Pest Control Blog

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In Colorado, it is not legal to keep prairie dogs as pets. In addition to all the large-rodent-related issues we talked about in regards to squirrels as pets, there is the small matter that prairie dogs can carry a number of diseases.

Bubonic Plague and Prairie Dogs

The disease most commonly associated with prairie dogs is the bubonic plague, associated with the Black Death that killed a large portion of the European population. (Though recent research suggests it wasn’t the bubonic plague, but the pneumonic plague that led to the Black Death. Same bacteria, different symptoms.)

Prairie dogs don’t have an immunity to the plague, so it can run through their towns like wildfire. Then there is the same problem that happened when plague appeared in rat populations: the fleas that fed on the rodents needed food and went looking for it in other places, such as people. Because prairie dogs don’t survive long with plague, it’s unlikely that you would catch plague from a pet prairie dog.

Monkey Pox

Monkey pox, on the other hand, is much more likely to be spread by prairie dogs. Monkey pox, a relative of smallpox, is a potentially deadly illness that was spread to prairie dogs by Gambian rats that were brought over as pets. As a result of the 2003 outbreak, prairie dogs were temporarily banned by the FDA. Although this national ban was lifted in 2008, in Colorado they are still not allowed as pets.

If You Find Baby Prairie Dogs

If you find baby prairie dogs that you think have been abandoned or have lost their colony, you should resist the temptation to take them in as pets. Instead, contact wildlife officials about them.

If you have prairie dog pests you would like to remove, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today. We help people across the Front Range, from Fort Collins to Castle Rock, including the entire Denver Metro area.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prairie dogs can be a destructive nuisance. Because they are social animals, if you have one, you’re likely going to have a dozen or more—and if you don’t, you soon will!

So trapping and removing prairie dogs becomes a major concern. How do you do it?

Do-It-Yourself Trapping

You can try DIY, if you’re up for it. It is required that you use humane traps for prairie dogs, and then relocate them. The most common way to do this is to use a two-door trap baited with a suitable food. Horse sweet mix works well. Peanut butter is also recommended for trapping prairie dogs (just like baiting mouse traps).

However, you’re likely to find trapping prairie dogs is harder than you might think. Older prairie dogs are very suspicious of newly-introduced elements in their environment, making them hard to trap.

You also have to check the traps regularly to make sure the animals don’t spend too much time in the traps without food or water.

You also need to obtain a permit for trapping and relocating, which can be obtained through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and should be obtained before you begin the process.

A Note on Extermination

The most common species of prairie dog in Colorado, the white-tailed, Gunnison, and black-tailed prairie dog, are considered a nuisance animal, and you are allowed to shoot or poison them. However, shooting is generally an ineffective method of controlling the prairie dog population. Prairie dogs quickly become gun shy and it’s hard to kill enough of them to make a difference on a population of any size.

You can poison prairie dogs using poisoned baits, but you have to have an appropriate license to handle the poison. Poison gas can be used, but it’s not very effective, kills many other species, and requires a black-footed ferret survey before it is used.

Calling a Professional

Prairie dog removal can be accomplished much more quickly and surely by a professional. We have experience with trapping and we know how best to approach it to quickly reduce or eliminate the prairie dog population on your property.

If you are unhappy with prairie dogs on your property anywhere along the Front Range, from Fort Collins to Castle Rock and the entire Denver Metro area, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist, Inc. today.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

When pests get into your trash, they’re not trying to be pests. For most animals, scavenging is a way of life. Either it’s their primary means of foraging, or it’s a shortcut to a meal. Tearing open a trash bag is a lot less work than hunting and killing prey. However, the result can be a big mess for you. But how do you keep pests out of the trash?

Nothing to Munch Here

One of the first things to try is reducing the amount of appealing scraps in your garbage. Instead of throwing chicken bones and meat scraps—which can create strong, attractive odors—in your garbage, put them in your freezer, then add them to the garbage only on the morning of garbage day.

What a Repellant Odor

Although you may think your garbage always smells bad, that scent of rotting food can be very attractive to scavengers. However, there are certain odors that will repel animals. The most accessible and easy to use is ammonia. Ammonia is a common scent in urine, and when animals smell it, they think of the food as fouled.

In fact, peeing on food you’re not going to eat is a time-honored method of competition in the wild, and it is often used by territorial animals to discourage competitors from taking advantage of their scraps.

Put a Lid on It

It should go without saying that you should make sure to put the lid on your garbage to discourage pests from making a meal of it. However, a lid is often not enough, as some pests can remove the lid. If you’re having this problem, bungee cords typically work well for keeping pests from taking the lid off. If animals are gnawing through a plastic can, get a metal one.

Move It to a Secure Location

You can also try moving your garbage into the garage or other area that you consider secure from pests. The best thing about this option is that it will tell you whether it’s really secure or not.

Control Pests

Often animals will establish a nest or home near an abundant food source. Once they discover your trash, they may move into your home, and that’s when you need to get rid of them.

Animal & Pest Control Specialist, Inc. can help take care of any animal pest that’s moved into your home to be near food, whether that’s garbage or your pantry. We serve Denver and the surrounding areas, from Fort Collins to Castle Rock, Evergreen to Aurora. Please contact us today to learn how we can help.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Voles are small rodents that are sometimes called “field mice.” As soon as you have identified that you are dealing with voles, it’s time to act. Voles can reproduce quickly in response to an abundant food supply. A single breeding pair can lead to a population of several hundred voles by the end of the summer. Thus, the damage they cause will increase exponentially if you don’t act quickly.

There are three basic techniques that are used to control vole populations, and the most effective strategy is to use all three.

Habitat Modification

Voles move into your yard because the conditions are right for them. Get rid of excess vegetation that can provide an abundant food supply. Eliminate ground covering mulch around trees and other places where you see the signs of vole damage. Keep your lawn mown so there will be less cover for voles to forage under.

This will help encourage voles to move to other areas for foraging and make recolonization of your yard less likely.


Exclusion techniques can reduce damage to your plants during elimination efforts.

If you have specific plants that you are worried about or the voles seem to favor, you can keep them away with a cylinder of hardware cloth. The mesh size should be ¼ inch or smaller. Make sure you bury it at least six inches underground to prevent the voles from going under it.

Chemicals can also be used to repel voles. Capsaicin, the spicy ingredient in chili peppers, and thiram, a fungicide, can both be used to make plants unpalatable to voles for a short period of time. Hopefully your elimination efforts will be successful before voles become accustomed to the taste and they lose effectiveness.


The best way to eliminate voles is with chemical baits. These chemical baits are poisonous not only to voles but to humans and other animals. Placing baits directly in the vole holes can reduce the risk of accidental exposure to pets, wildlife, and children.

Zinc phosphide is a toxic bait that can only be used by licensed applicators. It can be absorbed through the skin and should be handled only with gloved hands.

Anticoagulant baits for voles are basically the same ones that are used for rats and mice, and they can be very effective. They’re also less toxic, work more slowly, and have an antidote, which makes them much safer.

Remedies That Don’t Work

There are many things that people will try to sell you that don’t work on voles. You can’t frighten moles away, smoke them out, or gas them. Traps can be effective if you have just a few, but likely by the time you know they’re there, it’s too late for traps.

If you need help controlling your vole population anywhere along the Front Range, from Fort Collins to Denver and Castle Rock, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist, Inc. today.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Having mice in your house can lead to property damage, food spoilage, potential spread of contagious disease, and other problems. Many homeowners turn to mouse traps to take care of their mouse problem. There are many types of mouse traps that you can use, but which is best for you depends on your situation and your preferences.

Simple Bar Spring Trap

This is the type of mouse trap that most of us are familiar with. They have a trigger where bait is placed. When the mouse disturbs the bait, the bar is driven over to catch the mouse, typically killing it by breaking its spine.

These are economical, generally effective, and easy to use. For most people, these are the best type of trap.

