What You Should Know about Subterranean Termites in Louisiana

Dugas Pest Control provides termite treatment and extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana Subterranean termites are the most destructive pests in our country, and they cost homeowners and businesses billions of dollars each year. They are found in all states except for Alaska, and they are most common in the southern states. Louisiana is one of the top states for termites because of our warm, subtropical climate. Even though termites are known as pests to humans, they hold an important part in our ecosystem.

Termites are not pests by definition, as they break down cellulose into usable nutrients. The nutrients, otherwise known as biomass, are then recycled into the soil as humus. The problem is that when subterranean termites get into the home, they can attack the internal wooden structure. From sheds to warehouses to the frames of homes, termites can quickly eat away, causing severe, long-term damage.

It’s important for homeowners to know the signs of a termite infestation since these pests can live in the walls or baseboards of the home without anyone knowing until it’s too late. By understanding the appearance, life cycle and signs of an infestation, you can identify a problem earlier and minimize risk to your home.

What is a Subterranean Termite Colony Like?

Subterranean termites are social creatures that live in colonies underground. The colonies contain millions of termites, but they have a very specific working order. The social order includes reproductives, workers and soldiers. The reproductives are designed to reproduce and expand the colony, and they can be either winged or wingless.

The workers make up the bulk of the colony, and they are the ones that do all of the labor, as in chewing through the wood. The soldiers are the ones that defend the colony. They most commonly attack against ants and other termites, and although the soldiers are fierce, they rely on the workers to feed them.

How Can I Identify a Subterranean Termite?

Since you want to protect your Louisiana home to the greatest extent, it’s important to know what a subterranean termite looks like. There are various stages that these pests go through, including the following:

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Wingless Workers
  • Nymph
  • Soldiers
  • Adult Swarmers

The reproductives can be either winged or wingless, and the colors vary from dark black to pale brown. If they do have the wings, the wings are a smoky gray or brown color. There is even a social order within the reproductives, as some females lay eggs while others serve as a backup for the queen in case she is injured or dies. These termites have a creamy white color instead and are considered secondary reproductives. The workers are white or cream-colored and wingless. Soldiers have a similar look, with the exception being that they have brown heads with strong jaws.

Subterranean termites are approximately ¼” to 3/8” long and live in colonies. So, chances are likely that you’ll identify signs of an infestation rather than seeing a termite crawling around the home. These pests don’t wander from their colonies like that, unless they are swarming.

Signs of an Infestation in Your Louisiana Home

Hollow sounding wood – Termites don’t feed on the surface of the wood; instead, they feed on the inside of it. If the wood in your home sounds hollow, it could be because termites are eating away at the inside.

Mud tubes on exterior walls – Subterranean termites in Louisiana build mud tubes on surfaces in order to bring the colony moisture while searching for food. Mud tubes are always a sign of termite activity.

Swarmers – These reproductives can look a bit like flying ants, and they come out in the spring to mate. Swarmers can be found on windowsills or flying around the home, and they indicate that a colony lives nearby.

Wings – Finding discarded wings is another sign of a termite infestation. Look for wings in cobwebs, windowsills or other entry points.

Louisiana’s great climate has many advantages, but it also makes it prone to more pests such as our subterranean termite friends. Although termite damage can be difficult to suspect, being proactive is key. If you notice any signs of a possible infestation or start to see damage to wood, contact a professional exterminator immediately.

Why do Formosan Termites Swarm?

Formosan Termites When you think of the word “swarm,” the image of a group of insects flying together may come to mind. Yet when it comes to swarms in the termite world, the word means something very different.

What is a Termite Swarm?

A Formosan termite swarm is not aggressive or tightly grouped together. Instead, a swarm occurs when the environment triggers a large number of winged termites to leave the colony. What these swarmers do is mate and find new places to look for food. When a female becomes impregnated, she burrows into the ground with her mate, laying eggs and starting a new colony.

Since swarmers have two things on their mind – reproducing and survival – you can expect that these pests know exactly what they’re doing. You can just imagine how many Formosan termite colonies would burrow into the ground and start eating away at wood if they all survived, but Mother Nature plays her role here. Many swarmers are eaten by predators like birds and bats. Others die from natural causes before they’re able to find a mate. Only the strong survive.

