Pest Control Specialists in Massachusetts are seeing increased demand from people wanting to prevent or remove rodents like Norway Rats in Backyard Chicken Coops.
Overall interest in keeping backyard chickens has been trending up for years. More recently fueled by rising food costs and the covid pandemic the backyard chicken hobby has gained even more popularity. There are many benefits to keeping backyard chickens. Chickens make excellent pets and provide a valuable food source. They also eat a ton of insect pests like Deer Ticks and other species when allowed to forage or “free-range” around the yard.
Beside the many benefits, it must be known that serious problems can occur when proper attention is not given to the planning stages and best husbandry practices applied when keeping backyard chickens.
One of the more serious problems is Rats in Backyard Chicken Coops. The main culprit of rodent infestations in Chicken Coops here in Massachusetts is the Norway Rat. Rats will quickly take hold and infest your chicken coops and nearby areas because they are attracted to the food, water and shelter opportunities present.
Steps that can prevent Rodents from infesting Backyard Chicken Coops.
Food Source Management
This is the most important step! Controlling and cutting off the food sources will dramatically deter rats and other rodents from infesting your yard. Here some ways to control food sources:
Utilize metal feeders like the one pictured below, that are set-up in a way that prevents spillage by the bir and is made of rodent-resistant materials.
Nesting boxes with concealed egg holders can prevent chickens from breaking eggs and attracting rodents to the coop!
Elevated and enclosed water reservoirs plumbed directly into coop will help prevent rodents from accessing water sources.
Elevated Chicken Coops Keep animals clean and allow for the easy removal of chicken manure on a regular basis. They also deter rats from burrowing underneath the chicken coop.
Ultra Safe Rodent Specialists are available to assist with any type of rodent infestation or prevention. Call today! 866.472.5858
Ultra Safe Pest Management was given the prestigous title of “2021 Best Exterminator in Boston” by Boston Magazine. Ultra Safe President Victor Palermo shared his thoughts on the Best of Boston designation. “It was a great honor to be named Best Exterminator in Boston for 2021 by Boston Magazine. That publication has been providing valueable, local insight to Boston area residents for many years now. None of this would be possible without our amazing team and loyal customers. I cant thank you all enough!”
For 40 plus years, Boston Magazine has been publishing it’s annual “Best Of Boston issue to highlight the premium retail, service and dining establishments in the Greater Boston area. The criteria for selecting the best service providers in Boston involves identifying the true local experts from each industry. This is done by thoroughly examining the companies mission, reputation, responsiveness and customer reviews.
Get ready to hear a lot about Mosquito populations and control efforts on the Local News! Our data from past seasons, the current environmental conditions and recent feedback from the field, have our Mosquito Experts predicting a “perfect storm” of conditions fueling dangerous population levels of disease carrying Mosquitoes in Massachusetts.
Record July 2021 rainfall followed by warmer days and larger groups of people enjoying the outdoors following the Covid-19 Pandemic is definitely a recipe for increased mosquito related health concerns. Mosquitoes carrying EEE and West Nile Virus have already tested positive in several nearby cities and towns. The health risks are always a numbers game. Mosquito Populations x Animal populations x People exposed to mosquitoes = Relative Risk of Disease Transmission.
The woods around Massachusetts became saturated in recent weeks creating large mosquito breeding pools throughout the state.
Ramping Up Mosquito Control Efforts
In addition to state and municipal efforts, Ultra Safe will be ramping up Mosquito Control efforts in the coming weeks to help counter the coming onslaught! In addition to actively spraying, we use Insect Growth Regulators and Larvicides to treat nearby breeding sites. Our Mosquito Control Specialists will be working overtime to ensure timely treatments for our customers.
DIY Mosquito Control Tips for Homeowners & Property Managers:
Ultimately, the success or failure of most Mosquito Control Programs comes down to source identification and reduction of breeding sites. Below are some tips for homeowners and property managers to help identify Mosquito Breeding Sites around the property:
Be sure to empty these sources on a regular basis following any rainfall
Clogged Rain Gutters
Any stagnant water
Minimize Exposure to Mosquito Bites
Wear long-sleeves and pants when outdoors from dusk to dawn
Apply a Deet-Based Mosquito Repellant when outdoors
Mosquitoes are Weak Flyers! Exploit that by creating airflow.
Create a ‘Mosquito-Safe Zone’ using outdoor fans to blow air away from patios or other areas where people congregate in the evening. Position the airflow as to create to create an invisible barrier that mosquitoes won’t be able to cross.