They do have the disadvantage that they can be messy and somewhat dangerous. When the spring snaps, the mouse may be caught in such a way that it’s cut, sometimes even cut in half. The mouse trap design doesn’t have enough spring power to seriously injure an adult, but children and pets may be hurt by them.

Electric Mouse Trap

This mouse trap uses electricity to shock the mouse to death when it touches both electrodes on the floor of the trap. These traps can kill a mouse in seconds, and have the advantage that the mouse is out of sight. You can just pour the mouse out of the trap without looking at it.

Many people have great results with these traps, but they don’t work for some people. They’re also a little more expensive than snap-type traps.

Glue Traps

Glue traps can work, but their performance is spottier than other types. If the glue is strong enough to keep your mice in place, then the mouse will die a slow death of dehydration, meanwhile warning other mice to stay away. Or you might find the mouse before it dies, and then what do you want to do? Kill it by hand? Try to get it off the trap and let it go?

If You’re Having Trouble

Sometimes people have trouble employing a mousetrap solution to eliminate their mouse problem. We can help you understand where to place traps, what baits to use, and how to shift traps to keep making catches.

For help controlling your mouse problem in Denver, Fort Collins, or Castle Rock, please contact Animal and Pest Control Specialist today.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Squirrels seem so cute, so it’s tempting to think about taking them home as a pet. However, when you consider the consequences of having a squirrel for a pet, it’s not a good decision for most of us.

Is It Legal to Have a Squirrel for a Pet?

In Colorado, you can have a squirrel for a pet. It’s neither on the list of acceptable wildlife mammals, nor is it on the list of prohibited ones. It falls into a category for which Colorado Parks and Wildlife says you need a permit.

The advantage of this is that you can likely find a vet who will care for your squirrel if necessary.

Disadvantages of Having a Squirrel for a Pet

Squirrels are highly energetic and destructive animals. They are larger than most rodents kept as pets, and they have no real history of domestication. As such, they can cause many problems.

Squirrels are hard to cage. They are strong and persistent, and because of their size and tendency to roam over large areas, they need a large area to roam to keep them healthy and happy. If they don’t have this, they will focus their energy on destruction, and can break out of many cages you might think could hold them.

When squirrels are out of their cages, they will eagerly seek to exercise their natural instincts. Squirrels are destructive to your home because of their tendency to chew. They also use their long claws to climb, which will lead to holes and damage to everything in your home, including your arm if you aren’t wearing protective clothing.

Squirrels naturally drop refuse everywhere they go. However, they don’t like to make a mess of their own cage, and they will spray and throw urine and feces out of their space.

Squirrels are wild animals and don’t have the same sense of affection and bonding with people that domestic animals have been bred and selected for over generations. As such, they are more likely to bite you, your children, and your other pets. This can make them unsafe to have around.

If You Find a Squirrel Baby

Most of the time that people end up with a pet squirrel, it’s because they find a baby that’s been abandoned. If you find yourself in this situation, you’re better off contacting people who can care for the animal and reintroduce it to the wild.

If, however, a squirrel seems intent on making your home its home, we can help. Please contact Animal and Pest Control Specialist for help getting rid of squirrels and other pests across the Front Range, including Denver, Fort Collins, and Castle Rock.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

First, it’s important to know that raccoons are prohibited as pets in Colorado. They are among the wildlife species that cannot be owned as pets within the state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife maintains a complete list of wild animals prohibited as pets in Colorado. Raccoons are explicitly listed, and this includes all species in the genus Porocyon, both those native to Colorado and imported.

Problems with Raccoon Pets

Raccoons are wild animals, and as such they are hard to care for properly. They are relatively large, strong, and cunning, making them hard to cage and control. They often weigh 20 pounds or more (the largest recorded was 75 pounds, but this is unusual), and their weight is largely muscle. Their ability to climb means that they cannot be confined to the ground, and they are often able to figure out how to escape cages.

As they mature, raccoons can become vicious and destructive. If you can’t keep them caged, you will have to deal with their behavior. They can attack other pets, kids, and even you. They will destroy everything in their path. You’re exposing yourself to liability if your raccoon attacks people or pets in the neighborhood.

Raccoons are largely nocturnal, so they’re likely to be most active when you’re sleeping. Not only can this be a nuisance because they will be noisy and can keep you awake, it means that you won’t be able to supervise them during their high-energy periods, resulting in more destruction.

And because raccoons are illegal, you’re unlikely to find a vet that will work on your raccoon without reporting you. You won’t be able to get proper veterinary care for your raccoon should it become sick or injured, and injuries to yourself or other pets will require lying or misleading your vet or doctor.

Worst of all, raccoons that are kept as pets cannot normally be returned to the wild. When you cannot care for your raccoon, or if it is discovered because it causes damage or injury to other people or their property, your raccoon will have to be killed.

If You Think about Adopting a Raccoon

If you come across a raccoon cub that you’re thinking of adopting, think again. Instead, contact a licensed animal control specialist who can remove it from your property and ensure it is properly cared for so it can be returned to the wild.

For help with raccoons on your Denver area property from Castle Rock to Evergreen, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When thinking about pets that chase mice and keep them under control, most people think about cats. Cats can be good for controlling mice, but they’re opportunistic predators that may or may not be mousers. Many cats take up a laissez faire attitude toward the presence of mice, especially as they age.

Dogs, on the other hand, can be just as fierce as cats toward mice. They’re territorial, loyal, and can be trained so that they’re always on patrol. They will work to keep mice under control just as a matter of duty, and they can be on guard 24 hours a day.

And, to top it off, many dogs were bred specifically for pest control. On farms keeping mice and rats under control was a matter of a person’s livelihood, and having a dog take on that duty meant a lot more crops that could be sold. During the years of the bubonic plague, rat control was a matter of life and death, and dogs were found to be great at it. Even after it became less of a necessity, it was a great sport and people put effort into breeding dogs that were great ratters (and mousers).


Terriers are the most famous group of dogs known for their ability as ratters. In fact, they were bred for it, especially in a sporting sense. Rat baiting was a popular sport in England through the early 20th century. It involved placing a dog, usually a terrier, in a pit with numerous rats and taking bets on how many the dog could kill in a short period of time, how long it would take him to clear the pit, or other similar wagers. The dogs still have an instinct to look for rodents, as attested to by many of the owners. In addition to mice, they’ll chase every squirrel out of your yard.

Commonly recommended terriers for mousing include Jack Russell terriers and cairn terriers. These two dogs have very different appearances, so they’re a good contrast, but they share many traits, including their high-energy personalities, tendency to bark, and inability to get along with other pets. Jack Russell terriers were bred as fox hunters, so they’re more of a runner and need more space. Cairn terriers are a little calmer, were specifically bred for rodent hunting, and have a classic terrier look. But I know from personal experience that they can be brats.

Other Dog Breeds

However, terriers are not the only dogs bred for pest control, and for people who don’t want to deal with the energy and mischief that comes with owning terriers, there are some good options.

Dachshunds are commonly recommended as mousers. They were bred to flush out burrowing animals like badgers, and their instinct leads them to pursue small animals like mice. They are much lower-energy dogs than terriers and make good lap dogs, but they do love to dig (part of that chasing burrowing animals thing). Dachshunds might also help you control burrowing pests like gophers and voles, but depending on how you set up your yard and garden, they may do more damage than the animals they chase away!

Papillon are also recommended as mousers. They will harrow mice and drive them from your property. They are pretty and fun dogs, too. They can be high-maintenance, though. They have long coats that need care (also, they shed more than any of the dogs listed here, except maybe a long-haired dachshund). They’re almost as high-energy as terriers, and they can have bad separation anxiety. They can bark a lot and act out if they don’t feel they’re getting enough attention. But for someone who is home a lot and wants a dog they can love and will love them in return as well as keep mice away, a papillon may just be your best choice.

However, if you are looking for mouse control that won’t shed, won’t destroy furniture, and is there when you need it but goes away when you don’t, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist. We help people all across the Front Range, from Evergreen to Castle Rock, including the entire Denver metro area.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

By the end of the summer, many people are looking forward to winter for one very good reason: it gets rid of many pesky insects that have grown to be more of a nuisance all summer long. But where do bugs go over the winter? That depends on the species. Insects have several good strategies for surviving the winter. Here are some examples of how they make it through the cold months.


