As the temperature outside drops, we cozy up inside our nice, warm houses. Unfortunately, so do insects and rodents.  Insects and other pests often will enter a home through an unsealed door, torn screen, crack in the foundation or walls. After entry the pest will inhabit a portion of your home and reproduce. After a pest has infested your home it can be very difficult to exterminate.
As the temperature outside drops, we cozy up inside our nice, warm houses. Unfortunately, so do insects and rodents. Insects and other pests often will enter a home through an unsealed door, torn screen, crack in the foundation or walls. After entry the pest will inhabit a portion of your home and reproduce. After a pest has infested your home it can be very difficult to exterminate.
Whether the invaders are as small as an ant or as big as a family of skunks, your best defense against pests is sealing off their entry points into your fortress. Sealing your house can solve many in home infestations.  To prevent these pest from entering your home specific measures can be taken to seal these entry points.
Whether the invaders are as small as an ant or as big as a family of skunks, your best defense against pests is sealing off their entry points into your fortress. Sealing your house can solve many in home infestations. To prevent these pest from entering your home specific measures can be taken to seal these entry points.
  • do

    • seal up cracks and crevices with sealant
    • screen entry points such as vents that open to exteriors
    • remove window air conditioning units
    • assess exterior lighting situation
    • apply insecticide outdoors around perimeter of building by mid-October
  • don't

    • wait to sweep or vacuum up insects
    • fog your entire home or building
    • fear that insects will reproduce indoors
    • worry about bringing outdoor potted plants indoors
    • forget to seal around external pipes leading into the home

Pest Control Services


Assess Inspection

We will conduct a thorough inspection of your property, bring in state-of-the-art equipment.


Implement Getting the Job Done

We will take care of identified problems and fill out a Pest Control Service Ticket.


Monitor A Year-Round Solution

We will check for new pests while monitoring the status of previous treatments.

Are flies driving you crazy? They certainly have that capacity. They make an annoying buzzing sound; they bump into us and, most importantly, they land on our food. Don't get us started on what they do once they land on our food. It is not savory at all. But you don't have to put up with flies. Here are some ideas that should help you fight them.

Prevention Tips

These are the prevention methods that will help you prevent non-biting flies from taking over your home.

  • Keep trash sealed. If you have open trash outside your home, they will be an attractant for flies. All non-biting flies can find a meal in a bag of trash that has decaying food in it. Not only do they feed on trash, they also breed in it. When you seal your outside and inside trash in cans, you make it much more difficult for flies to breed. Open trash is always an open invitation for flies.

  • Pet waste. Do you have a pet or several pets? Do they go outside? If so, their waste may be the attractant that is drawing flies in close to your home. And when flies get near your home, it doesn't take much for them to go into your home with you when you open the door.

  • Screens. Flies are small and versatile insects. It...

Centipedes are intimidating. They have long bodies, they have several legs, and they creep around your home. When you look at a centipede, they make your skin crawl; but are they going to hurt you? The answer isn’t as easy as you would think. If you always ask yourself, “Are centipedes dangerous?” Adam’s Pest Control has your answer.

What Does a Centipede Look Like?

A centipede is an arthropod from the class Chilopoda. These insects are long and have several pair of legs along the side of their bodies and long antennae at the top of their heads. What many people assume is that the centipede has 100 legs, but they don’t! A centipede can have as few as 30 legs or more than 350, depending on the species and the age of the insect. Depending on the species of centipede, this insect can grow as long as 12 inches. Fortunately, the centipedes creeping around your Minnesota home are no more than an inch or so in size.

Dangers of Centipedes

Most centipedes are venomous, but not all. The centipede has special front limbs that have glands on them that are full of venom. The centipede uses its venom to stun their prey. Fortunately for you, the venom in a regular house centipede is not...

Ants are a common pest. They are so common, in fact, that we hardly even notice when they are around. Well, unless they are in our sugar bowl or some other place that we have no choice but to notice! But, we really need to start paying attention to these little pests when they are foraging around in our yards because it won’t be long before they find a way to forage their way right into our homes!

Ants come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and they are so numerous that we tend to believe that they are harmless little creatures that pose no real threat at all; but this is not always the case. Take the Pharaoh ant, for example. This ant can spread germs and disease when it invades a hospital. And any ant can contaminate your food supply in the pantry, but it is the carpenter ant that can cause the most trouble.

Carpenter ants are those very large black or red (or a combination of the two) ants that you occasionally see around your home. The problem with carpenter ants is that they will burrow into wood to create a comfortable nesting site for their family which is an ever expanding proposition. This would not be a problem if carpenter ants only chose the trunks of dead or rotting...

