Santa Barbara’s Most Wanted: The Ground Squirrel Rodent Problem

Ground squirrels are invading Santa Barbara! Among the top three reasons our Santa Barbara pest control customers call us for pest control service, ground squirrels have been wreaking havoc across the county. These rodent pests are known for their voracious appetite for destruction and are currently on a very small, sometimes cute rampage in our communities.

All About The Common Ground Squirrel

Ground squirrels are a member of the squirrel family of rodents which are of course unique in that they live on or in the ground as opposed to some of their tree dwelling brothers and sisters.

Ground squirrels are often confused with their larger cousins known as marmots or prairie dogs or their smaller cousins the chipmunk. Not unlike their prairie dog pals, they are well known for their tendency to rise up on their hind legs whenever sensing danger or when needing to see over brush and tall grass.

An omnivorous rodent, ground squirrels will eat whatever comes their way whether it be nuts, seeds, fruits or fungus but also occasionally insects, eggs and even small animals when given the opportunity!

A highly social species, ground squirrels typically live in large groups.

Damage Caused

Damage, of course, varies from infestation to infestation but ground squirrels are known to kill brush, landscaping, and even kill trees by girdling. It is quite amazing the amount of damage these rodents can cause when their populations are uncontrolled.

DIY Ground Squirrel Pest Control

Set Ground Squirrel Traps

Setting traps on your property to capture your resident rodents is likely to be your most efficient way of lowering your local population. Making sure to set them close to the squirrels’ most traveled routes, making it easy for the squirrel to deviate into the trap to explore for food. Effectiveness may vary, so check your traps regularly.

Burrow Fumigation

Fumigation of the ground squirrel burrow using any number of rodent fumigation products like The Giant or Gopher Gasser are also known to be effective at clearing entire dens of ground squirrels and other rodent pests.

Santa Barbara’s Best Ground Squirrel Live Animal Trapping

With years of experience under our belts and hundreds of satisfied customers in our portfolio, we are well known throughout Santa Barbara County as ground squirrel trapping experts. We use only the most advanced trapping and baiting systems available that are not only effective but humane as well. Can’t get control of your ground squirrel problem? Call us or e-mail us today!

Overwhelmed by the Santa Barbara ground squirrel problem?

Here’s a funny video of humans fighting back against their squirrel problems.

Got an Ant problem in Santa Barbara? Here’s 5 easy ways to send these insect pests packing!

With summer at a close and colder winter months ahead, many insect families will be on the hunt for additional food sources and shelter. If you’re having an ant problems, spider problems or other pest infestation problem, we’ve compiled a few of the most effective ways to handle your insect problem in-house.

5 safe and easy ways to rid ants from your Santa Barbara home

  1. Vinegar / Water Solution – This solution made up of equal parts water and vinegar can be used just about anywhere in the home and has proven successful in repelling ant colonies with its unfavorable odor and flavor. Simply add the solution to a spray bottle and apply to any ant trails you find as well as the perimeter of your house. Re-apply as needed.
  2. Lemon Juice – Lemon juice has found to be an excellent deterrent of ants and other insects. Working especially well on ants, you can use this as a barrier around the perimeter of your house that ants wont cross for days. You can use either lemon juice concentrate that is usually found in a squeeze bottle or mix up your own using 2 parts lemon juice and one part water. Add the mixture to a spray bottle and apply to existing ant trails as well as the perimeter of your home. Reapply as necessary.
  3. Diatomaceous Earth – This method of ant control can be highly effective! Spread diatomaceous earth around the ant trails and other points of entry so that the ants have to walk directly through it and you’ll notice fewer and fewer of them every day. DE works by damaging the ants’ exoskeleton and causing them to simply dry out. Apply the powder regularly until your ant problem is gone!
  4. MintMint is a natural ant repellent. Its’ strong odor disrupts the ants’ sense of smell so it has a harder time sticking to their chemical trail and also have a harder time finding food. All you need for this is a bottle of mint essential oil and a spray bottle. Add 10 drops of the mint essential oil to every cup of water and apply liberally to the affected surfaces, twice a day at first then once a day until your ant problem disappears!
  5. Grant’s Ant Stakes – Highly effective when used properly, Grant’s Ant Stakes work in ways that other home remedies and DIY options don’t by stopping the queen from reproducing and effectively killing off the colony. Able to be used both vertically and horizontally, these bait stakes are attractive to scout ants who then take the bait back to the colony. Once in the colony, the bait is fed to the queen, rendering her unable to reproduce. The pros of this method are that this product has the potential to take out entire colonies. The cons of this product are that the results are not instantaneous and may take weeks to see noticeable results.

