Get Rid of Bats

bat removal

I have to wonder what bats must think, when we try to get rid of bats with tools that were meant for playing sports or cleaning the house.

Look, I know that sometimes entire bat colonies get in an attic, or bats roost in a chimney or people have bat colonies around their house.  But, a lot of times, it’s just one single bat that got curious or accidentally flew in a house.  Once inside, it finds a nice place to hang out, like high up on a wall, or in a fireplace, behind a curtain or on the back of a chair.  It might be a little bit worried about finding its way back outside again, but it’s pretty confident that it’ll be able to find its way back out, once it’s had a nap or pulled its wits together.

And, then, some human innocently walks into the darkened room and flips on a light switch.  Still, the bat might not move from its spot.  It’s comfortable, it’s safe, and it sees no reason why it should have to move.  So, it hangs out there for a while.  The person wanders around, doing whatever people do in that particular room.  But, suddenly, the person glances at a random spot on the wall, and sees a dark smudge just hanging there.  Somewhere, deep in that person’s brain, a fearful voice whispers, “It’s a bat,” and then there’s screaming, and running, and door slamming, and all of a sudden there’s several people all trying to get rid of the bat.

The things people use to get rid of bats, though!  It’s like, they grab whatever is at hand, whether it’s an empty box, a blanket, a tennis racket or the long, dusty, fluffy thing at the end of a pole that they use to clean off ceiling fans.

A whole chase ensues.  The bat flies frantically around the room, barely avoiding faces, heads and windows as it desperately looks for an escape route.  Objects are smashed or simply knocked over as the people alternate between trying to get rid of the bat to running away screaming to ducking and cursing.

And, what must the bat think?  It was happily minding its own business when it’s awoken and chased.  It is not a greased pig at a fair, it is not an escaped bull in a china shop.  It is simply a small bat taking a rest from looking for dinner.  Now, it’s trying to avoid getting its wings smashed in a butterfly net or by a cardboard box while flying around looking for a way out of this mess.

Let cooler heads prevail.  Call a professional to get rid of bats for you.  Tennis rackets are for playing tennis, blankets are to keep you warm, and ceiling fan dusters are for . . . well, you know.

Get Rid of Moles

get rid of moles

People of the world, we earthworms implore you to get rid of moles.  It’s well documented that we earthworms are your friends.  We do not carry diseases or parasites, as other creatures who roam your backyard do.  We do not bite.  We do not scratch.  We don’t even bother your precious pets.  We don’t like to get into your house and eat your food.  We don’t damage your buildings and we don’t harm your children (except when they’re not too bright and swallow us whole).

No, on the contrary, we are excellent garden companions.  You may have invented the plow, but we were there first, plowing underground.  We mix up the soil, making sure the nutrients are well saturated throughout the soil, feeding all your plants.  We tunnel, making sure water and just the right amount of air reaches the plant roots.  Our castings even enrich your soil further.

So, why won’t you get rid of moles?  They are not a gardener’s friend.  They may not eat as much of your plants or roots as other animals, like voles or gophers.  But, trust me, the air pocket they leave behind in their tunnels is like a death sentence to the plant whose roots are affected.  Plus, voles, mice and other animals use the mole tunnels, too, and they do eat your plants.  Of course, you see the moles as an annoying creature, that makes mounds of dirt all over your property and destroys your vegetation.  We see moles in a whole different light.

Moles eat earthworms.  We try to get away.  We can feel the vibrations through the earth when a mole is digging nearby, searching, searching, searching for a mouthful of one of us.  And, we earthworms live under your grass, your flowers and your garden, which means that’s where the moles are tunneling.  Once they get one of us, we can only hope they devour us right then and there, if only so we can avoid the horror that awaits the rest of us.  Because, you see, moles are a lot like chipmunks.  They like to store their food.  Unlike chipmunks, a moles’ food is alive when it’s stored.  The mole bites us earthworms in just the right spot, so we have no more control over our motor functions, and then it drags us away and stores us in its burrow to be devoured helplessly at a later time.

If you get rid of moles, you help the earthworm population.  Moles eat us, your friends, your pals, your best gardening tool.  They decimate us and your plants at the same time.  Waste no time.  Get rid of moles now so we can return to our pleasant relationship.  You give us damp soil to tunnel through, and we will nourish your plants.  Moles have no part in that cycle.