Still, there is a good number of swarmers that live on and are able to find a mate and a place to start a new colony. These Formosan termite colonies don’t just emerge overnight, however. In favorable conditions, it can take 4 years for a new colony to produce swarmers. If the conditions are not favorable, it will take longer. It’s true that to humans, Formosan termites are certainly nuisances and damaging pests, but they are actually quite delicate in the chain of life.

What Triggers a Termite Swarm?

In many cases, it’s something in the environment that triggers a large number of termites to leave the nest. Swarmers are most common in the spring months, following suit with the natural swarm cycles. However, there are other factors that can trigger a swarm beyond the traditional cycles. Surprisingly, one of these factors can be a pesticide that is being used on the home.

If a Formosan termite colony has a lack of food or water, a swarm may be triggered. These circumstances can be brought on by using certain types of pesticides, so in order for the termites to survive, the termites will leave the nest. When Formosan termites are stressed, either in the soil or inside wood, they will leave their colony and seek food and water somewhere else. These termites depend on moisture, so they can’t go long without some type of water.

Where do Swarms Occur?

Swarms are very common in Louisiana, primarily in the spring and fall. Formosan swarmers prefer to fly in the warm evenings of the spring and summer, and they especially enjoy the climate after a light rain. Swarmers are attracted to lights, so it’s not uncommon to see Formosan termites flying around the lights of Baton Rouge in the evenings. Flying times for these termites is sundown to midnight, whereas other species of termite swarmers prefer the daylight hours. No matter where you are – home, work or out shopping – swarmers flying around is a sign that a termite colony is nearby.

What Should I do to Protect my Louisiana Home?

The best step is prevention. Turn off lights around the home or business at night in order to avoid attracting Formosan swarmers to your area. Make sure that windows and doors are screened and sealed, and look for other cracks or gaps around the home’s exterior. Formosan swarmers are very small, so they look for open areas to get underneath the home to start a new colony.

If you notice swarmers around your home, call a professional exterminator. There may be a colony nearby, but that doesn’t mean your home is infested. Still, it’s important to be proactive, and if the exterminator does think you have a problem, a product like Sentricon can be offered for control and elimination of Formosan termites.

The Difference between Formosan and Subterranean Termites

Dugas Pest Control provides termite treatment and extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana To the average homeowner, termites might seem like they are all the same. They’re small, stubborn pests that chew through wood and cause internal damage to structures. Yet for pest control companies, termites are not all the same, and knowing which ones we’re dealing with is helpful in controlling and eradicating the infestation. The two types of termites that are commonly confused with each other are the formosan termites and the subterranean termites.

What are Formosan Termites?

Formosan termites (Coptotermes Formosanus) prefer warm climates and are heavily abundant in the southern states, Louisiana included. This termite is also known as an introduced subterranean termite, first introduced from East Asia. Although these resourceful pests have made their home in the southern part of the U.S., they have been seen as far north as the Canadian border. This leads researchers to believe that formosan termites will eventually become mainstream across the country.

Formosan termites build nests in the soil and use mud tubes to bring moisture to their colonies. These termites eat wood and other cellulose materials, and they have successful working orders that include reproductives, workers and soldiers. Formosan termites are fierce and will defend their territories. They can also do damage in a short amount of time, as the queen can lay 1,000 eggs in one day.

What are Subterranean Termites?

Subterranean termites (Reticulitermes) have a very successful working order as well, with reproductives, workers and soldiers. They rely heavily on this working order, especially during the springtime when they send out swarmers to reproduce. The queen can lay thousands of eggs in a day, and these eggs hatch into destructive termites that can collapse an entire building within a short amount of time.

Like other types of termites, subterranean termites live in colonies underground and spend their days searching for food. Their colonies consist of two million members. A subterranean termite diet consists of wood and cellulose material, and the termites get their moisture from building mud tubes.

What is the Difference between Formosan and Subterranean Termites?

One difference between the two is that formosan termites are more localized to the southern states while subterranean termites are found throughout the U.S. In fact, subterranean termites are found in every state but Alaska. They do prefer the warmer climates as the formosan termites do, but they are more widespread across the U.S. than the formosan species.

A second difference between the two termites lies in their physical appearance. Formosan termites have a longer body and a shorter head with two short pinchers. The subterranean termites have long heads and bodies with long pinchers. Formosan termites have a translucent orange color while the subterranean species has a translucent gray/brown color. Both have long wings and look like flying ants in their swarmer form, which is when they go out looking for mates to reproduce their colonies.

