The Difference Between Bees and Wasps

Black and yellow stinging insects are often lumped together in the same group, but bees and wasps are actually very different. Being able to tell them apart is an important way to determine what course of action to take if you find them on your property.

Bees and Wasps – The Differences

Though similarly colored, the insects are built very differently. Bees tend to have shorter, rounder bodies with fuzz covering them in some cases. Wasps on the other hand tend to have longer, more slender bodies and do not have any hair on them. There are some exceptions to this, which is why it is important to have an expert inspect your property if you are unsure. Wasps are more aggressive than bees, but both can sting and be dangerous – especially if you have an allergy to either of them.

Having Bees or Wasps Removed                                      

Handling bees or wasps on your own is not something we recommend doing, because even though one sting is typically only painful, some bees and wasps can swarm when provoked, creating a danger of being stung over and over. This risk is especially serious for those with allergies to bee or wasp venom. The safest option is always to hire a professional animal removal service like Critter Control®.

Additionally, bees are responsible for pollinating a large percentage of plants that are harvested for food crops and other uses, and their decreasing populations make it more difficult to grow the things we need. Having the experts here at Critter Control® relocate them allows them to thrive in an area that won’t affect you.

If you’ve noticed bee or wasp activity around your property, we are here to help. For questions regarding our bee and wasp removal, or to schedule a consultation, call Critter Control® of West Palm Beach today at 561-274-0224.

Identifying Venomous Snakes on Your Property

North America is home to thousands of snakes that can be found in bushes, under rocks, and virtually anywhere else outdoors. Are you able to discern which snakes are harmless and which are dangerous? There are four snakes in the United States which are dangerously venomous, and it is important to be able to tell the difference.

A snake is venomous if:

  • Its eye pupils are elliptical. Venomous snakes have pupils that look like a cat’s eye, whereas non-venomous snakes have round eye pupils.
  • It makes rattling sounds. Any snake with a rattling tail is venomous, and hearing rattling is a defensive mechanism which means you or something is too close for that snake’s comfort.
  • It has a broad, shovel-shaped head. A trademark of a venomous snake is a wide, triangular head. Most snake heads are vaguely wedge-shaped, but a venomous snake has a bulbous head that is very wide near the jaw, with a narrow neck. Harmless snakes have a more gradually sloping jaw because of their lack of venom sacs.

There are other signs that a snake is venomous, but they all have exceptions that can fit the description of certain harmless snake species. If you are unsure, do not get closer to the snake to try and identify it. Instead, call for professional assistance from the experts here at Critter Control®.

Let Us Help

Don’t take any chances when you find a snake in or around your home. Contact the professionals at Critter Control® of West Palm Beach at 561-274-0224 right away. Our experienced technicians can safely remove any type of snake from your property.

What Are Africanized Bees?

The story of the Africanized bee is one that could come from a science fiction movie. Back in the 1950s, a Brazilian scientist named Warwick Kerr brought African honeybees to South America with the idea of breeding a more productive strain. Some escaped and bred with European honeybees, giving rise to a hybrid species – the Africanized honey bee.

They quickly spread into Mexico and beyond, and in 2014 were discovered to have migrated as far north as San Francisco.

Africanized bees quickly acquired the nickname “killer bees,” inspiring plenty of unnecessary fear. Contrary to how they are often portrayed, Africanized bees are not the killers they are made out to be.

For one, they are actually smaller than European honeybees, meaning that they carry less venom. Africanized bee venom is no more potent than European bee venom, so each bee is actually a lesser threat.

The issue with Africanized bees comes from how they defend their hive. They respond quickly to colony disturbances, and with greater numbers and more stinging than other bees. This aggressive behavior helps explain why Africanized bees have claimed the lives of hundreds over the past 50 years.

For someone without an allergy, it would take around 1000 stings to deliver enough venom to be life threatening to the average adult.

“Killer bees” are not actually out to kill however, as their swarming and stinging is simply their way of defending their hive.

Regardless of why they do it however, it is never a good idea to have a hive of Africanized bees on your property. Fortunately, the technicians at Critter Control® of West Palm Beach have a wealth of experience in dealing with all types of bee removal. For three decades, we have been the premier nuisance critter removal service in the area, and we can help you avoid any bee-related complications on your property. Call us today at 561-274-0224 with any questions or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

The Value of a Wildlife Inspection

Having a wildlife inspection conducted on your property not only offers the benefit of knowing if your property is wildlife-free, but it allows a qualified expert to carefully inspect important but seldom-accessed areas of your home in the process. Your home is a complex system with many moving parts that are tucked in difficult to reach places. From attic airflow to leaks in your basement, having a trained professional inspect your home is one of the smartest investments you can make for the future of your property.

Early detection of problems around your home can save you thousands of dollars down the road.

What a wildlife inspection covers

You can expect the following to be covered during a typical inspection:

The Roof – Your inspector will address three main areas of your roof:

  • Roof vents – One of the most common access points for wildlife is through damaging a roof vent. Through the use of simple preventative screening, this area can be safeguarded.
  • Roof/soffit intersection – The area that your roof and soffit meet is another common entry point, and animals will often tear open a hole to access your attic.
  • Roof line – Many roofs have something called a drip edge installed, which acts as a last line of defense against weather, wildlife, and insects. Keeping tabs on the condition of your drip edge is an important part of both the health of your roof and preventing animal infestation.

The Attic

The attic is one of the most significant and telling areas of a home inspection. The main considerations during an attic inspection include:

  • Evidence of wildlife activity – By completing a wildlife inspection, your technician will be able to determine what they need to know about the scope, species, and potential risks associated with any potential animal presence.
  • Damage to insulation – The presence of animals in your attic is one of the best ways to render your insulation ineffective. Heating and cooling your home is one of the biggest controllable costs on your property, and it is smart to take steps to ensure your insulation is working effectively.

Let Us Help

Critter Control® of West Palm Beach has over 30 years of experience handling all wildlife issues and understands how important it is for business matters to go uninterrupted as much as possible. Before putting a house up for sale, let us complete a thorough inspection of the home and property. Call us today at 561-274-0224 for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

Bee Removal: Can I Do it Myself?

Unless you’re one of the few who makes beekeeping their profession, having nuisance bees on your property can be a major annoyance. They can be unsightly with the honey and wax stains they leave, and can even be dangerous if their hive is disturbed. While honey bees can be a nuisance, the benefits they offer to flowers and fruit-bearing plants is so great that it is unwise to exterminate a hive.

Here are some reasons why bee removal is not a DIY job:

Bee Allergies

It should be common sense, but if you or a family member has a bee allergy, do not attempt bee removal without professional assistance. While one or two stings is typically okay even for those who are allergic, bees often swarm because of a pheromone in their venom that attracts other bees.

Aggression

Some bees, like Africanized honey bees, can be aggressive and territorial. Even if you go out of your way to avoid hives, you could accidentally trigger an attack with something as small as the sound of a lawn mower. It is always best to have a professional remove any bee hives on your property, as they can properly identify different types of bees and implement techniques to safely relocate the hive.

Hive Spread

If not handled in a timely manner, a bee colony can split and form new hives. This is also a possibility if you try to remove a hive on your own and don’t get all of it. Not only does this multiply any bee-related dangers, but it can cause the removal process to become much more complex. Always take action right away when you notice a beehive near your home.

Let Us Help

Critter Control® of West Palm Beach has a wealth of experience in dealing with all types of bee removal. For three decades, we have been the premier nuisance critter removal service in the area, and we can help you avoid any bee-related complications on your property. Call us today at 561-274-0224 with any questions or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Squirrel Removal? Think of the Babies

At various times throughout the year, residential or commercial squirrel removal needs to take into consideration the possibility that baby squirrels in various stages of development may be present along with the adults.

Gray squirrel babies are likely to be present as they develop slowly and do not leave the nest. They are born hairless and with their eyes closed, so the majority of homeowners don’t even realize their presence for 6 to 10 weeks.

What does this mean for you? When combating a squirrel infestation, do not dismiss the idea of the presence of babies, as they may not be easily detectable at the moment.

A Squirrel Removal Plan

 A comprehensive plan for removing both adult and baby squirrels includes:

  1. Locating entry and exit points
  2. Removing all squirrels and babies through humane, live trapping methods that allows them to be relocated
  3. Sealing off the entry and exit points to prevent squirrels from returning in the future
  4. Making repairs to restore the home from any damage caused by the squirrel infestation

With the mother and baby squirrels removed, you won’t have to worry about a recurring infestation or the babies maturing and inflicting the same damage that the mom did before she was removed.

Let Us Help

When it comes to squirrel removal, Critter Control of West Palm Beach has established itself as the premier option in the area. Our technicians are well-vetted and highly experienced, and we can have your home looking like nothing ever happened.

For questions regarding our adult and baby squirrel removal services, or to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact us today at 561-274-0224.

Can Rats Chew Through Walls?

Rats are some of the most common rodents you’ll find in your home. With their small size, they can slip through tiny openings you never knew were there. When you only find one or two, you may not think they can cause a lot of damage. However, you’d be surprised to learn just how much rats can do with their little mouths.

Jaw Power

When necessary, a full-grown rat can exert up to 12 tons per square inch. That’s a lot of jaw strength, especially when compared to that of a great white shark, whose max power is 2 tons per square inch. The sharks mouth is much larger, but proportionally, it means a rat’s jaw is stronger and can do a lot of damage. Why do they have such a powerful bite? Their diet consists of a lot of hard materials such as nuts and seeds, but they are also opportunistic eaters, meaning they need to chew through whatever is available to them at any given time. Additionally, rats have incredibly strong teeth that never stop growing- roughly 13 cm in a year- so they must continually wear them down.

Tooth strength

In addition to their jaw power rats have hard teeth that can power through materials you wouldn’t think. The Mohs hardness scale was created in 1812 to test the resistance of different minerals from being scratched. The scale ranges from one to ten, with a rat’s tooth ranking at 5.5. This puts it harder than materials such as copper, aluminum, and steel!

The combination of these two strength factors means that a rat can chew through the building materials that make up your walls. Wood, brick, uncured concrete, electrical wiring, plastic, aluminum, and more, are all susceptible to a rat’s bite. If you think a rat may be making its way through your walls, don’t wait until you can see their heads poking through! Give us a call today for your free inspection at 561-274-0224. We’ll create a plan to get the rats out and make sure your walls are repaired and safe from future damage.

Is It Legal to Kill a Bat?

As a homeowner, you may eventually find yourself as the involuntary host to one or multiple bats in your walls or attic. The first logical question to ask is how do you humanely remove them? Can you simply kill a bat that invades your home?

The answer is no, you cannot kill a bat that has taken up residence in your home. Many bats are endangered species and are incredibly beneficial to the environment and are protected under federal law.

Why are bats protected?

 Though too many bats are simply a nuisance, they are integral parts to the local ecosystem. From pollination to insect control, bats serve a crucial role in our area.

Many species have landed themselves on the protected species list due to the proliferation of something called white-nose syndrome. Also called WNS, white-nose syndrome is a white fungal growth on the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats. Since 2017, it is estimated that upwards of 7 million insect-eating bats have died as a result of the fungus in the US and Canada.

Because of this drastic decrease in bat population over the recent years, many species have been put on protected lists to help preserve as many as possible.

What to do if you have bats in your home

 If you begin to suspect that bats have moved into your home, it may seem like a good idea to simply swat them out of the air or kill and dispose of them. There are problems with this approach, however:

  • As mentioned above, it is illegal to kill or intentionally harm a bat, with penalties including fines large enough to warrant a second mortgage on your home
  • If there is one at present, there’s a good chance that there’s an entire colony somewhere in your home, so harming only one bat is not only cruel, but it does nothing to improve the situation

Regardless of the situation, if you find a bat in your home, the best option is always to contact a local, humane wildlife removal company like Critter Control of West Palm Beach.

It’s easy to lump bats into the same group as rats, mice, squirrels, or other critters, but unlike them, bats are essential to a properly functioning ecosystem.

If you come across bats in your home, contact us as soon as possible at 561-274-0224.

Should I Poison a Raccoon in My House?

The continued expansion of commercial and residential properties in the West Palm Beach area means animals like raccoons are forced to find new habitats as the forests and nature they call home are encroached on. Critters often try to take refuge in the very buildings that replaced their natural habitats, which can cause a variety of problems. As annoying as they may be, you should never poison a raccoon to get rid of them.

Why You Should Steer Clear of Poison

Poison is neither a humane or legal way to rid a property of raccoons, and contrary to popular belief, it isn’t effective either. Using poison in your home creates a hazard for children who may accidentally consume it. Poisons don’t take effect immediately either, so a raccoon has time to move to another part of your home or property before it dies, making it difficult to find before it starts to decompose and smell.

In nearly every situation, traps can be used to safely remove raccoons from a property, which is a much more humane option than killing them with poison. In fact, Florida Law bans the use of poison on a raccoon when it enters your home. For best results, always hire a professional who understands the ins and outs of nuisance wildlife regulations to ensure a job well done.

Professional Raccoon Control

Using poison to try and control raccoon populations on your property is not only illegal, it’s downright reckless and irresponsible. You should always defer to a professional animal removal service like Critter Control® of West Palm Beach. Over the years, we have developed methods of humane raccoon removal which are guaranteed to get the job done correctly.

Call us today at 561-274-0224 for your free consultation.

Why Animal Damage Repair is not a DIY Project

If you’ve been unlucky enough to deal with a nuisance animal problem in Why Animal Damage Repair is not a DIY project the past, you likely understand how extensive it can be, though it may not seem that way on the surface. It doesn’t seem like a raccoon, rodent, or bird could cause significant damage, but hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage is not uncommon, and we always recommend leaving the repair job up to a professional for best results.

Just some of the types of damage animals can do include:

  • Chewed or damaged wiring in walls or attics
  • Damaged or soiled attic insulation
  • Uprooted plants
  • Foundation damage
  • Holes in roofing components or fascia boards
  • Damaged ventilation ducting

Why Use a Professional?

While it may be tempting to tackle repairs on your own, there are some very good reasons to trust the professionals at Critter Control® of West Palm Beach instead.

  • We know what to look for. We have decades of experience in removing nuisance animals, and we know their habits well. Our technicians can quickly locate and assess any damages an animal has caused, so we can get your home back to top shape in no time.
  • Repairs are time-consuming. You may have the tools at your disposal, but the fact of the matter is that many types of repairs are more time consuming than the average homeowner can handle.
  • Quality work, every time. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work here at Critter Control®, and we can guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with your repairs for years to come.

Let the Professionals Help

If your home is in need of repairs after a nuisance wildlife problem, let Critter Control® of West Palm Beach take care of you. Call us today to schedule a consultation and our team of expert technicians will work with you to create a solution that suits your needs. Contact us at 561-274-0224 for a free inspection.