,” their guano must also be removed. You may have had bats so long that your insulation has become contaminated. If this is the case, it will need to be removed and disposed of properly. The area should then be fumigated to kill all microorganisms and new insulation should be installed. (Yes, these are all things that Georgia PAWS can do for you)

(Stay tuned for details about my own personal scare with rabies…)

post

This and That about Bats

As scary as they may seem, bats are a very valuable part of Georgia’s nature system.  They provide many benefits. Did you know that a single bat can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in just one hour?!  Who needs mosquito spray when you have a bat around? A bat’s main source of food is flying insects, many of which we consider pests.  They are also beneficial to farmers by eating lots of moths and beetles which can cause severe agricultural damage.

In the past, bats found places to roost in caves and large dead trees. Today, however, there are not many dead trees or caves found in largely populated areas so bats are sometimes choosing to roost in buildings or homes. But before you think you are just going to remove a few bats from your attic, there are a few things you might want to be aware of…

  • All bats are protected by state and federal agencies in one way or another.
  • The use of pesticides to kill bats is illegal based on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). You could face a fine of up to a $25,000!
  • Bats maternity season is from May 1 – August 15. It is also illegal to remove the young, flightless babies during this time. The Georgia DNR requires a permit for special circumstances calling for immediate removal, such as bats entering the living space.
post

Trapping Services

Georgia P.A.W.S will help you remove many different kinds of nuisance wildlife from your home-whether you have rats in you attic or snakes in your basement. Our trained professionals aren’t scared of any critter!

Check out a few of the animals we have trapped over the years.

Looking for more information about a particular nuisance wildlife? Check out the links below. And be sure to call the trained professionals at Georgia P.A.W.S to help you with the removal or trapping process.

Once we have successfully removed the nuisance from your home, our next step is to perform a full exclusion which will seal all entry points so that these critters don’t return in the future!