All posts by Robert Jansma

Raccoon damage repair =New Insulation

We recently completed an raccoon damage repair job in Griffith IN. Our customer found out she had raccoons in her attic. She had a friend with a trap catch the raccoon, shortly after to start hear crying up in her attic. There were babies. She couldn’t get anyone to go up in her attic to look for the babies so she had to hire a wildlife removal company.

It happened to be a competitor. He safely removed the young and patched up the hole in the roof where the raccoons had entered. The customer was looking for permanent repairs. The raccoons were in the attic for a long time.

The wildlife company recommended us. That is a curious thing. Competitors recommending each other. That is why I love this industry. Because we do it all the time. This industry is very seasonal and sometimes we can’t get to people as soon as they would like and we know someone closer, we recommend. We, for example, don’t treat for bugs and are happy to refer those to competitors that do. Many of our competitors don’t do repair work and refer that work to us.

So our customer in Griffith IN who had the raccoons in her attic called us, we came out and gave an estimate, which was accepted on the spot. Many homeowners aren’t aware that most insurance companies cover raccoon damage repair but this one was! She already had check in hand.

All we had to do was become a licensed contractor in Griffith IN and pull our permit and schedule for a day convenient for the customer. The roof repair was done while the customer wasn’t home because we didn’t need to get inside. The attic insulation was removed, then we disinfected the joists and back of  the drywall. Then we blew in new insulation.

What some other people aren’t aware is that most residential policies have what is called code upgrade. This means that any work needs to be done to current code. For insulation the codes are greater today than when the house was built. That means our customer is going to see a large energy saving because the insulation we installed is so much greater than what she had. Sometimes, raccoons in an attic can be a bit of a blessing!

Our customer was so relieved when all the work was done, my guess is she will be outright ecstatic when she sees the savings on her Nipsco bills this winter.

Raccoon litter removal

Raccoon removal can be very challenging. No two jobs are ever the same. We were recently called to get a raccoon litter out of an attic in Flossmoor IL. It was very different from your typical job!

It started out textbook. After doing the inspection we found where the raccoon had broken into the soffit. It was an awkward spot but we got the trap set and it should have all been down hill from there.

When I came back yesterday to check the trap it was empty. Sometimes there isn’t a raccoon in the attic when the trap is set and therefore isn’t one to catch. But this customer was positive that she  continued to hear noise in the attic that night. There was nothing I could do but hope for a catch that night.

When I pulled in the driveway they next day I could hear crying on the roof. As the trap wasn’t visible from the ground I hurried and got the ladder off of the truck. In the trap was a mother raccoon with a very young baby.

Haven’t seen a baby that size in about two months. I usually break raccoon season into three seasons. The first is when the babies are about zero to 2 weeks old. This is relatively easy time of year. The young are in a pile all together, they are loud and easy to find and if you can get to them, all you have to do is pick them up.

Next is when the raccoon litter is a little older. Their eyes are open and they are a little more mobile. They also understand danger, and will be extremely quiet when you are looking for them. If they happen to be in a soffit and you need to take it apart to get to them they will try to run away from you. This is the most difficult season.

After this is when the babies are older, they are following their mother out of the attic for nightly foraging. While these jobs take longer, because everything needs to be trapped, they are relatively simple in process.

Nature will keep you on your toes. While most raccoons have their young in relatively consistent windows every once in a while you get an oddball. That is what makes this job so interesting.

I hope you have learned something about the challenges of removing raccoons in the young rearing season. We are happy to help with all your raccoon removal needs!

 

Bat Removal Season almost here!

Bat exclusion season is almost here! The state of Indiana will tell you that bat removal should not be done between May 15 and August 15 due to the fact that a maternal colony can have non flight pups that are left behind in the exclusion process. The exception to this is if human health is threatened. We try not to abuse this exception and usually stick to the blackout dates except in extreme cases.

For the last 3 months we have been going around giving estimates and patiently waiting, Our customers have been waiting even more patiently! I do get that bats in your home’s attic can be a traumatic thing. Some people handle it better than others. Sometimes it boils down to the reason why or how people found out they had bats in the first place.  If you became aware you had bats because you kept getting small black droppings outside one of your eaves you are probably going to handle the wait better than if you woke up to a bat circling your bedroom.  I get that.

What we can do in this blackout period is presealing. Pre sealing is sealing the areas of the home that need to be sealed that the bats aren’t currently using. This saves us time come August 15 comes around. Then we just run around hanging Bat Cones(exclusion devices). It saves time, and allows us to complete our jobs before the season gets too cold to effectively exclude bats.

