Company aids farmers in pest control
By Stephani Duff
Weather conditions such as droughts or early season frosts are not the only factor farmers need to be concerned with when it comes to their crops, food storage, and livestock. Nuisance animals are quickly becoming a large, and at times, difficult to fix problem; they are such an increasing problem, in fact, that Jacob and Melissa Barnes will be celebrating their one year anniversary this January of their southwest Ohio company Barnes Wildlife Control.
Recently Melissa broke down the three largest nuisance animal threats. “The three largest nuisance animals that we get calls about are rats, coyotes, and raccoons,” said Melissa, “and there are different options for thwarting these particular animals.”
According to Melissa rats, or mice, are a big threat to crops as they stand in the field as well as once they are cut down at harvest. “Rats and mice will eat on the crops as they stand in the field and then after harvest time, they will seek other food sources in indoor storage which leads to contamination of food and loss of food in general.”
Melissa and Jacob inform their customers calling about rats or mice that they can take the first step in alleviating some of the problems; “We encourage customers to look around the area before we do anything – if you allow access to crops, feed, or barn and never close off entrances, you will never rid yourself of the problem.” Along with feed and barn issues, rats and mice are heavily attracted to electrical wiring. According to Melissa the rats will “chew through the insulation of the wiring and they also build nests by the fuse boxes which is a potential fire hazard.”
Once you check the entrance areas there are a couple options for ridding your farm area of mice and rats. Putting out poison bait is often effective because mice and rats are one of the only animals you can poison, but the problem with that is they don’t always die on site which leads to carcass issues. Melissa also suggested live traps and the regular mice traps most people use in their homes; she encourages customers to make sure the trap is designed for the specific animal you are trying to catch.
The second nuisance animal the Barnes’ usually get calls about are coyotes, “with coyotes you are not looking at crop damage, per se, but you will have loss of livestock, most generally younger livestock,” explained Melissa, “Animals that are stalled do not typically face the danger of a coyote like animals out in pastures do.” Coyotes are a strong threat to farmers and their livestock because there are approximately 2,000 coyotes per ten square miles in this area.
Melissa explained the process of catching coyotes recently, “Coyotes are more difficult to catch and get rid of especially since there is no natural predator to hunt coyotes – they are at the top of the food chain.” Melissa suggested live traps, foothold traps, or snares to keep livestock safe.
“Snares are the most effective way to deal with a coyote problem,” explained Melissa. “And the best place to put these traps is along a wooded area or tree lines where coyotes would pass through to get to the livestock.”
The third nuisance animal that the Barnes’ get complaints about is the raccoon; “These creatures are extremely destructive to crops in the field, stored barn crops, and personal gardens. They are also quite smart animals so you have to be crafty to trap them,” said Melissa. The most popular way to catch a raccoon is a life trap, but the catch is that, in Ohio, it is illegal to relocate trapped raccoons because they will come right back to your farm. “Because of this,” explained Melissa, “there are two options; you can release the raccoon on site, which doesn’t fix the problem, or unfortunately, you have to euthanize them.”
Although these three nuisance animals are the most common, there are other animals that cause issues to farmers, their livestock, and their crops – foxes, groundhogs, skunks, and possums are known to cause issues on farms, as well.
Barnes Wildlife Control works closely with the Miami County Game Warden and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. The Barnes’ have been successfully running their business for a year come January of 2013 and Melissa explained that, in order to rid areas of nuisance animals, a Nuisance Wildlife Permit is required.
If nuisance animals are causing a problem for your farm or farms near you Melissa and Jacob can be reached at www.barneswildlifecontrol.com or at (937) 340 1867.
(Stephani Duff is a writer for the Troy Daily News.)