Vole Removal

vole removal

Most people don’t think about vole removal in the middle of the winter, but let me tell you, it’s one of the best times to think about it, at least for us raccoons.  Let’s face it, you take too much care of your yard, and voles spend the winter destroying your hard work.  You don’t know it, but we’re watching during the beautiful, warm months as you sweat in the sun, pruning, cutting, raking, and destroying vole homes, holes and tunnels.  Personally, as a raccoon, I can’t understand why you would waste so much time.  If you just let the grass grow up longer, or left that pile of leaves and sticks alone, you’d have a thriving vole population.  Mmmmm, juicy, crunchy little voles.  Admittedly, I love to hang around the places that have lots of voles.  Easy pickings and easy meals.  But, it gets kind of crowded at those places, and when the skunks move in, it’s time to find someplace else.

Which is why I’m here.  You think you’ve done everything you could do to get your lawn ready for the winter.  But, when the snow comes, and lays down a blanket over your nicely cropped and hibernating grass, the voles come out to eat and play.  They make little tunnels that stay warm enough for their tiny little yummy bodies, and then they chomp through grass or dig tunnels just underground and munch on those flower bulbs you took so much time to plant.  You think you’re getting tulips and daffodils in the spring?  Think again.  I can tell you right now there’s enough voles hanging out in that layer between the snow and your yard that you’ll be lucky to get a flower or two to pop up.

And those voles think they’re so safe, because you’re not doing anything about vole removal.  They think they’re safe because we raccoons can’t see them as easily when they tunnel under the snow.  You won’t know they wintered at your place until the snow melts and you’re left with a yard full of trails of dead grass.  But, I still have ears, don’t I?  I can still hear them under the snow, rattling against a dead leaf your rake didn’t pick up or using their tiny paws to rustle through the grass.  It might be a little bit of work for me to pinpoint exactly where the vole is tunneling, but if I pay close enough attention and listen carefully enough, with enough patience, I can usually pounce on them.  My paws will grab them and I’ll snap them up, and you’ll have your vole removal done for you.

I don’t even charge anything.  Well, room and board, but what’s that for a raccoon?  I just need a place to hole up.  Maybe a warm place for me to have little raccoon babies in the spring.  And, when the vole removal’s all done, then I might be able to help myself to your garbage or pet’s food.  You won’t mind, will you?

Porcupine Removal

My son called the incident many things, including porcupine removal, a science experiment, a learning experience, and doing me a favor.  I called it “being stupid.”  I love my son.  He’s fourteen, adventurous, intelligent (usually), outgoing, and . . . did I mention adventurous?

It started when my husband and I noticed some of our wooden-handled tools had been chewed, along with some other items we keep in our storage shed.  In fact, one of the walls of the shed had been chewed down.  We also found some shallow holes dug throughout our back yard, and one of our trees had claw marks on the trunk and some of the bark had been pulled away.  We didn’t know what to think, until my husband heard something in the middle of the night, and walked outside to find a large porcupine waddling around.  He told us about the culprit over breakfast the next morning.

My son was thrilled.  My husband was not.  My husband called a porcupine removal service, which promised to send out a technician later that afternoon.  I looked at my son’s face and realized he was sorely disappointed he wouldn’t get a chance to see this porcupine up close.

But, when he and his friend got home from school that day, they hunted around the backyard looking for any signs of the animal while I was still at work.  They not only found signs, they found the animal itself.  The porcupine was resting in a shallow hole underneath the wooden deck stairs, and it was not happy to be disturbed by a couple of overanxious teenage boys.

My son and his friend decided to “do me a favor” and do “porcupine removal” themselves.  In truth, they really wanted to watch the animal in action and see what it would do.  So, they scared it up out of its hiding place and followed its wobbly walk all over the yard, preventing its escape when it headed for the back fence.  Finally, the boys got to see what they really wanted to see.  The porcupine quills all stuck out, and the animal turned around so its hind quarters were facing its predators, almost daring them to attack.