Some insects migrate to avoid the cold weather. The most famous of these is the monarch butterfly, which winters in Mexico and summers in Canada. If you have ever had a chance to see a flight of these remarkable insects when they cluster for rest along their journey or at either endpoint, it’s truly magical. Unfortunately, they largely fly around Colorado.

Overwinter as Adults

Other insects overwinter as adults, sometimes clustering together for warmth. Box elder bugs do this, as do ladybugs. The depth of harborage that they seek turns out to be a fairly good indicator of how hard the winter is going to be, though how these insects know what to expect is a mystery.

Colony Insects in Winter

Colony insects have different strategies, though all overwinter as adults to some extent. Bumblebees and wasps overwinter just as a single queen, which will establish a new nest in the spring. Honey bees remain active all winter, drawing on their stores of honey to keep the hive fed until the first flowers of spring open. Termites in the wild may go dormant during winter, but if they are in a building, such as your home, they may stay active all winter long. Ants go to the deepest parts of their colony and wait until the weather warms up. Ants can survive temperatures well below freezing, down to about -8° F, because they have glycerol “ant”-ifreeze.

Overwinter as Nymphs

Nymphs are intermediate stages of development for many insects. Dragonflies, mayflies, and related insects have their nymphs in lakes or ponds, where they remain alive and active all winter long below the frozen surface.

Overwinter as Pupae

Pupae are another intermediate stage for insects with complete metamorphosis. It’s the chrysalis or cocoon form that moths and butterflies use to change from caterpillars to adults. This form can protect insects from very cold weather.

Overwinter as Larvae

Some insects overwinter as larvae, caterpillars or grubs, that may burrow into wood or the ground for protection from cold.

Overwinter as Eggs

Other species lay eggs during the fall that ride out the winter underground or in wood. Grasshoppers are probably the most well-known example of this.

Adapting to Domestic Environments

Other insects have adapted to domestic environments, and these insects don’t need an overwintering strategy. Cockroaches are a common example of this behavior.

If you have insects that are overwintering in ways that cause you concern, such as carpenter ants or termites in your home, we can help.

Please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today for help with insects and other pests anywhere in the greater Denver Metro Area from Boulder to Castle Rock.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Squirrels are a common sight outside all summer long, but during the winter they are noticeably scarcer. We know they aren’t heading to the high country for skiing, but what do they do all winter?

Preparing for Winter

A hint about what squirrels do during the winter is given by what they’ve been up to these last two months. If you’ve been watching them chase around your yard frantically, or had to chase them away from your Jack-o-Lanterns, you may have noticed that they’re a little fatter than usual. This isn’t from sitting on the couch eating nachos and watching the Broncos play, it’s storing up fat for the winter.

Squirrels also make caches, or small storehouses, of food to help them get through the winter months when food is scarcer. The problem with these caches is that squirrels have really bad memories. They don’t remember where they stored their food. Instead, they count on their sense of smell to lead them back to their caches, so many of the thousands of seeds they bury each year will be left behind to germinate and grow.

Warm, Cozy Dens

As you may have guessed, squirrels don’t hibernate. If they did, they wouldn’t need storehouses of food. Instead, squirrels try to limit their activities during the coldest days, staying in their dens most of the time, and foraying out during some of the many sunny days they get.

Unfortunately, when squirrels are looking for the perfect dens, they are often in search of warm, secure places, and some of the warmest places around are likely in your attic. If you haven’t adequately sealed your attic against squirrels, you may find yourself with an active visitor in your home all winter long. At least the types of squirrels we have in Colorado--mostly fox squirrels in Denver and along the Front Range, with some Abert’s squirrels in Evergreen and other places in the mountains—bear young in the spring, so you won’t have to worry about litters in your attic this winter. However, squirrels do mate in December and January, which may mean frequent chasing around dens, which can be a nuisance.

If you think a squirrel has taken up residence in your home, we can help. Please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today for help anywhere from Boulder to Castle Rock.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mice are persistent pests. Once they get into your home, as they often do once the weather turns cold in October across the Front Range, they can breed prodigiously and lead to a major problem. They will browse from many food sources, damaging packaging, making a mess, and spoiling food.

However, if you are persistent, determined, and thorough, you can get rid of them, if you know the best way to get rid of mice, which is a three-step process.

Seal off Entries

The most important thing to do is to seal off the entrances that mice are using to get in your house. Check around the house at ground level, sealing all cracks and crevices. Don’t leave any openings just because you think it’s too small—mice can squeeze through a ¼ inch opening. This will limit the number of mice in your home.

Reduce Food

Repackage all food in your home in secure glass or metal containers. Mice can gnaw through anything else. Clean out all drawers and shelves to remove food left behind. Wipe all counters off thoroughly. Seal trash as well—it’s still food to them.

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to starve out mice. They will eat many things you wouldn’t regard as food, and can find it in places you wouldn’t imagine. But limiting their food will reduce their ability to have litters, meaning fewer mice to get rid of.

Set Traps

There are many types of traps available, such as glue traps and live traps, but old fashioned snap traps work as well or better. Make sure you put the traps in places where they won’t be a danger to children or pets, and pick the best bait for your mouse traps.

Have you followed this strategy and still have mice? It’s likely the problem is in the trapping stage, which can be hard to get right. Our experience has taught us many little tricks for making sure mice get trapped.

For help getting rid of your mice in the Denver area, from Evergreen to Castle Rock, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Raccoons can be a nuisance. They make a mess, can damage property and your garden, and they carry diseases. They are the number one carrier of rabies in Colorado. If you have a raccoon problem, here are some of the ways to get rid of them:

Cut Off Food Supply

The first step in getting rid of any animal pest, including a raccoon, is to remove their main reason for being there: access to food. Seal your trash can lids. Change from an open compost pile to sealed bins. Don’t leave pet food outside. Get rid of bird feeders.

If raccoons are raiding your garden, try aversion techniques to limit their access.

Aversion Techniques

Aversion techniques create an unpleasant environment for raccoons, encouraging them to leave. Raccoons don’t like bright lights or loud noises. You can put lights in your garden and leave them on or set them up on a motion sensor. You may also be able to keep them away with a radio set to a rock station and left in the garden, but it may be hard to find a volume that frightens the raccoons but doesn’t bother you or your neighbors.

They may also be repelled by certain smells, including ammonia. You can often encourage them to vacate a lair by putting rags soaked with ammonia inside (though this is obviously not a good idea if they’re in your home.) You can also try lighting their lair or putting a radio inside as well.

Trap Them

In Colorado, you are allowed to trap raccoons on your property without a license. You are then allowed to relocate them within 10 miles if you can find an appropriate habitat and get permission from the landowner or managing agency.

Trapping raccoons is tricky, because the animals are smart, you may trap cats and other animals by accident, and the raccoon you trap may not be the one responsible for the damage.

Seal the Entry

Although raccoons are fairly large animals, an adult raccoon can fit through an opening as small as 3 inches. Make sure you find and seal all the entrances, if you are sure the raccoon is not inside. If you seal a raccoon inside your home, it will die, creating a smelly corpse

Heavy wire cloth or sheet metal are preferred for sealing entries. Don’t forget to seal your chimney. Cut trees away from your roof to limit access.

Although you are allowed to try trapping raccoons on your own, our years of experience in trapping and relocating them allow us to take care of the problem more quickly and with more assurance.

For help with a raccoon problem in the Denver area, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today.

Friday, October 4, 2013

There are at least eighteen bat species in Colorado, with another two suspected species that have not yet been discovered in the state. Bats are important insect eaters and help (along with our generally dry climate) to control mosquitoes and other pest insects.

Known Bats in Colorado

Most bat species in Colorado are part of the common bat family, Vespertilionidae. Sixteen of Colorado’s bat species belong to this family, whose members are generally insect eaters and cave dwellers.

