Colder Weather Increases Risk of Uninvited Guests in Your Home
Whether it’s bats in the belfry or nuisance raccoons, Ned Bruha is a man of all seasons when it comes to evicting uninvited and destructive wildlife from homes and businesses throughout Oklahoma and surrounding states. Winter is an especially demanding time of year for the Vice President of The Skunk Whisperer®, Inc., which is featured on the reality television series that airs on Animal Planet.
“When it starts turning cold, animals want to move back into attics and under crawl spaces,” according to Bruha. “The biggest ‘move in’ of uninvited guests that we have this time of year is squirrels, raccoons and skunks. Mother Nature has been generous with the warm weather this year, so our second busiest season is just getting started.”
Bruha advocates using humane, no-trap, no-kill methods to resolve nuisance wildlife problems in his business. “Our philosophy is built around our belief that humane wildlife removal and property repair methods are not only the kindest solution to nuisance wildlife problems but also the most effective and cost efficient,” Bruha acknowledged. “When people have uninvited guests like squirrels, bats or raccoons in their attic, they need to understand it’s not a wildlife problem—it’s a house problem. And the hardware store is going to have the fix—not a trap.”
It was after Bruha had a run-in with gray squirrels that had chewed through the roof of a new house that he adopted his present approach to wildlife control. “Gray squirrels are one of the more demonic animals on the face of the earth,” Bruha recalled. “They are very, very persistent and can chew through anything. We were concentrating on trapping and relocating back then when we realized it didn’t matter how many squirrels we trapped, more would continue to come. That’s when I knew I needed to start repairing the houses and leave the animals alone.”
One quick fix that Bruha recommends to homeowners is to purchase a dryer vent cover to prevent birds, squirrels, rats and other “critters” from invading a house through the vent. “Most dryer vents have a round floppy door that opens and closes and people think that is enough to keep critters out, but they’re wrong,” Bruha explained. “A vent cover that costs around $9 at Westlake Ace Hardware store can prevent an incredible amount of damage and is so much cheaper than buying a new dryer.”
Painter’s tape and plastic are other everyday items found in the hardware store that are effective in combating a home invasion by bats. “Everybody seems terrified of bats,” Bruha noted. “One way we found to make our new bat removal clients feel safe is having them pick up the widest blue painter’s tape available along with clear plastic, which they can use to temporarily seal up the fireplace and heating and air conditioning closets. Then we can come in and seal up the entire exterior of the house with 100 percent silicone so the bats can’t come and go anymore. Then we just kick the bats out and make them move on.”
Given his increased workload during winter months, Bruha appreciated the $500 in Craftsman Tools he recently received as winner of the “Dear Santa” Facebook photo contest sponsored by Westlake Ace Hardware, where he buys most of his supplies. The tools will enable Bruha to outfit his 1975 Grumman Olson truck with shelving for storing tools and rolls of galvanized woven wire that is used to keep animals from digging under foundations.
“When you’re fixing up homes every day to critter-proof them, you need a rolling hardware store,” Bruha explained. “That’s exactly what our big trucks are—rolling hardware stores with everything we need.”