How to Avoid Fall and Winter Pests

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V. Rogers

Subject: Pest Control

Seriously? We worry what runs through our yard at night? We're supposed to be sleeping and animals like coons, possums, and skunks are here to clean up. Every night I watch all the above, an occasional coyote, or a rabbit eat the apples we purposely leave on the ground all winter just for food for them. They NEVER stay. We also have bird feeders next to our deck where they can scarf the seed from the ground. I've left a water bowl out for the coons in the summer. We have NEVER had a problem with critters. You know why? We don't have junk laying all over our yard or a myriad of out buildings. We have a pole barn so everything is inside, an above ground pool with a locked gate to the stairway. We leave nothing piled against any building like a stairway to heaven to get up on anything. Our garbage cans stay locked in our garage. And there is nothing on our deck but furniture and flowers. It's surrounded by lattice with chicken wire and stones buried in the dirt so they can't dig. Not a problem in 30 years of living on a canal, and a marsh area off of Lake Erie. People with animal problems are junkers. Stuff all over for them to get into or onto. A coon got in our neighbors attic. He piles wood next to his house looks like a stairway. Another leaves his garage door open all the time. I occasionally have peanuts on my deck left by blue jays I feed. I sit, watch TV, and sometime an occasional coon, skunk, or possum that comes up to get a treat. Skunks are good. The will criss cross your yard to eat all your lawn grubs at night. Instead of killing every living thing for trotting THROUGH, or heaven forbid entering your yard, maybe leave nature alone in the middle of the night! There is never a sign anything was in my yard come morning. We're selling our house soon and will not sell to anyone with a mentality that wants to rid them from the yard instead of enjoying them from the light on our berm by the water. Learn to live with nature. It's a joy.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.