Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, April 15, 2000, Image 60

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    812-Lanc«ter Farming, Saturday, April 15, 2000
Rid Your Home Of Pesty Pests
Mercer Co. Correspondent
GROVE CITY (Mercer Co.) -
As the days grow longer and
grass begins to grow, many open
their doors and drapes to wel
come the freshness that comes
with spring. Along with the lilies
and daffodils come other signs
of recent life: A host of insects
and animal pests.
What are these pests? Where
do they come from? How do we
get them out of our homes?
Among the most common
summer pests, said Mercer
County extension agent Gary
Micsky, are the big and little
brown bats that often occupy
barns and attics. Usually hiber
nating in caves during winter,
the bats emerge in spring, seek
ing places to bear their young
One reason attics are so desir
able is the temperature gra
dients they offer to bats: air that
ranges from very warm to cool
and breezy is the most desirable
for the maternity colonies,
which roost in daylight hours
and exit at night to feed on in
With the ability to penetrate
openings as small as a nickel,
the bats have little trouble
moving in and out of many at
tics-especially in situations
where slate roofing, chimneys,
and siding have begun to come
loose. Once inside the attics, it is
fairly easy for bats to also end up
in the family living space. As a
result, Micsky said that in
summer months he receives on
average five calls per day from
people who want to get rid of
these “guests.”
Micsky tells callers tnat de
spite the myths that bats will
land in and stick to your hair,
the mammals will usually leave
the house within about ten min
utes if contained in a room with
an open window. Although they
have occasionally been known to
carry rabies, it is not too likely
that homeowners will contract
the disease from association
with bats. In fact, it is more
likely that homeowners will en
counter rabies through dogs and
other family pets.
An important thing to re
member, however, is that bats
eat a variety of undesirable in
sects like mosquitoes, cucumber
beetles, stinkbugs, and other ag
ricultural and garden pests.
Since a single bat will eat as
many as 500 insects per hour (or
3,000 per night), it is more bene
ficial for homeowners to relocate
the colonies than to exterminate.
Bat boxes can be built and
mounted on barns and houses,
and the relocation is best done
after June and July, when baby
bats reside in the attics. During
this time the pups are not yet
airborne. They would be trapped
and die in the attics if entry
points were sealed. Although
this would reduce the bat popu
lation, sealing the entry points in
June or July could result in odor
problem from decaying bats in
the attics.
Homeowners can obtain liter
ature and information on bat
proofing, exclusion, and
relocation from their local ex
tension agents, said Micsky.
They also have lists of exclusion
professionals for those who
don’t want to tackle the job
In addition to bat calls, some
of the more common pest calls to
Micsky are about hornets and
wasps, which also benefit man
by destroying harmful insect
pests. Both species build nests in
trees and shrubs as well as under
eaves, behind shutters, and on
and around porch areas-and
both can usually be controlled
Bi jpt - ned
hive that is lodged in this chimney. The hive, he decides, is
too heavy to lift from the chimney, but must be knocked
down and retrieved from the first floor fireplace.
Wildlife pest control operator Dan Lews and beekeeper
Dennis DeVito have successfully completed a bat and bee
removal job on the same house. The two men work in the
area surrounding Mercer County.
with store-bought dusts or aero
sol treatments.
Most literature recommends
spraying the nests after dark,
since by that time most of the
hornets and wasps have re
turned to the nest and are less
active than during the day.
Sometimes these species nest
in walls, which make them more
difficult to eliminate. In these
cases it is often necessary to
locate the nests by pounding on
the walls until a buzzing reply
sound is heard-then boring holes
in walls in order to spray with a
pesticide. It is also possible to
use dusts around the flight holes
of these hornet and wasp popu
lations as a way of extermina
tion. Often professional
exterminators are necessary to
eliminate insects nesting in
Other types of bees such as
bumble bees, carpenter bees, and
honeybees also set up house-/
keeping close to areas inhabited
by people. Bumble bees and car
penter bees can be dealt with in
much the same way as wasps
and hornets. However honey
bees often require the help of a
professional exterminator or bee
keeper to help remove the hive
and its contents. Since honey
bees provide valuable services in
their plant pollination and pro
duction of honey, often local
beekeepers are anxious to
remove and transport the bees
and hives. If not dealt with
properly, hives left in the wall
can attract more bees and other
insects as well as emit an odor as
they deteriorate. Honeybee hives
should not be left in walls or
For more information about
these and other pests, contact
your local Penn State extension
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Equipment, Inc.
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Equipment CO*
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CefesvHle Ford New Antietam Ford
Hoflend, Inc.. / , Tractor, Inc.
Rt. 26fast 2027 Leitersburg Pike
301-662*4107 , 800-553-6731
Qulsi# > MD l 301-791-1200
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mw Credit Complny
Norman D. Clark
& Son, Ino.
Honey Grove, PA
Uysville, PA
A.B.C. Groff, Inc.
110 South Railroad
pitman. pa ,
Pitthaij, PA
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