Harbor Wildlife Control - Frequently Asked Questions

What does NWCO mean?
People who handle wildlife damage problems can be designated by a number of terms.

  • NWCO - means Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator
  • WCO - means Wildlife Control Operator
  • PAC - Problem Animal Controller; term used in Massachusetts
  • PCO - Pest Control Operator - This is who you would call for insects control such as termites or ants. Exterminators also fall into this category.
  • ACO - Animal Control Officer - This is who you would call if you have an issue with DOMESTIC animals such as dogs or cats. They do not not handle wildlife complaints. These are township or county employees.

In most of the United States, it is against the law for you to own any wild animals or non-human primates (monkeys) without a permit. However, people sometimes come into contact with these animals. Like other animals, wild animals and primates can get diseases. Some of these diseases, called zoonoses, can cause illness in people. Since wild animals (including monkeys, raccoons, and skunks) can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, the CDC discourages direct contact with wildlife. For further information on Wildlife Diseases.

Do You Need 24 HOUR Emergency Service?
Emergency Service is generally limited to wildlife in the "LIVING SPACE" of your home, however what we consider an emergency and what you would can differ. This does not include attic space, under a deck or a shed. A good example would be a bat flying around your living room or a raccoon in your bathtub. Our fees for emergency service are a premium as these need to be attended to immediately. We offer this service around the clock because you may have an animal in your home at 2 AM.

If you have an emergency situation, when you call leave a detailed message and state that it IS an emergency.

Is this a FREE service?
No, Harbor Wildife Control is a private wildlife control business. We are not funded by public tax money. Service fees vary greatly depending on the task at hand. Please call us and we will do our best to offer a figure over the phone. If the situation requires us to visit the site before offering a quote, we will tell you this during the initial call.

Do you charge a fee for an estimate or inspection ?
We do not charge a fee for the estimate, however, we do charge a fee for an inspection. An inpection entails examining the building and determining the best long term solution. Questions that will be answered include: which animal is causing the problem?, how are they getting in?, what is the condition of the attic? A price for repairs/ preventative treatments is given based upon inspection findings. In some cases will be able to give an estimate over the phone such as trapping and removal of groundhogs, skunks etc. on the exterior of the building.

Why is there a fee for an inpection ?
If your needs go beyond basic advice, a technician needs to perform an inspection and assess the situation, and a basic fee is charged. The exclusion service uses paid technicians, insurance, vehicle maintainence and has basic office expenses etc. Because real expenses are incurred to assess a situation, a basic fee is required to offset those costs.

What do you do with the animals that you capture?
The animals that we capture are handled in the best manner to protect both the animal and our staff members from unnecessary harm and stress. We follow all applicable state and federal regulations regarding captured wildlife. When applicable and appropriate, our goal is to return candidate species to an appropriate rural wilderness environment. Species that are prohibited from being relocated will be humanely euthanized according to industry standards and will be disposed of according to all applicable guidelines and in accordance with the law.

It is in our mission statement to treat animals ethically and humanely. We use only humane trapping methods and prevention services.

Is this an animal rescue group? Do you take in sick, abandoned or injured wildlife and animals?
No. We can sometimes transport injured, sick, abandoned or displaced wildlife and animals in need of help to the proper facility, but we do charge a fee. Call or contact the local animal rescue and wildlife rehabilitators listed on our Wildlife Rehabilitation page. You might also call the NJ Division of Fish & Game and Fish Department or the NYDEC (New York) for a complete list of licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators in NJ.

More questions on young wildlife ? Check out our Care of Young Wildlife Page.

"What is histoplasmosis?"

  • Histoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by inhaling the spores of a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. Histoplasmosis is not contagious; it cannot be transmitted from an infected person or animal to someone else.

  • Where does it come from ?
    Fresh bird droppings on surfaces such as sidewalks and windowsills have not been shown to present a health risk for histoplasmosis because birds themselves do not appear to be infected by H. capsulatum. Rather, bird manure is primarily a nutrient source for the growth of H. capsulatum already present in soil. Unlike birds, bats can become infected with H. capsulatum and consequently can excrete the organism in their droppings. The organism can be carried on the wings, feet, and beaks of birds and infect soil under roosting sites or manure accumulations inside or outside buildings. Active and inactive roosts of blackbirds (e.g., starlings, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and cowbirds) have been found heavily contaminated by H. capsulatum.

We had another company tell us we only have mice but the noise seems louder than mice. The company put poison, but they won't eat it and the noise is still there. What else could it be?
Frequently it is mice, but it may not be. A thorough inspection to determine what wildlife is involved is the best way to start. We check from top to bottom to determine the root of your problem.

