Active Pests In Southern Wisconsin: Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders have a characteristic dark brown violin marking on their back. These spiders often infest cedar shake roofs and spin irregular webs, which are used as a retreat.

Pest Stats

Color: Light to dark brown, with characteristic dark brown violin marking on back

Legs: 8

Shape: Round

Size: ¼ – ½ inch long

Antennae: No

Region
Found in the south central Midwest in Southern Wisconsin & Northern Illinois and from Ohio to Nebraska and south through Texas to Georgia

Habits
Brown recluse spiders are nocturnal and eat other small bugs like cockroaches and crickets. These spiders spin irregular webs, which are not used for catching prey but rather as a retreat.

Habitat
Brown recluse spiders often live outdoors where they are typically found around rocks, utility boxes and woodpiles. Indoors, brown recluses can be found in any undisturbed area, such as inside boxes, among papers, in seldom-used apparel and shoes, under furniture or in crevices of window moldings. Closets, attics, crawl spaces and basements are the most common brown recluse spider hiding spots.

Threats
Like the black widow spider, the brown recluse spider bites in defense and does not bite humans instinctively. However, both female and male brown recluse spiders can bite and inject venom. The brown recluse’s bite is usually not felt, but results in a stinging sensation followed by intense pain as long as six to eight hours later. A small blister usually develops at the bite location that can turn into an open ulcer. Restlessness, fever and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite.

Brown Recluse Spider Prevention
To avoid brown recluse spiders, do not leaving clothing on the floor. Store clothing and shoes inside plastic containers, and shake out all clothing that has been in a hamper before wearing or washing. To get rid of brown recluse spiders, contact a pest professional with brown recluse spider control experience.

Danger of Raccoon Feces in Swimming Pools

Raccoons can be pests and can spread germs to humans. It is important to keep raccoons out of your pool and watch for raccoon feces (poop) in and around your pool. Raccoon feces can sometimes contain the eggs of a worm called Baylisascaris procyonis, which can infect humans, particularly children, and cause severe neurologic illness.

What is Baylisascaris? 
Baylisascaris is a roundworm parasite that commonly infects raccoons. Raccoons infected with Baylisascaris can be found in all parts of the United States. When people are exposed to Baylisascaris eggs they can become ill.

What illness does Baylisascaris cause?
Baylisascaris infections in people are very rarely diagnosed. Swallowing a few Baylisascaris eggs can result in no or few symptoms. However, swallowing a large number of eggs can result in severe disease that affects the nervous system or eyes

How is Baylisascaris spread?
The parasite is spread by swallowing Baylisascaris eggs, which are found in the feces of raccoons that are infected with Baylisascaris. People can be exposed to Baylisascaris eggs in soil, water, or on objects that have been contaminated with feces from an infected raccoon.

Additional information on the disease can be found on the CDC Baylisascaris Website.

What should I do if I find raccoon feces or a dead raccoon in my pool? 
Although chlorine in pools will kill most germs that a raccoon could carry into the water, it does not kill Baylisascaris eggs.

If raccoon feces or a dead raccoon are found in the pool:

Close the pool to swimmers. Contact Bohmz Pest Removal for a free clean up quote!

How do I clean my pool if it has been contaminated with Baylisascaris? 
Because Baylisascaris eggs are particularly tough, adding chlorine to the water will not kill them. If a lab test has confirmed that the raccoon was infected with Baylisascaris or you don’t know if the raccoon was infected because the raccoon’s feces were not tested, there are two options for cleaning your pool.

*Remember to close the pool to swimmers until you have finished cleaning the pool.

Option 1:

  • Filter the pool for a minimum of 24 hours and then backwash the pool filter.
  • Put on disposable gloves to replace the material doing the filtering (if possible). Double bag the discarded material in plastic garbage bags. Remove gloves and place them in the garbage bags. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards.