While Canada geese are beautiful creatures, they can become a real problem when they settle on your property. It would be wonderful if they simply came and looked pretty and just nibbled on a few things. The problem is, the stuff they nibble on gets deposited back onto your yard in the form of droppings. One Canada goose can produce as much as 1.5 pounds of droppings in one day! Multiply that by a bunch of geese and you have a problem.

Common Problems Caused By Canada Geese

  • Droppings: As mentioned, these geese leave a lot of droppings. Not only are these droppings unsightly, but they can be dangerous as they can become a slipping hazard. They may also contain parasites, infectious diseases, and harmful bacteria. Geese have been connected to the spread of e-coli, chlamydiosis, encephalitis, histoplasmosis, and more.

  • Aggressiveness: If these birds feel threatened, they can be somewhat aggressive, especially if they are protecting a nesting area. While they more often simply hiss at the perceived threat, they have been known to peck at invaders, causing bruising to the skin. These birds can also be very loud, especially if there are large numbers of them, which can be...

When we think of dangerous pests, we often think about highly poisonous spiders like the black widow or the brown recluse, stinging insects like bees and wasps, or wood damaging carpenter ants and termites. In general, most people regard mosquitoes as just an annoying pest that buzzes in our ears making us swat the air like lunatics. We tend to overlook the fact that mosquitoes can be really dangerous.

So, to answer the question, “Are Mosquitoes Dangerous?” The answer is a great big yes! Throughout the world, here in the United States, and even in our local communities, mosquitoes are becoming a major public health problem. People, horses, pets, and other animals are becoming infected with diseases transmitted by mosquitoes including the West Nile virus, the Zika virus, malaria, and more. Plus, man’s best friend is at risk of canine heartworm. You can find more information regarding these and other diseases and the reports of active virus locations by visiting the Center for Disease Control website.

By understanding how transmission of mosquito-borne illnesses occurs, you need to know a few facts about these pests. The female mosquitoes are the only ones that actually bite....

It is warming up both inside and outside, and now you have little fruit flies all over the place. They are annoying, they swarm all around your food, and you can’t seem to stop them once you spot one. You clean, you spray, and yet you still have to ask “Why are fruit flies in my home?” Take a look to find out how they got in and what you need to do to get rid of them.

What are Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies are not young house flies. They are an entirely different species. Fruit flies are only about 1/8-inch long. They have red eyes, and their bodies are tan in the front and darker to black in the back. Because of their small size, fruit flies have no trouble getting into your home through cracks in the door, holes in the screen, mesh screens, and on the produce you bring home.

Fruit flies lay their eggs on fermenting and rotten produce. Now that it is warmer out, you probably have potatoes, apples, peaches, bananas, (you name it), on your counter and in your cupboards. Fruit flies are also attracted to garbage cans, garbage disposals, and hidden messes on your floors or in your cupboards. They are also attracted to fruity drinks and soda.

Fruit flies don’t bite, but they can...

Centipedes are not only a complete nuisance, but they are also creepy! – Really, really creepy. They are not pleasant to have hanging around your home, although they can be helpful by feeding on spiders and small insects. It’s usually during the summer that centipedes gain access to your home through crevices in foundations or other holes, gaps, and cracks, in order to find shelter from the hot, dry conditions outside.

So, once these creepy insects gain access to your home, you may start to see them out of the corner of your eye as they scurry across the floor, up your walls, or worse yet across your bed sheets while you are half asleep. A centipede infestation can cause anxiety and stress within a household, so it is best to take care of it right away.

The name “centipede” is misleading as they do not typically have 100 legs. In fact, they can have between 15 and 177 pair of legs. Their flat, segmented body has a set of legs for each segment, which makes them quite long. Centipedes are commonly reddish orange or brown, their antennae are long, and they have a small mouth that is structured like a claw so that they can use their venom to paralyze other insects, spiders, and even...

In an effort to dispel the myths about bed bugs and to bring you accurate information about these troublesome pests in order to help stop their rapid spread throughout the United States, the public outreach division of the National Pest Management Association, the National Pest Management Alliance, has named the week of June 4-10, 2017, as “Bed Bug Awareness Week”! And, Adam’s Pest Control wants to do our part to help you avoid an infestation in your home or business.

An accurate understanding of bed bugs is essential in order to stop the spread of these elusive pests, and there are many who believe the fables that have been told from generation to generation. One such tale is that bed bugs will only infest dirty, squalor homes and businesses. I am certain that you have heard this story before. You may have even heard about a hotel or motel that had an infestation, and each time you pass by your mind automatically assumes that this business is unkempt and less than reputable. You may even think as you drive past, “I would never stay in THAT hotel!” But, that would be a shame; because the truth is that bed bugs can infest ANY hotel or motel no matter how clean or how many stars...