The other two known bat species in Colorado come from the family of free-tailed bats, the Molossidae.

Suspected Bats in Colorado

There are two species of common bats that may be found in Colorado due to the proximity of their ranges to the state. First is the cave myotis, which has been found just 10 miles from the Colorado border in the Oklahoma Panhandle. It may live on Colorado’s Mesa de Maya.

The other species is Allen’s big-eared bat, which has been found in southeastern Utah, just 30 miles from the border. It lives in the piñon-juniper woodland that stretches across the border between the two states, so it’s probably just a matter of time before it is found in Colorado.

Why Bats Roost in Your Home

Most of the species of common bat that live in Colorado like to roost as individuals or in small groups. Their preferred roosting places are small crevices, overhangs, dark spaces secluded from light and sound, and preferably close to food supplies. Bats are just looking for shelter and the overhang of your house, shed, or barn provides it. With the draw that artificial light provides for insects, bats find themselves amply supplied, so they stick around. They probably won’t move on their own.

We can help you remove bats from their hiding places in your home and seal up the roosts so you don’t have a recurrence of the problem.

For help removing bats anywhere in the Denver metro area from Evergreen to Castle Rock, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bats are the stuff of legend—and, for some people, nightmares. But they’re also fascinating creatures. Here are 13 facts you (probably) didn’t know about these amazing mammals.

Bats are the only mammal truly able to fly (sorry, Rocky, flying squirrels are merely gliders). They’re also only the fourth creature in the history of the world to master flight, after insects, pterosaurs, and birds.

Bats make up nearly a quarter of all mammal species. Experts believe there are at least 1200 species of bats, out of 5400 total mammal species.

Vampire bats don’t suck blood. They lap it up, after using their razor-sharp teeth to make a small cut that lets the blood flow. One reason to go to night events at the Denver Zoo (like Zoo Lights) is to watch the vampire bats drink from their small dishes of blood, although they are sometimes up during the day.

An anticoagulant found in bat saliva may become a stroke treatment. But it’s only in the development phase and may never become a full medication.

Only about 10 people have gotten rabies from bats in the last 50 years. Bats are commonly blamed for spreading the disease, and they can, but they rarely transmit it to humans.

Bats have amazing metabolisms. A single brown bat can eat 1200 mosquito-size insects in an hour. That’s almost a third the weight of an average specimen. For a 160-pound person, it’d be the equivalent of eating four Beau Jo’s challenge pies in an hour. And fruit bats are no slackers. They can completely digest a mango in 20 minutes!

The largest bat is the giant golden crowned flying fox with wing spans up to nearly 6 feet.

The smallest bat Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, only about an inch long.

The bed bug is closely related to the bat bug, a blood-sucking parasite that feeds on bats in caves. Anthropologists have posited that the two species diverged when some bat bugs hitchhiked with human hosts who took up part-time residence in caves.

Bats work hard to keep clean. Bats have meticulous grooming habits, and they clean both themselves and other bats in the colony.

Unlike rodents, bats are very long-lived. Bats can live up to 30 years or more.

Again unlike rodents, bats typically have only one pup at a time.

Finally, unlike rodents, about 50% of bat species in the US are endangered.

This last fact makes bats the unluckiest of all mammals. However, even though bats are endangered and need to be protected, that doesn’t mean you want them around your home. If you are bothered by bats, Animal & Pest Control Specialist can install one-way doors that let bats leave their roost, but don’t let them return.

For help removing bats in the Denver area, from Evergreen to Castle Rock, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

In Colorado, 90% of reported insect stings come from yellowjackets, so it’s unlikely that most of us have been stung by too many different kinds of insects. However, one insect researcher has been stung by at least 150 different kinds of insects (maybe more—he admits it’s sometimes hard for him to tell species apart based on their stings, although he can pinpoint the genus) from all over the world, which, he feels makes him a bit of an authority on the subject, and he’s developed a pain scale to rate the insects’ sting. I’d have to agree with him on his level of expertise.

Pain Level 1

Pain level 1 is noticeable, but not enough to make you drop your drink or even necessarily stop what you’re doing. A good example of pain level 1 is the fire ant. The pain is sharp and lasts for maybe 2-5 minutes. Fire ants haven’t made their way to Colorado yet, which is good because their aggressive swarming behavior can result in a lot of stings, which adds up to a lot of discomfort.

Pain Level 2

Pain level 2 will generally make you stop what you’re doing, though it’s not disabling. A honeybee sting is rated pain level 2, and generally lasts for 4-10 minutes, sometimes longer if you don’t get out the venom reservoir soon enough. Bumblebee stings are also rated pain level 2, though they don’t last as long. Yellowjackets are also rated a level 2 sting.

Learn how to tell the difference between bees and wasps here.

Pain Level 3

Pain level 3 is an intense burning pain. A velvet ant is a good example of a pain level 3 sting. The velvet ant is actually a wingless wasp, and, fortunately, it’s not found in Colorado, because the pain from its sting can last up to 30 minutes. A pain level 3 insect found in Colorado, though, is the western harvester ant. We grew up calling these “red ants,” a name whose simplicity created both specificity and awe for these ants’ very painful sting, which can cause pain for up to 8 hours. Another pain level 3 insect found in Colorado is the paper wasp.

Pain Level 4

Pain level 4 is described as nearly debilitating pain, like the touch of a 20,000 volt cattleprod. Fortunately, there are no pain level 4 stingers found in Colorado. Examples include the tarantula hawk, the warrior wasp, and the bullet ant, which is described as having the most painful sting.

Want to avoid stinging insects? We can help get rid of them on your property. Please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

There are some places where it may be hard to tell venomous snakes from non-venomous snakes, but here in Colorado, it’s easy. There are only a few venomous snakes around. (Two, three, or four depending on the source. Reports vary because there are disagreements about the ranges of snakes that rely on field identification reports, often by amateurs whose IDs can be suspect.) All venomous snakes in Colorado are rattlesnakes, and so share six characteristics that can distinguish them from nonvenomous snakes.

Distinguishing Rattlers from Other Snakes

If you spot a snake, look for one of these six characteristics that distinguish rattlesnakes from other types:

  • Rattles on the end of their tail

  • Fangs (hopefully you don’t see these, because if you do, you’ve made the snake really mad and it’s likely to strike!)

  • Facial pits between the nostrils and eyes. Rattlesnakes are a type of pit viper. These pits allow them to sense heat from their favorite prey—small mammals.

  • Vertical and elliptical pupils that turn into thin lines in bright light. Nonvenomous snakes have round pupils.

  • A single row of scales between the vent (cloaca) and the end of the tail. (If you’re not sure whether a snake is venomous or not, please don’t pick it up to try this ID method!)

  • Broad triangular head

These methods can generally be used to help you identify a snake as venomous or nonvenomous no matter what part of the body you saw. And, hopefully, will let you quickly tell whether a snake is dangerous or not.

Dangerous or Not, You Might Not Want It Around

Although venomous snakes are rare in Colorado, people are often very happy to have snakes removed. Although snakes are generally considered beneficial, people find them unpleasant and would rather have them relocated.

Animal Pest Control Specialists can remove any type of snake and help educate you on how to change your property to make it less snake-friendly so they don’t come back.

To have a snake removed from your property in the Denver area, from Boulder to Castle Rock, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Snakes can be very scary, but, in general, they are harmless. Of the 25 or so species of snakes in Colorado, only a few are venomous. Here are some tips for living with snakes.

Know the Dangerous Snakes

Although most snakes are harmless, venomous snake bites can be deadly, so it’s important to be able to identify the poisonous varieties found in Colorado. Look for these characteristics:

  • Tail rattles

  • Wide triangular heads

  • Pits between nostrils and eyes

  • Vertical pupils in eyes that may shrink to slits in daylight

If you don’t know whether a snake is venomous or not, don’t disturb it to try to get a better look. In general, snakes will warn before biting, but if they feel threatened, they can strike.

