Every year I write about this topic because it’s extremely valuable…Exclusions & Alterations. This is the time of year when the weather becomes more tolerable to be outside and perform these services. The benefits of sealing up gaps, removing tree limbs and lowering that soil level will last for years.

So, as we move into the “cooler season” (For our transplanted Texans, Winter is a word not used that often, in our part of Texas) it’s the time of year to re-explore these items discussed. As with any professional service, it begins with the inspection and identification of suspect areas. So the expectations bar can be set, you cannot and will not be able to exclude every potential entry point for every type of insect and animal. Exclusion is the act of identifying openings in and around our properties that will allow rodents, birds, and other animals’ access to our attics, walls, and eaves. When these areas are located and closed off, you have greatly reduced the opportunity for continued damage. However, prior to sealing these areas you need to make certain that you are not “closing in” any critters or they may expire inside your walls or attic, and that will not be a good situation. Should you elect to perform these tasks yourself, you will need steel mesh, expanding foam, ½ inch hard wire mesh, six inch wide tin, screws and the tools required to work with these products. Should you desire to have this service performed by someone else, they should be willing to get up on the roof and close all entry points. The cost for this service depends on the extent of the work required, but is well worth the investment.

The other component of this program is Alterations. Concentrate first on the identification and removal of limbs in contact with the roof or structure. These limbs should be trimmed back 6-10 feet to insure that critters/animals cannot jump onto the structure. Additionally, the shrubs and ornamental trees should be trimmed back one foot or more from the sides of our structures. While you are in the area, you need to inspect your slab to insure that the soil level has not managed to become higher than the slab. Typically, we recommend that you have a minimum of three inches of the slab visible at all times. You, your yard company, or a tree specialist, if needed, can generally perform these alterations.

Every house, new and old, can utilize exclusion and alteration services. Performing these services now can and will benefit the “health” of your home for many years. Just because your home is new doesn’t mean you do not need these services. We have performed numerous exclusion services on homes less than one year old. Ask your pest control professional to perform an exclusion survey before the critters make a home in your home.

Inevitably some of you will perform these services and in doing so will come across droppings and immediately go to “I have rats” card. Don’t be so quick to pull that card out and then start placing rodent baits out everywhere. Number one, rodent baits have to be placed in a tamper proof rodent station. Number two (no pun intended), you need to inspect the droppings. Why, you ask? Because of the Gecko, lizard…not the insurance company, leaves a very similar calling card. They enter our homes through the weep holes, around the facia, window seals, doorjambs, vents, electrical and cable entry points. While they do not cause damage to your property, they do leave droppings and these droppings are sometimes mistaken as rodent droppings. The biggest distinction is a white dot on the end of the dropping. (I know, I know…gross/ sick…but that’s the _oop.) If you feel you need to reduce the Gecko population, your best option is the use of sticky traps placed in the areas of high levels of droppings. Actually, the Gecko is good at reducing other pest in the area.

If you would like more information or a free proposal on the services we offer or any pest related topic, please contact me at Chase Pest Control. Our office number is 936-441-2847 or by email at chasepestcontrol@consolidated.net. Until the next issue, have a great time outdoors; get ready for the holidays; and bring on “Winter”.