How to know when you have pests and what you should do – Southwest Journal

Recommended by Dikshit Aryal, Published on March 21st, 2020

Rick Standish, the owner of Bryn Mawr-based Professional Pest Control, has seen his fair share of infestations over the past 34 years.

He once spent more than two weeks trying to catch a single rat that terrorized a family, ate their garbage and ran around their home. Despite hiding traps under debris and planting bait, the rat eluded capture every time, until one day Standish was in the house when he saw it.

I came in and saw him run from the living room and hide behind a radiator and I sure wasnt going to let him get by me that time, he said.

After setting up snap traps around the heater and spraying the rodent with an oil-based insecticide, he was finally able to grab the rat when it got irritated and tried to run away.

I even took a picture with him because I was pretty darn happy to finally get him, he said. Its one of the stories that he can never forget.

As the weather gets warmer, insects and animals that have remained relatively dormant over the winter will soon be coming out of the woodwork and possibly into your home.

With more of them entering houses to have babies in the spring, its important for homeowners to keep an eye out for signs that they may have a critter afoot. Some of the most common pests Minneapolis exterminators see are mice, ants and raccoons.

Standish and other local exterminators offered tips for identifying and ridding your house of varment while avoiding getting scammed.

If you dont see a roach dashing across the floor or a squirrel sitting on your counter, the indication you have pests is mostly in what they leave behind.

For roaches, it could be droppings that look like coffee grounds on your wall or floor. For bedbugs, it could be a dark peppered pattern under your mattress. For mice, it could be chew marks on food in your pantry.

Mice usually stay out of populated areas and spend most of their time hiding in places homeowners cant see, said Standish said. This could be in the little gap under the pipe where the dishwasher line runs, in kitchen drawers and cupboards or under an unfinished shelf in the basement.

If you cant see the critter or evidence that its been there, another sign is sound.

People say, In the middle of the night, we hear this scratching in the wall or ceiling, Standish said. That would tell you you have mice.

For bats, you would hear a characteristic squeaking or chirping sound, usually accompanied by scratching or fluttering, said Sean Francis, of Francis Animal and Pest Control in Faribault. Bats like to get into attics, and if they are there long enough, you can sometimes smell ammonia from their droppings especially when its humid.

Usually, if you have mice, its not enough to set out traps around your house (though, if you do, make sure to put them in areas where mice frequent behind the sink, in cabinets or under the stove). Many mice get into the house through small openings in your homes foundation, which can be along an air-conditioning line or vent or underneath a porch or deck.

Mouse traps, though easy to set, dont necessarily get to the root of the problem. And when it comes to closing mouse entry points, its not always simple.

Most exterminators examine the perimeter of the house and close holes by hand with a cement mixture, which can be tricky to do yourself, especially if a gap under a porch is only a couple of inches wide.

I mean, I get on my belly, and as tight as it is, if I can fit, Ill go, Standish said.

If you cant fit, he recommends prying up the deck boards to get a closer look at your homes foundation.

Homeowners can also trim back tree branches from their roofs, which can stop squirrels and racoons from getting in, and they can look for areas on their house with rotted wood, which can attract insects, Francis said.

Another problem homeowners face is getting unwanted visitors that come in through their cat doors, he said.

People get a racoon in the house or a skunk in the house, Francis said. He recommends closing the door at night.

Standish said you should look to hire exterminators who offer guarantees.

A sign of a bad exterminator is if they try and get you to sign on a long-term contract, said Dennis Siebert, owner of Arrow Pest Control in Lowry Hill East. Usually exterminators who come back regularly every couple months, especially for something like mice, are not getting to the root of the problem, he said.

If they wont warranty it, thats another sign, said Francis. If they say, I need half down and half at the end of the job, thats pretty common. But if they require you to pay all upfront, thats when you should watch out.

Another thing to look out for is if exterminators ask you to pay in cash and dont charge you for sales tax or give you a receipt, he said.

Theres a couple companies that have been caught for not paying taxes, he said. I know of a couple right now that are not in business anymore because of it.

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How to know when you have pests and what you should do - Southwest Journal

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