Austin is one of the buggiest cities in the U.S., but that’s not the only unwanted roommates Austinites may have to worry about. Every now and then, local wildlife finds its way into Austin homes too. And while typically these trespassers are just a pain, they can pose a real threat, like starting fires or transmitting diseases, if they’re not removed. Which is where a wildlife removal specialist comes in. We spoke to Jason Napolski, president of A-Tex Pest Management in Austin, Texas, a highly rated pro on Thumbtack, to learn just what a wildlife removal specialist does and when and why you need to hire one.
What kind of wildlife can a specialist remove?
Napolski’s company handles all kinds of rodents and wildlife. “Anything from smaller rodents like rats and mice to larger wildlife, like squirrels, raccoons, possums, skunks, bird control and removal, and exclusions (sealing up holes and entry points) for bats.
Why is it important to remove wildlife?
Napolski says a lot of rodents and wildlife find access into the attics of homes and commercial properties and then build nests and raise their young there. “They can do a lot of destruction,” he warns. “Raccoons and larger wild life will tear up duct work and ventilation, whereas squirrels are dangerous because they like to chew on the electrical, which can cause fires.” But it’s not just the bigger animals that can wreak havoc. “Rats carry bacteria and it’s not healthy to have their droppings accumulating in spaces.”
What does removing wildlife involve?
“Removing the animal is important, but it’s even more important to seal up the structure to keep them from getting back in,” Napolski says. “We do a full setting of traps, three follow-ups to check the traps, remove any of the infestation, and then close up all of the entry points so more animals don’t move into the abandoned space.”
What happens to the animals?
Napolski says that with smaller rodents, like rats and mice, there’s no humane method to remove that’s effective, so the typical method is to kill with snap traps and remove. “Anything larger than that, from squirrels on up, we will do a live trapping and relocation in the most humane way possible.”
Why is important to hire a professional instead of doing it myself?
“Most of the trapping methods available through home improvements stores are less effective than our traps,” Napolski says. “And you don’t want to use poisons because then the animal will die in the wall and that will cause a huge problem with odor for weeks.” He says that a professional also knows what to look for, where to place traps, and what animal is being targeted. “Sometimes homeowners think they’re dealing with a rat, but it could easily be a squirrel,” he points out. “And you need to use the right equipment to eradicate the correct animal.” Again, the most important part of removing the rodent or wildlife is being able to seal up the structure, which can be labor intensive, but also dangerous since it often involves climbing ladders and getting up on the roof. Getting it done right the first time can make all the difference in preventing continued entry. And, if you hire a professional, the work should come with a warranty, which will give you a guarantee and peace of mind.
Can I have wildlife removed from my yard?
If you have wildlife causing problems outside your house, companies like A-Tex Pest Management can trap and relocate the animals, Napolski says. “Sometimes raccoons or opossums will get comfortable on someone’s back porch or in their yard because of pet food or trash being left out; those animals can carry rabies and you don’t want that to be transported to household pets. So if they’re becoming a nuisance and not leaving the area, we can safely trap them and relocate them to a nature preserve.”
How will I know if I have wildlife in my house?
“It’ll usually be pretty obvious,” Napolski says. There will be noises coming from the attic, like chewing or thumping. “If you have rats or squirrels, you’ll hear scampering and running throughout the attic, and sometimes gnawing on 2x4s because they chew on hard services to keep their teeth filed down.”
How much does it cost?
The cost will vary depending on where you live, what kind of infestation you have, and how much work is necessary to seal up the structure, but A-Text Pest Management usually charges an average of between $475 and $575 for the full setting of traps, three follow-ups, infestation removal, and exclusion. However, it can go up from there depending on the severity of the issue.
What can I do to prevent wildlife from getting into my home?
There are some really easy things you can do, like keeping your trash secure, capping chimneys, and keeping flues closed. In addition, Napolksi says, you should look around your home a couple times a year for any openings and get those repaired. You should also keep trees near the house well trimmed as that’s an easy way for animals to gain access to your roof.