While no one wants to see ants walking across their kitchen counters and floors, the truth is most ants are more of a nuisance than anything else. They're just looking for food and water and many don't cause any damage. Carpenter ants are more than a nuisance, however. Carpenter ants can damage the wood that they nest in and an infestation can become a serious problem if it is left untreated. A single colony of carpenter ants can result in satellite nests in your home.

Carpenter ants look for ways to get into your home through attic vents, cracks in your foundation or around windows and doors, and small openings around electrical wires, phone lines, and pipes. They build their nests inside the hollow of your doors, in wall voids, and other structural lumber that has probably been softened by decay or moisture.

Carpenter Ant Damages

Because carpenter ants spend a lot of their time tunneling through wood, the damage they cause to your home often goes unnoticed until it has become quite extensive. Some people mistake carpenter ant damage for termite damage, but these pests and the damages they cause are different. A termite will eat the cellulose in wood while carpenter ants...

Puffy, itchy, lumps on your arm, your back, your legs, your ankles--is that what spring is all about? For some of us it is. We get calls all the time from folks that are fed up with paying a mortgage so mosquitoes can enjoy their backyard. We say, "That's your yard! Take it back!" You don't have to let those mosquitoes have free reign. Here are some ways you can avoid mosquito bites this spring and make your yard a much nicer place to be.

Backyard Mosquito Management

  • The first thing you need to do is find any sources of still water and remove them. All it takes is a pool of water on a tarp, a little captured rainwater in the hollow socket of a toy, a tiny containment of water in your gutter system, or even a cup left outside in the rain, for mosquitoes to breed and reproduce.

  • If you have plants in your yard that collect water on them, you may want to consider replacing them with something else, unless you have routine mosquito control from a professional.

  • If you have a bug zapper, it is a good idea to put it in storage. Studies have shown that bug zappers lure mosquitoes in, but do little to kill female (biting) mosquitoes.

  • If you have areas in your yard that are shaded,...

This month the CDC warned us that ticks will be out in full force this season. How much do you know about these dangerous little blood suckers? May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and this is what you need to know to stay healthy.

What is Lyme Diseases Awareness Month?

During the month of May, for Lyme Disease Awareness Month, activists across the US launch events, walks, speeches, activities, and ad campaigns to raise awareness about Lyme disease. The goal is to get people to share their stories, encourage activism, and to gain national media coverage about the disease.

The organization wants everyone to be tick smart, but they also want to encourage more research and coverage about the disease.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an illness caused by a bacterium found in tick saliva. The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi is found in infected ticks. The ticks most commonly associated with Lyme disease are deer ticks. They are also referred to as black-legged ticks. Deer ticks feed in the summer months, but the warm weather and early spring have caused an explosion in the tick population this year. Nymphs are usually the ticks that spread the disease, and they are the hardest...

Centipedes have never had a name that inspires happiness. No, they have a frightening name and even worse appearance. Centipedes are insects you don’t want in your home. Centipedes in Minnesota are not harmful to humans, but they aren’t pleasant to have around or look at either. Fortunately, you are doing a little spring cleaning. Now is a good time to protect your Minnesota home from creeping centipedes.

How to spot a centipede

You will know a centipede when you see it. The legs are a dead giveaway. Centipedes are brownish yellow bugs with many legs. The common centipede found in Minnesota is the house centipede. It measures between 1 and 1 1/2 inches long. The common house centipede has a long, flat body with 15 segments, each of which has a set of legs. The common house centipede in your home also has three long stripes that run down its back.

Problems caused by centipedes

Centipedes are not dangerous. That is the good news. The bad new is that a centipede infestation can become overwhelming very quickly. You may have an infestation and not even realize it is there. Many times, the only way to know you have centipedes without the help from a professional is when you see them...

What do you think of when someone says the word starling? Do you think of the variety of plumage these birds can have? Do you imagine feeding french fries to a few dozen of them dancing around outside your car window? Does an image of a telephone wire lined with tiny birds come into your mind? Probably. If you don't have to deal with the frustrations these birds can cause, it is likely that you may have many good thoughts about starlings. After all, they are amazing creatures, especially when they get into a massive flock that fills the sky with a black, undulating cloud of flapping birds. But, sadly, starlings can become significant pests when they come into our yards, and roost on our property.

Starling Prevention

  • Starlings come onto our property in search of food. If you don't want starlings to live on your property, it is best to not leave food out for them. Keep in mind that what these birds consider to be food is different than what you would eat. They are quite content to feed on items inside your trash. Be sure to keep all trash secured in sealed containers.