Get Rid of Raccoons

raccoon traps too small

Tears drip from my eyes, and I can not stop laughing as my roommate, Joe, stammers on about getting rid of raccoons.  The memory of his little-girl scream, the shocked look on his face, and the way he wind-milled back out of our fireplace makes me laugh harder every time I think about it.

“I’m serious, we have to get rid of the raccoon in our chimney!”

I know he’s serious, and I know we have to get rid of raccoons, but my laughing fit is making me hiccup out of control, and I can’t breathe, I’m convulsing so hard.  What makes it worse is our other roommate, Todd, is laughing, too.  I have to stop looking at him, or I’ll laugh myself into a coma.

Joe is kind of the macho man out of our group.  He’s the guy who spends at least two hours at the gym every day, bragging about his arms, even though most of the time is spent texting his girlfriend, drinking water, or looking in the mirror in between a couple of sets of grunting and lifting.  Hey, I don’t make fun of him, because neither Todd nor I can handle tools other than the occasional hammer or wrench, so it’s up to Joe to fix our toilet, install the new dishwasher, and, as of tonight, investigate whatever was making that noise up in our chimney.

We heard it at the end of our weekly game night.  We all have different gaming consoles, and we hook them all up in our living room, so we can rotate from game to game, trying to beat each other’s scores.  Some of our other friends were invited, too, but only on the condition they brought chips and drinks.  The raccoon in the chimney must have been making noise for a while, but we didn’t hear it until most of the guys had gone home.  Joe and Todd were picking up some of the empty cans while I finished up a game, and we heard a little scratch and a kind of chittering sound come out of our fireplace.

I didn’t bother to stop the game, until we heard it again, and Joe told me to shut up the game or he’d turn it off for me.  The three of us sat there, staring at the fireplace, waiting for the noise again.  When we heard it, a little rustling sound, we jumped up and ran around doing random things.  Todd ran for the phone.  He was going to call 9-1-1 until we yelled at him to stop dialing and hang up.  It couldn’t be that serious.  I grabbed a broom from the kitchen, although I’m still not quite sure what I planned on doing with it.  Joe ran for the fireplace, and banged on a spot just over the mantle.  He says he was trying to scare whatever it was, so it’d run back out and get out of the chimney.

None of that worked, and when we heard a noise again, Joe decided he was going to grab a flashlight and have a look for himself.

Flashlight in hand, he pulled the grate back, got on his back, and squirmed his way back into the unused fireplace.  At first, he didn’t see anything, but we sure knew when he did.   Raccoon eyes gleamed down at him from the dark, paws outstretched, and Joe screamed a scream that would have made a six year-old girl proud.  He’s still babbling about “getting rid of raccoons,” and Todd and I are still laughing hysterically.

Porcupine Control

I think the porcupine believes that if we can’t see it, we won’t suspect we need porcupine control.  We have a porcupine that loves our yard, our trees, our shed, even our car.  And, for some reason, it believes it has a better chance of getting to stay on our property if it plays hide and seek with us.

At first, this tactic worked very well.  We didn’t suspect we had a porcupine control problem.  We had other explanations for some of the damage we found.  Our makeshift plywood door on our shed had a large hole chewed right through the bottom right-hand corner.  We thought it was raccoons.  We found holes scratched into our sod, and assumed we had opossums or maybe rabbits.  The undercarriage of my husband’s truck had scratch marks and a tire had been chewed on.  Again, we blamed raccoons.  For over a month, we were on the lookout for a couple of raccoons.  We were certain they lived in the nearby woods and had probably found a hollow log or other nice place for a den.  We even picked out names for them, in case we ever saw them.

So, the porcupine’s ploy worked.  We weren’t on the lookout for a porcupine.  It had found some perfect little hiding spots throughout our yard, and stayed well out of sight.  For a while, all we ever saw was the damage, and we blamed other animals.