It is possible that you may have Flying Squirrels in your home. The sign of these small animals can fool the untrained eye into thinking that mice may be the problem. Poisoning (rodenticide) is only labeled for use on mice and rats in New Jersey. It is strictly prohibited for use on any other wildlife. Poisoning is not a good solution. You will create a potential health hazard for yourself and your family if a squirrel dies inside the house. If it dies outside of your house, it could pose a health hazard to pets or other animals (secondary poisoning).

When a wild animal (raccoon etc.) is out during the day, is it rabid?
No, as long as the animal is acting normal, it is not considered rabid. All wildlife must be considered rabid if a person gets bitten. If possible, the animal should be captured, destroyed and then tested to determine if it had rabies when it bit the person. If the animal cannot be captured, destroyed and tested, the person bitten has to undergo rabies preventative vaccinations. Many baby animals have had to be destroyed because well meaning people have tried to help them and either have gotten bitten or potentially exposed to the animal's saliva, (i.e., fed the animal from their hand, handled the animal without gloves and didn't wash their hands and then touched their eyes or had open cuts on their hands). If you want to protect baby wildlife, leave them alone, their mother is probably close by and watching them.

Does distemper pose a threat to humans?
No, humans cannot contract distemper.

Does distemper pose a threat to pets?
Cats cannot contract canine distemper. Dogs that have not been vaccinated are susceptible to canine distemper. It is standard veterinary practice to vaccinate all dogs against canine distemper. Those who vaccinate their dogs have nothing to worry about. Those who do not vaccinate their dogs place their pets at risk regardless of whether they see sick raccoons or not.

What can you do to minimize the impact of an outbreak of distemper?

  • § Do not feed raccoons. Feeding Raccoons promotes unnaturally large concentrations of animal and increases the severity of the outbreak.
  • § Feed pets indoors. If pets are fed outdoors, bring in feeding bowls right after pets have eaten.
  • § Vaccinate dogs and other pets against distemper and other common diseases.
  • § Keep children and pets away from sick raccoons. As the disease progresses, the animal may appear calm and tame, but can become aggressive if approached.

Do you have Liability or Workers Compensation insurance ?
Yes, Certificates of insurance are available upon request for our clients.

How often do the traps have to be checked ?
The traps must be checked daily including weekends and holidays. We will be available to remove the trapped animals at any time traps are actively set at a clients home or business. We generally have our clients check the traps and report captured animals to us. If a client cannot check the traps daily we do charge a site visit fee unless an animal is captured or other arrangements have been made.

  • No person shall steal or attempt to take traps of another, or remove a trapped animal without permission of the trap owner.
  • All traps set or used must bear a legible tag of durable material with the name and address of the person setting, using and maintaining the traps.

What types of traps do you use ?
There are basically two categories of traps. Live Capture and Lethal Capture. There are many types of traps within the categories listed and too many variables to give an exact answer. All methods deployed that are used to give the most humane and effective removal possible.

  • Live Capture
  • Lethal Capture
    • mouse and rat traps
    • Conibear

Do you spray something to drive the animal out ?
No, be cautious of anyone who says they are going to spray something to drive the animal out. Some states do not allow chemicals to be used on wildlife. There is also concerns about the effectiveness and/or safety of this technique. (See next question, also it is a requirement to have a pesticide license).

Will moth balls or ammonia soaked rags keep animals out of my house ?
The short answer is No.
Mothballs, contain paradichlorobenzene and/or naphthalene (known carcinogen) must be properly registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and contain on the label their ingredients, their human, environmental, physical and chemical hazards, and information on their use, storage and disposal. The same goes for ammonia. The following was taken from New Jersey Administrative Code Title 7 Chapter 30 (7:30-10.1)

Restriction of pesticide use

  1. No person shall use or apply a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its Federal or State registered label or labeling, or restrictions as provided. Applying a pesticide at any dosage, concentration or frequency less than that specified on the label or labeling, unless the label or labeling specifically prohibits this;
  2. Applying any pesticide against a target pest not specified on the label or labeling, provided that the application is made to the site, crop or animal specified on the label or labeling; unless the USEPA or the Department, where authorized, has required that the pesticide shall only be used for pests specified on the label, or pests specified in Department rules;
  3. Employing any method of application, except aerial, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:30-10.6(x), and chemigation, not prohibited by the label or labeling;
  4. Mixing a pesticide or pesticides with a fertilizer when such a mixture is not prohibited by the label or labeling; or
  5. Any use of a pesticide in conformance with Sections 5 or 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (7 .U.S.C. §§ 136(c) and 136(p), respectively).