Wildlife, and especially bats are not always the easiest thing to deal with. They are living animals and no two jobs are exactly alike. We appreciate the customers that understand the tight rope we walk as wildlife guys between concern for our customers, the animals, and the legislation that we must follow.

 

Lowell Bat Removal

A funny thing just happened. Actually, probably not funny for the people going through it, but I do find it curious enough to write a post about it. I was recently called to give a Lowell bat removal estimate. When the customer gave me her address I had to laugh. This will be the 4th house we have done on a three block long street!

When you think about it, its not that implausible. We also happen to be working on our third house in one court in Valparaiso. Back to why its not implausible.  Bats are a beneficial species. They eat tons of insects every night. They are also a very small creature(read low on the food chain) with a low reproductive rate. Most females only have one pup a year. Certain species of bats have been under extreme pressure due to a disease that is called White Nose Syndrome that is killing them off rapidly.

 

Bat-Removal

The State of Indiana has laid out guidelines for the humane removal of bats from homes so that the bats are not harmed.  So we can get bats from your home, but if they have an affinity for an area they are going to pick the next attic with a crack that they can fit in to move into. That house might just be your neighbors! And they might just be giving me a call soon, or you might be that neighbor. Sometimes I get asked why someone’s house got bats and it may just be as simple as someone else got rid of them first.

 

 

Muskrat trapping job

Our typical service call usually involves getting something out of a home. It is usually getting bats or raccoons or squirrels out of an attic. We thoroughly enjoy those calls that we don’t get everyday. We look at it as a chance to do something different and hone our skills.

A homeowner called to see if we did muskrat trapping in Olympia Fields They were backed up to a pond and the muskrats were burrowing in the bank. I informed them that we could trap them but that usually it is much better(and a longer term solution) if we trap the whole pond and we discussed the feasibility of getting the condo association to pay for it. It sounded like a great idea to to prospective customer. Most of our muskrat jobs have been for homeowners or condo associations.

Muskrats build dens under the bank next to ponds. As the dens become older they do collapse and ruin the edge of the pond. I believe that the greater danger lies in the dens that haven’t collapsed. They can collapse under the weight of a lawnmower, potentially rolling the machine with operator on it. This can offer the homeowners or condo association a certain amount of liability if someone gets hurt.

We came out to give an estimate.We came out and saw two small ponds connected by a culvert.(Ponds connected by a culvert should always be trapped at the same time or new muskrats move in to the now vacant territory sooner than if you clean out both of ponds).

We price our muskrat jobs so that they are usually a function of time and gas. We will quote a price for a certain number of days of trapping, no guarantee that we catch anything, but no limit to how many we catch either. I believe this is the fairest for both parties. Some companies charge a setup and a per animal fee. Most people like the safety of having a fixed price. This specific job we sold 5 days of trapping.

Muskrat trapping  Olympia Fields
Muskrat trapping
Olympia Fields
IMG_20160719_114121823_HDR

We set the job on Monday and yesterday was our first check. 4 muskrats, two in each pond! Boy was that fun!  We will check for 3 more days per our contract. From experience, we should see catches drop off. Usually first nights catch is about half of what we catch for the total trapping program.

If you need muskrat trapping give us a call. We would love to help.

 

Buyer Beware!

I just had an interesting thing happened to me twice in one week. Two different cities, two different nuisance animals, same frustrated customers, same results in the end.

The first call was raccoons in an attic in Hammond Indiana. He had been dealing with these raccoons for months, and had already paid two other nuisance companies to remove them, unsuccessfully. They were pretty smart raccoons. It took some creativity to get the job done. It actually involved hanging a trap on the side of the mansard roof. It took us a couple days but we got the job done. The customer was pretty ecstatic, his only regret, as he said, was not calling us first. The kicker was one of the companies who charged him more than 3 times what we charged to remove the raccoons and then they didn’t do the job.

raccoons in an attic in Hammond Indiana
Raccoons in an attic in Hammond Indiana

The second job had very similar circumstances. We got a call for squirrel removal in Valparaiso. A different two companies in the area had already been called out, but were unsuccessful. They caught some squirrels, but the customers kept hearing them. Let’s be honest. If you have an animal problem where the animals are entering your home but you can’t find where they are getting in, you aren’t doing your job at all. In this case, the hole was at the top of a gable roof and the house was already two stories high. I needed to get a longer ladder to fix the problem, but was happy to do so. I wouldn’t have been doing my job if I hadn’t.