One Saturday morning, we must have startled the porcupine, though.  It was going to be a warm day, and we had a lot of yard work to do, so we had decided we’d get up early, get it done, and then enjoy the hotter hours of the day at a cool movie theater, followed by an air conditioned restaurant.  We went out into the yard, pulled out our tools from the shed, and started working.  I was digging up some weeds when something bounced off my head.  It was a piece of bark from the tree I was working under.  I looked up, and couldn’t believe what I saw.  A porcupine clung to tiny branches far above my head.  As far as hiding spots go, that was genius, I have to admit.  Who looks for a porcupine up in the tree?  But, there it was – a fat little cumbersome body, its quills laying flat, little paws clutching the tree, and a mouthful of bark that it had obviously stripped off the tree on the way up, as a snack.

I called my husband over from where he was working on the opposite side of the yard, and he didn’t believe me, until he saw it for himself.  It explained all the damage in our yard – the shallow holes in the grass, the chewed up door to the shed, the trees with pieces of bark stripped from them, and even the chewed truck tires.  That’s a lot of damage for one porcupine, assuming, of course, there weren’t more porcupines playing hide and seek with us.  We called porcupine control and went back to our work, letting the porcupine enjoy his last moments far up in the treetop.

Feral Cat Control

feral cat removal

There’s a reason I wear thick jeans when I go to work as a feral cat control officer.  Some people prefer loose-fitting khakis with lots of pockets, or shorts when the weather gets really hot.  I didn’t normally discuss the fashion choices available to feral cat control officers, until the incident.  Now, I bring it up with all the new guys, just so they know what could happen to them.

The day of the incident was an extremely hot day, but our washer had broken down and my shorts and khakis were both in the wash, so I was stuck with wearing thick jeans with the brown animal control shirt my company has issued to us.  Grumbling, I headed into the office, grabbed a cold soda out of the machine and picked up my assignments for the day.  It was going to be a pretty easy morning, it looked like.  I had a nice, air-conditioned drive ahead of me out to a more remote area where someone wanted feral cat control to trap a stray cat that had been spotted in the neighborhood.

So, I stopped grumbling, hopped in the truck and headed out.  It was an hour and a half drive, and I was relaxed and in a good mood when I finally pulled up to the client’s house.  He explained that the reason he’d called for feral cat control is because a white cat had been roaming the neighborhood, getting into people’s garages, attacking people’s pets, and using his own backyard as its personal toilet.  He’d had enough and wanted feral cat control to get rid of the cat.

I went about setting up a trap in an area the client pointed out to me.  Apparently the cat preferred living in and around a wood pile in his backyard.  Fortunately, as soon as I started setting up the trap, I spotted the cat watching me.  Slowly, I reached my gloved hand out, making soft mewling sounds, and the cat immediately approached me, sniffing my hand.  Quickly, I snapped it up and held it in the crook of my arm to secure it while I grabbed a collar and leash that I carry with me.  I was surprised at how easily I got the collar and leash on it, and even more surprised that the cat started to purr and exposed its neck so I could pet it.  It was very sweet, and I wondered if it truly was a feral cat, or if it had been a domestic cat dumped out here.

I didn’t have to wonder long, though.  Suddenly, without any warning, the cat leaped up onto my shoulder, and then clawed its way down my back.  I twisted around to let it jump safely to the ground, holding tightly onto the leash so I could regain control of this wild cat.  It went up on its hind legs, hissing and spitting and clawing at the leash holding it captive.  But, when it finally realized it wasn’t going anywhere, it went on the offensive.  It ran around my leg three times, shortening its leash as it did so, and then grabbed my denim-clad leg, clawing its way up, up, up until its claws sunk into my thigh far too close to my unmentionables.  It hung there, tenacious, as I gasped and grappled with this wild animal.  Finally, I was able to tear it off my leg and get it into the trap and then into the truck.  I had to sit in the truck for about ten minutes until I regained enough composure to let the client know I had gotten rid of the wild cat.

And, that is why thick jeans are now an official part of my feral cat control uniform.  I will never wear anything else.

Rabbit Control

rabbit removal

We are in desperate need of rabbit control on our backwoods property, but it’s going to be a huge job.  We have a small cabin in the middle of the woods about a three-hour drive from our home.  It’s been our haven, our little getaway, to take us out of the hustle and bustle of our jobs and all the errands and work we have to do around our home.  Since it’s not too far, we can easily go there for the weekend, and just enjoy the solitude and quiet of the mountains.  We’ve also used it as a base when we go hunting, but as we’ve gotten older, we go there with all the intentions of hunting, and end up spending more hours with a fishing line in the nearby lake or just sitting on the porch with a half-forgotten book on our laps as we talk or sit silently listening to the birds.