Preventative measures Santa Barbara residents can take to make your home less appetizing to ants and other insects.

  1. Put away food in sealable containers – Never leave food out for extended periods of time. Once you’re done with it, put it away!
  2. Keep your kitchen areas clean – Cleaning your kitchen regularly prevents your unwelcome guests from feeding themselves and their colony!
  3. Sweep and vaccum your living spaces regularly – Food almost always drops on the floor which is perfect for any ants in your home. Keeping your floors and carpets free of food particles encourages your visitors to look elsewhere for food.
  4. Seal your entry points – Use caulking to seal any obvious entry points.

Still can’t get rid of your ant problem? Call Us for professional help.

While many times these home remedies will assist in getting your ant problem under control, they are by no means foolproof. If your ant infestation doesn’t bat an eyelash with any of these quick and easy treatments, it may be time to call us for some professional Santa Barbara pest control assistance. Our team of pest control experts have years of experience in exterminating these pests and can help you take back control of your home or other property from ants, spiders and other pests.

Conserve Water! Tips to help save water around the house.

bigstock_Drought_land_13850663Our great State of California is going through an historic drought that has been steadily growing worse for the past four years! Well now, Governor Jerry Brown has issued mandatory statewide orders requiring a steep 25% reduction in water consumption across the board for commercial and residential users. It is with this directive in mind that we have created this quick and easy list of ways to help conserve water around your home and even office.

Conserving Water

Meter Your Home

Use your water meter as a gauge to check for leaks – It is not hard to find a hidden water leak in your home. Do it yourself by shutting off all water using devices in your home, then check your main water meter leading to the house. If your meter is still moving, you have got a leak that needs repairing.

Grab A Wrench

Fix those leaky faucets and other appliance fittings by getting out your favorite wrench and snugging down any bolts or packing nuts you need to get that dripping faucet to stop!

Brooms, Not Hoses

Use your best broom to clean off your homes’ patio space instead of a hose.

Time Your Showers

Long showers are now considered to be a luxury. As much as many of us love the feeling of a long, hot shower, these should be reserved for special occasions. Try to start timing your shower at a maximum of 5 minutes.

Leaky Toilet Flappers

One of the most common household leaks comes from your toilet flapper. A leaky seal on your toilet’s flapper can waste gallons of water a day. Replace your flapper as soon as you notice your toilet refilling itself when no one has used it.

Use Full Loads

Save gallons of water every month by only running your dishwasher or clothes washer when you have a full load.

Water At Night

Whatever watering your yard requires, set your sprinklers to do it at night. Most communities now have a ordinance in place requiring you to water your lawn before 8am and after 8pm to maximize absorption and reduce evaporation.

Harvest Rain Water

Use a potable water barrel to collect whatever rain water comes your way. Then use that water for whatever you need!

Drip Systems

Install drip systems to water your plants instead of a hose or other common sprinkler systems to reduce water use.

The drought that California is currently experiencing is serious and we hope that these tips were helpful to you and your family! And don’t forget to give us a call for all of your Santa Barbara Pest Control needs!

Gopher Season Is Upon Us!

This is a gopher
This is a gopher

You read it right, ladies and gentlemen. It’s GOPHER SEASON. Our pest control team has been encountering a large number of newborn gophers in the field indicating to us that the time has come. Make sure that your home or property are ready for gopher season with these helpful pest control tips. Always keep in mind: if the problem seems like too much to handle

  1. Bury Gopher Wire – One of the best ways to prevent gophers (and moles) is to bury gopher wire along the perimeter of your yard. This thick wire fencing similar to chicken wire will stop most gophers in their tracks and send them looking elsewhere for munchables as it extends into the ground up to 3′ depending on the situation.
  2. Spread Castor Oil Granules – The scent of castor oil granules is a natural repellent for gophers and moles (as well as armadillos), so spreading these granules throughout your yard and property are an excellent all-natural way to repel these pests. Based on most information found, castor oil granules spread at about 1lb per 1000sqft. Use a handheld seed spreader for small areas and a regular broadcast seed spreader for larger areas. The key to this remedy is even application.
  3. Fumigate the tunnels – Using carbon dioxide or other non flammable gases like the exhaust from a lawn mower or other engine has proven effective for some. Attach a hose to nozzle of the carbon dioxide tank and let the gas flow into the tunnels for approximately 10 minutes or until the tank runs out whichever happens first. Do not use any flammable gases or oxidizers such as propane, oxygen, or acetylene.
  4. Flood the tunnels – At the very least this tends to run them out of their burrows and tunnels, but doesn’t necessarily mean they have left for good. Chances are you could just be softening the tunnels for them to continue along their way.