My son reached out his tennis-shoe clad foot and prodded at the porcupine’s tail.  The tail twitched out of the way, but the animal stood its ground.  My son got a little braver, and his foot actually touched the porcupine’s rump.  Sure enough, a few quills stuck into the rubber sole, much to my son’s delight!  Now, he could study these quills up close.

The boys retreated slightly to look closer at the quills embedded in the shoe, and the porcupine turned its head around to check to see if they were still there.  Sure enough, my son and his friend were still there, but they were so intent on pulling the quills out of the shoe that they didn’t see the porcupine run towards the fence until it was too late.  It was gone.  Technically, porcupine removal and my son’s science experience had been successful, but I was just grateful there was no damage to the boys other than to the shoe.

Mouse Removal

how to get rid of mice

Some people just aren’t satisfied with television, music, internet or books – they have to turn to mouse removal tricks for their entertainment.

I’m an excellent babysitter, and there are several families in my neighborhood who consider me the best.  I know I’m bragging, but I’m really proud of the way their kids get excited when I come over to babysit them.  And, the parents know they can count on me to enforce their rules and help their kids have a good time while they’re out.

It’s safe to say I have a pretty great relationship with these families.  So, it was no big surprise when Mrs. Devreaux wanted me to look at some video that she took when I arrived a few minutes early to watch her two cute kids for the evening.  I obliged and followed her to the laptop in the kitchen.  I have to say, I was a little shocked when I saw the video was of her attempts at mouse removal.  I had no idea she had mice in her house, and now I was pretty creeped out at the thought of staying there for the next several hours, especially when she told me she’d been unsuccessful.

I watched the video, biting my tongue to keep from screeching.  She’d set up pieces of cheese and muffins on empty tissue boxes right next to the couch I usually slept on after the kids had gone to bed.  A little mouse popped out from under the couch, sniffing around the feast she’d offered it, and then helped itself.  After it had gorged on the easy pickings, it sniffed around the pieces of cheese tied up in twine, attached to the tissue boxes.  It was completely unaware of the fact that Mrs. Devreaux had meant it to be a mouse trap, her effort at mouse removal.

I watched, horrified, as the mouse pulled on the twine, eating the cheese, and tissue box after tissue box fell on top of it.  Each time, the mouse escaped, easily avoiding the empty cardboard boxes.  It polished off the meal and disappeared back under the couch.

Mrs. Devreaux stopped the video and looked up at me.  “Isn’t it the cutest thing?” she asked.

My throat was dry as I tried to figure out what to say.  “Did you ever catch it?”

“Oh, no!  It’s still running around, cute as can be.  It’s a smart little thing, too.  Oh, it just loves my laundry room!  I guess the dryer keeps it warm, and sometimes I think it sleeps in my dirty clothes.  I found a little hole it chewed in my favorite jeans.  I just don’t have the heart to get rid of the mouse.”

“Uh, huh,” I responded, just as the kids came running into the kitchen, grabbing onto my legs and yelling about what games they wanted to play with me.  I determined right then and there that all our games would be outside until bedtime.  I could only hope Mrs. Devreaux would come home soon after that.  My ankles itched as I wondered if a mouse would jump out at me at all.  I definitely would not be babysitting here again until Mrs. Devreaux got a mouse removal service out here to get rid of that thing properly!

Honeybee Removal

get rid of bees

How do you tell your neighbor they need honeybee removal or you won’t let your kids come over and play?  I’m just amazed that they haven’t done it already.  What, do they think having a honeybee colony living right under the soffit above the front door is a good idea?

“Mom, can I go to Jackson’s house?”  I dreaded my son Rick’s question.  I like Jackson, I like his whole family.  His mom and I have worked together at PTA events and had a great time, and we’ve had Jackson and his little sister over to our house several times.  Unfortunately, Jackson’s parents have had some rip-roaring fights that have gotten extremely vocal in the quiet evenings of our neighborhood.  It means other parents have been reluctant to let their children play at his house, and that has hurt Jackson’s feelings on more than one occasion.

