Get Rid of Bat

bat removal

“Myron, I think we need to get rid of a bat.”  I heard my wife call from the other room. She sounded so nonchalant, like it was the most normal thing in the world to yell to me across our home, starting a conversation about bats.  She might as well have been asking me if I wanted turkey or roast beef in my sandwich.  Admittedly, I was a little confused.  After nearly fifty years of marriage, we’d never had a bat in the house.  A mouse problem once, but that was a long time ago.

Maybe I misheard her.  “What’d you say, Jane?  Do you need anything?”  I called out.

“A bat.  A BAT.  I think we need to get rid of a bat!”  Her voice was a little more insistent and a lot more irritated.  She hates it when I don’t hear her correctly.  She thinks I ignore her sometimes on purpose.  If I’m completely honest with myself, sometimes I do.

Sighing, I put down my tools.  During my working years, I had dreams of my retired life.  It involved a lot of golf, a lot of time watching football, and plenty of time in my wood shop.  So far, I spent the majority of my time finishing the basement and turning it into basically a second home.   I’d built a kitchen and living room down there, a couple of bedrooms and an office.  It had been my wife’s idea, and so I grumbled about it a lot.  Truth is, I was enjoying myself.

But, now I had to stop, once again, and head back upstairs to where my wife sat on her easy chair, playing Sudoku.  Her health hadn’t been so good this last year, which meant she wasn’t able to spend her retirement years traveling, as she’d wanted.

I made it upstairs and saw her looking up at the wall above the mantle.  “A bat, Myron.  I said we need to get rid of a bat.”

Looking up, I saw the bat on the wall.  At first, it looked like a medium-sized smudge, but as I walked closer to the fireplace, I could easily see my wife was right.  We needed to get rid of the bat.  I was impressed that she was still sitting there, doing her Sudoku, in the presence of this creature.  She hadn’t been this calm when we had a mouse problem.  The years had mellowed us both out.

I had no idea how to get rid of the bat, though.  My mind went through the possibilities.  At best, I might scare it out of the house.  More likely, though, I’d end up scaring it into a witless flight pattern around our heads, and possibly hurt myself in the process.  Plus, I really wanted to get back to my basement project.  Then, it dawned on me.  Call Allstate Animal Control.  They’d send someone out to get rid of the bat for me, and my wife and I could go back to our respective retirement activities.  Good plan.

Get Rid of Snake

how to get rid of snakes

Halloween is my favorite time of year, and decorations are a major reason why I love this season so much, but I never imagined I’d have to get rid of a snake before I’d feel comfortable around my fun and gory decorations again.

Around mid-September, my kids and I are planning the holiday look for our home.  Will we do a cemetery theme?  Spiders?  Monsters?  Slasher movie motif?  Then, we get online and look up all the great and fun ideas on how to make things on our own, and we pull our tried and true standbys out of storage.  By October 1, we’re ready to strategically place the fun stuff around our yard and home.  We usually hold off on the really spooky decorations until the night before Halloween, just for an added treat for the neighborhood kids.

This year, the theme was “creepy crawlies.”  We have rubber rats, spiders and bats galore.  We strung spider webs all over the outside of the house, hung plastic bats from the trees, and strategically arranged all manner of insects and rats all over the house and yard.

As is our tradition, we had pumpkins by week 2 of October, and spent the weekend designing and carving our collection of jack o’ lanterns. Come Monday morning, we had eleven successful jack o’ lanterns grinning all over our front steps, and we were fully in the Halloween mood.

After the kids headed off to school, I ran to the store to grab votive candles for the latest additions to the yard.  I get a lot, because we like to light up our pumpkins each night leading up to the big event.  I came home, and set about placing the candles appropriately.

I gasped as I lifted the lid off of one of the jack o’ lanterns and automatically pulled my hand back.  Then, I laughed.  Someone had played a good joke on me, placing a snake inside the decoration.  Nice addition to our creepy crawly theme, I thought.

Then, that little decoration moved.  It was a real snake!  And, it wasn’t so little.  It uncoiled and I didn’t recognize it, so I had no idea if it was venomous or not.  But, I wasn’t sticking around to find out.  We had to get rid of the snake.  It was still tucked inside the jack o’ lantern, and I could see it moving around to get more comfortable through the jagged teeth of the pumpkin’s mouth.  My hand itched.  What if I’d just reached inside to place the candle without looking?

No, if I was ever going to feel comfortable around my own Halloween decorations again, we had to get rid of the snake.  I called Allstate Animal Control.  Their expert would know just how to get rid of the snake, and whether it was venomous or not.  And, I might just be able to go back enjoying the holiday.

Next year, however, someone else can put the votives in the pumpkins.  And, maybe we won’t have a “creepy crawly” theme ever again.

Get Rid of Skunk

Kids are hilariously unpredictable, and creative, so I didn’t panic when my six year-old son marched in the house from the back yard and proclaimed, “We need to get rid of a skunk!”  I thought it was a new game that he and his five year-old sister made up.  So, I played along for a while.