If you have tried more than 1 of these steps and are still experiencing moderate to severe gopher problems, it may be time to hire our professional pest control services before they destroy everything. Our team of well trained pest control technicians will get your gopher problem under control and keep them gone.

Call us today! (805) 965-9185

Spring Cleaning Tips That Help Prevent Pests

valleyIt’s that time of year again! Trees are starting to grow their leaves back, the beautiful Santa Barbara hillsides are regaining their green luster and the local wildlife have begun to bear their offspring. That means it must be spring time!

If you are anything like us, this feels like the perfect time of year to get a fresh start with a clean home and by doing so, we get a head start on helping to prevent pests over the course of the year. We compiled a few helpful spring cleaning tips to help you and your family get a big jump on preventing your local pests.

  1. Deep Clean Your Kitchen – Everybody loves a clean kitchen. Clean every inch of your domain with strong detergents like bleach or the like.  Under the sink, around the baseboards, in the cupboards and pantries. If there is no food left out or on the ground to be had, many pests will simply move on to a location more bountiful.
  2. Trim Trees, Bushes & Shrubs – Make your yard less inviting to rodents and other little critters. This also means cutting trees back that may be hanging over the residence.
  3. Stack Firewood Properly – Start your firewood stack with some 4″x4″ pieces of lumber to help keep it neat. Also make sure to keep the stack from making contact with your home.
  4. Prevent Standing Water – Use an air blower or a shop vac to clean up pools of standing water from rainfall to help prevent flies and mosquitos.
  5. Clean Yard Debris – Clear your property of any loose debris including leaves, twigs, and other matter. Animals like birds, rats and gophers use these for nesting.
  6. Check Your Screens – Screens seem like a simple notion, but the benefits are plain to see. Check all the screens in your home to verify they are completely intact.

Hope your enjoyed some of these tips and don’t forget to call us or request service from us today if you have a pest control situation that you need help with! (805) 965-9185

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How are rats getting into my home?

Rats are inherently curious creatures and will try to get into any space they can fit in to. Bundle that with the dropping temperatures and that makes any home or office a prime target for cold rats to nest. There are a number of ways rats commonly enter the home and there are several steps that you can take to stop them.

Ground level

Ground level is the easiest and most common ways rats find entry into your abode. Gaps between the base of your home and the ground, holes in your stucco. If your homestead is used by many and frequently trafficked, you may want to consider automatically closing doors. Simple things like closing doors regularly, and closing small penetrations are great steps to take.

Roof access

While we think they should be, many roofs were not built with rooftop intruders in mind. Designed to enhance water runoff and protect from weather, the many overlapping pieces of the modern roofing system may leave gaps that become perfect penetration points when not closed properly. If you have found gaps you think are penetrable, we recommend hiring a reputable roofing professional to ensure the best results. Above sealing your roof access, you will also want to look at anything touching your roof such as tall shrubs and bushes. Trees should be trimmed away from the house as well as these are excellent ladders to the rooftop.

Its all about opportunity and access

Sometimes, you have to think like a rat. If there is a way for one to crawl to an opening, you either need to close the opening or remove the pathway. If you have a rat problem you need some professional help with, don’t hesitate to give us a call or email us with the form below! Should you need immediate service, click below.

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Where did all the bees go?

Honey Bee SwarmIn a worrying trend recognized around the world but especially at home here in Santa Barbara, CA, bee colony numbers have been on the downward trend since the 1940’s for multiple reasons. With more than 20,000 different species of bee worldwide, bees are vital to the pollination of crops and more than 1/3 of the world’s crops rely on bees to happen. We have been getting this question a little bit from our Santa Barbara County customers this year, so we thought we would elaborate a bit on the most common causes for the great reduction in the numbers of bees colonies nationwide and a few tips on how you can help stimulate bee colony expansion in your area.


Bees feed on the nectar of many common flowers. Insecticides & herbicides containing pyrethroids, fungicides and neonicotinoids have been devastating bee colonies around the world. Because many of the new insecticides actually travel within the plant and make it so that the killer compound is contained throughout the tissue of the treated plant. When bees work their way to a treated plant, they ingest the poisons while they feed on the nectar.