Live and Let Live

If you can, just not interfering with snakes is the best approach. Snakes can be beneficial, eating insect and rodent pests like mice and gophers. So if you can let snakes go about their business without troubling them at all, you’ll benefit in the long run.

Encouraging Snakes to Move on

If you don’t want snakes to live around your home, it’s important to change the environment to make your yard inhospitable to them. This means:

  • Eliminate cool damp places where snakes shelter from the sun, like tall grass, wood piles, and raised outbuildings

  • Eliminate openings to homes and outbuildings

  • Control insect and rodent populations

  • In areas with rattlesnakes, you should build a snake-proof barrier fence around areas where children and pets play

Most snakes will take the hint and move on.

Professional Snake Removal

If you have a snake you want to get rid of now, don’t try to attack or kill it yourself. We can provide professional snake removal. We do it safely and humanely for relocation.

Please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today for snake removal in the greater Denver metro area from Evergreen to Aurora, Boulder to Castle Rock.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What’s that buzzing around your picnic table? Is it a relatively harmless bumblebee or a dangerous yellow jacket? Here’s your guide to find out.

Bees and Wasps Are Closely Related

Bees actually evolved from wasps, so it’s no surprise that they share many features. They both have four wings and the typical three body parts and six legs that characterize insects. The wings distinguish them from flies, which have only two wings, but bees and wasps belong to a family called hymenoptera—“married wing,” which means that their wings hook together and may look like just two wings.

Wasps—What to Look for

When trying to determine if an insect is a bee or a wasp, look at the body. If it’s hairless, it’s a wasp. Wasps also tend to be more slender overall, especially at their pinched wasp waists.

You can also use behavior to distinguish bees and wasps. If you notice the insect crawling around on the ground, seeming to look for something, or if it does swarm around your table aggressively, trying to get at your food, it’s likely a wasp. Yellow jackets, which are responsible for most insect stings, like to eat human food, and they have the ability to sting repeatedly if you aggravate them.

Bees—What to Look for

You can identify bees by their hairy bodies and generally stout makeup. The stoutest bees are bumblebees, which are generally native species, while the more slender honey bee is an import from Europe.

Bee behavior also distinguishes them. They live on flower pollen and nectar, so you will see them flying from flower to flower. If you don’t disturb them, bees will generally leave you alone. Most bee stings occur when people are walking barefoot through a patch of low flowers, but some people are stung because they panic and try to kill bees.

Sweat Bees

There is one kind of bee that may seem to swarm around you too close for comfort. They may even land on you for a little while, then take off.

These are sweat bees, and, like their name implies, they actually like to drink your sweat. They feed off the proteins and salt in your sweat. The good news is that few of them sting, so if you just let them enjoy their meal they will go peacefully on their way.

If you have a flying insect pest you would like to remove from your home in Denver, Boulder, Castle Rock, or the surrounding area, we can help. Please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Skunks are noxious animals. Not only are they voracious eaters of practically anything they can get their teeth into, they will burrow into your yard to see if you have anything tasty, or make a home under your porch.

However, the worst thing about skunks is the smelly liquid they can discharge when they feel threatened. This stench is disgusting, like a rotting corpse, and not the sort of smell you want to carry around with you everywhere. Fortunately, there is a good way to remove skunk smell from pets, clothes, and even you.

The Best Solution for Removing Skunk Smell

There are many traditional remedies for trying to get rid of skunk smell, such as tomato juice or beer, but these don’t work. The best solution for skunk smells is a homemade solution of:

  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • Small amount (1-2 teaspoons) dish soap

The peroxide destroys the scent molecules of the skunk’s spray, making them odorless and water soluble. The baking soda is a catalyst that creates the conditions for the peroxide to work, and the dish soap helps dissolve the oils in the skunk’s spray.

Warning: Make sure you don’t get this solution in your eyes, your dog’s eyes, or your child’s eyes. This solution can damage your clothes, dry out your skin, and bleach your dog’s fur. Skin and fur suffer no permanent damage, thought.

Don’t Get Sprayed

Hopefully, you never have to use this solution to remove skunk spray from you or your dog. Avoid getting sprayed by paying attention to a skunk’s warning signs. It will first raise its tail. It may also stamp its feet to warn you it’s going to spray, but once the skunk’s tail goes up, it’s time to leave it alone. And remember skunks can spray up to 23 feet!

The best way to protect you, your children, and your dogs from skunk spray is to get skunks removed from your property. For help with skunk removal in Denver, Castle Rock, Evergreen, and surrounding areas, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

As the weather (finally!) starts to warm up here on the Front Range, you may be getting out to plant your garden. You may be imagining all the tasty vegetables you’re going to grow, thinking about all the dishes you’re going to get to enjoy. Salads taken entirely from your garden. Corn on the cob, grilled to perfection alongside those beautiful purple peppers. Salsas, pickles, pestos, and let’s not forget the butternut squash and pumpkin dishes in the fall.

Unless a gopher eats your garden first. Unlike moles, which can be moderately helpful and eat some insect pests, gophers are wholly destructive to your garden. They will nibble on the roots, eat the seeds and sets, and even pull entire plants down into their burrows.

Here are the signs you have gophers so you can get rid of them before they do irreparable damage to your garden.

Signs in the Snow

Gophers aren’t known to hibernate—they keep busy all year round. So even when you’re not around, they’re out there, eating up bulbs and chewing on the roots of your perennials and bushes. If an evergreen bush that has always been healthy suddenly loses its green or if your bulb garden is coming up curiously thin this year, it may be gophers.

Gophers burrow through the snow, but it’s unlikely you’d see their snow burrows. Instead, look for curious streaks of dirt running through the melting snow. Also look for aboveground damage to bark on trees, which may be gophers.

Mounds and Meals

You should also look for signs that gophers are active in your garden right now. Most gopher mounds have the characteristic “C” shape with the burrow in the middle. The exception is gopher feed holes, which gophers use to chomp on vegetation aboveground without leaving their burrows. These will just be open holes surrounded by clipped vegetation.

For more help distinguishing gophers from other garden pests, please see “What’s Eating Your Garden?

Get Rid of Gophers Now

Gophers typically breed in early spring, which means that if you don’t take care of your gopher problem now, you will soon have a much larger gopher problem. You can check out Home Remedies for Gopher Problems, but in most cases professional control is the best way to get rid of your gophers.

For help with gophers in the extended Denver metro area, from Evergreen to Castle Rock, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.



Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Bats are useful and unique animals. They eat insects, which is especially valuable in areas with large mosquito populations, and as the only truly flying mammal, they are fascinating. However, they can also be annoying and dangerous.

Bat squeaking and the sound of their movements can be annoying and disconcerting in your home. Bat guano can contain diseases, and bats themselves are known carriers of rabies. In fact, most rabies deaths in the US are associated with bats. So, even if you want bats in the area, you may not want them in your home. Pest control can eliminate the danger and nuisance of bats.

Bat Pest Control

First, you need to identify that you have bats. See our bat pest information for the signs to look out for.

Next, know that it’s generally against the law to kill bats. Because they are endangered and useful animals, we have to remove them without harming them.

We install one-way bat doors over the entrances to their roost. This allows bats to get out, but not in. After a week, we remove the doors and seal up the entrances. If you want long-term control, we recommend that you look around for other potential entry points and seal them up.

If you want to, when we put up the bat doors you can also put up bat houses in more convenient locations that allow bats to roost in places other than your attic.

If you have problems with bats or other animal pests in your home, we can help. Please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today for help with bats in Denver, Boulder, Evergreen, Castle Rock, and surrounding areas.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


It used to be that having a cricket chirping by your hearth was considered lucky. In the days when indoor entertainment was sparse—before TVs, radios, even affordable printed books—the cricket’s “song” may have been a welcome alternative to heavy silence or, worse, the sound of wolves prowling around outside your door.

These days, though, we have a lot of things to listen to, and when we want silence, we want actual silence, not the annoying sound of a cricket. If you are tired of the sound of crickets, they can be controlled. Here’s some advice on what doesn’t work and what does.