Option 2:

  • Backwash the pool filter.
  • Drain and hose down the pool.
  • Put on disposable gloves to replace the material doing the filtering (if possible). Double bag the discarded material in plastic garbage bags. Remove gloves and place them in the garbage bags. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards
  • Refill the pool.

What can I do to keep raccoons out of my swimming pool?
Raccoons usually choose certain locations to defecate (poop) and then use those same places repeatedly. Raccoons can also be attracted to areas where humans live and play. In pools, raccoons usually defecate in the shallow areas (for example, on the steps).

Here are some tips for keeping raccoons out of your pool:

  • Cover the pool area that has been visited by raccoons.
  • Keep the fence around the pool closed.
  • Find out if anyone in your area is feeding raccoons, leaving pet food outside, leaving uncovered trash outside, or using trash cans that are not properly secured. Discourage this behavior as it could be attracting animals, particularly raccoons, to your pool.
  • Contact Bohmz Pest Removal, a pest control removal professional that can help!

Cleaning Up After Critters, Mice & Another Annoying Rodents

Urine and Droppings

Take precautions before and during clean up of rodent-infested areas. Before cleaning, trap the rodents and seal up any entryways to ensure that no rodents can get in. Continue trapping for a week. If no rodents are captured, the active infestation has been eliminated and enough time has passed so that any infectious virus in the rodent’s urine/droppings or nesting material is no longer infectious.

Before starting clean up of the space, ventilate the space by opening the doors and windows for at least 30 minutes to allow fresh air to enter the area. Use cross-ventilation and leave the area during the airing-out period.

First, clean up any urine and droppings

When you begin cleaning, it is important that you do not stir up dust by sweeping or vacuuming up droppings, urine, or nesting materials.

  • Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning urine and droppings.
  • Spray the urine and droppings with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water and let soak 5 minutes. The recommended concentration of bleach solution is 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. When using a commercial disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for dilution and disinfection time.
  • Use a paper towel to pick up the urine and droppings, and dispose of the waste in the garbage.
  • After the rodent droppings and urine have been removed, disinfect items that might have been contaminated by rodents or their urine and droppings.

Next, clean and disinfect the whole area

  • Mop floors and clean countertops with disinfectant or bleach solution.
  • Steam clean or shampoo upholstered furniture and carpets with evidence of rodent exposure.
  • Wash any bedding and clothing with laundry detergent in hot water if exposed to rodent urine or droppings.

Lastly, remove gloves, and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water (or use a waterless alcohol-based hand rub when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled).

Dead Rodents or Nests

Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning up dead rodents or nests.

  • Spray the dead rodent or nest and the surrounding area with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water.
  • Soak rodent, nesting materials or droppings in solution for 5 minutes before wiping up with a paper towel or rag.
  • Place the dead rodent or nesting materials in a plastic bag and seal tightly. Place the full bag in a second plastic bag and seal.
  • Throw the bag into a covered trash can that is regularly emptied.

Remove gloves, and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water (or use a waterless alcohol-based hand rub when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled).

Cabins, Sheds, Barns, or Other Outbuildings

Before attempting to clean cabins, sheds, barns, or other outbuildings, open all doors and windows for 30 minutes. This will allow fresh air to enter the work area.

  • Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves and clean up all rodent urine, droppings, nests, and dead rodents using disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water.
  • Mop floors or spray dirt floors with a disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water.
  • Clean countertops, cabinets, and drawers with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water.

Attics, Basements, Crawlspaces, and Other Storage Areas

Before cleaning attics, basements, crawlspaces and other storage areas, it is necessary to completely remove the existing rodent infestation by trapping. When there is no evidence of infestation, wait about 5 days before beginning to clean these areas. Before cleaning the space, ventilate the area by opening the doors and windows for at least 30 minutes to allow fresh air to enter the area and to remove potentially contaminated air from the area. Use cross-ventilation and leave the area during the airing-out period.