I don’t want to hurt Jackson’s feelings any more than fighting parents and difficult neighbors have already hurt him.  But, my son is highly allergic to bee stings.  It’s bad enough the bees swarm the neighborhood, now that they’ve got an active hive right over Jackson’s front door.  I’m so worried to let Rick go over there, where there are more bees than in our yard.  Some of those honeybees have to have gotten inside from time to time, so even if I tell my son to stay inside, he’s still not safe.  If only they’d gotten honeybee removal done, it wouldn’t be an issue.

And, now I’m stuck with the agonizing choice of either confronting Jackson’s parents about honeybee removal, or telling Rick he can’t go over there to play anymore.  I could explain to my son’s friend why I can’t let Rick go to his house, but I’m afraid Jackson will see it as yet one more person who somehow thinks their son will be “contaminated” by being his friend.  No ten year-old should ever have to deal with that.

“Why don’t you ask Jackson to come over here today?  I’ll make cheese sticks and pizza poppers.”

“No, Mom!  I want to go to Jackson’s house.  He just got a new Xbox game he says is so awesome, and I really wanna play it.  Plus, he wants to show me how his wall makes this cool noise.”

Ugh.  The wall noise has got to be the honeybees in the wall.

“Rick, you know you’re allergic to bees.  You could end up going to the hospital if you get stung.”

“I’ll be really careful, Mom, I promise.”

I really wanted to give in, so I did, but I went with him, armed with the phone number for a great honeybee removal service to give to Jackson’s mom.  I had to be extremely diplomatic, for fear she would take it personally or think I was too nosey.  Instead, she was thrilled and thanked me.  Then, I showed her how to use the bee sting medication if Rick should get stung.  Then, I walked home praying nothing would happen while my son was playing Xbox.

Rabbit Removal

rabbit removal

It started out all adorable and sweet, and now I’m stuck with some serious rabbit removal problems.

It was early spring, the yard was greening up, we were planning an excellent fishing trip up to the reservoir, and we’d already had our first barbeque of the season.  I was working in the yard when I saw these adorable baby bunnies tucked away in a shallow burrow in the grass.  I couldn’t believe how gorgeous they were.  The mother rabbit was right there, but I bent down and tapped my hand down on the ground in front of the burrow.  Almost immediately, a tiny grey and white bunny came right up out of the hole and into my hand.  It’s supposed to be a wild animal, but it had no fear of me at all.  It just wriggled around in my hand, and then fixed me with an almost serious stare with those enormous black eyes.  I lowered it back to the ground, and it waddled back into its burrow with its siblings and mother, little white fluff of a tail wiggling as it did so.

Now, it’s the end of summer.  We’ve gone on lots of fishing trips and hosted lot of backyard barbeques.  And, I am dealing with rabbit removal like you would not believe.  What started out as one tiny little adorable rabbit wriggling around in my hand has ended up as a nightmare.  I’m terrified of mowing the lawn, because little baby rabbits are tucked away in shallow burrows all over the grass.  I look over my yard and see dead brown spots scarring the greenness of the grass, places where adult rabbits have scratched down into the sod to have their babies, again and again.  My vegetable garden is a complete mess.  My wife’s flower garden is a disaster.

I just wish I’d done rabbit removal with that very first rabbit burrow I found instead of ooohing and aaaahing over a cute little baby bunny with big black eyes.  Now I feel like that tiny rabbit was warning me of the disaster to come.  My neighbors are complaining that we’re being overrun with rabbits, and we suddenly have more feral cats and raccoon problems than we’ve ever had in this area before.  They must be attracted by the sudden boom in rabbit population.  Of course, that means we’re all worried about our own pets now, worrying about rabies, mites or any other nasties that they can get from wild animals.

Something must be done, and I just hope it’s not too late to get a professional rabbit removal service in here to get rid of the rabbits.  I don’t care if they’re cute and sweet or old and mean.  They’ve all got to go!

Opossum Removal

I’m a fair-minded landlord, so I wasn’t too harsh on the animals when I had to conduct opossum removal.  I remodeled the large vacant home I bought into four separate apartments, and had no problem renting them out once the remodeling work was complete and all the permits and licenses came through.  The place is a good location, not far from a mass transit station and within walking distance to a shopping center.  But, I managed to keep the private, inviting feel of an old home.  It was easy to get tenants quickly.

