Crisis Averted!

September 2, 2011

So I went to do the bat seal up and exclusion on the house that has been mentioned in my past two blogs. I had discovered some birds nests in the back roof and attic while doing my earlier inspection, so I had to clean those out as well. The back roof is corrugated steel roofing over an extended porch, and the birds had been getting in on the corners. I had to remove the side of the sheeting to remove the nests. The 1st and 3rd sections were jammed packed with nesting materials. I removed a large black garbage bag full of nesting materials from both sections, then put the siding back and sealed up the former entrances they had used.

Then I had to remove the very large nest from the attic.

As you can see it is right under the attic fan and the red box shows the electrical wiring for the fan covered by powder dry hay and stick nesting materials. If the clients had turned on the fan and 1 tiny spark hit that nest there would have been a instant inferno in the attic! I got the nest removed and the wires cleared of any debris, plus I sealed up the hole the birds had been using. FYI – 1/2 of a large garbage bag to remove the nest from the attic.

Close up of the wires after about half of the nest was removed.


Up in that tree – its a bird, its a squirrel, no it’s it’s a GROUNDHOG?

August 26, 2011

I arrive yesterday afternoon out at an industrial job that wanted some groundhogs removed. I had not located the burrow but was told they are in the front landscaping. So I placed two cage traps in the landscaping the day before. I had one baited cage near where they had indicated the den might be. I had another two door Comstock Custom cage set up in a likely travel way, serving as a blind trail set.

As I got out of the truck, two guys on a smoke break yelled to me “He’s up in the tree!” I looked at the low yew bushes and they waved “No the crab apple tree!” I looked about 4 feet up and could see the grizzled grey back of a medium sized ground hog! (Now don’t get me wrong i have seen groundhogs up in trees before. but usually the tree was inclined or there were grape or honeysuckle vines allowing easy climbing. But this tree had at least 2 foot of straight trunk!

“Reach in and grab him barehanded!” the crowd roared. NO thanks I thought that is why I have leather gloves and a catch pole in the truck. I went and grabbed my gear out of the truck and approached the groundhog. He was giving me the evil eye  as I approached with  the catch pole. He decided he had a better offer elsewhere and bailed out of the tree and hit the ground RUNNING.

I have seen many a groundhog run but this lil booger was the Usain Bolt of the groundhog world! He took off liek a bat out of well you know, and headed right for the blind set I had up against t building. I though HAHA GOT HIM as I heard the doors slam shut. But old Usain the Groundhog had enough speed to go completely through the trap   (even with it’s super fast  spring loaded doors) and out the other side without getting caught.

I saw him head out the other side of the bush and toward the cover of the front yew bushes and my other cage. I thought he was going to miss he cage, but at the last second he swerved tot he right to avoid a large weed I had moved to sort of fence int he baited trap. Usain the Groundhog ran right into the baited and cage and got caught instantly!

I gathered him up in the cage and hauled him here behind the office and released him into the small woodlot. He tottered off with a sniff of disgust perhaps.

So yes Virginia groundhogs can climb trees if and when they want to.

Lions and tiger and bears – no problem – but bats!

August 26, 2011

Well after inspecting the house for the couple who had me out in the middle of the night to remove the bat, I stopped by Monday evening to give them the estimate. We talked about what I had found, and what needed to be done to fix it, all of which they were fine with.

The boyfriend asks me “So what time tomorrow morning can you start?” I was a bit shocked ad I had planned to do it on Sat Morning. He went on “You have to get it done as soon as possible, SHE WON’T LET ME SLEEP!” “We were camping out in Colorado up in the mountains with bears, mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes running around all over, and she (points at girlfriends) ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! But when we get home she is terrified another 2 oz bat is going to get int he house and makes me get up anytime she hears a noise!” Then proceeds to tell me Sat is fine.

We then had a long discussion on proper bear and mountain lion attack defenses and what to do to defend or play dead. I think his suggestion of a can of lighter fluid and a match to deter an attacking bear was funny. Bears can reach about 40 miles an hour in a charge, if he has time to grab a can of lighter fluid, squirt the onrushing bear, and flick a match without losing his nerves or other important parts of his anatomy –  God Bless Him!


Brown Bear/ Grizzly Bear Attacks – Play dead, as most are territorial and they just trying to assert themselves. However if the attack continues for more then a few minutes fight for your life because you ARE!

Black Bear Attacks – FIGHT!!! – 85% of black bear attacks are PREDATORY! They want to eat you, as you are red meat and have weak senses of smell and hearing and no real defense weapons! If you caould tell it was a mother and cubs playing dead might be an option as she will subdue you to protect her cubs, but if the attack continues FIGHT!