What’s this all boil down to? Neither of these jobs were easy. Both of them took a couple of extra days to complete. I don’t do as well profit wise on a job that takes extra days obviously, but I would never even consider leaving a job incomplete or with animals still in an attic. Maybe that is why our customers love us and are completely comfortable referring us to friends and family members with animal problems.

Just today, we received a referral from a previous customer where we got raccoons out of her attic in Merrillville IN a few weeks ago. Always makes me feel good when that happens.

There are no two similar jobs. Each customer problem is unique. If you don’t have the guts and patience to see it through the end, then you shouldn’t be in this business in the first place.

Wildlife and Ridge Vents

Ridge vents can provide their own set of challenges when dealing with nuisance wildlife. Animals can seem to detect an exploitable weakness and they frequently use it to their full advantage. Whether it is installation error, or manufacturers aren’t considering animals when they are designing their products, or just a very persistent animal, we see and solve a lot of problems with ridge vents.

Raccoons can get into ridge vents. When they do, it allows them access to your attic. Whether their motivation is to find a warm place to stay during the winter or a safe place to raise young in the spring, their nimble hands can easily claw through most ridge vents on the market today.

Raccoon Removal Griffith
Raccoons can get into ridge vents.

This raccoon was removed from an attic in a neighborhood in Griffith. At the time that I was doing this job, I was doing two other jobs within the same neighborhood, all with similar damage. I strongly believe that raccoons learn behavior and this was a learned behavior within this community of raccoons.

Bats also use ridge vents to gain entry into homes. Bats can squeeze into gaps 3/8 of an inch. Sometimes due to installation error or just aging, ridge vents can curl or nails can pull out a little bit and allow just enough room for a colony of bats to gain entry into your attic.

The biggest problem with ridge vents and bats is due to the fact that they can’t be checked. To properly verify that they are in fact bat proof requires removal. We see this often with the hard plastic ridge vents that usually come in 4-foot lengths. They are manufactured by many different companies but all are similar.

We have also had customers who hired us after the last company failed to fix their bat problem. They neglected the ridge vent. With our warranty, we need to be confident we are making your home bat proof the first time and for a long time! That includes replacing the ridge vent with something we can be confident with. This type, also manufactured by a few different companies under different names, is the long, fibrous, continuous roll.

Bat removal in ridge vent
Bats to gain entry into your attic.
Ridge Vent Repair
Ridge Vent Repair
Bat in ridge vent
This bat was found under the ridge vent during removal.

This bat was found under the ridge vent during removal. He was a little groggy because it was daytime but after he woke up he was able to fly away unharmed. The other thing we found worth noting while removing this ridge vent was a rather large yellow jacket nest. Maybe just me, but I happen to feel your ridge vent should be insect proof as well. Too much to ask?

So what to do if you find your home with the wrong type of ridge vent? Probably nothing, unless it is time to replace, and then make sure you are using the right kind of materials.  The expense of preventing a maybe isn’t worth it in most cases. Once you have a confirmed animal problem though, you probably need to replace your ridge vent with something that is animal proof.

In the case of raccoons, that could mean installing a wire mesh under the new ridge vent so that should another ever try to get in they will be stopped at the wire. In the case of bats, it would mean replacing your ridge vent with one of those long continuous rolls previously mentioned.

If you are experiencing animal damage to your roof or have animals entering your attic via your ridge vent (or any other way for that matter), give us a call. We would love to help.

Wildlife Training: Is It Worth It?

If you are in need of wildlife services, would you pick someone who doesn’t update his or her knowledge? Or would you prefer someone who undergoes regular training to serve customers better? The answer is so simple, yet most wildlife companies are not taking continuous education seriously.

I just ran into a couple of related instances, both of which were troubling to me. I felt it was important enough to write about it.

The first was in September, down in Carmel, Indiana. Every year, the DNR hosts a day long class to give Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators a chance to earn some continuing education credits. The class was a couple hours away. It took all day. Most of it I knew already, but guess what: I also learned some things. Things that will help me serve my customers.

At the end of the training there was some discussion about upcoming legislation changes. One of the topics was that the continuing education requirements were being reduced to 16 hours per four years instead of 40 hours. There was further discussion about whether continuing education was necessary at all. Some people felt very strongly that continuing education was unnecessary.

The next instance was a couple of days later when I showed up at a customer’s home to give an estimate for a bat exclusion. In the driveway was a competitor to do the same thing. That’s fine. It happens. There is usually camaraderie among nuisance guys and I had not met him before, so great. After speaking a couple minutes of small talk I asked if he had gone to the class downstate. He said that at his company, they just retest every four years instead of doing continuing education; saves time, he said.

