How to Keep Mice Out of the Garden as You Prepare for Spring

zoomed up shot of two mice eating off a raspberry leaf treeOn our pest control blog, we’ve focused a lot of attention on keeping mice out of the house since this is an issue that so many New Jersey homeowners deal with. But as winter transitions into spring, you might be wondering how to protect your garden from mice so that they don’t damage your beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables.

Here are some tips for how to get rid of field mice in gardens so that you can enjoy your outside space without the burden of unwanted pests.

Field Mice v. House Mice

There are various types of mice that live in New Jersey, so it’s a good idea to know which ones you’re dealing with to effectively address the problem. Field mice commonly affect gardens because they live in fields, grass, and weeds. They are also referred to as deer mice and pose risks of carrying Lyme disease. Field mice are usually brown in color but have white feet, legs, and bellies. However, house mice are almost always solid brown or gray. Field mice have tails that are dark on top and light underneath, compared to house mice that have hairless tails. Another difference between the two types is field mice hoard crumbs of food by their nests while house mice rarely exhibit this behavior.

What Do Field Mice Eat?

Field mice eat both plants and meat and are skilled at thriving in the wilderness. They commonly eat seeds, mushrooms, berries, and insects that they find in the outdoors. However, these mice also love feasting upon root vegetables and young plants in gardens.

How to Get Rid of Field Mice in the Garden

It is very easy for field mice to enter a garden and find abundant food to live off of. Signs of mice in your garden include tunnels in the dirt, mice droppings, and new seedlings that disappear overnight. Field mice love certain areas of the garden, such as compost piles, garbage bins, bird feeders, and piles of wood.

Your first step in controlling mice should be to remove these prefered shelter spots by moving things around and discarding what you can. You can seal up small holes in the ground to prevent mice from getting too comfortable here and place tubes around new seedlings to prevent mice from eating them.

Get Professional Help with Garden Mice

If these measures don’t help and you are still battling mice in the garden, call Precise Termite & Pest Control for support. We can help you prevent and get rid of field mice so that you don’t put yourself or pets at risk and also so that you don’t prevent beneficial wildlife from entering your garden. You deserve a beautiful outdoor space this year, so don’t let mice ruin it for you!

Do Cats Eat Mice, and Are They Effective for Pest Control?

Cat standing over mouse peeking out of mouse holeIf you’ve ever had an issue with mice in your house before, someone has probably suggested that you get a cat. But how exactly do cats help with a mouse problem, and do they really eat mice?

This article explores the effectiveness of mousing cats and the best cats for catching mice if you want a household companion with useful pest control skills.

Do Cats Eat Mice?

The thought of your cute and cuddly kitty actually devouring a mouse might make your stomach turn. However, cats are natural hunters and have instincts that make them want to approach prey stealthily and pounce on their food.

Wild cats are very skilled in hunting and excel in catching mice, which is why farmers often allow stray cats to stay on their property. Domesticated cats are more likely to just be interested in hunting a mouse and playing with it rather than actually eating it…especially if there is a delicious bowl of food sitting just around the corner. House cats often play with a mouse until it dies and then either leave it behind or bring it to you as a “gift.” However, some domestic cats will actually eat mice they catch. Cats can get sick from eating mice if they are infected with disease or if the mice ate poison left out as bait.

How Mouse and Rat Hunting Works

Stray and wild cats are better at mice and rat hunting than domesticated cats, but even common house cats’ senses get triggered at the sight and sound of a mouse. This is hardwired into a cat’s brain and makes a cat want to slowly stalk a mouse and then pounce unexpectedly to catch it off-guard. Common hunting strategies of cats include crouching low to the ground to watch prey and pulling the back legs beneath them to leap and seize.

The Best Cats for Catching Mice

All cats are different and unique, which is why we love them! But your cat’s typical behaviors, overall demeanor, and where it grew up can affect its ability to catch mice. Also, some cat breeds are naturally better at hunting mice, including the American Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Siamese. Other good mice-hunting cats are the Burmese and Persian.

Who to Call If Your Cat Needs Assistance

Having a cat around the house can definitely help you catch mice and give your pet a fun hobby at the same time. However, some mice infestations are beyond the capacity of a single house cat and require professional help. At Precise Termite & Pest Control, we can supplement your cat’s hardworking efforts and get rid of mice quickly, effectively, and affordably. Better yet, we specialize in pet-friendly pest control to keep your cats safe so that they can continue to help us with our mission of keeping Northern New Jersey pest-free.