Mountain Lion Attacks – Unfortunately lions are stealthy predators and usually attack women and children. Most will never know they are attacked, just feel a sudden slam int he back then blackness. ALL lion attacks are predatory! FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOU ARE!! If you see one  spread your arms, yell, spread your jacket to appear larger.

Going batty!

August 11, 2011

I was just headed off to bed last night when my cell rang. I answered “Iowa Wildlife Control, this is Mike.” The lady on the other end was obviously upset and was very apologetic for calling so late. but had a bat in her bedroom flying around. Both she and her boyfriend had seen it but now it disappeared. When they disappear in a room they can be hard to find do to the small size they are when they are folded up and trying to hide.

I grab a small container, a net and my  heavy leather gloves and drove to the other side of town to hunt down the bat in the bedroom. I arrived on site and was shown in and to the bedroom. Her boyfriend ( a rather large gentleman) was sitting on a chair outside the door with a tennis racket guarding the door for all appearances.

I went into bed room took my flashlight and looked behind everything 1st pulled things away from the wall one by one to make sure the bat wasn’t hiding there. Rolled up the blinds, checked in he windows. Got permission to remove the stuff from under the bed, which I did slowly. Then I took the jackets off the back of the door one by one and inspected them for the bat. once cleared I got the OK t to do the same to the closet. I slid the 1/2 door open and did a check up on the ceiling and walls for the tiny creature and saw nothing.

Then I started removing clothing from closet one by one and inspecting it for the bat. Occasionally the boyfriend would poke his head in a and see if I was OK, which I assured him I was. I was laying the clothing on the bed neatly, I hear him yell “Damn woman, I didn’t you know had so many trench coats!”

I had totally emptied the one side of the closet, and had closed that door and slid the other one open and started removing items from that side.  The boyfriend was in the room shining his flashlight around as well, I figure sure I may miss something. He shined it on the track of the closet door and I heard “It that is?!?!?!” I look up and there it is just starting to slide around the edge of the door track. I said “Yeah that islet me get my gloves.” I hear the door SLAM shut and chuckled to myself as I got my gloves on and scooped it up and put the bat in my container, it was squeaking like mad. Elapsed time from arrival to capture about an hour.

I came out and told them I got the bat and explained the old wives tales about them going into your hair, and most being rabid etc. I told them I would hold the bat till this afternoon in case they find a bite or scratch and it needs tested. They never called to say they found anything so I released the little fellow into a tree at lunchtime. And, i will be going back to do a full inspection and seal up of the house if need be.

Holey Moley!

July 21, 2011

The moles have just gone nuts around Ames this past few weeks.

My seasonal contract had 4 hills pop in her lawn overnight when we got some rain. I set them up  before she even noticed they were there she said. I got 3 moles out of 8 traps in a week and no mounds or fresh digging since so I think I got all of them. I just wish her neighbors would do some mole control as well, as their moles infiltrate her property But not for long they don’t LOL

I also had a call to remove some moles from and apartment complex. The manager had tried a different company last year but was very unsatisfied with their methods and services. I had to get more traps as it was a very large  complex, with about 2-3 acres of lawn for me to cover. I set up with 25 traps and int he past week have removed 10 moles from the property. Almost all of the lawn damage has stopped and those mole runs are collapsed and hard. (When the runs are soft and squishy they are using that tunnel). I move the trap every 2 days if they do not connect, so always have them in a fresh  mole run.

This past week I have been catching the mole as they come out of the woods and into the lawn. The manager is very happy with the success and noticeable decrease in damages.

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As a side note my wife calls and says “Oh great mole trapper of the North, you better get the one in the back yard before I fall in another hole and kill YOU!’ I quoted my standard rates for mole removal and she quickly counter offered, wish I wisely accepted!

Yes I did get the mole in the back yard too!

Snakes Alive

July 21, 2011

Got a call last week form a woman about 30 miles away. She was totally freaked out by a garter snake or two that had been hanging around her flower beds.

“I know they’re not dangerous but I just want them gone and I need you to do something” she said. I tried to explain that the snakes were beneficial to her yard and eat many insects but she still insisted that I take measures to remove them.

OK I formulated a plan to check the outside of the house for any gaps or holes that might allow the snake access to the interior of the house, and some way to trap and remove the snakes.

I got together my exclusion tools and some snake glue boards ans covers and drove on up. On arrival I talked to her and her husband about where the snakes had been seen. I walked around and saw some small gaps a snake could squeeze through and sealed all those up. I put in the glue traps and covers and showed the husband how to check them. I explained to release the snake when caught he had to pour vegetable oilon the board and the snake would wriggle free.