However, the main disparity between formosan and subterranean termites is that formosan termites build cartons that bring moisture to their nests. This ability allows them to build nests without having to return to the soil for moisture like subterranean termites. This small but handy ability allows formosan termites to be especially efficient in their working order since they can bring moisture to their nests without having to take the additional step of returning to the soil.

Identifying formosan and subterranean termites is something that most homeowners won’t be able to do because both termites build tunnels in the soil, unlike drywood termites that live within the wood. All termites eat the same thing – wood – so your home’s structure, bookcases, shelving and furniture are all at risk for being eaten. If you happen to see winged termites flying around the doors and windows, chances are high that you have an infestation nearby. Contact a professional exterminator like Dugas Pest Control for immediate identification and eradication. Both formosan and subterranean termites are stubborn pests, but they won’t stand a chance against our team.

Getting a Handle on Fleas and Ticks

The spring and summer months are upon us, which means so is flea and tick season. For Baton Rouge residents, fleas and ticks never really go away because the winters are mild and the pests can still thrive. Still, spring and summer are when these pests are at their highest numbers, so you’ll need to work hard to keep your home and pets free of these nuisances. Fleas and ticks are persistent, but with the help of a professional exterminator and simple steps you can take at home, you can keep these blood suckers at bay.

Why Fleas and Ticks are Stubborn Pests 

Fleas have a complicated life cycle and can survive in the outdoors in temperatures as low as 30 degrees. As long as the flea finds a suitable host to feed off of, it will stay warm and healthy through the winter season. This host can be a wild animal or your beloved pet. When springtime rolls around and the temperatures climb into the 60s, the growth and reproduction of fleas is at an all time high. Interestingly, flea pupae can remain dormant for up to one year waiting for the temperatures to be ideal.

When the temperatures are warm, the pupae will emerge from their cocoons, resulting in a mass of fleas. They then swarm around the first host they find, which may be your pet. Since fleas can survive the Baton Rouge winter, they do linger in the area over the colder months and become more aggressive in the spring and summer. Only low humidity and temperatures lower than 30 degrees will impact their life cycle. This is what makes fleas stubborn pests.

Ticks are also able to survive cool winter temperatures, providing that they find a host to feed off of. They aren’t quite as hearty as fleas since they can be killed off when temperature reach 45 degrees. However, it’s still important to protect pets during the winter months because ticks will thrive under the right conditions.

Dealing with Fleas and Ticks around the Home 

While you can’t eradicate fleas and ticks completely, there are steps you can take to minimize the problem:

  • Practice year-round flea and tick control by using a veterinarian-recommended product for every pet in your household. Even indoor pets are at risk.
  • Remove brush debris from around the home. This prevent animals from building nests and bringing around ticks and fleas they may be carrying.
  • Avoid having old upholstered furniture outside your home where your pets like to lie. These are prime places where fleas build nests.
  • Keep your home well sealed. Place screens over attics and ensure that all screens over doors and windows are free of rips, tears or holes.
  • Plant rosemary, sage and garlic plants around the home to make the area smell good but keep fleas and ticks at bay.
  • Keep the home clean by vacuuming and dusting regularly.
  • Contact a professional exterminator like Dugas Pest Control to learn about the severity of your tick or flea problem.

Disease Carriers for Humans and Pets 

Fleas and ticks are not just nuisances; they also spread disease and can infect animals with parasites. Some of the most common things they leave behind include tapeworm, dermatitis and allergies. Ticks are also known for spreading Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Pet owners often catch wind that their pet may be dealing with fleas or ticks when they started scratching, licking and chewing incessantly. Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors are at most risk, but even indoor pets need year-round protection.

Fleas and ticks must have a host to stay alive, but they also live much of their life cycle in the environment. This is perhaps what gives them added resilience; people think that if they can’t see them, they must be gone. However, they do a good job of lingering in the environment and then feeding off their hosts, which can be anything from a mouse to a human.

Types of Termites in Baton Rouge

There are four types of termites that live in Baton Rouge:

  • Dampwood
  • Drywood
  • Formosan
  • Subterranean termites

Some termites are native to the state of Louisiana and have been here for as long as we can remember, while others were introduced into the state over time. Termites are often referred to as “silent killers” because they live quietly within homes and other structures, eating away at wood. It’s often not until the damage has been done that homeowners realize that they have a termite problem.