Demand for Residential Mosquito Control Continues to Surge!
Residential Mosquito Control in Massachusetts has been on the rise for several years now. The covid-19 pandemic has fueled the demand even further as more and more people look to create a more healthy, comfortable and safe, “Stay-At-Home Environment”.
The “backyards” of most Massachusetts neighborhoods took center stage during the pandemic. Call Center data at Ultra Safe Pest Management showed a 35% increase in homeowner requests for Mosquito Control in Massachusetts in 2020.
New Mosquito Treatment Technology.
New Mosquito Treatment Technology has proven successful in recent seasons and will continue into the 2021 Mosquito Season. Ultra Safe Staff Entomologists have tested reported on two new Mosquito devices during the 2020 Season that included the In-2-Care Mosquito System and the new Makita 4-Stroke Mist Blower.
In-2-Care Mosquito Control System In Massachusetts
The In-2-Care Mosquito Control System utilizes a bucket device with an active Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that treats egg-laying mosquitoes and prevents the eggs from developing. The system was created using grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has shown a lot of promise when used as part of a comprehensive treatment program like Ultra Safe’s UltraGuard Mosquito Treatment Program.
Expert Tips For Controlling Backyard Mosquitoes
Eliminate Standing Water!
If there was no standing water there would be no mosquitoes, period! Standing water is the number one source of mosquitoes. Therefor successful Backyard Mosquito Control in Massachusetts requires these breeding sites be eliminated wherever possible. A clogged gutter for example can hold enough standing water to breed tens of thousands of mosquitoes in short time!
Hire an Expert!
There is a science to quality Mosquito Control. Hire a local Mosquito Expert that will know how to customize the best Mosquito Treatment Program for each individual property. Knowing when, where and what Mosquito control products to use is critical to successful mosquito control.
Boston is one of many cities battling Rats and Mice during the pandemic. Eric Homan, a Rodent Specialist at Ultra Safe Pest Management, shares rodent prevention tips with NBC Boston’s Joy Lim Nakrin.
The report comes as a Boston City Council committee held a hearing on Tuesday to address rodent control and illegal dumping – which could be worsening the problem, as well.
“During the COVID crisis we have heard increased reports of the problems related to rat infestations in our neighborhoods,” one official said on Zoom.
An ISD spokesperson told the paper the agency has been distributing information brochures about rodent control in Allston, Brighton, East Boston and Chinatown.
Eric Homan of Ultra Safe Pest Management says the problem extends beyond Boston.
“We’re seeing a lot of increased activity in surrounding communities such as Somerville has had a massive influx, Winchester, Medford, Stoneham, even up on the North Shore,” he said. “More people being home means they’re consuming more food at home so inevitably more food is gonna be in the trash barrels.”
Homan offered this advice for anyone trying to protect themselves from the pests:
“Just being more conscious when you’re eating food inside the house, to not be eating in the bedroom. Try to confine it to the kitchen, cleaning up afterwards,” he shared.
Neighbors seem to need the guidance as they try any trick to rid their homes of rats.
“Look around the home for potential entry points typically around the foundation,” Homan said.
Pest management experts also say high vegetation and standing water can attract rats.
“We have been preparing for EEE activity this year,’’ said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “It is early in the year for the first evidence of EEE, therefore, continued mosquito surveillance over the next several weeks will help us understand more about how quickly the virus might emerge this year.”
EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. EEE is generally spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. There were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2019 with six deaths. There were also nine cases in domestic animals.
“People have been spending time indoors due to COVID-19 and now, as we venture out, we want to remind people about the need to protect themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes,’’ said State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “We are also asking people to remain aware of the level of virus activity in areas where they live, work, and play. People can visit our new website for the most current information,” said Dr. Brown.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Animals & Pets
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information webpage at www.mass.gov/mosquitoesandticks or by calling the DPH Division of Epidemiology at 617-983-6800. A short video with State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown about EEE and what residents can do to protect themselves can be found here.
As Virus-Outbreaks and “Killer Hornet Invasions” dominate headlines, I find myself recalling some lessons learned in the early days of my pest control career.
A couple of decades ago, I was at the first of many Pest & Wildlife related training courses I would attend over the years. The subject of the afternoon session was ‘The Associated Risks of Wild Animals and Zoonotic Disease’. It was the type of class that had many of the attending Pest Professionals wondering if they had made the right career choice in life. One attendee actually walked out stating “I didn’t sign up for this sh**!”
