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The local rivers and booming steel industry of Pittsburgh, PA, create a unique environment that draws unique pests to the area. Rats, mice, and various types of birds congregate in both operational and abandoned factories as well as in residential neighborhoods. All three of these pests are known for spreading diseases like food poisoning, salmonellosis, and histoplasmosis.
Mammalian pests common in the city include raccoons, opossums, skunks, and beavers. These pests spread diseases, dig holes in lawns, and disturb both pets and house residents with their presence.
While you sleep at night, raccoons are actively scavenging for food. There are plenty of sources in Pittsburgh and all of Western Pennsylvania. Raccoons eat just about anything, from restaurant scraps and pet food to garden crops and chickens. Their hands resemble human hands and allow them to turn doorknobs, open storage bins, and climb trees, chimneys, and poles.
Raccoons have a permanent mask and banded tail. They would be cute if they weren’t so destructive. They will do what they can to get into parts of your house they see fit to sleep and give birth to pups. If they must rip, tear, or break something to get to that spot, they will. Raccoons make lots of noises, like whimpers, growls, and screams. They leave feces and urine nearby their shelter.
Before trying to remove a raccoon from your home by yourself, remember they can carry diseases, and if threatened, they may bite. Calling nuisance wildlife animal control experts is recommended. Critter Control's three-step process works well for raccoon removal.
During the inspection, we determine the severity of the raccoon infestation. We look for physical evidence like footprints in or around the home, stains from raccoon feces and urine. On the exterior of the house, we look for damage like scratches on boards, broken vents and screens, ripped apart shingles, destroyed soffits, and every possible entry point.
Trapping & Removal
Live trapping, or one-way doors are the most effective and humane way to remove raccoons. The choice of device is largely dependent on the season and location of the raccoons on your property. Direct capture is not commonly used because raccoons are a rabies vector species. If we must trap, we place traps strategically to safely catch the raccoons and we check traps frequently, based on state laws.
We provide a wide range of repair and restoration services. We can repair raccoon damage like broken screens on vents and chimneys and broken boards on decks and porches. It is essential to apply cleaning agents and ectoparasite treatments on areas inhabited by raccoons.
Abundant throughout Pennsylvania, many squirrel species thrive in the suburban landscape of NW Pittsburgh and New Castle. These rodents are especially attracted to homes and yards that provide food sources such as bird feeders and nut-bearing trees. Though there are many types of squirrels in Western Pennsylvania, flying squirrels are the most likely to nest inside local attics. Their presence can be detected by hearing scratching sounds coming from the walls or finding damage caused by their constant gnawing on siding, wires, and insulation.
Many tree squirrels use attics as nesting sites, so Pennsylvania residents often come in conflict with these pests. The eastern gray squirrel is the biggest culprit locally. During cold weather, the animals sneak into homes through vents and gaps in roofing. Indoors, squirrels damage insulation and homeowner belongings.
Wildlife specialists look for signs such as chewing on, in, or around your home, small openings leading to the attic or the crawl space, droppings, and debris like nuts or nesting material. Beams, wires, pipes, and insulation may all show signs of damage from squirrels.
Trapping & Removal
Live trapping or one-way doors are the most effective and humane ways to get rid of squirrels. One-way doors should never be used during birthing seasons (Spring & Fall), so our specialists will decide which is the best tool for the job. If we have to trap, we place traps strategically to safely catch the squirrels and check those according to state laws.
We can restore your home or office by squirrel proofing all entry points after we have removed the offenders. We can also clean-up the nesting sites and remove any debris, food, feces and soiled insulation.
Western Pennsylvania is home to eight species of bats. Though they are beneficial because they eat insects, bats become pests when they roost indoors. Typically these flying mammals nest in caves or tree cavities, but when an opportunity presents itself, they will just as readily roost in attics. Aside from making constant squeaking and rustling noises, bats in Pittsburgh also stain and damage buildings with their droppings. Bat feces may contain bacteria that can spread histoplasmosis, a fungal infection harmful to humans and pets.
Every bat species in NW Pittsburgh feeds on insects. Since this cuts down on mosquitoes, some residents see their presence as a good thing. However, bats also move into people's attics. While inside, they make rustling noises at night and can spread diseases like rabies and histoplasmosis.
We perform a full interior and exterior inspection and search for signs such as rub marks, guano, a strong scent of ammonia, and small openings. The most common sign is the accumulation of guano (feces).
The most effective and humane way to remove bats is by utilizing a bat valve in conjunction with a full home exclusion. A bat valve allows for bats to exit your home but not re-enter. We follow all local ordinances for humane bat removal. We will never abandon flightless pups in your attic.