  • Starlings also need a drink. If you have a water source in your yard, they'll take advantage of it. One common...

There are a few species of ants found living in our area, and besides the question of “how do I get rid of these ants from my house”; we are often asked the question, “are these ants dangerous?" The answer to that question is that it really depends on the species of ant that has invaded your property!

There are 3 species of ant that are very common in our area. The first species to note is the carpenter ant. This species is dangerous to property but does not pose a threat to you or your pets. The second most common ant species that you will encounter is the pharaoh ant. These ants are considered to be very dangerous because they have the ability to spread dangerous diseases and bacteria to people. The third most common species of ant found in our area is the pavement ant. The good news with these ants is that they are not considered to be dangerous, but the bad news is that they are a huge nuisance to have invading any home or property!

Pavement ants, like any other pest, are attracted to properties that offer safe, warm shelter that is located close to food and water sources. They like to make their nests in the cracks of paved driveways, under and along concrete foundations,...

Are you starting to see spiders crawling around your home? It isn't surprising. While spiders have a natural antifreeze that allows them to survive the cold temperatures of winter, they don't prefer to be cold. In fact, the cold slows them down. When things warm up, spiders speed up too. So, it isn't surprising at all that you're seeing spiders.

Another thing you're probably seeing is flies. When temperatures warm up outside, flies start to hatch and buzz around. And, since flies do just what their name implies, it is no problem for these insects to buzz right into your home and become an incentive for spiders that are living inside your walls to come out in the open for a bite to eat.

As we move through spring and into summer, you're going to see more and more spiders as more flies are available to eat and more baby spiders are produced. There is an ecosystem around your home that, when allowed to, can work its way into your wall voids and eventually into the common areas of your home. This ecosystem never stops encroaching.

There are some things you can do to reduce or slow this encroaching ecosystem. Obviously, managing how many flies you have in and around your home is a...

Voles look cute and harmless, but they are a real pain when it comes to managing your lawn for spring and summer. Voles on your property are destructive. Learn about the problems caused by voles, and how you can prevent the little critters from invading your property.

Voles, not Moles

Voles are not the same as moles; although they are often confused for one another. Another pest with which voles are confused is mice. Voles aren’t mice either. A vole is a rodent that is closely related to the mouse, but voles have a few distinctions that set them apart from their house-rummaging cousins. A vole has these distinct features:

  • Short, stout body

  • Short, hairy tail

  • Small, rounded ears

  • Small, beady eyes

  • Blunt snout

You will hear people refer to voles as field mice or meadow mice.

Problems Caused by Voles

One of the biggest problems with voles is their active lifestyle. Voles are active day and night. Unfortunately, for you and your garden, voles are hungry when they are awake. That means they are going to feed on your lawn or plants if left to their own devices.

Problems caused by voles include:

  • Surface runways or tunnels across your lawn.

  • Turned up grass and plant roots,...

They sound nice, but fruit flies are far from appealing bugs. They are annoying pests that seem to pop up out of nowhere in your home. You are batting them, seeing them in your wine, and shooing them away from your food. Understanding fruit flies helps you combat them for good. Here are a few of our favorite tips for avoiding fruit flies.

Why Do I Have Fruit Flies?

Contrary to what the name suggests, fruit doesn’t need to be present for you to see fruit flies in your home. There are many reasons why you have fruit flies, and the warmer months like spring and summer only make it worse. You have fruit flies because:

  • You have fermented fruits or vegetables in your home

  • Food rolled under your fridge or stove, and now it is going bad

  • Your garbage disposal needs to be cleaned

  • You have glasses of beer, wine, soda, or juice sitting around your home

  • The recycling bin needs to be cleaned

  • Dish towels, mops, or wash rags have debris and food on them

Fruit flies are attracted to the smelly, rotting foods because they are an excellent source of food and a great place to breed. The sight of even one fruit fly points to a larger infestation.

How to Prevent Fruit Flies?

To prevent...

An ash tree can grow for decades, becoming a centerpiece for a yard or an area of property. They are stately trees with a network of trunks and branches that add incredible character to a home or business. For some people, these trees are like a part of the family. So, when emerald ash borers attack, it can be devastating. These pests bore into the wood and lay their eggs. When larvae hatch, they feed on the bark. To make matters worse, woodpeckers come to feed on the larvae, damaging these trees even further. Fortunately, if you have an important ash in your yard, there is a solution.

At Adam's Pest Control, we protect and restore ash trees with EPA-approved, systemic insecticides that work their way up through the veins of ash trees to stop these bugs in their tracks. Since ash borers feed on the vascular tissue of ash trees, they take in this insecticide while feeding and quickly die off. Treatments are either injected into the tree at the base, or injected into the soil. Each of these treatment options has its benefits.