How Far Do Rats Travel from Their Nest and Safe Nest Removal Strategies

white mouse in rat nest made of paper scraps and other nesting materialsVery few homeowners are independently interested in the habits of rats…that is until they are dealing with an infestation of rats taking over their home!

One of the common habits of rats is to build nests, which is worth learning about so that you can accurately identify nests and get them safely removed right away. Here’s an answer to the question, “How far do rats travel from their nest?” so that you can keep your home free of rats and mice throughout the year.

Understanding the Rats Nest

Rats build nests out of many different materials that they find around a home, including pieces of cardboard and insulation. Rats will shred these materials to build nests in attics, lofts, walls, and eaves. Fallen leaves, cotton, and sticks around the yard are other common nesting materials.

Rats tend to travel between 100 feet and 300 feet from their nests to search for more nest-building materials and food. This means that if you locate a rat’s nest, the actual rats likely aren’t too far away and could feasibly be trapped in the vicinity. In contrast, common house mice usually venture out only between 10 feet to 50 feet from their nests.

Other Signs of a Rat Infestation

In addition to nests, there are other telltale signs of rats and mice. These include holes gnawed through walls, noises in your walls, greasy marks, and urine odors. Rat droppings are brown and have a tapered shape that resembles the shape of a grain of rice.

Safe Rat and Mice Nest Removal in New Jersey

Homeowners in New Jersey often don’t know the extent of a pest infestation until they are in way over their heads and have sustained extensive damage to their homes. If you notice a rat nest on your property, it is a smart idea to call Precise Termite & Pest Control right away to look into the situation for you. It is possible that there are additional nests on your property or that the rats living here are carrying diseases that can affect humans and household pets.

We are your local experts in keeping homes rat-free in Northern New Jersey, and we’ve been doing exactly that for over 30 years. For effective, affordable, and prompt pest control solutions, contact us at the first signs of nesting materials for a free in-home inspection.

How Does Rat Poison Work and How It’s Used by Exterminators

black and white picture of mouse sticking its head out of a wallIf you notice evidence of rats or mice in your home, your first instinct may be to pick up some rat poison at your local hardware or home supply store. However, rodenticides can actually be very dangerous to use for DIY extermination because of the rat poison ingredients they contain.

Here is a look at how rat poison works and why it’s a pest control strategy best left to professional exterminators.

Types of Rat Poison and Rat Bait

Rat poisons, also known as rodenticides, are often anticoagulants and designed to stop blood clotting. These poisons stop a rat’s body from controlling its own bleeding so that an excess of internal bleeding occurs and leads to death.

Rat baits contain edible poisons that are attractive to rats and make them willingly eat poisonous chemicals. Rodent death typically results within about a day. Acute toxins and calcium releasers are other types of rat poison in addition to the anticoagulants.

The Dangers of Rodenticides

Rodenticides are definitely not something you want lying around the house if you have kids or pets. These substances are very toxic to humans and other animals besides rodents. If a pet or person accidentally ingests rat poison, it is crucial to call a poison helpline immediately.

Common Rat Poison Ingredients

Long-acting anticoagulants, bromethalin, cholecalciferol, and phosphides are the most common active ingredients in rat poison. Some rat poisons are slow-acting, while others are fast-acting. The fast-acting poisons require fewer doses, while the slow-acting poisons may take a few days of a rat eating them before enough toxins build up in its body. Diphacinone is an example of a slow-acting poison that kills rats within about four to five days.

Why It’s Best to Leave Rat Poison to the Professionals

At Precise Termite & Pest Control, we certainly understand why you don’t want mice in your home at this time of the year. However, setting out baits with rat poison on your own is rarely a good idea. Poison is just one of many extermination strategies available to professional exterminators, so we can introduce you to alternative ideas for rat control if you are concerned about kids or pets. We typically only recommend trying rodenticides after other control methods have been ineffective. If you do choose to use rat poison, our experts can make sure that baits are placed where nothing else will come in contact with them for the safety of all your household members.

To learn more about our rodent control strategies or to schedule your free home inspection for any potential rat problems, contact us online or at 866-971-2847.

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Mice? An Inside Look at Professional Rodent Control.

exterminator getting rid of mice from homeWith so many DIY bait, poison, and trap solutions available in stores today, some people may wonder why they would ever need to call a professional for rodent removal. However, there are some household jobs that are best left to highly trained and specialized professionals for effectiveness and safety, and mouse and rat control is one of them.