Let’s discuss the four types of termites and what you should know about each one.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are generally found in damp and decaying wood that lies on the ground. These termites do not build tubes in the mud, but they do eat across the grain in the wood as other termites do. Dampwood termites are larger than other species and their colonies are initiated by a pair of winged swarmers that lay eggs in the wood.

Depending on the surroundings, dampwood termites can have small or large colonies, although they generally stay on the small side. Preventing sources of moisture is the most effective way to avoid dampwood termites, such as by fixing plumbing leaks and not leaving pieces of wet wood near your home.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites do not require moist soil to survive; they instead thrive off sources of food, such as dead trees, hardwood floors, structural timbers and furniture. In fact, these termites will feast off all types of dry wood in the home, such as bookshelves and rocking chairs. Their colonies are rather small, and they rely on immature termites to carry out the workload.

It’s easy to overlook a drywood termite infestation in Baton Rouge because their colonies can be so small. In order to avoid an infestation, it’s important to use treated wood, reduce the amount of wood lying around the home and keeping the home well sealed with no gaps or holes.

Formosan Termites

Formosan termites are relatively new in termite the world, but they are the ones causing some of the most extensive damage. The species originated in East Asia, where they were a threat to many large forests. That same threat extends to the U.S., primarily the southern states such as Louisiana. Formosan termites eat wood just as other termite species do, but they also build tunnels in the mud.

This species is sometimes referred to as “super termites” because of their ability to do major damage in a short amount of time. In fact, a healthy colony can eat up to one pound of wood in one day! Preventative measures include using treated wood and sealing wooden structures.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites live underground or in moist areas above ground. Their colonies are large and invasive and include up to 2 million members. These termites build mud tunnels to help protect them from open air. Subterranean termites have a very efficient work order that includes workers, soldiers and reproductives, which allow them to be very destructive in what they do. What makes them a major threat to Baton Rouge homeowners is that they enter the structure of the home from underground and begin biting through the wood.

All Termites are a Threat

No termite problem should be underestimated. Termites have highly organized work orders that enable them to do the damage they do. Louisiana is home to all four types of termites because of the moist climate and abundance of trees, so homeowners should be aware of the various signs of a termite infestation lurking within the home.

It’s estimated that termite infestations cost the U.S. approximately $3 billion each year, and there are a variety of methods for eradicating termites once they are found. However, all four types of termites in Baton Rouge can be prevented by keeping wood off the ground and away from the home, using treated wood for structures and repairing all sources of leaks that can create moisture problems in the home.

What is Sentricon and How Does it Work?

The Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System was introduced in 1995 as the first smart alternative to traditional liquid barriers. This baiting system has been proven to be effective at reducing and eliminating termite numbers and colonies, and it takes the unique biology and behavior of termites into consideration. Sentricon specifically looks at termite tunnels and cellulose food sources.

Understanding Termite Behavior

Termites build tunnels that are up to 350 feet long, and they work for food continuously. They are a well-organized team that consists of workers, soldiers and the queen. When a source of food has been identified, termites will leave behind a scent so that other termites in their colony can follow after. The worker termites chew and digest the cellulose food sources and then share them with the colony.

While termites may sound to be nothing more than food scavengers, we know that they feast on wood and can cause severe structural damage over time. That is why it’s essential that bait systems are fast, effective and efficient at eradicating termite colonies. This is where Sentricon comes into play.

A Closer Look at Sentricon 

The Sentricon bait system is based on the behavior of termites, and it works by getting the termites to ingest the bait when crawling through their long, underground tunnels.

Bait systems are placed around the perimeter of a home by a professional pest control company. They are typically arranged 10 to 20 feet apart, and when the termites come into contact with the bait station, they eat the cellulose material and inadvertently ingest an insect growth inhibitor. The termites go on to share this “food” with their colony members that also ingest the bait. As the growth inhibitor takes over and prevents the termites from being able to molt, they die off.

Sentricon is not only beneficial for immediate treatment but also for long-term pest prevention. When the bait stations are placed around the home, they continue to work by distributing bait to termites to kill off the workers, soldiers and queen. That means that termites will never reach your home, preventing structural damage and preserving your peace of mind. Bait stations do need to be re-baited over time, but your pest control company will offer a warranty that makes these visits to your home low cost.