Of the two treatment options, trunk injection is the most effective method of destroying existing emerald ash borers. These treatments are usually applied...

It isn’t uncommon for a homeowner to have no idea that anything is living in their home until that fateful moment when the kitchen light gets flipped on and a small, furry mouse makes a beeline for the space between the refrigerator and the cupboards. After the initial shock is over, there are some decisions to be made. Do you buy a trap? Rat Poison? A cat? It’s just one little mouse after all, how bad could it be? The answer to that question is – bad; really bad.

The problem is, when there is one mouse, it is unlikely that that is the only mouse living in your home. Even after spending all day in the hardware store looking for the perfect solution to get rid of your new furry friend, it is extremely unlikely that these DIY solutions would be able to end the problem. One or two mice might be caught, but there will be dozens that could take their place. Once a mouse or two find their way into a building, they establish a nest and breed very quickly. One female mouse can have 5-10 litters each year of about 5 or 6 young. The babies will be able to reproduce in just 30 days. That is a staggering number of mice in less than a year’s time. A few traps set out by the untrained eye...

State wildlife agencies, under the auspices of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, are developing "Best Management Practices" (BMPs) for trapping furbearers in the United States as a way to evaluate and improve animal welfare, identify efficient tools and techniques, and develop recommendations for conservation professionals to consider as an element of their wildlife management programs. Regulated trapping is a necessary and effective wildlife management tool, and wildlife professionals across the country believe that trapping BMPs will ensure the continued improvement of this management technique.

Biologists began the process of developing trapping BMPs by reviewing past scientific literature to determine what research had already been done and to develop priorities for the program. The trap testing needs for twenty-three species of furbearers were assessed. Criteria considered for species prioritization included: 1) the type and proportion of trapping systems predominantly used; 2) the total harvest in this country; 3) the importance to the trapper; 4) the amount and type of economic damage caused; 5) the urgency and opportunity for additional work from the biologists' perspective; and 6) the availability and quality of data from past research programs.

Traps are selected for evaluation by state wildlife agency biologists based on their knowledge of the technique and using data from a survey conducted by IAFWA in 1992 that documents the ownership and use of traps by trappers in the United States. We also invite trappers to recommend traps and modifications for evaluation. Trappers are often aware of new models on the market, many of which are specifically intended to improve animal welfare and may not be widely available but are promising designs for trapping BMPs. Scientists from the USDA National Wildlife Research Center are also involved with this program.

Projects investigating the performance of various capture devices in field settings began in the fall of 1997. The field projects are conducted by licensed, experienced trappers during state-regulated trapping seasons. Trained technicians are assigned to accompany each trapper and record trap line data under guidance of state agency biologists and IAFWA staff. All trappers and technicians must attend mandatory training sessions and abide by clearly defined study procedures.

Two veterinary laboratories in the U.S. with extensive experience in evaluating capture devices conduct full-body necropsies in order to discover which of the restraining traps do the best job of reducing injuries to animals. The data collected from the veterinarians and from the field-work are consistent with international standards for trap evaluation.

Canada is also conducting trap evaluations and we are working cooperatively with them to share information. Much of the research into humane killing traps has been conducted at a uniquely equipped, state-of-the-art Canadian research facility. BMPs will include recommendations for the use of humane killing traps for those species and under those conditions where reasonable and prudent.

Results from these projects will be used in conjunction with existing data to develop trapping BMPs based on performance criteria for animal welfare, efficiency, selectivity, safety and practicality. 

The Case of Nutria (Myocastor coypus) in Louisiana

Nutria (Myocastor coypus)

Louisiana’s marshes are under siege from a 12-pound rodent with a huge appetite. The Mississippi River delta’s marshes are the largest wetland complex in the United States and are literally being eaten away by an animal called nutria.

At first glance, nutria seem innocuous. These semi-aquatic rodents have glistening fur and are a little smaller than a beaver. Sometimes they may even be mistaken for beaver as the glide along with their heads barely above the water’s surface. They are agile swimmers. Yet despite all appearances, nutria are a big problem around the world and especially in Louisiana.

Native to coastal and lake marshes of Argentina, they seem to live in harmony with their environment. Their population levels fluctuate with periods of drought and flood. However, they are adapted to quickly repopulate their habitats following a natural disaster. What happens, though, when nutria populate an area that does not have frequent cycles of flood and drought? In many cases, nutria can cause significant environmental and economic problems.