Here’s a look at how exterminators actually get rid of mice and rats to create a safer and more comfortable home for you.

A Thorough Survey of Potential Entry Points

The first step in a professional exterminator’s job is to do a thorough inspection of your home to find the places where mice and rats can get in. This process begins outside to search for holes and cracks. Exterminators also check for gaps around doors, windows, and damaged areas of a home’s foundation.

Sealing Off Holes and Crevices

Once the entry points have been identified, it’s time for an exterminator to seal them up so that more rodents can’t get inside. This sealing process may involve many different materials based on the hole, such as wire mesh, hardware cloth, and sheet metal. Professionals know to avoid sealing holes with materials that rodents can chew through, such as caulk, wood, or plastic.

Strategically Placing Deterrents

Professional exterminators know the best places to strategically place traps around a home and whether glue, snap, or live-capture traps will be most effective in these places. They also place bait stations to lure rodents away from your home and kill rodents when they access the poisoned food contained inside.

In severe situations, an exterminator may need to fumigate a home as a last-resort measure to get rid of rats and mice. The chemicals involved in fumigation can be dangerous and should only be handled by a professional.

Follow-Up in Rodent-Prone Areas

Rodent deterrents aren’t set-it-and-forget-it measures, and follow-up is needed after setting them to assess changes in rodent activity. This is because mice and rats reproduce quickly and also so that rat control strategies can be adjusted as needed. Some New Jersey homes require ongoing professional extermination services about once per month.

Planning for Preventative Tactics

A good exterminator will not only help you get rid of mice and rats but also prevent them from coming back in the future. This is done through ongoing monitoring of cracks and holes and by tracking common rodent travel routes to be proactive about controlling pests. Good exterminators will also provide you with daily tips and tricks that you can do to keep your home mouse-free even after their services have concluded.

Who to Trust with Your Professional Extermination Needs

For affordable, prompt, and effective mouse and rat control in Northern New Jersey, Precise Termite & Pest Control is the name to know. We employ only the very best professional exterminators in the industry who are highly skilled and truly care about solving your rodent problems. To see what we mean, request your free inspection today!

Understanding Hantavirus and How to Protect Yourself from Hantavirus Mice

small mice in home near sneakers

Having a rodent in the house is always unsettling – from the sounds of scurrying feet to the chewed-through food wrappers and the droppings you find left behind. But mice and rats can pose even more serious problems if they are infected with a disease called hantavirus.

Here’s what New Jersey homeowners should know about hantavirus and how to protect their families from this potentially deadly disease.

What Is Hantavirus?

Hantavirus is a type of virus that is caused by rodents and that can affect humans. There are actually multiple types of hantaviruses that affect different parts of the world. People in the U.S. started becoming more concerned about hantavirus in the 1990s when there was an outbreak in the Four Corners region of the Southwest. Hantavirus is common in rural, forested, and farm areas, but it also occurs in houses and barns where rodents seek shelter.

Transmission and Common Hantavirus Symptoms

In our area, the most common human disease caused by hantavirus mice is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. This condition occurs when people breathe in air where infected rodents exist and have left behind urine, feces, or saliva. Hantavirus is usually spread through airborne transmission, although rodents may also spread the disease to humans through a bite, touching contaminated surfaces, or eating contaminated food too.

Hantavirus symptoms can begin anywhere from one to eight weeks after you are exposed to the disease. Most people report their first symptoms as muscle aches, fever, and fatigue. Diarrhea, vomiting, chills, and headaches are also common in the early days of exposure. After those first few days, shortness of breath and coughing begin. This is a potential fatally disease with a mortality rate of 38%.

Types of Rodents That Carry Hantavirus

Each type of hantavirus is caused by a specific rodent and commonly spread through saliva, feces, and urine. In the U.S., the most common type of hantavirus is caused by deer mice. Other rodents that are known to carry hantavirus include cotton rats, rice rats, and white-footed mice.

Keep Your Home Free of Hantavirus Mice

The best way to prevent the spread of hantavirus in your home is to eliminate your exposure to mice and rats. It is always a smart idea to keep all food in rodent-proof containers and seal up holes that could allow rodents to enter your home. Also, clear debris from around the foundation of your home that could be used as nesting material.

Traps can provide temporary solutions for rodent control, but your best line of defense in preventing a hantavirus infection is to consult a professional exterminator to inspect your home for rodent activity. We are committed to keeping your home rodent-free and helping you prevent the spread of disease in New Jersey, so contact us today to learn more.