Is Sentricon Effective?

Sentricon has been proven to work, and it has many benefits to traditional liquid barriers. It is the most environmentally responsible form of termite treatment because there are no chemicals involved. Also, no drilling needs to be done as with liquid barriers that need to be injected into the foundation. The bait systems are only used where there are termite colonies detected, and the cost of Sentricon, at least initially, is less expensive than other options.

There are some things to think about with Sentricon that may affect your end decision. While Sentricon is effective, it does have its drawbacks. Because the bait stations are placed in the ground, they often disrupt the termite tunnels, and then the termite workers and soldiers choose to build new tunnels. Also, weather conditions like rain and snow can cause the stations to be disrupted. The goal is to go undetected by the termites, and Sentricon sometimes lacks in this department.

Also, Sentricon does require regular maintenance. A certified professional from Dugas Pest Control will come out to the home at regular intervals to re-bait the stations. You’ll want to consider these costs in addition to the initial cost of the system. The good news is that the Sentricon system is affordable and will most likely fit into your budget better than a traditional liquid system.

The best part about Sentricon is that it is environmentally friendly. Providing long-term protection, you don’t have to worry about chemicals or pesticides making their way into your home. And, there is nothing better than knowing that your home is termite free and your family and pets are not exposed to chemicals.

Liquid vs. Bait Termite Treatment

termite exterminator Homeowners in Baton Rouge fear termites because they have the ability to cause structural damage in the home. In many cases, the damage has already been started by the time that termites are discovered.

Since these pests are highly destructive, it’s important that the pest control methods used are both fast and effective.

There are two types of termite protection systems that we recommend: traditional liquid barriers and baiting systems. At Dugas Pest Control, we offer both types of protection options, better known as Termidor (liquid) and Sentricon (bait). Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each and which type of termite control will be best for your home if you are faced with a Baton Rouge termite infestation.

What is Liquid Barrier Protection Systems?

Termidor is a non-repellent liquid that cannot be detected by termites. The liquid is injected into the soil around the home so that it creates a barrier that keeps termites out. When the termites crawl through the soil, they come into contact with the liquid bait and then unknowingly bring it back to their colony. Through activities like grooming and eating, the insecticide is shared with the colony and begins building up in the gut of the termites, causing them to perish in little time.

Termidor is very effective, and because the insecticide is spread throughout the entire colony, it kills off the termites in six to eight weeks. This unique ‘Transfer Effect’ is what Termidor prides itself on, as other forms of termite control are more easily noticed by these pests and won’t be transferred to the colony. Other benefits to this type of barrier system are that it lasts up to 10 years and has cost-effective warranty renewals.

What are Bait Systems?

The second option that Baton Rouge homeowners have is Sentricon, which consists of termite bait stations. These stations are placed in the soil several feet apart from each other. They surround the home, and when termites crawl through the system, they come into contact with the slow-acting bait. Sentricon is not as effective as Termidor, but it will decrease termite numbers and possibly even eradicate the colony as a whole.

There are other advantages you will want to consider with this baiting system. Sentricon does not involve drilling around the home, and the bait systems are the most environmentally friendly option. For those concerned about the chemicals used in liquid bait, baiting systems may be the best option. However, there are drawbacks to consider with this type of system.

First, bait systems are much slower to act and can take six to eight months to take control of the problem. In the meantime, termites can be feasting on your home and causing a great deal of headache. Also, it’s easy for the bait stations to be disrupted due to weather changes, lawn maintenance and other outdoor activity. And, whenever these systems are moved, termites often detect this and will avoid the tunnel. They end up dodging the bait and building new tunnels, something that a liquid treatment would prevent.

Homeowners must also keep in mind that bait systems do cost a bit more in the long-run. They are less expensive initially, but there is more maintenance needed to keep the bait systems working properly.

Which Termite Defense Product is Most Recommended?

Since there are benefits to both liquid barrier and bait systems, Dugas Pest Control is pleased to offer both forms of termite treatment because each treatment system may be the best solution for any particular termite situation.  Our job as termite control specialists is to inspect your property, understand your concerns, and make a recommendation for eliminating the termite problem in a manner which makes each home or business owner comfortable with the solution.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Spring season is coming, and the termites will be soon be out in force here in Baton Rouge.  Subterranean termites become active as the weather gets warmer in March, April and May.  Then the Formosan termites will begin to swarm as we get into May, June and July.