“A skunk, huh?  Well, how do you think we should get rid of a skunk?”

He thought about it seriously for a little while.  He must have considered the latest super hero cartoon episode he’d watched, because he decided zapping it with a laser gun was the best solution.

“Well, that’s not a bad idea, but what if you missed the skunk and shot the house?  Then, our house would fizzle and smoke.  Maybe you should think of some other way to get rid of a skunk?”

My son nodded sagely at my counterargument, remained silent for a while, and then suggested a more mundane, but equally dangerous solution.

“We could just shoot it with a gun.”

“Uh, I’m not sure that’s the best way to do it, son.  We’re not supposed to shoot anything in our neighborhood.  We might miss and hurt somebody.”

“Oh, right.  That wouldn’t be good,” he agreed.  “I’ll go think about it for a little while.”

Only ten minutes passed and my son was back to play the game some more with me.  He handed me a blue print that would have made MacGyver proud.  It involved digging a huge hole with some sharp sticks at the bottom, a couple of trip wires strung around our back yard, and, for some reason, an alien from outer space.  I looked it over carefully, keeping a straight face.  “Son, you have really worked hard on this plan to get rid of a skunk.  I’m very proud of you.  Now, where do you think we can get an alien?”

“Can’t we buy one at the store?”

“That depends.  Is it a real alien from outer space, or just a toy.”

“Well, it’s a real alien.  His job is to make skunk noises and get the skunk to come over to investigate, trip over a wire and fall in the hole.”

“I see, son.  You’ve really thought this through.”  Plus, I was inwardly impressed a kindergartner correctly used the word “investigate.”

“Maybe the store doesn’t have aliens,” he suggested.  “I’ll have to think of another way to get the skunk to go in the hole.”

Just then, my daughter, who was still playing in the back yard, screamed.  I looked out the window just in time to see her holding the door to the shed wide open, and a black and white creature run across our lawn.  This was no game.  My son was right.  We had to get rid of a skunk!

Ushering my daughter back inside, I gave up all thoughts of blueprints and aliens and laser guns and trip wires.  I told my son there was a special number we could call when we need to get rid of a skunk.  He agreed that calling Allstate Animal Control was probably the best (and easiest) course of action.

Raccoon Removal

My son didn’t figure raccoon removal into his business plan, poor thing, but it’s turned into a valuable business lesson for him.

When my son was ten years old, he decided he wanted to do something every year to make extra money.  He’s a saver, not a spender, and I have the feeling he’s going to be a great business man some day.  So, when he came to me five years ago and told me his business plan, my husband and I had to support it.  His big plan was to “lease” our garden plot from us in June, plant pumpkin seeds, grow pumpkins as big as he could, and then sell them in the fall for the Halloween and Thanksgiving seasons.  My husband and I quizzed him about all the ins-and-outs of his plan, but he really had thought of just about everything.  I had been a lazy gardener that first year, so I had no problem leasing the garden plot to him in exchange for extra chores.  He purchased pumpkin seeds using some of the money he’d earned mowing lawns in the spring.  He researched the best pumpkin growing practices for our area.  And, he spent the summer and early fall helping his cash crop to grow.

I hate to admit it, but my husband and I were surprised at how vigilant he was.  He stuck it out, worked really hard, and had a fairly good-sized crop by the beginning of October.   He worked up some fliers, handed them out to his classmates in school, stuck them on neighbor’s doors, and sold every last pumpkin that year.  He saved every dime from that first crop, with the exception of purchasing better seeds for the following year.

Every year since then, he’s made a profit, which he’s saved, and he’s developed quite a reputation.  He doesn’t even talk about buying a car when he turns sixteen, or spend it on hobbies, but he’s currently talking about his next business venture.  He hasn’t settled on one, yet, but this year’s fight with the raccoons have pushed him away from pumpkins and towards something a little less troublesome.

His pumpkin patch has gotten bigger over the years as we’ve dedicated more and  more yard space to his business.  He walked out to work in it the other day and found, to his dismay, some animal had invaded and eaten some of his pumpkins.  He set up watch one night, and discovered he needed to remove raccoons from his pumpkin patch.

There were two raccoons, who waddled and scuttled furtively into the patch, then used their sharp claws and teeth to rip into a couple of pumpkins.  They kept scooping pumpkin flesh up into their mouths until my son ran them off.

Since then, he’s tried several raccoon removal techniques, but nothing’s worked for him.  He’s finally come to the conclusion that he needs to get a raccoon removal service.  Fortunately, one call to Allstate Animal Control got an expert out to his patch, who removed the raccoons.  Also, fortunately, the cost was much lower than my son had expected.  He’s decided raccoon removal is just part of the cost of doing business.  He’s also decided that maybe it’s time to try growing Christmas trees on the plot, instead of pumpkins.