In Louisiana, nutria inhabit the freshwater and partly salty, brackish, marshes along the Mississippi River delta. Like all wetlands, these marshes are incredibly productive and critical to the life cycle of innumerable species.

15 million water birds, 5 million wintering waterfowl, more than a million alligators, and 11 threatened and endangered species; Nearly every commercially important fishery in the Gulf of Mexico is linked to this wetland complex including shrimp and crabs.

This aerial photograph shows an "eat out." The brown areas of the marsh have been damaged by nutria. In the center, as indicated by the arrow, is an area that has been fenced off to exclude the nutria.

Nutria are a significant threat to this ecosystem because they reproduce very quickly and when they feed in an area they may eat the vegetation to the roots exposing the fragile wetland soils, and they are born as eating machines, virtually miniature versions of an adult, ready to feed within hours of birth. As tides ebb and wane, the flowing water erodes the soils where the nutria have eaten away the grasses, and the soils are pulled into the Gulf of Mexico. Once the soils are gone, the plants cannot re-grow.

Captive nutria were first introduced to the marshes of Louisiana in 1937 when 13 escaped from a captive nutria colony owned by L.E. McIlhenny, a renowned conservationist and founder of the Tabasco Company. In 1940 approximately 150 more nutria escaped captivity during a hurricane. McIlhenny was reportedly sad at his loss because he believed that the nutria would perish as prey to the alligators, but the nutria proved him wrong.

What McIlhenny did not take into account was the amazing reproductive abilities of the nutria. They are prolific animals. Typically, nutria begin to reproduce when they are between four to six months old, and they have more than two litters each year. With typical nutria litters exceeding four young, each female nutria may have an average of more than 10 young annually.

By 1956, nutria harvest reached 419,000, this in less than 20 years since nutria were first introduced to Louisiana, and the nutria populations were continuing to grow. Farmers were complaining about nutria damage to rice and sugarcane fields, and muskrat trappers worried that nutria were responsible for declining muskrat populations.

In the early 1960s Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries needed to find a solution to the crop and habitat problems caused by nutria. Because nutria populations grew faster than the predators could eat the nutria, they felt that encouraging trapping was the best alternative to solving nutria problems. Trappers however, are motivated by the price of fur - the more the fur was worth the more trappers would pursue nutria. The LDWF set out to create a market for nutria.

By 1962 LDWF had established a market when more than a million nutria pelts were sold into the German fur trade. As prices for nutria fur continued to rise through the 1970’s, trappers continued to trap nutria, averaging 1.5 million pelts a year and generating an average 8.1 million dollars annually.

From the early 1960s until the early 1980s high fur prices were the driving force behind high harvest levels. Throughout this period, nutria problems were virtually nonexistent. There were very few crop damage reports and the nutria were not significantly harming the wetland habitats.

Everything changed during the 1981-82 trapping season. Prices for nutria fur fell by nearly half from $8.19 to $4.36. By the end of 1993, the market bottomed at only $2.64 for each pelt. Trappers lost their incentive to pursue nutria, and the mid-1980s harvest declined to less than 300,000.

Nutria populations exploded without the trapping pressure. Following 28 years of profitable trapping and few complaints from the agricultural community, 1987 marked renewed concern over nutria damage as farmers again experienced crop losses. Scientists became alarmed by the wetland habitat problems caused by nutria.

A closer look at the fenced area shows the plants are much taller and healthier inside, away from the nutria.

In 1993 scientists began to survey the damage that nutria were causing to Louisiana wetlands. By flying over the wetlands, the scientists could measure the land area (acreage) of nutria damage. By 1998 scientists estimated the damaged wetlands exceeded 100,000 acres in Louisiana. More alarming is that this estimate is probably only a fraction of the actual area impacted by nutria because only the most affected areas are detected during the surveys.

Louisiana’s marshes cover more than 2.5 million acres, an area larger than Yellowstone National Park. Historically, trappers and their families disperse into the marsh for months at a time in search of nutria, and there may be thousands of trappers covering the expansive marsh complex when fur prices are high. When fur prices are low, trappers cannot make enough money to justify the difficulties of trapping the extensive Louisiana marshlands.

Biologist Greg Linscombe of the LDWF says that when nutria harvest exceeded one million animals per year, habitat and crop damage were eliminated. However, trappers will not seek nutria unless they can make a profit.

Low fur prices necessitate an alternative market. The LDWF hopes that nutria will be valued for their meat as well as fur. As the market for nutria meat grows trappers will again seek nutria, and as harvest increases wildlife biologists expect that habitat and crop damage will decrease.

In 1986 the Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Fur and Alligator Advisory Council, and this group continues to work on creating and enhancing international markets for Louisiana nutria fur and meat. By enhancing the markets, they hope that they can increase the trappers’ profits.