I left them sealed and set to capture and move snakes out to the country and they were very happy.

Badger in the the Backyard!

April 23, 2010

My phone rang earlier this week.

On the other end was a woman half hysterical about a badger in her backyard, and digging under her deck. “It sounds like he’s going to come through the basment walls. I won’t let the kids go outside or into the basment.” I asked her to make sure it was a badger. “We looked it up on the internet it said it’s a badger!” she exclaimed.

After telling her my rates for removal or badgers, as well as exclusion of the burrow ,she said she had to ask her husband (never a good sign), as he was at work. Ok, when you talk to him let me know.

Now normally I do not do an inspection without knowing I will get at least the inspection fee up front, but as this call was only a mile from the office I figured I’d do some good public relations and swing by at lunch and take a quick peek for them.

I pulled up out front andcalled the lady who had called earlier, and told her as I was nearby, I’d take a quick peek for free. Of course that made her day. She came out and we did intros, and she lead the way to the backyard. As we neared the back yard I saw a large groundhog galloping his way across the yard.

She lost it “DID YOU SEE HIM? DID YOU SEE THE BADGER?” She screamed

“No Ma’am, I’d did not see a badger, but I saw really big woodchuck” I replied calmly.

We walked around the edge of the house and the woodchuck was sitting just outside his den. I pointed and asked “Is that what you have been seeing Ma’am?”

“Yes, yes it a badger!” She squeaked.

As the woodchuck dipped into his burrow, I supressed a chuckle and said “No Ma’am, that is a groundhog.”

“Are you sure it’s a groundhog?” She asked me quizzically.

Smiling I said “Yes, I am quite sure it is a woodchuck, and good news they cost less for removal.”

“Are you really sure it’s a groundhog?” She asked half scared, half exasperated.

I smiled at her and told her “I have many years of experience with wild animals of every species, shape and size, and I guarantee that is a groundhog.”

“Oh ok, it’s just we looked it up on the internet and it said it was a badger” she replied. “Are you really positive it’s a groundhog?”

Maintaining my calm demeanor I told her “It is a ground hog, there is no way it will dig through the wall, the only danger to anything in your lawn is your flowers and plants as groundhogs eat only plants, it will not attack or hurt your kids, unless they corner it, then all bets are off.”

I left figuring I probably won’t get the job, but at least I put a mothers worries to rest about the vicious badger in her backyard! And, a little good public relations can go a long way.

Beaver Damage Complaint

April 23, 2010

Well my phone rang last week.

“Iowa Wildlife Control, this is Mike” I said.

“Hi this is Sherri at ******* we have some problematic wildlife we need removed” the voice on the other end of the line said.

Turns out the townhouse complex has a very large beaver in its pond and they are losing willow trees at an alarming rate.

I went over and talked to the manager, got the contract signed then went to scout the pond and damage. Well I thought at least the beaver isn’t cutting down the ornamental trees along the road YET! I found the damage isolated to a grove of willows in the SE corner.

While I was inspecting the site and locating both the beavers preffered feeding ares and bank den, an elderly gentleman came out of his house. “Are you the man?” he asks me politely with a slight southern drawl. “Yes sir I am” I replied with a smile.

Turned out he is a retired policeman who grew up in southern Arkansas, and had been trapping, hunting and fishing all his life. Sounded a good deal like myself I thought. Told me how when he was 8 years old he trapped because he wanted to buy himself a geetahhrr (guitar), and how the only one he had left was a 1950 Fender!

We talked about the big snapping turtles in the pond (maybe I’ll get another call in summer). Then he asked me if I ever eaten turtle, and I assured him I had. He then asked if I ever had bbq’ed raccoon, and I told him I hadn’t but had thought about it. He told me I was missing a treat, and he even made his own BBQ sauce.  He even invited me in to have a test of his bbq sauce (darn good!).He said to skip eating oppossum as it wasn’t very good, but when he was young and his family poor it sure beat having no meat to eat.

I then went back home to get my beavering equipment, and came back to set up. I placed a castor mound at the destroyed willows. (When I walked down the bank I saw a big bow wave in the water so I think I disturbed the beaver.) I used a #3 victor coil, and some sac oil I had as I could not find and of my castor lure. Then I went over to the run leading to the den. As I went down the slope to the den, I went to lean on a big limb, and it snapped. I just caught myself before doing a header into the pond. I placed a 330 to guard the run, fenced it in and put my dive stick on it.

I feel confident I should have a beaver when I check it today or at least by the end of the weekend.