Even when we’ve gone through some difficult financial times, we clung to our private backwoods property.  Of course, having a cabin in the woods means we have also had our share of dealing with wild animals, mostly raccoons or skunks.  And, we’ve taken care of those situations as they came up.  Lately, though, we have noticed a serious need for rabbit control in the area.  This year, the rabbit population pretty much exploded, and the woods are teeming with wild bunnies.  It was cute, at first, because we’d go to the cabin on the weekend and watch rabbits bounding happily through the undergrowth just beyond our porch.  Some would even venture up onto the wooden steps, noses twitching at our sandwiches.

Soon, though, we started planning in a couple of extra hours into our weekend trips.  It was necessary, because we had to do some rabbit control as soon as we arrived before we could start relaxing.  Inevitably, we’d have to chase some rabbits out of the cabin, sweep out rabbit droppings, and take extra precautions to rabbit-proof the area, including our truck.  It was starting to get annoying.

Then, we noticed the damage to the trees around the area.  Young juniper trees were stripped of their bark, all the way around the trunk.  That was opening the trees up to disease, which meant we could have more dead trees than usual surrounding our cabin.  Dead trees can fall on a roof, which means a lot of repair.  It was starting to get dangerous.

One weekend, we arrived, and found a spot of animal blood on the porch, some matted rabbit fur, and, a little distance off, some scat that looked like it might have been dropped by a bobcat.  We realized that our little spot of heaven, with all of its wild rabbits, was attracting some very unwanted animals.  It was starting to get really dangerous.

So, now we’re looking into hiring real trappers for some rabbit control in the area.  It’s the only thing we can think of to make sure we can continue relaxing at our weekend haven instead of worrying about stepping on rabbit droppings, falling trees, or hungry predators.

Honeybee Control

get rid of bees

“You will absolutely have to have honeybee control come in and remove the honeybees before the big day.”  The wedding planner was overseeing all the final plans for her client’s wedding day, and had run into a snag.  Dressed in a tight white skirt and breezy blue blouse, she didn’t seem to mind walking around the nature center in her extremely high heels and perfectly styled hair that was held in place by a little too much hairspray.  She had already demanded that certain trees be trimmed and a walkway be repaired.  Her client was wealthy, demanding, and could make her career if she did this right.  Her client had insisted on renting out an entire nature center, because she was charmed by its beautiful setting.  Unfortunately, her client wasn’t really a true nature lover, and was adamant that no wild animals or birds ruin her special day.  So, in addition to all the other many, many unpredictable things that could go wrong, the wedding planner had to worry about weather, birds, insects and animals.

“But, that’s in three days.  I’m not sure we can get someone out here to do honeybee control fast enough.”

“Look at me.  I have faith in you.  If you do this right, we could be working together again for a lot of other really rich brides.  A lot of wedding events here means a lot of money for the center, which means you get to expand the exhibits you’ve been telling me about.”

The nature center manager was a kindly, older man whose passion had always been to help other people, especially children, love the outdoors as much as he did.  The wedding planner was right.  This was an excellent opportunity to bring in potential income, as much of his public funding had been diverted to building roads instead of expanding the nature center.

But, first, they had to get honeybee control in here. The bees had lived in the walls of one of the out buildings for a few years, and had built a very large colony.  Truth be told, the center had already received a few complaints from visitors.  The visitors to the park enjoyed the fields of wild flowers and watching the butterflies and bees that hummed and flew from place to place, but this particular honeybee hive was close enough to a popular picnic spot.  In fact, the wide expanse of grass framed by tall trees was the chosen spot for the upcoming wedding, and the planner feared guests and the bridal party would be too busy waving bees away to fully enjoy the ceremony.  Something had to be done.  Honeybee control had to come in and get rid of the bees in order for the park to generate more funds.  If it was done carefully and properly, the bees could be relocated to a safer and more remote area of the park, but it would have to be done quickly if the wedding was to go on as planned.

Opossum Control

opossum remival

As the supervisor of a large apartment complex, I take care of a lot of things, from leaky toilets to cleaning the streets to fixing air conditioners, but opossum control is a new one on me.