When cleaning attics, basements, crawlspaces and other storage areas:

  • Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning up urine, droppings, or nesting materials. Note that a dust mask may provide some protection against dust, molds, and insulation fibers, but does not protect against viruses.
  • Spray any urine, droppings, and nesting materials with either a bleach and water solution (1 parts bleach to 9 parts water) or a household disinfectant prepared according to the label instructions for dilution and disinfection time. Soak well. This will inactivate any virus. Use a paper towel or rag to pick up the materials and dispose of them.
  • Mop floors after spraying them using bleach/water solution or a disinfectant. Dirt floors can be sprayed with either bleach and water solution or a disinfectant.
  • If exposed insulation has become contaminated with urine and droppings, it should be placed into plastic bags for removal.
  • To remove any potentially contaminated materials from storage vessels/boxes:
    • First, move the storage vessels/boxes outside and place them in an area that is well-ventilated and exposed to direct sunlight. The outside of the storage vessels/boxes can be disinfected using bleach and water solution or disinfectant solution;
    • Next, remove the potentially contaminated materials while in the sunlit, ventilated area. Remain upwind so that any dust or debris is not blown toward your face. Some contaminated stored materials, such as clothing, books, etc. can be decontaminated by following the recommended methods of disinfection provided in the table below; items that are no longer needed can be discarded.
  • Dispose of any cardboard boxes contaminated with urine or droppings. Plastic, glass, or metal containers can be disinfected by spraying with the bleach and water solution or disinfectant. Then, using a rag or paper towel, wipe up the urine or droppings and dispose of the waste.
  • Clean countertops, cabinets, and drawers with disinfectant or bleach and water solution.
  • Decontaminate gloves with disinfectant or bleach and water solution. Wash hands well with soap and warm water.

Cleaning and Disinfection of Vehicles with Rodent Infestations

Rodents, including squirrels, mice, and rats, may construct their nests in cars, trucks, campers, and other vehicles, especially if such vehicles are used infrequently. Rodent nesting materials can be found in many areas of a vehicle.

Heavy Rodent Infestation

Special precautions should be used for cleaning homes or buildings with heavy rodent infestation. The special precautions may also apply to vacant dwellings that have attracted large numbers of rodents and to dwellings and other structures where hantavirus has been confirmed in the rodent population.

Workers who are either hired specifically to perform a clean-up or are asked to do so as part of their work activities should contact their local or state health department, local or state occupational health and safety authority (OSHA) or CDC for information about preventing rodent-borne diseases.

Persons involved in the clean-up of heavy rodent infestations should wear the protective equipment listed here:

  • coveralls (disposable, if possible);
  • rubber boots or disposable shoe covers;
  • rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves;
  • protective goggles;
  • and an appropriate respiratory protection device, such as a half-mask air-purifying (or negative-pressure) respirator with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) with HEPA filters. Follow local and state requirement regarding pulmonary function and fit testing before beginning any work requiring the use of a respirator.
  • Personal protective gear should be decontaminated upon removal at the end of the day. All potentially infective waste material (including respirator filters) from clean-up operations that cannot be burned or deep-buried on site should be double-bagged in appropriate plastic bags. The bagged material should then be labeled as infectious (if it is to be transported) and disposed of in accordance with local requirements for infectious waste.

Air Ducts (heating and cooling ventilation systems)

When there is evidence that rodents have access to heating and cooling ventilation systems, it is best to contact a professional rodent exterminating service to remove them. Companies specializing in duct cleaning are familiar with the particular problems and risks associated with rodent infestation in ventilation systems.

For more specific information on eliminating rodent infestations in heating and cooling ventilation systems and the companies that perform this service, refer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Rodents & Cockroaches Pose Serious Hidden Health Risks When They Infest Your Home

 

“Many people think pests are just an annoyance and often forget that there are real health dangers associated with the presence of these pests in and around the home,” says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA“People don’t think of asthma, Salmonella, or severe allergic reactions, which is why infestations should not be taken lightly.”