Don’t wait until you start to see signs of damage to your home, contact us today for a free termite inspection and protect your home before the damage occurs.

A Closer Look at Armadillos in Baton Rouge

People often think of armadillos living primarily in places like South and Central America, but they are not completely exempt from residing in the states, particularly in Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina and Florida. The species that is found in our local Baton Rouge area is the nine-banded armadillo, and this particular species has traveled northward in recent years because of the lack of natural predators. In fact, the nine-banded armadillos are the only species found in the U.S. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for pest control companies to receive phone calls from local residents regarding Baton Rouge armadillos in or around their home.

What do Armadillos Look Like?

Armadillos are known for their hard, protective shells. There are approximately 30 species of armadillos, and they are characterized by the number of bands on their shells. On average, they are 30 inches in length; although the giant armadillo grows up to be 59 inches and 130 pounds. The smallest species, called the pink fairy armadillo, is only 5 inches in length. Armadillos may have short legs, but they do travel quickly. They have poor eyesight, which is why they use their other senses to hunt for food. Their sharp claws are perhaps their greatest asset.

What Types of Habitats do Armadillos Live In?

In the wild, armadillos prefer shady, forestry areas that are located next to rivers and lakes. Armadillos get their food from digging in the soil, so they also prefer areas that have loose, wet soil. They dig burrows to reside in and hide from predators, but sometimes, these animals make their homes in residential areas. They’ll burrow under homes, sheds, porches, decks, driveways, woodpiles and crawlspaces. They look for cracks in the foundation and use these as entry points to burrow underneath the structure. Since armadillos are great diggers with their claws, they make use out of small openings that may go unnoticed by humans.

Are Armadillos Dangerous to Humans and Pets?  

If you do have an armadillo that makes its way into your home, it’s important that you treat the problem. These nuisance pests do have sharp claws and will use them against dogs and cats if they feel threatened. They are also known carriers of the bacteria which causes leprosy. In Louisiana, 53 percent of armadillos tested positive for leprosy, which causes skin lesions, muscle weakness and nerve damage in the animals. Armadillos also carry rabies and are hosts for tapeworms and salmonella.

How Can Dugas Pest Control Help with Armadillo Problems?

While you may be tempted to capture the armadillo on your own, this is not advised. These animals do carry disease and have sharp claws that they will use if they feel threatened. Therefore, it’s best to leave this job up to the professionals.

Dugas Pest Control is trained in the proper methods for safely and humanely trapping and releasing armadillos. Using wildlife exclusion as the humane way of getting rid of these types of pests, we also go to extreme lengths to make sure that no other pests will be getting into your home in the future. We seal up all entry points and also have products that can be used to deter pests from coming onto your property.

Dugas Pest Control uses a variety of techniques to care for an armadillo problem in Baton Rouge, including live traps. We will relocate the animal as far away from your home as possible, while ensuring that they do not come back. And, if you’re unsure that it’s really an armadillo in the first place, let us come out and identify the animal for you. Sometimes, our clients think that it’s one type of pest invading their home, when really, it may be something else.

Remember, armadillos have unique personalities and carry disease, so you should always work with a professional to rid your home of these creatures to protect yourself and your family.

Opossum Removal in Baton Rouge

Dugas Pest Control provides humane wildlife trapping service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana If something has been getting into your garbage, eating your pet’s food and creating strange, scratching noises in the attic, it may not be squirrels or raccoons that are invading your property. It may be opossums coming into your Baton Rouge home.

Opossums are especially skilled at identifying entry points that allow them to get into home to seek food and shelter. Although they prefer living by streams and swamps in the wild, burrowing in brush piles and tree cavities, they can fare quite well in the average south Louisiana home. Besides getting into the attic, opossums also live underneath sheds and decks, and they eat just about everything, from garbage to fruits to grains to pet food.

How to Identify an Opossum

Many people don’t know that there are more than 100 species of opossums, and that they are related to kangaroos! They are white or gray in color and feature a rat-like tail that lacks fur. Although these nuisance pests vary in size, they are generally the size of a household cat, with an average of 6 to 7 pounds for the males and 4 to 5 pounds for the females.