What Doesn’t Control Crickets

Hunting them down: If you’ve ever tried to hunt down the crickets making the song, you know how hard it can be. Not only do they get quiet whenever you get near, I swear they know how to throw their voice. I can’t imagine how the females manage to find the singing males—maybe you need ears on your knees to do it.

Eliminating food sources: Crickets will eat practically any organic matter, and they don’t need much. A little sawdust, some glue, or a crumb will suffice. They may even eat outside, then make their way indoors as an adult, and survive for weeks without anything to eat at all.

What Does Control Crickets

Eliminating water: Like all insects, crickets are basically a bag of fluid. Crickets aren’t good at keeping their water, so they need a good supply of it and will die within days if they don’t get it. Eliminate drips and damp areas in your home, and you will see a lot fewer crickets.

Seal entrances: Makes sure all the walls are sealed. Get rid of cracks, and make sure all your ground level windows are properly screened and caulked.

Chemical control: If you need to, there are many chemical controls that are very effective on crickets. Dusts, sprays, and baits are all effective at getting rid of noisy crickets. Our pest control services are highly effective.

If you need help getting rid of house crickets or field crickets anywhere from Evergreen to Castle Rock, including Boulder and Denver, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today for an appointment.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Box elder bugs are very common in Colorado. They are black insects with red lines on their body and wings. Box elder bugs, like many insects, overwinter as adults in warm, sheltered places. If the warm, sheltered places they choose are in your house, you will notice them coming out as soon as the weather warms in the spring, which means you’ve probably begun to see them and are likely to see more as the weather continues to warm.

Here’s the good news: box elder bugs don’t generally eat your home or food vegetable matter, and they don’t carry any diseases. The bad news is that they often congregate in very large numbers and when they emerge, it can be quite unnerving. It’s also unfortunate that they are resistant to most types of pesticides we use. Direct application of pesticides will generally kill them, but the residual kill effect is minimal. You can kill them with over-the-counter aerosol pest sprays, if you hit them directly, but soap-and-water solutions generally work, too.

The most effective way to get rid of box elder bugs is to find the location of female box elder trees nearby and remove them. These trees are the primary source of your infestation, and if they’re removed, you’ll likely see a lot fewer of these bugs in your home.

At Animal Pest Control Specialist, we know the best solution for taking care of pests is not always the immediate one. Often, effective, long-term pest control involves taking a wider look at where animals come from and why they’re invading your home.

For help with any kind of pest control in the Denver area, from Boulder to Castle Rock, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The answer to this question depends on where your pill bugs, also called sow bugs or roly-polies, are and what they’re doing. If they are a pest, pest control methods can be used to reduce or eliminate them.

Pill bugs mostly live outdoors, preferring moist environments that give them the resources they need, namely water, food, and protection. Pill bugs are crustaceans, like lobsters and crabs, and need a high level of humidity to survive. They primarily consume decaying vegetable matter, so their favorite hiding places are under decaying leaves and vegetable matter in your yard. However, they regularly roam in search of new environments, so it’s possible for them to enter your home.

Most of the time, if pill bugs enter your home, they will die for lack of adequate water supply. However, if you have damp boards and mildewy areas around leaky windows or roof, a colony may develop. If this happens, you have two problems: the pill bugs that can be a nuisance and the leak causing damaged, rotting wood. We can certainly help you get rid of the pill bugs as well as point out the area where they have taken up residence.

In the garden, pill bugs are rarely a problem, though sometimes they are known to attack very tender seedlings and rootlets. They are easily controlled, however, with either diatomaceous earth or black plastic mulch around plants.

For help with any type of pest in the Denver area, from Evergreen to Castle Rock, including pill bugs, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Ahh . . . there’s nothing like natural wool clothing for keeping warm in the winter. Unfortunately, wool is the material that most attracts moths. While you’re wearing them, they’re not in danger, but when it comes time to put them away for the spring and summer, there are several things you should do to protect your wool clothes from damage so you won’t have to call pest control next winter when you pull them out.

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is an essential step in preventing damage from moths. There are many places where moths can find stores of food that serve as a stepping-stone for their move into your closet, such as behind baseboards, under heavy furniture, or around heating vents, wherever they can find animal material to feed on. Use a vacuum to suck up all the debris in these areas, then dispose of the bag right away—you may have collected a bunch of eggs, too, and these may hatch and aid the spread of moths.

Clean Clothes, Too

It’s crucial that you give your woolens a thorough cleaning before putting them into storage. Many recommend dry cleaning to make sure all the moth eggs are dead. Others assert that a thorough washing followed by drying in bright sunlight is also good.

Storage Tips

There are many potential ways to store your clothes to keep moths away. The traditional moth balls can still be used, but remember that they are toxic, must be kept away from children and pets, and will leave an odor on your clothes. Natural repellants like lavender and cedar are promoted for controlling moths, but there is little effectiveness data and reviews are mixed. You can experiment if you like.

Probably the best way to keep moths off your clothes is to store them in sealed airtight containers. This will protect them against the moth larvae.

If you need help controlling any household pest anywhere in the Denver metro area, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Carpet beetles are a nuisance because they consume anything of natural animal origin they can find. Pest control is rarely necessary to keep these insects in check.

Carpet beetles get their name because they used to be commonly found in carpets made of wool, though nowadays they are more often found in clothes or food. They often enter the home and begin feeding on either lint or, ironically, dead insects. The adults will then lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae begin looking for additional food sources.

Identifying Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are small oval beetles about ⅛ inch long. In Colorado, the most common types of carpet beetles are black, but they can also be many different colors, including striped and mottled.

Protecting Your Home from Carpet Beetles

The best way to protect your home is to control the numbers of carpet beetles by reducing their access to food. You should clean up spilled food, regularly get rid of lint, including dust bunnies that may contain significant amounts of animal fur, and storing vulnerable items in insect-proof containers.

  • Put individual plastic bags over clothes in closets or store all clothes together in a zippered container
  • When storing clothes, put them in plastic, insect-proof containers
  • If storing clothes in boxes, tightly tape all seams

However, if you experience a significant infestation, you should talk to professional pest control to prevent them from causing extensive damage.

For help with carpet beetles and other domestic pests at any time of the year, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.


Thursday, January 24, 2013


Yes and no. Sticky traps can catch most cockroach pest species, especially those common in Colorado, mostly the small but robust German cockroach (about an inch in length, identifiable by the two “racing stripes” on its carapace just behind the head). Here are some tips for effectively using sticky traps.

Effective Sticky Trap Placement

Sticky traps have to be placed where cockroaches are likely to run. If you unfortunately already have a bad infestation, you can tell where they run by the trails of cockroach feces, which look like small black dots that run along the wall or floor between food sources and harborages. If you can’t find trails, place them along the wall or floor in warm areas (behind the stove and fridge are popular), and places where there is water. Cockroaches need water more than food, so target pet water bowls, leaky faucets, and the water tray under the refrigerator.

To Bait or Not to Bait?

When it comes to sticky traps, it’s really not necessary to bait them if you place them effectively. Cockroaches will naturally walk across the traps and become stuck. Some traps advertise that they are pre-baited to lure cockroaches in, but if they’re not placed along regular cockroach runs, they’re not going to attract many cockroaches.

To Monitor, Not Control

Although sticky traps can effectively catch cockroaches, they are not really an effective control method. Cockroaches breed prodigiously, and the odds of catching all the cockroaches in your house are very small. If even a few cockroaches escape, they will quickly breed up to their old numbers.

What sticky traps are good for is to help you know whether you have an infestation. They can be used either before contacting pest control to identify the problem, or after to tell whether the professional has been effective in controlling your problem.

If you have cockroaches, the best way to get rid of them is to contact a pest control professional. At Animal & Pest Control Specialist, we have experience with helping rid homes of cockroaches and other pests. Please contact us today for help in the Denver metro area, including Boulder, Evergreen, and Castle Rock.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Although most pest infestations increase in the summer, there are some pests that can either become worse or maintain their infestations throughout the winter. Here are some tips for controlling winter pests.