Diseases & Parasites

Colony Collapse Disorder

The phenomena known as colony collapse disorder has been plaguing keepers of European honeybees for decades. Previously known by disappearing disease, spring dwindle and may disease to name a few, it was officially renamed as Colony collapse disorder in 2006 due to the phenomenal rise in occurrence.


Parasites can have a big effect on  honeybees, as well. Latching on to the back of an unsuspecting bee, it siphons off blood and nutrition and passes on diseases to any honeybee is feeds on. While these don’t mean imminent death, they sure do take a toll, and end up with an eventual demise..

Farming Techniques

Reduced use of centuries-old farming techniques like the use of cover crops, planting flowering crop borders and flowering hedgerows are also considered contributors to the decline.

How Do I Help?

Here’s a couple of easy ways that you can help on a local level.

Plant Bee-friendly Flowers

Planting a diverse assortment of bee-friendly flowers and shrubs anywhere you can on your property is an excellent way to bolster your local bee population. Pollen and nectar-rich flowers like manzanitas, ceanothuses, or california poppies are great flower choices. If you’re in need of nice shrubbery, the California Buckeye shrub, Woolly Bluecurls or the Holly-leaved Cherry are great options. Let us also never forget, the Sunflower.

Don’t Use Pesticides On Your Flowers

Just don’t do it! Don’t confuse this with common perimeter treatments for insects like ants and spiders. You won’t usually find bees hanging out in the same areas so bees don’t typically happen upon these treatments. We’re talking about application of the products directly to the plants or in the soil near the plants, especially those that are especially attractive to bees.

Safety First

While there is great concern about the bee’s reduction in numbers, you should always consider safety first. That means if bees (or any other winged hive or nest maker) make their home in the close vicinity of you or your loved ones recreational areas, do not ignore it. The number of people with possibly-lethal allergies to bees, wasps and hornets are many.

More Information

Some of the information found here was heard on this very informative TED Talk w/Marla Spivak regarding the precarious situation of the dwindling bee population.

How to identify gophers and moles in Santa Barbara County

Gopher Holes in a Santa Barbara LawnIdentifying Gophers and Moles in Santa Barbara.

The way to identify a gopher from a mole is to look at the mounds. Gophers create a dirt mound in the shape of a fan moving outward from the center of the hole. Moles also leave similar looking mounds sometimes pushing up a lot of dirt making it hard for inexperienced homeowners to tell the difference between gophers and moles. One obvious sign of moles is their lifted ridges left behind as they travel through your yard.

Gophers are herbivores so they eat plants.  If your plants are damaged or disappearing, a possible cause is you have a gopher.  Gophers can make tunnels up to 200 yards in a year and move more than 2 tons of soil.

Pest Control Exterminators for Rats and Mice in Santa Barbara

iStock_000003580628XSmall mouse

With our experience in rat control and knowledge of building architecture and how rats use it, we can solve your rat and mouse problem. We perform a very detailed inspection of the house or building, and find these entry points that rats are using to get in. Once we’ve found everything, we seal it all up. Our quality of repair work is far superior to our competitors.  This is by far the most important step. Once this is done, then it’s just a simple matter of us scheduling follow-up visits for trapping and removing the remaining rats, which is easy once they can’t get outside for food and water.

It’s also important to trap and remove the rats correctly. Some customers will set a few traps before calling us and end up having the traps go off but not trap the rat. This can cause rats and mice to become trap shy and now the rats will become  much more difficult to catch. We advise not attempting to set traps yourselves. Poison in a attic or under a house is a horrible idea, as it leaves rat carcasses in the attic and walls, decomposing and giving off a terrible odor. Yes it is true that it thins their blood and makes them thirsty but it does not mean that they will leave the structure in search of water. Almost all of the calls that we get about rats or mice dead in a wall or crawl space and is now stinking up the place comes from homeowners placing poison inside the structure.

As rodents pass through areas and enter structures  they leave behind hormones. Even after the entry points are sealed these hormones are still active. These hormones attract new  foraging rodents back to the same entry point sights of the original rodents. If nothing is done to control these foraging  exterior rodents,then it is only a matter of time before new entry points are created. So it is important that we take our final necessary measure to keep your structure protected. So -Cal Pest Control offers a service were we will install and maintain exterior bait stations for rodent control and prevention. A barrier of bait stations are placed around the structure to intercept rodent pathways.These bait stations are tamper proof. Rodents will feed on the rodenticide that is secured in a lock and key system keeping it safe for children and pets.This service keeps rodent populations under control and prevents rodent  infestations.