I got a call from one of my favorite tenants.  Mrs. Hernandez is a sweet older widow who always takes the time to say “hello” to her neighbors and remembers details about their life.  “How is your sick puppy, Rocco?” she asks the oldest Johnson boy.  Or, “How was your job interview?” she asks Brandon Thompson.  But, she never goes on and on about her own life or pulls out pictures of her grandchildren without being asked.  She even organized an apartment-wide barbeque a couple of weeks ago, and got more people to come than I had expected.  She has a special way about her that just makes you love her.

She rarely calls me with any needs, because she told me she doesn’t like to impose.  I’ve insisted that it is not only my job to fix things in her apartment, but it is my pleasure to help her out.  But, she still hesitates, so I like to stop by and check in on her every week to make sure everything’s running smoothly.

So, I was surprised when she called me this morning.  I was doubly surprised when she said, “I really don’t know how to say this, but I think I need opossum control or a plumber.”  Confused, I decided to investigate it myself before calling a professional opossum removal service or a plumber, and grabbed my ever-ready tool bag and thick gloves.

When I got there, she looked embarrassed as she led me back to her bathroom and directed my attention to her tub.  A tiny opossum baby was actually stuck inside the drain.  Its hind legs had slipped in between the large drain holes.  Every time it struggled to free itself, its tiny paws would just slip on the wet tub surface, and it would slip down just a little further.

Mrs. Hernandez said she had no idea where the mother was or how the opossum even got inside her apartment.  She and I agreed it probably got separated from its mother and then crawled in through her open window.  This was definitely a first for me, though.  I considered doing my own opossum control, by putting on the thick gloves, pulling the animal out of the drain, and popping it in the tool box to safely take it outside.  But, what would I do with it once I got it outside?  If I just released it, would it die alone?  Would it be easy prey for other animals?  Mrs. Hernandez had obviously considered this, too, and she was mortified at the idea of a helpless baby opossum.  Partly to ease my own conscience and partly to appease sweet Mrs. Hernandez, I agreed to call a professional opossum removal service.  Mrs. Hernandez even made me some ice tea as we waited for them to arrive.

Squirrel Control

get rid of squirrels

I watched, horrified, as the guy who was the squirrel control expert, pulled the cover off of our ceiling fan.

Over the last few weeks, I’d noticed an odd smell in the house, and I just couldn’t locate the source no matter how often I went through the house sniffing and seeking.  The fan was behind a vent-like cover that pulled warm air up and out of the ceiling and out of the house.  Then, the fleas came.

Now, I keep a very clean home.  As my children grew up, they always complained about my strict rules, making them clean up their rooms, pick up toys, and help me keep the house nice and tidy.  I wasn’t over the top about it, but it was important to me, and it kept my children as healthy as children can be.  Sure, they complained about it while growing up, but I have noticed that each and every one of them, with the exception of my youngest, keeps a neat and orderly home.  My youngest rebelled a bit, and doesn’t care as much about clutter in her home, but she’s a happy and successful woman, so I try not to worry too much about it when I go to visit.

So, you can imagine how horrified I was to have first a mysterious smell, and then fleas.  Fleas!  In my home!  That just wouldn’t do at all.  First, I had an insect control company come out to fumigate, but the gentleman who came suggested that I might look for the root of the problem first, before they got rid of the fleas.  So, I called the animal control company he suggested, and my squirrel control expert arrived.  He had listened to my explanations over the phone, and was certain that there was some wild animal in my ceiling, and I would most likely need squirrel control services, given the time of year and the location of my home.

I honestly didn’t care about the time of year or the number of trees surrounding my home.  I just wanted whatever it was gone.  Out of my house.  Then, I could get rid of the fleas and go back to having a beautifully clean home.

So, when he pulled back the vent covering the ceiling fan, I could not believe the amount of nesting materials that fell down around his ears.  I was horrified and fascinated all at the same time.  He had been right.  Squirrel control was needed, because it was a nest of baby squirrels.  Mama squirrel was running around up there somewhere still, probably mad as heck.  He got rid of the squirrel nest, being careful with the babies, and used his squirrel control expertise to trap mama squirrel.  Once that was done, I got the fumigators out to my house, got rid of the fleas, and then went in and sterilized my entire home, hoping I’d never have to deal with squirrel control again.