Limiting Pest Access

There are many ways you can limit the access of winter pests to your home. First, seal up entry points. This includes both relatively large holes that allow rodents to enter and small cracks that provide entry for insects.

Next, remove inviting habitats from directly alongside your home. Mulch, wood piles, and shrubbery can all invite pests to seek shelter near your home, which makes it more likely they will seek access to your home in search of warmth, shelter, or food.

Avoid importing trouble by inspecting logs for ants, termites, or cockroaches before bringing them in for the fire. You should also follow tips for avoiding picking up bed bugs when you travel, such as inspecting hotel rooms before you stay and inspecting your luggage when you get home. Fruit flies often ride in on fresh fruits and vegetables but multiply once in your home—control their numbers by reducing the amount of fruit you have stored in the open.

Getting Rid of Pests

If you have identified pests that have already gotten into your home, it’s time to take control methods. Small numbers of rats and mice may be controllable with appropriate traps. See our hints for picking effective mouse trap bait.

Larger rodent infestations and most insect infestations require the assistance of a professional pest control expert. These experts can help in many ways, including:

  • Accurately identifying your pest
  • Controlling the pest
  • Helping you prevent future infestations

When you are facing winter pests, controlling them is important. Although some are just a nuisance, many pose a threat to your home or health, and it can be expensive to replace the food they eat or ruin.

At Animal & Pest Control Specialist, we offer pest control for all seasons in the Denver Metro area, including Boulder, Evergreen, and Castle Rock. Please contact us today.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Cedar oil is advertised as a natural alternative to chemical pesticides. Many plants produce natural insect repellants or pesticides to prevent insects from eating them. Cedar oil is one of the few that has been produced on a significant scale for commercial sale. Many people have questions about cedar oil, and, unfortunately, there aren’t any really clear answers. However, here’s what we do know about cedar oil in pest control.

Is Cedar Oil Really Safe?

It’s always important to remember that just because something’s natural, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. We all know that some plants are just not safe to eat, and others (like poison ivy) are skin irritants. So you always need to ask whether a natural product is also a safe product.

Cedar oil, it seems, is truly a safe product. According to a recent assessment by the EPA, cedar oil is generally recognized as safe, and there haven’t been many incidents that would lead us to believe otherwise. In a 2010 assessment, the EPA noted a few incidents of eye irritation for humans, and some serious incidents associated with cats. This included the death of a cat shortly after exposure. However, it noted that all the products associated with these incidents are no longer on the market.

Is Cedar Oil Effective?

Here’s where things get really murky. Because the cedar oil products evaluated by the EPA didn’t make public benefit claims, the EPA didn’t evaluate their effectiveness. There are no good scientific studies on the effectiveness of cedar oil, so we have to rely on people’s personal experience, such as reviews.

Overall, reviews of cedar oil in pest control are mixed, with more negative than positive reviews. Cedar oil doesn’t provide consistent pest control results that would make us want to adopt it for use.

At Animal and Pest Control Specialist, Inc, we stake our reputation on successful resolution of your pest problems. We don’t make promises we can’t keep and don’t use products that we can’t stand by.

For detailed consultation about your pest control problem in the greater Denver area, please contact Animal and Pest Control Specialist, Inc today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mouse traps can be an effective part of mouse control, if properly used. This means you have to place the mouse traps in areas where mice frequent, and you have to use the right kind of bait. What’s the right mouse trap bait? Ask ten people and you’ll likely get twenty different answers, all of which are right to some extent, but none of which may work for you.

Here are the three essential principles you should use to find the best mouse trap bait.

1: Aromatic Baits Work Best

Mice spend most of their time in the dark, so they rely on their sense of smell to find food. Any bait you pick should have an odor so mice can find it. Although mice naturally eat mostly grains and seeds, they’re practically omnivorous, so meat baits work fine.

Just make sure you don’t use anything with too strong a smell, or you’ll be wondering what you’re smelling in your otherwise clean kitchen. Also, remember that some baits can go bad or dry up, changing or losing their smell, so change baits regularly.

2: It Must Be Secure to the Trigger

If you’re using a traditional style mouse trap, or any trap that is sprung by the mouse tugging on the bait, you need to make sure it’s secure to the trigger. Otherwise the mouse will take the bait and run without triggering the trap.

Some baits are sticky and can be applied directly to the trigger. Others should be tied to the trigger. You don’t need a lot, and sometimes less is better than more—they have to work harder to get the amount they want. Make sure the bait doesn’t come apart into smaller pieces. A mouse is happy to take a little and run.

3: If At First You Don’t Succeed . . . Try Something Else

Mice like human food because in many ways they’re like us. This includes their ability to develop individual tastes. Even if everybody else in the world has success with peanut butter or hot dog pieces, you may not. Keep trying things until you find one that works.

And if something works well at first, but stops working, it’s always possible you caught the mice that liked that food, and the other mice either don’t like it or have learned it’s associated with traps. Try something else again.

When Traps Don’t Work

Traps work well if you just have one or two mice, but aren’t good for eliminating large-scale infestations. They’re also not good for controlling a mouse population that is constantly being renewed from outside.

If mouse traps don’t take care of your problem, or if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, mess, and disgust associated with mouse traps, you need to call a pest control specialist.

At Animal and Pest Control Specialist, Inc, we know how to handle all manner of domestic pests, from the smallest mice to the largest raccoons. For help with your pest problem in the extended Denver area, from Evergreen to Boulder to Castle Rock, please contact us today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Most of the time, snakes are not a major concern. Nonvenomous snakes are beneficial because they eat rodents and other pests in the environment, so if you know a snake is not venomous and you can live with it, let it stay around.

However, if you cannot live with a snake, you should contact a professional animal control specialist. We can come out and remove the snake safely. Otherwise, you might try to remove the snake yourself with a snake trap. The effectiveness of these traps is hard to judge. Some people have good results with them, others not.

The next question to ask is whether you have a yard or environment that attracts pest animal species like snakes. If you have a lot of debris in the yard, or places that can look like attractive dens to snakes, it may be time to make your yard a less attractive environment for snakes by filling up areas where snakes are denning (but make sure the snakes are not inside first).

Another important question to ask is whether snakes are being attracted to your property by the presence of other pest species such as rats, mice, or gophers. In many cases, removing these other pests will cause the snakes to go away on their own.

If you need help with snakes or other pests in Denver, Evergreen, Parker, Castle Rock, or Boulder, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialists today.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The first question you should ask is, “Are they really squirrels?” If they are squirrels, you might attempt to remove them yourself. If they are trapped and cannot get out of the chimney, you can let them out by lowering down a rope or a bunch of old clothes or towels tied together so that the squirrel can climb out. When the squirrel is out, put a cap on the chimney.

If you have a squirrel in the fireplace, you can get it to run out on its own by closing all doors to the rest of the house, darkening all windows, and making the only light that which comes from the open door you want the squirrel to use to exit. Then open the screen or door to the fireplace. In the darkness, the squirrel will see the light as the way to escape and run for it.

However, you may not always want to remove squirrels yourself. If you have brickwork that a squirrel can use to climb in and out of the chimney, it may have been living there for some time. It may have a mate and babies. They may also have left a great deal of waste behind. You want to make sure that everything is removed before you resume using your fireplace.

A professional can remove squirrels, make sure more will not get in, and make sure your fireplace is ready for use.

For professional help with a squirrel or other animal pest in Denver, Evergreen, Boulder, Castle Rock, or Parker, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialists.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

There are home remedies available for practically any problem, but they are often not very effective. If you truly want to get rid of gophers, it’s best to talk to pest control professionals. However, if you want to try it on your own, you can try some of these methods.


Exclusion is the most effective type of gopher home remedy. However, it is time consuming and either challenging or expensive. To exclude gophers from your yard, put in underground barriers that go down straight for several inches and then curve it outward. Gophers will encounter this and stop digging.