Other notable characterizations include their naked, rounded ears and monkey-looking hands. They leave behind little tracks that feature a bent thumb. Since opossums have a varied diet and flexible stature, they are able to move into attics and underneath structures, living off food scraps and pet food.

Why are Opossums Considered Nuisance Pests?

Fortunately, opossums are not generally dangerous to humans. In fact, if you were to approach one, it would most likely pretend that it was dead. Nevertheless, these Louisiana pests are bothersome in the home, and like any wild animal can be dangerous if cornered. They create mess by going through garbage, eating up pet food and being plain messy. They have large, smelly droppings, and they will harass your pets. Once they get into the home, they can shred insulation and wiring in an effort to create a comfortable spot to sleep during the day.

Opossums have strong odors and are hosts to a variety of parasites and diseases. Interestingly, they rarely attack people and do not carry rabies. Most people notice that they have an opossum problem when they hear scratching and scooting at night, notice that pet food and trash is getting ripped through and when they smell the awful odor of the feces. Generally, opossums don’t burrow in the ground, but they will still live in already-dug burrows. They also climb very well – in trees, on telephone wires and vines – so it’s important to look both high and low.

Opossums Have Gotten into the Home. What’s Next?

If you’ve identified that it’s opossums making all the noise in your home, it’s time to call in the professionals at Dugas Pest Control. We practice wildlife exclusion, which is the humane way to trap and relocate an animal into their natural habitat. Our ultimate goal is to remove the pests from the home without killing them, while sealing up all points of entry. We look for loose vents, tears in screens and holes in the siding.

Once we patch up these points, you won’t have to worry about pest problems in Baton Rouge anymore. If pests do come onto your property, they won’t stay long, as there won’t be any source of food or shelter to pursue.

In addition to sealing up your home’s entry points, we also encourage our clients to be smart about food sources around the home. Since opossums will eat just about anything, you should always keep trash cans tightly shut, remove pet food at night and perhaps even reconsider bird feeders. Opossums are nocturnal, so they will often come out and look for food when humans are sleeping. It’s never a good idea to tackle pest control in Louisiana on your own, so be sure to consult Dugas Pest Control as your first step. We have the necessary tools and trapping methods to safely remove pests from the home while protecting the health and safety of your family.

What type of snakes live in Louisiana?

banded-water-snake Snakes may not be anyone’s favorite creature to spot in their yard, but they are fascinating reptiles and a part of Louisiana’s natural heritage. They are also important members of our local ecosystem as for every snake with a bad reputation, there are many others that help keep the balance of nature in order.

Nevertheless, many LA residents worry about snakes hiding in their backyards, underneath decks and patios or lingering in woodsy areas. Many snakes are poisonous and leave behind painful bites. That being said, the majority of snakes in LA are harmless and are actually beneficial to the ecosystem as they limit the amount of insects and rodents and contribute to the “balance of nature.”

Interesting Facts:

1. Did you know that smaller snakes feed more than large ones? That’s right; small snakes will feed as much as once per day while large ones only eat once every two weeks.

2. When snakes are not searching for food, they’re relatively quiet and secret, and during the summer when the weather is warm, snakes become nocturnal.

How to Tell Venomous from Non Venomous Snakes

Even though snakes are an important part of the Louisiana ecosystem, they don’t get a free ticket to your home, especially because there are some breeds that are highly venomous. An easy way to tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous one is by the head. Non-venomous snakes have narrow heads, round pupils and no pit between the eyes and nostrils. Venomous snakes have triangle-shaped heads, elliptical pupils and a pit between the eyes and nostrils. A pest control company can also do a quick evaluation of the tail to determine if the snake is venomous.

If you do find snakes by your home, remove their habitat if possible; look for piles of wood or overgrown vegetation for example. Also be sure to seal openings to the home, garage or shed so that the snakes don’t relocate in these areas.

So, what types of snakes are common in the state of Louisiana?

  • Banded Water Snake
  • Black Pine Snake
  • Brown Snake
  • Canebrake Rattlesnake
  • Coachwhip
  • Common Garter Snake
  • Common Water Snake
  • Cottonmouth
  • Eastern Worm Snake
  • Louisiana Pine Snake
  • Pine Woods Snake
  • Rough Green Snake
  • Scarlet Snake
  • Texas Coral Snake