Do Mice Hibernate? Here’s What to Know About Mice in the Winter.

residential house during a snowy winter seasonWhen it comes to animals that hibernate, most people think of bears and bats. But what about rodents? You may be seeing fewer rodents these days now that the temperatures are cooler, but does that mean that rodents are hibernating too?

This article answers the question, “Do mice hibernate?”, and also explains how mice infestations can cause big issues in the winter months.

Where Mice Go in Winter

The short answer to this question is no, mice do not hibernate in the winter. In fact, mice are actually quite active during the winter months as they continually search for warm places (like your house) to live, escape predators, and forage for food.

Mice don’t particularly like cold weather though, so they look for tiny cracks and crevices in houses to sneak inside and enjoy some warmth and any food scraps left out. Mice that do not find their way indoors in the winter typically burrow into the ground to stay warm.

Damage Caused by Mice in Winter

Just because you don’t see as many mice during the winter doesn’t mean they aren’t actively causing damage. Mice are notorious for chewing through insulation that you need in the winter to stay warm in your home. They also chew through wires, which puts your home at risk of fires. When mice tear through packages of food in your pantry, they leave behind saliva and fecal droppings that can make you sick, especially during the winter months when your immune system is already working on overdrive to keep you feeling well.

Signs of Mice in the Winter

Mice droppings are telltale signs that you have an infestation problem during the winter. You’ll often see droppings on countertops and on the floor of the kitchen because mouse activity is often greatest near a food source.

You might also notice that packaged goods in the pantry have been gnawed through or even see chew marks on wood fixtures in your home, such as furniture or doorframe trim. Scurrying sounds in your ceiling, especially at night when mice are very active, are other signs that it’s time to call Precise Termite and Pest Control.

How to Keep Your Home Mice-Free During Winter

If you suspect a mouse problem in your home, it’s best to call a professional exterminator as soon as possible before they reproduce or spread out to other areas of your home. There are plenty of DIY mouse traps but these often only kill the mice that are already in the house but do not prevent new mice from entering where the previous ones already did.

Precise Termite and Pest Control offers same-day mice removal services and is prepared to handle any mouse situation – large or small. Contact us at 866-971-2847 to have us come out and inspect your mice situation free of charge so that you can enjoy cozy winter days at home without sharing your space with unwanted rodents.

List of Rodents That Cause Problems in New Jersey

mice on floor eating crumbsNo matter where you live on Earth, there are at least a few pests that create hassles and headaches in daily life. New Jersey is certainly no exception to this rule, as we have many troublesome critters that demand the attention of an extermination professional.

Here is a list of rodents that cause pest problems in our area and how pest control companies like Precise Termite & Pest Control can help.

Mice Pests

Among the extensive list of rodents living in New Jersey, mice are the most common and affect many households in our area. Mice are notorious for contaminating human food supply and can enter through the tiniest openings in a house. They can also chew through wires and spread disease after entering a home.

Rats Pests

Rats are sometimes mistaken for mice but are usually larger and have differences in body shape and coloration. When rats enter your house, they can damage wooden beams, pipes, soft concrete, electrical wiring, and plastic coatings. This can result in costly repairs, the spread of disease, and even house fires.

Squirrel Pests

Squirrels are also rodents and often make their way into New Jersey residences from their rightful homes out in nature. Squirrels invade attics to use as den sites and can quickly multiply and cause diseases in humans. They can also cause structural damage and electrical wiring damage if they aren’t noticed promptly.

Beaver Pests

There is a substantial beaver population in New Jersey because there are few natural predators here and they are able to coexist with humans pretty well. Beavers are large rodents with wide tails that love being near homes that are located by lakes and rivers. Having beavers on your property could result in water damage from dam-building and also serious health issues due to water contamination.

Gopher and Groundhog Pests

At Precise Termite & Pest Control, we often get calls about a gopher or groundhog living under a homeowner’s deck. These rodents resemble each other but have differences in their fur, tail, teeth, and feet. But no matter which one is living on your property, you want it gone because these rodents can destroy building foundations, chew through irrigation systems, and build tunnels to reach various parts of your property.

Get Help with Safe and Humane Animal Control

If you live in Northern New Jersey, Precise Termite & Pest Control is the name to know among all pest control companies any rodent issue. We’ve been in this business for over 30 years and know the most effective ways to keep rodents out of your house and away from your yard. We offer free inspections and are committed to providing the best customer service in the pest control industry

Call us today at 866-971-2847 or fill out our online form and one of our experienced pest control experts will call you within 24 hours.

