Photo: Roanoke Valley Star on Mill Mountain
This year, I am cooking Thanksgiving supper for my family. I have decided to prepare Cornish game hen for us since we are only four this year. Two of my daughters have gone to Long Island, New York with their father, to visit their precious grandparents, Grandma Linda and Grandpa Augustus; and our eldest son is joining the United States Navy and is in Pennsylvania awaiting the call for boot camp. Traditionally, we spent Thanksgiving in Roanoke, Virginia with the patriarch of my family, Q.R. Jones and my aunts and uncles and cousins. We made wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.
One year in particular, I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, and was tasked with going to the basement to grab the Thanksgiving decor from the unfinished storage room. While sorting through countless seasons of decorations, I moved a coiled hose at my feet that was preventing me from getting closer to the back of the shelves. Needless-to-say, I disturbed a resting Copperhead snake! It was snuggly coiled in the center of the green hose I had scooted over and was not happy about the disturbance. It quickly uncoiled and hissed at me and began slithering toward me fast. I did a quick waddle-run, as I was very pregnant, and made it down the long hallway and got the door shut before it bit me. Thank the Lord for this miracle because the venom would have surely caused harm to my unborn child!
After making it upstairs, sweaty and out of breath, and without any Thanksgiving decorations in hand, the physicians in the family came to my rescue thinking the baby has decided to make her debut a little early. Much to their dismay, I broke the news about the snake. Not one member of my family was willing to go back down and rid the home of this Copperhead. Take a guess at whom they sent back down to catch said snake? Yep. Me. The pregnant one.
My Grandfather, Q.R., was a gadget kind of man and had one of those long “grabbers” for lack of a better word. Where you squeeze the handle and four feet at the end has a claw that grabs the object? Yes, that thing from As Seen On TV. I head back downstairs and the Copperhead is coiled at the end of a 60 ft carpeted hallway. It sees me and instantly starts to uncoil and hiss. I was screaming of course… and the family cheered me on (safely from one floor above). Do not ask me how I gathered to courage, but I managed to meet that snake half way and push it against the way with the “grabber” and grabbed its head with it. It was just tight enough to secure its head and the body was hanging down, two feet long, flailing around.
I am walking with my arm extended out as far as it can with this wiggly, venomous copperhead snake…screaming. I could not control the screaming. Because what now? I have this thing? Now what? I bring it upstairs, of course, and the rest of the family joins me in screaming. Except for the patriarch, Q.R. He said, come on Dolly, follow me. Let’s get rid of this damn Copperhead. The family parts like the sea for Jesus, and I follow him. We walk out the garage, down his very long driveway, across the street, into his neighbors yard, and he says, “toss it over here.” I obey, and toss it as far as I can into the neighbors yard and we run back across the road and granddad looks back and yells, “Happy Thanksgiving!”
We all laughed at Granddad and the antics he and his friends would play on each other throughout the years at the dinner table that night. Until this question was asked, “what if there are babies down there?” The following week, Q.R. called a snake control service out to the house and found that there were more Copperheads and they were getting in from a hole in the mortar between stonework in that part of the house.
This year as you have Thanksgiving with your family and you have an animal wildlife emergency, please do not do as I did and tackle it yourself, as it is very dangerous! We will have emergency services Friday-Sunday. Meanwhile, Here are 6 tips to a healthy, pest free Thanksgiving. Cheers!
Tip #1 Check your pantry items
Pantry pests come into your home from the grocery store. They hide in packaged food that has been damaged—or they chew their way in. Be sure to check your packaging carefully before you buy. The last thing you need at Thanksgiving are weevils, beetles, or moths crawling around in your food.
Tip #2 Protect your pantry
If bugs or rodents get into your pantry, don’t feed them. Invest in hard plastic containers; I recommend Tupperware brand as it is also approved by the military to be used to move foods. Not only will they prevent bugs from burrowing and chewing their way into your food, they will keep your food items fresher. If pests can’t get into your food, they will move on. Keep your pantry dry, disinfected, and well ventilated to keep bacteria down. Installing wire shelves also helps. Bugs like dirty, moist wooden shelves with powders and grains sprinkled on them.
Tip #3 Protect yourself when you travel
If you go anywhere, be sure to protect yourself from bringing back a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are everywhere—even in the most lush accommodations. Be sure to check for bed bugs in your room. Check the sheets for tiny blood stains, the mattress edges and corners for black fecal residue, and the furniture in the room for tiny brown seed-like bugs. All it takes is one female bed bug to hitch a ride in your luggage and you’ll have an infestation. If you have signs of a Bed Bug infestation, Summit can come out and do a free, inspection for you.
Tip #4 Protect your home
As you’re sealing your home up for the cold weather, consider some bug proofing. Use a caulking gun to fill in cracks, gaps, and rotted holes. Seal around light fixtures, windows, pipes, outlets, and other areas where utilities enter your home. Replace or repair any damaged screens, weather stripping, or door sweeps. We can provide this service for you at Summit.
Tip #5 Repel and kill bugs
A professional treatment by Summit Environment Solutions will keep bugs from entering your home through any entry points you may have missed. Summit uses only a limited and focused amount of pesticide, just enough to finish sealing your home.
Tip #6 Don’t feed the animals
When you’re throwing out those trash bags full of tasty Thanksgiving scraps, make sure to put your bags in sealed trash cans. If you have had trouble in the past, consider using a bungee cord to secure your lids. You would be surprised what a hungry raccoon will go through to get into your trash cans. If you need Raccoon removal in Northern, VA please call us: (703) 551-4602