Blog :: 11-2018

Electronic Pest Control

What could sound better? Instead of trying to catch something already inside your home, why not try to deter it from entering in the first place? The challenge is finding a reliable product.  There are so many electronic “ultrasound” devices flooding the market that it’s hard to know which one, if any, works.      

There was a very funny headline from a September court case where the judge ruled against the manufacturer. “Judge cites pictures of mice resting on pest control device in ruling.” Apparently, the frequency of the device determines its effectiveness.

An exterminator recently explained to me that if you set the device at an incorrect frequency, you could be luring mice inside! It seems that there is a frequency targeted to each particular pest. Do your homework and research which frequency is needed to deter which pest, then Google to see which ultrasonic device provides that frequency. 

Avoid any device that claims it serves to deter all pests. Also handle with care, as the devices are delicate, and any jostling could impact preset frequencies.

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    Getting Ready for Winter

    As the beautiful fall season has apparently come to an end in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and surrounds, it is the perfect time to prepare your house for winter. 

    Here are a few things you should have on your checklist:

    1) Order good, seasoned firewood.

    2) Have your gutters cleaned after the leaves have fallen.

    3) Have your chimney swept and inspected. It should be cleaned every one to three years depending on how many fires you have.

    4) Have your furnace serviced and filters changed.

    5) Rather than rake your leaves, use a mulching mower which is better for your lawn.

    6) Trim the branches of any large trees that might pose a danger to your home in a winter storm.

    Then sit back and enjoy the winter and snow!

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      Get To Know Your Assessor

      Your local town assessor determines the tax assessment on your home. This assessed value is used as the basis for calculating local government property taxes and school taxes you must pay.

      Check the assessor’s office hours and visit or call to understand the public information they have available—both online and in their office files. Here are links to a few assessor offices in the Northwest Corner: Salisbury CT, Sharon CT, Falls Village (Canaan) CT, Canaan (N. Canaan) CT, Cornwall CT, and Millerton (Town of Northeast), NY).

      You should make sure that the assessor has accurate up to date facts on your own property’s features, structures, land, and zoning. You may be overpaying for land or a patio you don’t own.

      If you feel your assessed property value is excessive, discuss adjusting the assessment and avoid going through the annual public grievance process. Assessors can also give you an idea of what is happening in the real estate market and provide you with recent sales figures.

      Most importantly, assessors can advise you on the availability of agricultural, forestry, veterans, seniors, and other exemptions that you might qualify to receive. These exemptions could lower your assessment and your tax bill every year. It’s worth a visit to get to know these experienced professionals.

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        Stinky Bugs

        Apparently, stink bugs don’t like the cold and will be happy to find a place to roost inside your home this fall. Supposedly, they don’t pose a risk to your health or damage your property, but they provide a good shock when you come upon them unexpectedly.  They look like miniature Klingon aliens from Star Trek.

        This bug was accidentally introduced into the United States from China or Japan, by hitching a ride as a stowaway in packing crates or on machinery.  They actually did not make their way to CT, NY, and the Northwest Corner until relatively recently.

        The recommendations to keep the bugs out of your house are the same as for general winter maintenance:     

            1) Sealing off little cracks around your home - but most of our homes are so old we could spend a lifetime caulking for little improvement!

            2) Definitely repair storm windows.

            3) Like almost every other bug in my woods, they like light, so turn off outside lights at night.

            4) Finally, make sure there isn’t standing or leaking water outside or in your basement.

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          Election Day - Tuesday, November 6

          Election Day is coming up, this Tuesday, November 6. We are fortunate to have some very capable people running for office in our region,

          Regardless of your political party or stand on any of the issues, Election Day is our chance to vote for the people we think will best represent us.

          To quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944:

          "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves—and the only way they could do that is by not voting at all."

          "The continuing health and vigor of our democratic system depends on the public spirit and devotion of its citizens which find expression in the ballot box."

          "Every man and every woman in this Nation—regardless of party—who have the right to register and to vote, and the opportunity to register and to vote, have also the sacred obligation to register and to vote. For the free and secret ballot is the real keystone of our American Constitutional system."

          Please be sure you take time to vote on Tuesday!

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