The Late Life Cycle of a Bee and Staying Bee-Free in the Fall

bees on wood planksThe amount of time that a bee lives varies based on the type of bee and the season. Drone bees, for example, rarely survive through a winter but worker honey bees just become inactive when the winter season comes. This article explores the hibernation patterns of bees, bee activity at the end of the year, and how to get rid of bees if you notice them around your home.

The Life of an Adult Bee

There are four stages of life for a bee: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult phase begins when the bee emerges from the capped cell of the pupa stage and is free to start fulfilling its role in the bee caste system. Honey bees are either worker bees, drone bees, or queen bees – all essential roles to keep the hive functioning properly. The developmental period for a bee is between 16 and 24 days.

Do Bees Hibernate?

Yes, some types of bees hibernate to survive the cold winter and extend their lifespan until the next year. Bumble bee queens mate and find a safe place to nest for the winter while the rest of the colony dies off in the cold. Hibernation is important for the queen bee so she can burn very little energy and slow down her metabolism in the winter and avoid death. However, honey bees stay fully awake during the winter and do not hibernate. A honey bee colony is active all winter long with the bees eating and working to store away food.

Bees Through the Seasons

Many types of bees become less active in the winter and are not seen because they are either hibernating, staying inside for warmth, or dying off. Bee activity picks up in the spring when the weather gets warm and plants start to bloom. Bees are very active in the summer months, and then they start to prepare for the winter during the fall season to continue the cycle of life.

Getting Rid of Bees in the Late Fall

Bee removal is a common service that we provide at Precise Termite and Pest Control in the fall because they are prominently out and about preparing for winter. During this time of year, bees get into food-gathering mode to stock up on supplies for cold days ahead. This means that you may see more bee activity as the bees make preparations to help their colonies survive.

Contact Precise Termite and Pest Control at 866-971-2847 for a free bee inspection and consultation about how to handle the bees in your yard. We’ll check all potential bee habitats, ensure that items around your home aren’t attracting bees, and safely and humanely remove bees so that you aren’t burdened by them. We look forward to serving you in Northern New Jersey.

Where Do Bugs Go in the Winter?

spider in web during winter seasonHere in New Jersey, we usually think of summer as the most bug-prone season because we see so many pests flying and crawling around when the weather is warm. But this prompts the question, “Where do bugs go in the winter?”

Unfortunately, the most common answer is inside your home, where it’s warm, cozy, and has a readily available food supply. Here are the most common bugs that move from the outdoors into your home in the winter and what you can do to stop them.

Spiders

Spiders of varying types and sizes seek warmth in the winter, especially in crawl spaces beneath your home that are easy to access. Spider activity is generally less in the winter, but they can still create nightmares for homeowners. Keep an eye out for spider webs and destroy webs as soon as you notice them to make your home less inviting for spiders.

Ants

Ants, especially carpenter ants, love the moisture caused by winter rains, ice, and snow melt. These pests set up nests in places where wood has been exposed to winter moisture, such as firewood that you bring into your home for the cozy fireplace. To keep ants away, never leave food out in the open, and try adding some peppermint oil drops around the kitchen to deter them from food storage areas.

Ladybugs

Lady bugs may be one of the “cuter” bugs in our area, but that doesn’t mean you want them living inside your home. These insects love to find warmth in the winter to hibernate, and while they don’t do significant damage, they can secrete a fluid that stains fabrics and cause a foul odor if squished. Minor lady bug habitats can often be vacuumed up and released back into the outdoors.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches have a reputation for being able to survive anything, but they actually will die if the temperatures drop to around 15 degrees Fahrenheit. When our New Jersey winters get really cold, cockroaches look to move indoors through crawl spaces and basements. Where you see one cockroach, there are usually more hiding in the area, which is why it’s best to call an exterminator as soon as possible.

Stinkbugs

As their name suggest, the main problem with stink bugs are their terrible smell if they are stepped on or even just disturbed. These bugs crawl into cracks and holes in a home’s exterior and often go unnoticed until they are disrupted or even wait until spring to emerge.

Termites

Termites also thrive in moist areas, which is problematic in the winter if you have dense vegetation and brush around your home to attract them. It is also common for some termites to swarm in the fall, take up residence in homes in the winter, and then reproduce in the spring, which means that you could have a lot of termites on your hands next season if you don’t catch them early.

If you notice any bug activity inside your home or want to be proactive and keep them away for the winter, call Precise Termite and Pest Control at 866-971-2847 for a free inspection.