I live in the upper-most apartment, so no other tenants were aware of the scrabbling, rustling noises coming from the empty attic just above my head.  I assumed it was an animal or bird that had gotten lost in there and would find its way back out the next morning, but the noise persisted over the next couple of days.  Finally, I felt I had to do something.  I crawled up there one morning and poked around, my nose wrinkling at the nastiest smelling animal droppings I’d ever had the displeasure of seeing or smelling.  Then, over in the far corner, I spotted the two animals, and knew the time had come for opossum removal.

I called a professional opossum removal service, and they quickly came out.  But, I was adamant.  I didn’t want them to take the opossums away.  I wanted to relocate them under the pergola in the yard.  I thought they were sweet and cute, even as they bared teeth at the opossum trapper.  He looked at me kind of funny, but obliged.

I didn’t tell the guy who did the opossum removal that I had a problem with voles on the property.  It may have been what attracted the opossums in the first place. My tenants didn’t spend any time in the yard, since there was a nice park nearby, so they weren’t aware of the vole holes and tunnels in the yard.  I’d tried to trap the voles myself, but it felt like there were three or four more for every one I caught.

So, I thought, if I had to have opossums removed out of the attic, I might relocate them into a safe place in the yard.  That way, they could hunt down and feast on the troublesome voles as long as they stayed out of the attic and didn’t keep me awake at night.

It kind of worked for a time.  There were several times, though, that I had to go out early and pick up the garbage cans they’d knocked over and rooted through.  Then, there was the night that I heard hissing and growling.  It’s possible they had a run-in with one of the local cats.  But, the vole population started to decline, so I thought I was brilliant for removing opossums out of the attic and relocating them under the pergola.  One night, however, one of my tenants had decided the pergola was a perfect, romantic place to take his girlfriend.  His girlfriend screamed nice and loud when they startled the two opossums, and soon everyone was aware of our backyard vole-eaters.  This time, I had to have opossum removal done for good.  They were taken off the property, never to be seen again.  I had the same service get rid of the voles, too, while I was at it.

Chipmunk Removal

get rid of chipmunks

I try to act as if nothing unusual is going on, especially chipmunk removal.  I’m fully aware of everything going on, of course.  I’m a wild animal, for heavens sakes.  I’m gifted with heightened smell, hearing that’s good enough for my needs, and an innate fear of absolutely everything.  This serves me well.  Keeps me safe from predators like snakes, raccoons, skunks, dogs, cats, and keeps me safe from chipmunk removal.  It hasn’t worked so well for some of my chipmunk fellows.  Some have been caught, especially when they get a little too bold for their own good, or when they actually dig holes into people’s houses, getting them into all sorts of trouble.  But, so far, I’ve been just fine.

I barely stick the tip of my nose out of my comfy little chipmunk hole and sniff the air.  Whiskers are straight out, testing the air for any movement, but there’s nothing immediately around the entrance to the tunnel.  Regardless, I quickly back down the hole, just to see if anything comes popping out at me, and wait.  Nothing.  Face twitching, I dare to expose my entire head out of the hole, fully alert and ready to dive back down to safety.  Still, nothing happens.  My eyes are wide, taking in everything going on around me.  There’s no immediate threat, no imminent danger, but there’s a chipmunk removal man just beyond the perimeter of safety.  He thinks he can wait me out.  But, I excel at patience.

The chipmunk removal man hasn’t moved, but I notice the small cage at his feet.  He isn’t directly looking at me, and I pretend I’m completely unaware of him, but we both know that we see each other.  Nonchalantly, I scoop some seeds up into my cheeks, then stop, and hunker down, ready to flee at the first sign of pursuit.  Nothing.

I venture out of the tunnel completely and even put my back to the chipmunk removal man and his cage as if to tell him I’m not worried the least little bit.  I flick my tail, and freeze as I notice a large bird eyeing me from the tree.  Faster than light, I’m back down into my tunnel of safety, before I realize the bird won’t attack me as long as that human is so close.