Maybe I shouldn’t be shocked but I am just not sure how companies can be run like this. I have to believe that a customer would want a company servicing them that is constantly improving their systems and procedures, staying up to date on law changes, etc.

Our industry is typically composed of two different types of operators. The first is as a service business with similar business models to your service plumber or electrician who comes out to your house. We have overhead, insurances, company vehicles, employees with wages and benefits, and thousands of $$$ in traps and equipment. The other type is the part timer, maybe a trapper who likes the outdoors who is looking for some side money in the off season. May or may not be insured, may or may not be taking this seriously at all.

Since I belong to the first group, I am going to take every opportunity to learn something that will help me run my business better. My family and my customers depend on my expertise.

Now let me ask those wildlife removal agencies who take training for granted. If you were given a chance to make your services better, to make your customers happier, and to add more value to your company for business continuity, would you take it? If you answered yes, then wildlife training is definitely worth it!

Valparaiso Raccoon Removal

Raccoons are sturdy mammals that are generally found throughout the country. They normally weigh 10 to 30 pounds and measure about 2 to 3 feet long. They are typically active during the night and appear less energetic during the day. They have cat-like movements and masked faces that invite even the most wildlife-cautious people for a closer look. Some would feed and play with them out of their curiosity on the animal. Some may even take the young ones as pets. Like most wildlife, raccoons should be best left alone since they are potential carrier of rabies. While transmission to humans only happens rarely, the risk associated with them should never be ignored or taken lightly. When the presence of raccoons nearby alarms you and your family, consult Valparaiso raccoon removal experts immediately.

Valparaiso Raccoon Removal
Photo credit: kat+sam / Foter / CC BY

Raccoons have become more and more accustomed to urban and suburban areas nowadays. They may appear tamer than they actually are and have become less frightened of the people they encounter. They are not afraid of entering human properties in search of food and making human space their home and defecation area. And since they are great climbers and intelligent animals, they can easily enter your homes by climbing up the roof or going in the chimneys. In worse cases, they tear off shingle roofs and fascia boards in their great need to access your attic or wall spaces. Because of these raccoon activities, these animals are considered pests by many homeowners. People dealing with such problem must hire professional experts in raccoon removal in Valparaiso for proper, safe and long-lasting solution.

Raccoons are opportunistic animals and will eat whatever is most accessible. And since they eat a wide variety of foods from insects to mammals, from grass to vegetables, and from leftover food to pet foods, these pesky creatures will notoriously invade garbage bins, gardens, agricultural crops, backyards, bird feeders, and poultry houses.

If raccoons are causing you so much trouble, do not tolerate nor wait for the situation to become worse. Solve your problems without exhausting yourself by simply availing of the professional raccoon removal Valparaiso has to offer. Get rid of raccoon and call us for all your  wildlife control needs today!

Valparaiso Wildlife Removal
Illiana Wildlife Services 
(219)464-7966

Valparaiso Wildlife Removal

In many wildlife-human encounters, homeowners may try to learn to coexist with wildlife provided that these animals do not at all cause immense trouble and real damage to them and their properties. There are also quick methods and home remedies that homeowners and farmers use in managing and preventing human-wildlife conflicts. Some of the measures that help eliminate minor wildlife problems include modification of our surroundings and change in our habits.

However, when wildlife problems become uncontrollable and intolerable, these methods and strategies will no longer be helpful. Homeowners and farmers become irritated and even alarmed by the animals’ presence, and in turn, urgently look for ways that will totally eradicate the critters off their lives. Valparaiso wildlife removal company offer humane animal removal and wildlife pest exclusion. In situations like this, do not wait for another day. Turn to them instead.

Valparaiso Wildlife Removal

A hoard of skunks ruining your expensive gardens, a family of sick raccoons living and defecating in your attic, a colony of mice gnawing the power lines and electrical wires, annoying beavers cutting down ornamental shrubs and shade trees – solving all of these wildlife-related problems don’t have to wear you out physically trying to handle the job by yourself.

Why exhaust yourself when there are reliable and responsible companies that will do the entire wildlife removal job for you and give you the peace of mind that you deserve? These wildlife removal Valparaiso experts are committed in delivering services that are very affordable, proven effective, and guaranteed safe for you, your family and the animals involved.

If you have questions regarding safe, proper, and effective wildlife removal, get the answers that you need immediately. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call the licensed specialists and experts in wildlife removal in Valparaiso now.

Valparaiso Wildlife Removal
Illiana Wildlife Services 
(219)464-7966