Poison can also be effective method of gopher control, but there is also significant risk of poisoning family or pets. There are many different poisons available for use in controlling gopher problems. They include chemical poisons like strychnine and physical poisons like gum that clog up their intestines.

Flooding or Gassing

Flooding or gassing gopher burrows may be effective if you get lucky. Most often, though, the gophers are just elsewhere in their large, complex burrow system.

If you want effective gopher control, you want a professional. For a consultation, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialists, helping people with pest problems across the Front Range.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


If you suspect you have a skunk moved in under your house, the best strategy for removing them is to contact professionals. Skunks are not only a potential ongoing or recurring nuisance, they are governed by special laws. Dealing with skunks ineffectively can be ineffective, get you sprayed, get you or others bitten, or even lead to legal trouble.

However, if you want to get rid of them yourself, here are a few tips to try. First, make an attractive place unattractive, by changing what it was that drew them to the space under your house in the first place. Install lights and a radio or other noisemaker. Get rid of food sources.

If this doesn’t work, you can move on to repellants. Some people report that commercial dog and cat repellants work. Others recommend a pepper solution, created by boiling onions, jalapeños, and cayenne pepper in a pot, boiling for 30 minutes, then straining. You can spray this repellant around the burrow, but don’t spray it too deep into the burrow, or you may get a response. Ammonia soaked rags are also commonly used.

If this isn’t working and you want to try to trap the skunk, the best baits are smelly foods like tuna or other canned fish or canned cat food. However, in Colorado, it’s important to remember that it’s illegal to relocate a skunk. You need to be properly licensed to handle skunks in order to be able to handle them.

Once skunks are out, it’s important that the house is improved to keep them out. Skunks are able to squeeze into small places and are excellent diggers, so it’s important to make sure your repairs are adequate. A professional can recommend the right repairs for your home.

If you have a skunk problem and you want help getting rid of it for good, please contact Animal and Pest Control Services today for an appointment.

Friday, September 28, 2012

As the weather begins to cool, mice will naturally want to move into your house seeking shelter. They will also find excellent sources of food, and a comfortable place to breed. Just a few mice in September can turn into more than 50 by spring—and not all of them will leave with the cold.

To prevent this mouse invasion, you have to take careful steps to keep mice out. First, make sure air vents, such as cold air intakes, have secure grates on them to prevent the entry of mice.

Next, check for doors that never quite close, such as a garage door, broken basement window, or others.

Finally, go around sealing any miscellaneous cracks in the walls that you find. Remember, mice can squeeze through spaces as narrow as a ¼ of an inch.

If you want help identifying trouble spots, the experts at Animal Pest Control Services can advise you about the best defensive plan to keep them out this fall.

And if you want to get rid of mice, in Denver and the Metro area please contact APCS today for a consultation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Bed bug populations have been rising in recent years, and more people are finding themselves attacked by these pests that have long pursued us. Because bed bugs are most closely related to bat parasites, it is believed that early humans picked up bed bugs when they were dwelling in caves, and they have been with us ever since. But your family doesn’t have to live with bed bugs if you follow these simple tips compiled by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

  1. Verify that you have bed bugs, not other biting insects like fleas or ticks.
  2. Remain calm. Some extreme actions like throwing out bedding might seem prudent, but it won’t get rid of bed bugs and might spread them.
  3. Over-the-counter pesticides are rarely effective. You can often get rid of bed bugs without pesticides, and if you do need to spray for them, professional help will be more effective.
  4. Get rid of clutter to reduce hiding places.
  5. Effectively encase your mattress and box spring.
  6. Wash your linens and heat-dry them frequently.
  7. At-home freezing or heating is not effective and may be dangerous.
  8. Don’t give away furniture or clothes that may transport bed bugs.
  9. Vacuum daily to reduce population and bites.
  10. Seek professional help.

Once you’ve done all you can to reduce the bed bug population and you are still being bitten, it’s time to get professional help for quick and effective bed bug elimination.

As Animal Pest Control Specialists, we are able to help you with many types of pest problems including bed bugs.

For help with bed bugs, please contact APCS today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Earwigs look remarkably like cockroaches—the same flat body plan, the same color, and similar head shape—and for many people, they’re almost as bad when they’re indoors. And they can be damaging in the garden when they eat the shoots and buds of your crops. Fortunately, there are some relatively simple ways to dramatically reduce or even eliminate them from your garden.

Earwigs like damp, close places to spend their days, so you can often catch many of them with a damp rolled up paper towel or box that will draw them in. You can then just pick up the box and throw the creatures out.

Diatomaceous earth can also be used as an effective earwig barrier in the garden.

Sealing up cracks and making sure all windows have screens can keep earwigs out.

You can also use the paper towel trick indoors. Boric acid also works well to control earwigs indoors. And narrow pans with vegetable oil create effective traps for earwigs.

Not sure how to control your animal pest? The pest-control experts at Animal Pest Control Services can help. Please contact us today for more information.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Are you tired of always stepping onto your patio only to find it’s already occupied by some vagrant critter. The awkward moment of mutual startling, staring and gauging one another’s reactions until one or both of you retreat.

And worse is the damage these creatures leave behind. Torn upholstery, feces, stashed food, and sometimes young can all be hard to deal with.

To prevent these awkward  scenes and unwanted burdens, you need to keep these creatures off your porch, and here are some tips how.

Effective barriers can be hard: For most suburban pests, it can be hard to create an effective barrier. Mice can fit through the tiniest of openings, rats can gnaw through practically anything, and squirrels and raccoons are excellent climbers.

Repellents rarely work: Chemical repellents, noise repellents, and even motion-sensing squirters do little to deter creatures from entering your garden and your porch.

Remove what they’re after: Animals are coming to your porch for a reason. Find out what that reason is and eliminate it or remove it. Once this is done, you’ll notice a dramatic decline in the presence of animals on your porch. If you can’t remove their goal, set up an alternative that will draw them away.

If this fails, your persistent critter may only be stopped by relocation. To talk to a pest control expert about relocating a pest in the Denver area from Castle Rock to Boulder, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialists today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When you planted your garden, you started looking forward to all the peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash you were going to harvest. Now, though, it seems like your garden is under siege. Something is eating everything in sight and if you don’t do something you won’t have anything to show for your efforts.

Don’t worry, though, we can take care of the animals eating your garden up. Most pests that eat plants in the Denver area and across the Front Range have characteristic patterns that can be used to identify them.

Plants cut off at the roots may be a sign of voles. Look for their burrows in your yard, with entrances about 1-1½ inches in diameter. Gophers may also clip off plants at the roots, but they may also pull plants down. Gopher burrows are larger than that of voles and have a characteristic “C” shape.

Skunks may dig in the garden and may eat fruit and foliage. You will likely notice the smell after a skunk visits your yard.

Rabbits will likely feed only on the foliage of plants. They move nervously through the garden, more likely to damage many plants than destroying a few completely. Look for neatly clipped leaves and stems.

If you have a garden pest you want removed in Denver, Castle Rock, Boulder, Evergreen, or Parker, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Did you suddenly notice you have a wasp problem? Did your recent barbecue get disrupted? Do you see them every time you go outside now? Are they beginning to swarm kids with popsicles and ice cream? Don’t wait until someone gets stung—now is the time for wasp removal.

Wasps in Denver and other places along the Front Range typically overwinter as solitary fertile queens that emerge in spring to begin building their nests. These nests begin small, with just the queen, but over time they grow. Once the queen has a few workers, she dedicates herself to laying, and the nest can grow even faster. As the nest grows, foragers become more visible and sometimes more aggressive as they attempt to scavenge meat and sweets from people.

The nest hasn’t reached its maximum size. Typically, wasp nests will keep growing until late August or early September. By that time, the nests may contain up to 5000 individuals! Until that time, the numbers of wasps will continue to grow, and they may get more aggressive and dangerous.

Don’t let the wasps keep increasing the size of their colony under your eaves. For wasp removal in Denver, Parker, Castle Rock, Boulder, or Evergreen please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today.

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