The Advisory Council has spent more than 800,000 dollars using funds from trappers’ licenses and other sources to work on the market enhancement activities. Harvest rates are now the highest since 1989 with the annual harvest in excess of 350,000 nutria. But this still falls short of the million animals that must be harvested to eliminate habitat and crop damage.

Trapping nutria is vital to protecting Louisiana wetlands. It is the only protection for a river of life that flows from the Mississippi delta to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Story of the North American River Otter (Lutra canadensis)

The River Otter! What an interesting animal. No wonder they are the center of so much attention. Otters were largely absent from a big part of mid-America by the 1900s, due to more than 200 years of unregulated harvest and habitat changes. Thanks to a partnership between trappers and wildlife managers, we can once again kiss these babies hello, because we are in the middle of an unbelievable river otter comeback! Nearly 4,000 healthy otters have been trapped and moved to new homes in 18 states in one of the most successful predator restoration programs ever.

Sixty years after most state agencies began the art and science of modern wildlife management, the long list of wildlife restoration success stories now includes river otters. The task began back in 1976 when Colorado biologists moved a few wild-trapped otters from Minnesota. Then they discovered a Cajun from Louisiana named Lee Roy Sevin and his wife Diane. The Sevins have an unusual business – buying live river otters caught with foothold traps in the surrounding marshes, where otters are abundant. They keep the pregnant females in captivity just long enough for them to give birth to a litter of pups in the spring, and then release the adults back into the marsh while hand-rearing the otter pups for zoos.

Beginning in the 1980's, wildlife managers set plans in motion to bring the adult, wild-trapped otters to Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and other states where otters once existed, to be released into new homes to restore populations. The first releases included otters with radio transmitters that allowed us to monitor their success in their new homes. They did extremely well, and we set about our business to restore otters throughout the waterways of the Midwest, the Northeast, and the Mid-Atlantic states. Not all otters used in the restoration efforts came from Louisiana; many eastern states are trapping and moving their own otters from areas where they occur to areas where they are absent. However, thanks to their efforts, Lee Roy and Diane are known as the Godparents of otter restoration in the United States, having shipped more than 2,400 otters to different states for restoration programs!

In almost every state, even dusty Arizona, these programs have met with tremendous success, and have been wildly popular with the public. As an example, Missouri’s otter population is now estimated at more than 8,500 and growing, and a carefully regulated trapping season is now possible. Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, and other states with large otter restoration projects consider them to have been huge successes and otters are no longer endangered in most of these states. For the remainder of the states, success stories are just a matter of time.

River otters are not federally endangered, although in a handful of states they may still have a state-endangered status until the restoration programs are complete. One confusing aspect of the river otter’s status stems from its listing on the Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species, known as CITES. This treaty listed North American river otters on Appendix II simply because they look somewhat like otters from other continents that may be endangered. Pelts of abundant river otters could become confused with pelts of endangered otters from other continents if trade was not carefully regulated. So we tag every single otter from the United States that enters the international fur trade with a small CITES export tag, and that helps to ensure protection for other otters around the world. A CITES tag on fur pelts traded internationally indicates that the pelt comes from animals whose populations are not endangered, but are abundant and being carefully monitored and scientifically managed. Properly regulated trapping seasons such as we have now in 29 states are no threat to river otter populations. Otter populations are believed to be either growing or stable in 46 out of the 47 states where they are currently known to exist!

Importantly, virtually every otter used in these restoration programs was captured in the wild by people using foothold traps. These animals had to be healthy to have led to the successes we’ve witnessed. These are the same traps used by licensed trappers to capture wildlife!

The Prohibition of Regulated Trapping Beaver activity washed out this road.

Chelmsford, Massachusetts is located about 20 miles northwest of the city of Boston and encompasses approximately 23 square miles. The first European settlement in the area was a fur trading post, established due to the abundance of beaver in the local wetlands. Today there are still approximately 870 acres of wetlands within the town, but it is now a densely settled suburban community with over 32,000 residents (1,357 per square mile). Local government is conducted through open town meetings and administered by five elected selectmen.

During the late 1980s, a national animal rights group developed a "model" for getting trapping ban initiatives passed by town, county and sate governments. The model guidelines encouraged animal rights activists to disguise regulated trapping as a public safety/animal welfare issue. Exactly in accordance with such direction, an article to ban trapping was introduced at a Chelmsford town meeting in 1988.

State wildlife experts reminded residents that regulated trapping was not a public safety issue, and warned that if regulated trapping were banned, there would be numerous undesirable consequences in the form of property damage and wildlife habitat degradation. Despite the warnings, the article was passed, and the trapping of furbearing mammals within the town was prohibited.