After removing the bat valves, we seal the entrance hole(s) so bats can no longer enter your home. If there is substantial guano in your attic, you should consider taking advantage of our attic remediation services to remove the soiled insulation and replace it.
Western Pennsylvania is home to the state's most widely distributed wildlife pest, the groundhog. Although they prefer farmland, big fields, and wooded or brushy areas, groundhogs are not opposed to living in suburban neighborhoods where food is plentiful. Stonewall fences are the perfect cover for burrows, but buildings and tree bases also provide groundhogs in Pittsburgh with ample concealment. Crops and gardens are frequently destroyed by their diverse vegetarian diets. Likewise, their burrowing tears-up lawns and causes structural damage to porches and sheds.
Groundhog nesting isn't hard to spot. Being the largest member of the squirrel family, they have a rather large entrance hole to their nesting spots and they leave a great amount of dirt at their front door.
Once we've identified all burrow entrances, the next step is deciding what will work best for the situation at hand. Woodchucks may be excluded from denning under structures with one-way doors, if the structure they're living under can be sealed with a rat wall. If the area can't be sealed, then trapping and removing the animal is the best option.
We can install rat walls to keep groundhogs out of crawl spaces and from entering under decks, sheds, patios and many other locations. Please call us to discuss how this process is completed.
Other Common Wildlife Issues
Critter Control Wildlife Removal Process
Critter Control is here for you every step of the way in the wildlife removal process. From inspection to removal—and even exclusion and repair—we have the services you need to get rid of raccoons, rodents, and other nuisances fast. First, we identify the animal on the property, then use humane methods to remove the animal and secure weak points where more could enter. If damage has been done, we can make those repairs for a complete restoration. Contact a Critter Control office near you today.
During the inspection we try to ascertain how many animals there are, where they are located, and how they got in.
Based on what you have seen, heard and smelled, we start the inspection where you have noticed signs of animal activity. Evidence of animals inside your home include nests, dens, feces, and animal tracks. We investigate the exterior of your home looking for possible entry points, any evidence of animal damage, tracks, fur, animal waste, or rub marks.
We use several methods to humanely remove the animal from your home. Depending on the species, the number of animals, and the condition of your property, we develop a custom wildlife removal plan. Humane wildlife removal strategies include animal traps, one-way doors, and repellents.
Once we guarantee all animals are gone, we implement exclusion techniques. Exclusion techniques provide a safe, long-term solution to nuisance wildlife in your home. We create barriers to prevent animals from getting to resources. We only apply exclusions once we are sure all animals are gone from your home.
Exclusion and Repair
Wildlife will damage your home. Exclusion techniques repair any damage the animal causes getting into your home. Inside your home, animals build nests and dens out of readily available material. They will create runs through the insulation. Rodents will gnaw on anything including electrical wires and pipes.
Animals can also spread diseases. We apply sanitation agents to clean up feces and urine. Mammals can host pests like fleas, ticks, and mites. Ectoparasite treatments exterminate those pests so you don’t become their next host.
The Critter Control Difference
Animal removal is a highly sophisticated job. As such, we vet and train our team members to ensure they have the knowledge and skill to remove any pest from your building. Our wildlife experts utilize advanced removal and exclusion techniques and damage repair.
Your satisfaction is always guaranteed. Critter Control® takes great pride in providing quality workmanship resulting in customer satisfaction.
Residential and Commerical
Invading nuisance wildlife can wreak havoc on property. If left unattended wildlife and pests can cause costly property damage. Whether a residential property, apartment buildings, retail stores, office buildings, industrial plants, medical facilities, or warehouses, our trained professionals can handle any wildlife removal problem.
Critter Control Guarantee
Your satisfaction is always guaranteed. We provide reliable prevention from future intrusions. Resolving a nuisance wildlife issue calls for more than trapping and removing the critter. Our exclusion services offer immediate and long-term wildlife solutions.
Q&A With Local Franchisee Bryan Fichter
Can you please describe the most common wildlife issues in your area?
Raccoons and squirrels in attics. Birds in house vents and groundhogs under sheds and decks.
How do the seasons affect nuisance wildlife activity in your area?
Business picks-up in the Spring and continues into Fall, but slows during the Winter months
What are some common signs of nuisance wildlife activity?
Noises in the attic, or walls. Other signs are droppings in the attic, digging in yards and burrows under sheds.
Any prevention or exclusion tips for residents in your area?
Keep exterior vegetation trimmed and kept back from your house as much as possible.
When should homeowners call you?
As soon as they hear any noises, or see any signs of animals, inside or out.
This franchise is independently licensed and operated by Fichter Wildlife Services, LLC, dba Critter Control of Pittsburgh NW.