I wait, and wait.  I hear a “whoosh” of wings, and assume the bird is gone.  Once again, I dare to allow the very tip of my nose test the air beyond my tunnel.  So far, still safe.  Cautiously, with jerky movements that ready me for a flight back to freedom, I slowly venture out of the hole once more.  I immediately notice the man is gone, but his chipmunk removal cage is not.  It’s right there, next to my tunnel.  I can’t believe he thinks I am that stupid.  But, oooh, what is that divine smell coming from within the metal bars?  It can’t be peanuts.  I adore peanuts.  A movement to my left sends me all the way down the tunnel into my underground burrow, and I consider what’s just happened.  My thoughts become consumed with peanuts, and I begin to wonder if I’m fast enough, could I get those peanuts out before being trapped?  Chipmunk removal or not, the peanuts are just there for the taking, right?

Beaver Removal

beaver removal

My friends and I are pretty adventurous, but this last weekend, we got to witness beaver removal firsthand on our weekend adventure.  It’s weird, but true.

When we go on one of our little weekend adventures, we pack up one of our cars with food, sleeping bags and a tent or two, and then we just drive.  We drive as far as we can on one tank of gas, and when we stop to fill up, we ask the gas station employee for cool places to camp around the area.  We get directions, buy some cold drinks, get back in our gassed-up vehicle, and drive towards the general area pointed out to us.  But, we don’t go to the camp grounds.  Instead, we look for little side roads that aren’t very heavily traveled, and head down one until we find something interesting or until it gets dark enough to set up camp.

Beaver eating a twig in water
A beaver causing havoc for a little logging town.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

This last weekend, our little dirt road led us right up and over the crest of a mountain, something that rarely happens.  We were driving my friend’s little four-door sedan, so it was kind of iffy whether or not we’d actually make it over the crest.  There were times we nervously joked about what we’d do if the car just got stuck up there in the middle of nowhere.  Would we walk back down the mountain or just camp wherever we got stuck?  Miraculously, though, that little car kept on going up, up, up and over the mountain to the beaver removal site.

We found out that this little dirt road was actually a logging road.  Of course, by then we knew it was intended for much more rugged vehicles than we were driving, but we didn’t care.  We were on an adventure.  We discovered this tiny little logging town in the middle of the forest.  A small store sat in the middle of log cabins, and a make-shift golf course.  The “golf course” was just a series of tree trunks with numbers painted on them, indicating the “holes.”  It was off-season, so the town was only occupied by a handful of people, most of whom were now involved in the beaver removal project.

Apparently, a couple of beavers had dammed up a creek and created a small lake, or giant pond, whichever you want to call it.  Unfortunately, the dirt logging road was now located under the water.  For the loggers, it meant they had to remove the beavers and their beaver dam in order to let the road dry out in time for logging season.  For us, it meant the only way back down off the mountain was back the way we came.

We watched as the backhoe broke through the felled trees blocking the waterway.  The beavers were nowhere to be seen, but we imagined they were in a safe place witnessing the destruction of their destruction.  Slowly, the machinery broke through the beaver dam.  The water rushed out at first, forming temporary creeks that led down the mountain.  Then, as the water slowed and the day got darker, my friends and I set up camp nearby.  Some of the loggers joined us by the fire, and we listened to logging stories until late that night.  It was an odd adventure, but entertaining.  After all, we got to play logger golf and witness beaver removal.  Who knows what’ll happen next weekend?

Mole Removal

mole removal

I have tried every mole removal product and gadget out there, but nothing seems to be working and I’m getting really mad.  Look, I have a pretty tiny yard.  Even as small as it is, I work hard to keep it looking really nice.  My grass is a dark shade of green, my plants were chosen with a lot of care, and I even have a little flower garden.  So, you can imagine how upset I am to walk out onto my beautiful little yard and sink about two inches into a mole tunnel, or watch as plants start to die because moles are exposing their root system.