The number of zoonotic and dangerous organisms that can be transferred by animals of all kinds is mind-blowing. Rabies, Lyme, Leptospirosis, Bordella, Histoplasmosis, Hantavirus and Parvo Virus are just a few of the more well-known zoonotic, but hundreds more exist and new ones are being discovered all the time.
As I sat and listened to Industry Experts discuss the common zoonotic diseases and how they are spread within a species and beyond, I came to some realizations. One of the first being that this career choice definitely had some built in job security.
One of the speakers from MassWildlife was explaining why it was illegal for Problem Animal Control Agents in Massachusetts to relocate captured animals to more rural, wooded areas of the state for release. “People don’t realize how easy it is for an infected animal to negatively impact whole populations of their own species as well as other species through the spread of zoonotic disease.” The speaker explained the dynamics of disease carriers and how some animals of the same species but in different geographic locations and populations have such varying degrees of immunity, tolerance and how diseases express themselves in different populations or environments. The more they spoke, the more I realized the challenges ahead.
In the years to follow, we saw White Nose Syndrome in Bats become a prime example. Bats in the caves of Europe and other parts of the world have been exposed to the virus for years, showing no symptoms or ill effects because of immunity they have built up over many generations. But bats in the U.S had never been exposed to the virus and suffered massive fatalities when the virus was introduced and spread through U.S bat colonies. Some Myotis species like the Little Brown Bat in Massachusetts were hit particularly hard. Little Brown Bats have seen more than a 95% population decline in some areas of the U.S since being exposed.
Throughout our history, people have had to deal with invasive species and their associated problems and diseases. From Species like English Sparrows, Starlings, Norway Rats and other flora and fauna invasions of generations past, to the more recent Bed Bug Epidemic, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Invasion, Giant Asian Hornet sightings and viruses like this devastating Covid-19 disease. But there is one common denominator that exists in every single one of these events, and that is people.
Human behavior is always the primary cause and effect of these environmental shifts of balance and fittingly so right? Simply put, human beings have become the biggest infestation this world has ever seen. This current Covid Crisis may have been the wake-up call and hard-reset we needed as a species and an environment.
Our behavior as humans has gone off the rails in recent years. With the globalization of everything and the ease of world travel today, people were on planes, trains and cruise ships like never before. Everyone’s traveling at leisure around the globe unconscious to the potential consequences. On demand goods and services at the push of a button and overstuffed crates shipped in from all corners of the world, carrying the next wave of who knows what. Giant apartment complexes sprouting up in the suburbs like alien ant farms. Cars backed up for miles and miles on the highway while people crowd into buildings like rodents into burrows.
It’s time for us to take a step back and realize that we humans are infesting this planet like cockroaches in a dirty restaurant and nature is pushing back. The reason deadly diseases rip through overpopulated species and areas is because the spread of disease is one of nature’s primary defense mechanisms against animal infestations like us.
Ultra Safe Pest Wins HomeAdvisor Award For Best Pest Control in Massachusetts!
“The Best of HomeAdvisor winners are among the highest rated service professionals in the HomeAdvisor network,” said Chris Terrill, CEO for HomeAdvisor. “Professionals who receive this prestigious award should be proud and honored as they truly represent the exceptional quality of the HomeAdvisor network.”
To be eligible for the Best of HomeAdvisor Award, professionals must be in the HomeAdvisor network for six months or longer with an average rating score of 4.0. HomeAdvisor rating is on a scale of 1-5 and ratings and reviews can only be submitted by homeowners who have been referred to that professional by HomeAdvisor. To be included in the HomeAdvisor network, service professionals undergo comprehensive criminal and financial background checks.
Is COVID-19 Creating A Perfect Storm For Structural Pest Infestations?
As Massachusetts asks all non-essential business due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, many families find themselves sheltering in their homes. This sudden change in human behavior, combined with the start of Spring, a season already known for heavy pest activity, may create a perfect storm for pest infestations to rise.
It is important to remember that Pest Control is an Essential Service all of the time. A temporary shutdown in people’s daily activities doesn’t mean pest control should be put on the back burner. Consider the fact that most viruses and dangerous organisms like the Coronavirus, are caused by human and animal interactions. everyone should understand the importance of pest control during these already challenging times. Imagine the added stress of a pest infestation on top of everything else.
How More People Staying Home Effects Rodent and Insect Pest Activity
Structural Rodent and Insect Pests are very adaptive and opportunistic. There can be a lot more opportunity for pests when people stay home for extended periods of time. Most structural Pests rely on people for food, water or shelter.