Prior to passage of the trapping ban, there were usually one to three complaints of beaver damage in the town each year. Following the ban, the beaver population, unchecked, began to grow rapidly, and the animals began to move into many previously unoccupied wetlands. Beaver dams began to flood houses and roadways. In 1992, state wildlife biologists working at the request of town officials investigated 25 beaver complaint sites. Two of these complaint sites were municipal wells which had been shut down (at a cost of $25,000) because of beaver flooding, and four other municipal wells were threatened. Individual landowners in town had incurred tens of thousands of dollars in damages to private wells, septic systems, lawns and roadways. The increasing beaver population and increasing property damage were directly related to the decision of the town's citizens to ban regulated trapping and allow uncontrolled beaver population growth to commence.

State wildlife officials offered the town several recommendations: (1) use water flow devices to reduce flooding in some areas, (2) get permits to breach beaver dams in other locations, and (3) rescind the trapping ban bylaw to allow beaver populations to be brought under control. The town took positive steps to implement these recommendations. The state issued permits to breach beaver dams that were disabling wells and septic systems. State wildlife personnel installed water flow devices (beaver pipes) at two sites and assisted town water department personnel with a third pipe. At a special town meeting in September, 1992, town citizens voted by a two-to-one margin to allow regulated public trapping to resume. During the regular trapping season later that fall and winter, four fur harvesters working with homeowners and town officials removed 87 beaver. Today, with public, regulated trapping restored, Chelmsford again has only one to three beaver complaints per year. These are handled as they had been prior to 1988, under an effective and responsible program incorporating state wildlife officials and local fur harvesters.

In Massachusetts, the state wildlife agency has a well developed management plan for beaver. The goals of this plan are to manage beaver resources as assets, not liabilities; perpetuate beaver populations for future generations; keep the beaver population at levels compatible with suitable habitat; minimize property damage caused by beaver; manage beaver for their positive wetland values, and allow people the sustainable use of public resources.

Chelmsford residents were confounded by animal rights activists who had promised in 1988 and again in 1992 to install water flow devices and proposed to "sterilize" beaver in the town (a technique that is not feasible on a free-roaming beaver population,) Over the four years of the trapping ban, the activists never acted on their promises and were never held accountable for the statements they put forth.

The case study you just read was written several years ago. Recently, the state of Massachusetts passed a ballot initiative that severely restricts trapping. As a result, complaints about property damage and health concerns related to beaver activity have dramatically increased. We have asked a biologist from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife to give us an update about the situation. 

Epilogue - A State Ballot Referendum
Submitted by Susan Langlois – Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
7 July 1999

Subsequent to the town of Chelmsford reinstating regulated trapping as a management tool to control the beaver population, changes to Massachusetts state law ensued during the November 5, 1996 election. A major political ad campaign was undertaken by several animal rights organizations which spent $1.2 million in a statewide ballot referendum. As a result, a statewide change to Massachusetts law created restrictions similar to the Chelmsford anti- trapping bylaw. The new law dramatically changed the types of traps that licensed trappers could lawfully use to control beaver populations statewide.

The net effect of the new law maximizes the number of beavers found in Massachusetts. A maximized beaver population significantly increases property damage, health and safety issues and other beaver related problems incurred by citizens. Now the same conditions that were evident in Chelmsford during their trapping ban have expanded throughout the state. The statewide beaver population has grown significantly from an estimated 24,000 in 1996 to more than 52,000 in 1999. Citizen complaints related to beaver activity continue to increase from an average of 310 per year (1991-96) to 585 per year since the law came into effect.

Beaver populations can no longer be maintained at reduced levels. This constitutes a major change in the way beaver are managed. The state’s beaver management program has historically been proactive – maintaining the beaver population at levels compatible with suitable wetland habitat and human needs. The new law eliminates proactive, regulated management, yielding an uncontrolled expansion of the beaver population. Like the previous Chelmsford bylaw, it only allows the citizens of Massachusetts to take reactive measures to beaver causing property damage. Instead of viewing beaver as valuable wildlife, more and more people are viewing beaver as a pest to be eliminated.

Due to the increase in the beaver population and the related increase in health and safety concerns and property damage, two bills have been introduced into the Massachusetts Legislature to repeal or significantly amend the existing statewide law. In addition, legislation has been submitted to appropriate $1.5 million to begin to pay for the property damage caused by increasing beaver populations. The appropriation of monies was not needed in the past when proactive management programs employed regulated trapping to control beaver populations and address property damage problems. To date, the statewide ban on traps continues.