And now my tiny little yard is costing me more and more money, as I replace plants, try to revive the areas with dead grass thanks to moles digging, and purchase mole removal gadgets and repellants.  They’re destroying my whole yard, but they really seem to hang out next to my little flower garden area, under some bushes along my walkway.

I pulled into the driveway the other day, and spotted a large black snake slithering across the concrete and over into the area under the bushes.  At first, it really freaked me out.  It’s bad enough to deal with moles, and now I have at least one snake, possibly more.  But, once I realized the snake could possibly be the solution to my mole removal problem, I decided not to hunt it down.  Besides, snakes give me the heebie jeebies, and I didn’t want to go digging around under the bushes trying to hunt it down.

Of course, now I’m stuck with snakes in my yard.  An obvious alternative is to get a cat.  Mrs. Thompson, my neighbor who lives about four houses down, says her cat catches an average of two moles every day.  The cat usually eats them, but sometimes leaves the dead moles as little presents on her doorstep.  Small price to pay to have a cat take care of your mole removal.  Unfortunately, that means you have to have a cat.  I’m allergic and don’t really like cats.  Maybe I can convince Mrs. Thompson to let me borrow her cat from time to time, but I’m sure it’ll get used to roaming around on my property and I’d have to deal with that.

So, snake or cat to get rid of the moles.  Those can’t really be my choices, can they?  I’m tired of spending so much money and time on mole removal instead of enjoying summer Saturdays on my small but previously well-manicured yard.

No, I think instead of wasting any more money on do-it-yourself products that don’t really work, or cohabitating with a snake or cat, I’m just going to pay for a professional mole removal service.  They’ll do it right, they’ll get rid of the moles, and maybe they’ll even get rid of the snake.  Then, I can go back to enjoying time outside in my yard again.

Squirrel Removal

squirrel removal

I had no idea the baby squirrels nesting in the window well just outside my office would cause such a squirrel removal controversy.  I work for a gentleman who runs a business out of his home office in his basement.  There are two of us who show up at his house each morning, walk around back and let ourselves into the basement office. He runs his own small real estate company, and specializes in foreclosed or distressed houses.  Unfortunately, these homes are a lot more work for a real estate professional, which is why he needs help.  My friend and I both needed part-time work while our children were in school, and we consider it a bonus that we get to work with each other.  We do all the paperwork and handle phone calls while he is out talking with clients and generating more business.  It’s definitely a win-win for all of us.

Even though it’s a basement office, it’s nicely finished and I’m lucky enough to have a window casting light onto my desk during the day.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an accumulation of twigs, leaves and shredded paper in the grass-lined window-well bottom.  Then, one morning after a three-day weekend, I came into the office delighted to see three little baby squirrels wriggling around in the soft debris.  My friend was home with her sick child that morning, so I had no one to share it with.  I took some video of the cute little baby squirrels and the mama squirrel hustling around the nest taking care of them.  Then, I went to work, but kept my eye on them throughout the morning.

The next day, I was excited to share this beautiful sight with my co-worker/friend, and told her about it as we walked into the office.  She looked appalled, much to my surprise.  I had thought she’d ooooh and aaaah over the adorable little squirrel babies, but instead she talked about squirrel removal.  Before I knew it, she had our boss on the phone and asked permission to contact a squirrel removal company.

I grabbed the phone from her and pleaded on behalf of the squirrels.  I said they weren’t harming anyone, and since they were outside in the window well, they weren’t going to damage his house.  Our boss said he’d think about it and call us after he met with a potential client.

Needless to say, the morning’s work was shoved aside as my friend and I debated, but I eventually came around to understand where she was coming from.  She’d had a squirrel nest in the attic once, and it was awful.  Some big animal like a raccoon came in after the nest and ate a couple of them, leaving the remains to decay in her attic. As they rotted, her house got infested with bugs and flies.  She just couldn’t bear to go through that again, even if it was at someone else’s home office.  I gave in, once I was reassured the squirrel removal company would take care of the squirrels humanely, and would probably save their life, considering how many feral cats lived in the area.  In the end, it just made sense.