The number one increased opportunity will be in the available food sources. People stuck at home, simply put, have a lot more food around. People storing extra food in garages, basements and other areas, and children home from school snacking in different areas of a home, can attract more pest activity. Ants will show up almost immediately
In addition, Outdoor food sources like everyday garbage at local restaurants, parks or shopping centers for example may cease to exist now that human visitors are staying away. Situations like that will often drive rodents like rats and mice into nearby homes and businesses in search of new resources.
Another increased food source opportunity is the actual people themselves. Bed bugs, Ticks, Mosquitoes, Fleas and other parasite pests have way more opportunity to bite people when everyone is at home all day and night. Use the tips below to help prevent pest activity during the COVID-19 Outbreak.
Expert Pest Prevention Tips To Help Residents Prevent Pest Activity While Stuck at Home.
TIP #1Properly Manage Food Storage!
Store ALL food and related trash in pest and rodent proof containers at all times! This means NO cardboard containers or paper bags. Tightly sealed Glass Jars, Metal and Hard Plastic Containers with appropriate lids are the best options for food storage. Be sure to inspect and rotate stored food items regularly.
Have rules in place regarding food consumption. All eating should take place in the kitchen/dining area only. These areas are easier to keep clean. Bedrooms, playrooms and other areas of the house are NOT a good place to snack. Crumbs and other food debris that end up in furniture crevices, under beds and other areas, may go unnoticed by people and quickly become a source for pest activity.
TIP #2 Clean Up & Reduce Clutter!
Deep cleaning is great for preventing the spread of virus but also for preventing pest activity. Focus on general surfaces for virus prevention and harder to reach crevices and tighter spaces where pest like to congregate.
Clutter provides pests with great sheltering opportunity. Clutter also makes it more difficult to notice the early warning signs of an impending infestation. While stuck at home, people should declutter closets, storage areas, basements, garages, under beds, cabinets and other areas where pests frequently go.
TIP #3Seal Them Out!
Sealing off exterior entry points is a very effective way to prevent pests from entering the structure. Rodent-proof Door Sweeps, Metal Flashing, Steel-Mesh and appropriate sealants are excellent materials for rodent and structural pest exclusion.
TIP #4 Don’t Wait To Call A Professional!
Prevention is the best form of pest control. Exterior preventative treatments can greatly reduce infestations, interior activity and the need for interior service in the future. Existing activity is also much easier to eliminate when detected early.
Ultra Safe Pest Management is proud to provide these essential services during the COVID-19 Outbreak.
The professional pest control industry, as an essential service provider, is responsible for the protection of public health, food and property. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have prepared a list of significant public health pests https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/list-pests-significant-public-health-importance, many of which are controlled by the professional pest control industry. We play a vital role in protecting our nation’s public health and food supply. Pests can spread diseases such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease, salmonellosis, hantavirus and encephalitis. Stinging insects force half a million people to the emergency room every year. Cockroach and rodent allergens trigger asthma attacks in children; rodents contaminate or consume about 20% of the world’s food supply and bed bugs can cause allergic reactions. The importance of the pest control industry to the nation as an essential service cannot be understated.
Additionally, the pest control industry is trained, tested and
certified in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Technicians routinely
employ the use respirators, eye protection, gloves, and clothing to conform
with safety requirements established by EPA and the Occupational Health and
Safety Administration. With over 135,000 service technicians on the
ground in the United States backed by over 19,000 companies, we stand ready to
continue our fight against pests and diseases. With Covid-19 on the mind
of all US citizens, and the world, we want to be sure we continue to serve the
country in our battle with the diseases spread by pests.
As an essential service industry, we will continue to service the
nation’s food production facilities, grocery stores, medical institutions,
multifamily housing units, warehouses, homes and businesses. We cannot
afford to have our medical facilities, groceries stores or homes uninhabitable
due to pests and pest related diseases, particularly as we tell citizens to
stay home. There is not a segment of the food industry that could comply
with federal sanitation and health regulations without an adequate pest control
As you consider next steps regarding emergency response and potential
restrictions on business operations in your state, we respectfully request that
the pest control industry be recognized as an essential industry, providing a
service that is indispensable in the effort to protect public health and our
nation’s food supply.
U.S Department Of Homeland Security Memo:
For the purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” means:i. Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure; ii. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences; iii. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing; iv. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals; v. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services; vi. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities; vii. Banks and related financial institutions; viii. Hardware stores; ix. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses.