Q&A with Local Franchisee
Can you please describe the most common wildlife issues that homeowners face in your area?
Raccoons, squirrels, skunks, and groundhogs.
How do the seasons affect nuisance wildlife activity in your area?
Spring and summer are the busiest times of the year. Winter is the slowest.
What are some common signs of nuisance wildlife activity?
Feces and noises in the walls, attic, and chimney of the home.
Any prevention or exclusion tips for local residents in your area?
Home repairs such as covering exterior holes that allow animals in.
When should homeowners call Critter Control?
At the first sign of an issue.
Wildlife Problems in Cleveland, OH
Located on Lake Erie, Cleveland, OH, provides the resources that attract wildlife. As a result, residents are used to seeing common animals such as bats, squirrels, and raccoons around their homes. Factors from extreme weather to lack of food may cause the pests to move indoors.
Of the 14 species of bats in the state, the big and little brown bat have adapted particularly well to the urban environment of Cleveland. They have learned to roost inside warehouses and homes in the crevices of attics, walls, and between rafters and roofing. If bats aren't visible during the day, then listen for scratching and squeaking sounds at dusk when the pests are most active.
Bats in Cleveland are also problematic because of the diseases they carry. Piles of waste beneath their roosts create not only structural hazards, but a risk of fungal infection. Bat bites can also pass rabies, leptospirosis, and a host of other illnesses to humans.
The streets of Cleveland, OH, are often infested with hungry and fearless raccoons. The black-masked pests will eat just about anything, often knocking over garbage cans or raiding pet food bowls. The pests also create den sites beneath decks or inside uncapped chimneys. A raccoon may also find its way into the attic to rest during the day and raise its young.
To get indoors, these bushy-tailed animals will remove shingles and tear through walls. The damage continues once they get inside, especially when cornered by people or pets. Raccoons in Cleveland can carry rabies, so being bitten or scratched may have serious health consequences.
The type of damage that squirrels in Cleveland, OH, create depends on the species. Ground squirrels evict chipmunks from their burrows or dig their own in lawns. In fact, a young ground squirrel will sometimes dig up to a dozen burrows per day.
Their more agile cousins, tree squirrels, are notorious for entering attics. They use overgrown branches or utility lines to find access to homes, where they hide food caches as winter approaches. To detect the presence of a tree squirrel, homeowners can listen for scratching and scurrying noises coming from attic walls during the afternoon.
Though it may seem more common to see skunks in fields and meadows, they are no stranger to cities like Cleveland. In fact, these white-striped pests often den under buildings and decks or in basements in the area, as they prefer dark, warm places that offer shelter.
Attracted to homes and yards that provide ample food and water, a skunk will readily dig for insects and hunt for mice at night. Aside from their appearance, skunks in Cleveland are best known for their pungent spray. They only use this defense mechanism when they feel threatened, but the smell can linger for days.
Attracted to almost any type of food, opossums are frequently found in yards throughout Cleveland, OH. About the size of a house cat, these pests have silver to white fur, black eyes, and pink noses. The sound of an opossum hissing or the sight of its 50 sharp teeth may cause alarm, but these animals are not typically aggressive.
Instead, they will readily play dead as an attempt to deter predators or avoid threats. Though usually harmless to people and pets, the presence of opossums in Cleveland can be a nuisance when the pests spill garbage or raid and destroy gardens. Their reckless behavior may also attract other unwanted pests, such as skunks and raccoons.
When accompanied by holes in the lawn, the appearance of small, burrowing creatures in Cleveland, OH, gardens may signal an infestation of moles. A mole is generally five to seven inches in length with dark fur and long, broad front paws.
The solitary animals tend to stay out of sight, but create raised mole-hills and shallow tunnels that are all too visible. Ruining lawns and landscaping in the process, the pests frequently hunt for grubs and insects in residential yards. Due to their burrowing habits, moles in Cleveland are difficult to keep out of yards.
The most problematic birds in Cleveland, OH, are pigeons, starlings, and house sparrows, with owls and hawks becoming occasional pests. Many bird species are responsible for similar types of damage, including crop losses, noise and odor issues, unsightly droppings, and nests blocking vents, gutters, and chimneys.
Disease is another concern, as the fleas, lice, and ticks that birds carry can spread illnesses like encephalitis, Lyme disease, salmonellosis, and cryptococcosis. The pests' feces may harbor the fungal disease histoplasmosis as well, which affects human lungs.
When pests come to mind, woodpeckers are not likely to make the short list. However, woodpeckers in Cleveland, OH, cause a considerable amount of annual damage. Fruit and nut trees, gardens, and ornamental plants fall victim to their voracious appetites. The birds also drill holes into man-made structures and trees to hide food or make nests.
Wood-sided buildings in suburbs or rural areas near forests are most likely to deal with woodpecker damage. Secluded barns and garages often suffer the worst harm, because no one is around to hear the pests' scratching and drumming noises.
Foxes possess a natural fear of people, yet they are often attracted to yards by the ease of access to food, water, and shelter. Another reason foxes in Cleveland, OH, are moving into suburbs and urban areas is to avoid their natural predators, coyotes.
To distinguish them from the family dog, red foxes have rusty-yellow to orange-colored fur, while gray foxes have a silver-gray coat. Both have white undersides and bushy tails. Although rare, a fox can become rabid and pass this dangerous virus along by biting or scratching Cleveland residents and pets.
A growing concern for Clevelanders as coyotes become a more frequent visitor to neighborhoods, coyotes are known scavengers, feeding on other wildlife as well as attacking small dogs and cats.
Odor Control in Cleveland
From droppings and urine to body grease and decaying carcasses, wildlife pests carry foul odors. Most unpleasant smells originate from wall voids, chimneys, crawl spaces, under decks, and abandoned buildings. It's important to educate oneself on the hazards involved with cleaning feces and urine.
In order to control the odor, one must first find the source and then focus on the following things: removal of the source, air flow, and deodorization. Airflow allows the odor to dissipate, while deodorants mask and cleanse the odor from the immediate environment. In some cases, such as being sprayed by a skunk, isolation of people or pets may also be necessary.
Our service area includes: Cleveland, Elyria, Mentor, Parma, Strongsville, and the surrounding area.