Honeybee Removal

bee removal

“Well, do you happen to know of a good honeybee removal service?”  The young, athletic, blond woman asked her two older visitors.  She and her husband had just moved into the neighborhood, and a couple of friendly ladies had stopped by to say hello.  She and her husband had gotten really lucky, finding this beautiful home for an extremely low price, in a well-established subdivision.  Sure, it was a home they bought directly from the bank, who had foreclosed on the prior homeowner.  Her new neighbors had filled her in on the details, including a prior homeowner who moved away suddenly, hadn’t said goodbye to anyone, rented the house out to someone, and then failed to make the mortgage payments even though he received rent.  His tenant got wind of that last part and quickly found herself another place to live.  Eventually, as happens all too often these days, the bank reclaimed the home, and sold it.

Unfortunately, since the home had been left vacant for several months, there were a lot of little problems with it.  Including the need for honeybee removal.  The new homeowner looked at her neighbors and asked their advice.

They thought they knew better, though.  They glanced at each other knowingly.  “Do you mean wasps?”  There had been a huge boom in the wasp population lately, and every homeowner in the neighborhood was fighting them off – spraying down children’s play sets, knocking down wasp nests, tending to those who were unfortunate enough to get stung.

Not wanting to offend her new neighbors, the young woman bit her lip and said, “Well, maybe.  But, they look an awful lot like honey bees.”  She grew up in a rural area.  She knew the difference between wasps and bees.  But, she humored her guests.  “Would you like to see?”

Good-naturedly, her guests agreed, although one suggested they take wasp spray with them.  She led them around the side of the home to a window and pointed up to a window on the second story.  Sure enough, honey bees were everywhere, swarmed around the window frame and disappearing inside the wall.  Her neighbors had never seen such a thing.  One of them realized her mouth was still open in shock.

“I’m so . . . well . . . sorry.  I had no idea.  Did you know about this before you moved in?”

“No, the bank sells foreclosed properties as-is, and we didn’t see this during our walk-though.  No one told us we needed honeybee removal.”

“Are they inside the house?”  Her astonished new friend asked.

“No, thank heavens.  But, I think it’s only a matter of time, don’t you?  I mean, with the new baby and everything, I don’t want to take a risk.”

“OK,” the oldest visitor exclaimed, taking charge of the situation.  I know just who to call.  Allstate Animal Control can send someone to take care of honeybee removal.”

“Wait, shouldn’t I call a bug removal service, instead?”

“Not with honeybees.  They’re special, protected, and have to be removed just so.  And, by the way, I’m so sorry I sounded so smug when I thought you were talking about wasps.”

“No problem.  You can make up for it by getting me the number for Allstate Animal Control so I can get them to remove the honeybees.”

“Consider it done!”

Rat in the House

rat removal

Laundry is one of those chores I actually don’t mind, as long as a rat in the house is not part of the process.  My wife loathes doing the laundry.  She would much rather take care of the garbage, the vacuuming or the dishes.  She says she can’t stand sorting through dirty laundry, looking through the pockets of our boys’ pants to make sure they don’t contain rocks, sticks or other debris they treasure for a moment until it’s forgotten in the dark recesses of their pants.  Once everything’s finally washed, my wife just cannot stand turning clothes right-side-out, folding them, and fighting with our boys to put them away before they are unfolded.  Plus, she says the process dries her hands out.  So, I made a deal with her – she takes care of the garbage, and I will stay on top of the laundry.


A typical rat.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

I keep my end of the deal, and secretly rejoice that I don’t have to face the disgusting garbage can ever again.


So, one night, after we put the boys to bed, I trundled off into the laundry room with the upstairs hamper in tow, and proceeded to prepare the clothes for the washing machine.  My elbow bumped the liquid detergent, and some of it spilled onto the floor, so I pulled open the drawer on the bottom of the dryer to grab a rag with which I could wipe up the sticky detergent before it made a bright blue path under the machines and down the drain.  It was at that moment that I discovered we have a rat in the house.


Apparently, the rat in the house loves the warmth that comes from the dryer, and the relative quiet it enjoys in that laundry room, since I’m the only one who really uses it.  It had made a nest out of the rags that I’d neatly folded up long ago and placed in the drawer.  I have no idea if the rat explored the rest of the house often, or if it just stuck to the laundry room, feasting on whatever tidbits I’d fished out of the boys’ pockets and tossed in the small garbage can.  And, I have to admit, I was simultaneously glad my wife hadn’t been the one to discover the rat in the house, and jealous of her.  Really, of the two of us, you would have thought the one who dealt with the garbage would be more likely to discover a rat in the house.  But, no, it was me.


Fortunately, we’d already used Allstate Animal Control in the past, when we’d discovered another critter digging holes in the lawn.  So, it was a no-brainer to email them again and have them get rid of the rat in the house.


You know, after that incident, I haven’t left a single pile of laundry just sitting in the laundry room.  I hate to imagine a rat making a nest in our clothes!