People are continually on the lookout for ways to safeguard their family’s health at home. However, some of the most likely sources of danger may not be the first that come to mind. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that rodents, cockroaches and stinging insects pose serious, but often hidden, health risks when they infest a home.

Rodents bring other pests including fleas, mites, ticks and lice indoors and contaminate food with feces that can transmit Salmonella and Hantavirus. Cockroaches spread 33 kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms and more than seven other types of human pathogens. More, cockroach droppings and shed skins lead to allergen accumulation that can trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. Nearly $1B is spent on professional cockroach management services in the U.S. each year, making them one of the most prevalent and hazardous pests.

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Why Rodents are a Danger to Health and Home

Rodent control and management are important for health and safety reasons.
It’s a challenge to stay healthy during the winter, especially with the prevalence of the flu and common colds. Unfortunately, something most people don’t think about this time of year is the threat posed by rodents to both our health and property. Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the U.S. every winter, and an infestation can cause more than just a headache for homeowners. During the colder months, rodents such as mice and rats search for food, warmth and shelter indoors, often entering homes through small cracks and crevices. However, the real concern is that these pests can spread diseases and cause serious property damage once inside.

Micro droplets of mouse urine can cause allergies in children. Mice can also bring fleas, mites, ticks and lice into your home.
The house mouse is the most common rodent pest in most parts of the world. It can breed rapidly and adapt quickly to changing conditions. In fact, a female house mouse can give birth to a half dozen babies every three weeks, and can produce up to 35 young per year. House mice prefer to eat seeds and insects, but will eat many kinds of food. They are excellent climbers and can jump up to a foot high, however, they are color blind and cannot see clearly beyond six inches. House mice live in structures, but they can survive outdoors, too. House mice prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas and often build nests out of paper products, cotton, packing materials, wall insulation and fabrics.

In addition to health risks, rodents can pose a significant property risk as they have a tendency to destroy insulation in attics and can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring. In fact, rodents cause up to 25 percent of house fires in the U.S. every year. With rapid reproduction rates, rodents can quickly go from being unnoticeable to causing a full-blown infestation. Homeowners should look at prevention as the first line of defense again these pests and take steps to keep them out of the home.

House Mouse Prevention

To keep mice and other rodents out, make sure all holes of larger diameter than a pencil are sealed. Keep areas clear and store boxes off of the floor because mice can hide in clutter. Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation and always install gutters or diverts which will channel water away from the building to prevent ideal conditions in which house mice can nest. Regularly inspect the home for signs of mice including droppings, gnaw marks and damaged food goods. If you suspect a rodent infestation, contact Bohmz Pest Services, your locally owned licensed rodent pest control professional to treat and get rid of your house mice infestation.

Stinging insects, including wasps and hornets send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. And according to the Center for Disease Control, West Nile virus, a disease spread by mosquitoes, resulted in more than 1,300 human cases and 43 fatalities in 2008.

If an infestation is suspected, we can offer the expertise and knowledge to treat the problem!

If you see signs of a pest infestation, contact Bohmz Pest Services, your local licensed pest professional serving Dane County, Rock County, Walworth County & Jefferson County.

Do You Think You Might Have A Raccoon Problem?

Identifying Raccoons in Wisconsin

The raccoon is a common backyard “bandit” that is easy to spot with its black facemask and bushy, ringed tail. These animals are nocturnal. (That means active at night.) They spend the nighttime hours searching for food in cities and countryside. The raccoon is very good with its front paws, using them like hands. Its scientific name, Procyon lotor, means “a washer.” Raccoons often seem to wash their food in the water.

How can you identify a raccoon?

Besides their mask and bushy, ringed tail, raccoons are covered with 1-2 inch-long fur. They weigh an average of 14-24 pounds — but they can grow to 40 pounds! Their fur is a grizzled gray color or sometimes black with silver tips. Raccoon fur can range from a light brown to reddish, to a dark black color. Look for their broad head, pointed nose, and black eyes. Their ears stand straight up and are about 1 ½ inches long. Raccoons make a variety of sounds including purrs, whimpers, snarls, growls, hisses, screams, and whinnies.
raccoon track drawing,

Raccoon tracks are easy to spot because their paw print looks like a pair of small human hands. Each foot has five long toes with short, curved claws. The raccoon’s body is round. It has short legs and flat feet that cause it to waddle. The bottoms of raccoon feet are hairless. Look for tracks near the water since they like to wade in woodland streams, prowling for food.

Night Walker

Look for raccoons at night, as they start moving around at sunset and then “disappear” after sunrise. You can find them all across Wisconsin, but they are less common in the northern counties. During the day, they rest on high ground or in hollow trees, rock crevices, burrows, caves, or buildings.

Nighttime means mealtime for raccoons. They are omnivorous, which means that they eat both plants and animals. Raccoons like a mixture of nuts, fruits, berries, seeds, insects, frogs, turtles, eggs, crayfish, carrion (dead meat) and garbage! They like wooded, brushy areas near water and can often be spotted wading in a pond or stream “dipping” their food in the water.

In spring and fall, they love to rest in empty nests of large birds or squirrels. Raccoons can also make their home in buildings. In the warm months, raccoons are known for their nighttime activities in neighborhoods where they tip over trash cans, and raid gardens and bird feeders looking for a bite to eat. You might catch a glimpse of one coming out of, or scurrying into a storm sewer. They can be a problem for homeowners when they move into buildings.

Urban raccoons

Due to its adaptability, the raccoon has been able to use urban areas as a habitat. The first sightings were recorded in a suburb of Cincinnati in the 1920s. Since the 1950s, raccoons have been present in metropolitan areas like Madison, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Home range sizes of urban raccoons are only 3 to 40 hectares (7.5 to 100 acres) for females and 8 to 80 hectares (20 to 200 acres) for males. In small towns and suburbs, many raccoons sleep in a nearby forest after foraging in the settlement area. Fruit and insects in gardens and leftovers in municipal waste are easily available food sources. Furthermore, a large number of additional sleeping areas exist in these areas, such as hollows in old garden trees, cottages, garages, abandoned houses, and attics. The percentage of urban raccoons sleeping in abandoned or occupied houses varies from 15% in Washington, DC (1991) to 43% in Kassel (2003).

Health

Raccoons can carry rabies, a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic rabies virus carried in the saliva and transmitted by bites. Its spread began in Florida and Georgia in the 1950s and was facilitated by the introduction of infected individuals to Virginia and North Dakota in the late 1970s. Of the 6,940 documented rabies cases reported in the United States in 2006, 2,615 (37.7%) were in raccoons. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as local authorities in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces, has developed oral vaccination programs to fight the spread of the disease in endangered populations. Only one human fatality has been reported after transmission of the rabies virus strain commonly known as “raccoon rabies”.

Raccoons and human Conflicts

The increasing number of raccoons in urban areas has resulted in diverse reactions in humans, ranging from outrage at their presence to deliberate feeding. Some wildlife experts and most public authorities caution against feeding wild animals because they might become increasingly obtrusive and dependent on humans as a food source. Other experts challenge such arguments and give advice on feeding raccoons and other wildlife in their books. Raccoons without a fear of humans are a concern to those who attribute this trait to rabies, but scientists point out this behavior is much more likely to be a behavioral adjustment to living in habitats with regular contact to humans for many generations. Raccoons usually do not prey on domestic cats and dogs, but individual cases of killings have been reported.

Be Careful

Wild animals do not make good pets! Raccoons can carry diseases like the distemper virus. If you see a wild animal acting strange, stay away and contact a professional at Bohmz Pest Services Immediately by calling (608) 201-0807 or visit our CONTACT PAGE.

Raccoons can be found living in attics, crawlspaces, dumpsters, and basements in homes and businesses throughout Janesville, Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Verona, Fitchburg & Beloit.