LAS VEGAS, NEV.- Company founder and president, Randy Hushower of Niles Wildlife Pest
Control (NWPC) launched his new product in January at the Wildlife Control Technology Seminar Coiivention in Las Vegas, Nev. Held at the Circus Circus Hotel more than 125 pest control professionals from across the country attended seminars and previewed the latest new products of 2007.
As a member of the National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA) he also demonstrated his product line at the 10th Annual New England Nuisance Wildlife Control seminar in Connecticut in March. Having received orders from across the country this local entrepreneur is putting Niles on the map.
In 2000, he was hired to remove dive-bombing sparrows that were disrupting diners. These pesky birds proved to be more of a challenge than imagined. After a number of attempts with netting and bait with-out success a trap for birds that required no weight to trip the trap was envisioned. With a background in electronics Randy decided upon infrared laser technology. After many years of trial and error, a microprocessor-based system has emerged which operates for months at a time on three AA batteries.
The new laser bird trap, which is patent pending, was revealed to convention goers with great success. Am infrared beam trips the trap when a bird is detected, the trigger switch mechanism is released, and the trap is sprung encircling the bird with a net. The trap does not hann the bird and therefore a “catch and release” method can be used. The laser bird trap is weather proof and battery operated, with a time delay function for site-specific modifications, and can be hung vertically on a house or tree for such birds as woodpeckers. These versatile traps come in two sizes: small suitable for birds such as sparrows and large suitable for birds such as pigeons.
Also introduced was NWPC’s laser animal trap using the same laser technology for cage traps. With this trap conversion product any animal cage trap with the old trip mechanism can be retrofitted with the infrared laser detector system. This allows the trap to be set at any angle and prohibits those bait stealing critters from evading capture.
Niles Wildlife Pest Control was started in the early 1990s and continues to remove all types of pesky critters from moles to raccoons, and of course birds.
By DEBRA HAIGHT
NILES – Keeping wild animals in their natural habitats and out of homes and businesses is Randy Hushower’s job, and he’s developed a new line of laser trap products to make it easier.
Hushower is the founder and president of Niles Wildlife Pest Control which serves Southwest Michigan and northern hidiana. He introduced his new line of products at the Wildlife Control Technology Seminar Convention in Las Vegas in January and later at the New England Nuisance Wildlife Control seminar in Connecticut in March.
Most of the calls he gets are from people whose homes have been invaded by birds, bats or small animals like raccoons, squirrels and skunks.
“If you leave cat food out outdoors, it’s like a steak dinner to raccoons, possums and skunks,” he said. “Bird feeders will also attract squirrels, raccoons and skunks. I tell people to leave the bird feeders out in the winter, but not in the summer. If you have a lot of wild animals around, it’s probably because you’re feeding them.”
A former engineer at Whirlpool, he began trapping animals in his spare time in the early 1990s. Since then, he quit his job at Whirlpool when he realized his- kids were growing up without him having enough time to spend with them.
“I took a pay cut, but I’m a lot happier,” he said.
Although the hours and the work can be a little strange, he hasn’t regretted his decision to start his own pest control company.
“When people have a bat flying around their house, you can get calls in the middle of the night,” he said. “They want you to come quickly. One time, a woman called and was crying because she had a raccoon she was chasing Around her living room.
“I’ve gotten a lot of interesting calls over the years. It takes a little fearlessness, but I’ve trapped and hunted all my life since I was a kid so I have some experience with the different animals.
“A lot of people say they don’t care what I do, they just want me to get rid of the animal. It’s fulfilling to help people out and they’re so grateful when you take care of the problem. It’s a fulfilling venture for me.”
Hushower’s quest to develop the perfect bird and animal traps began seven years ago when he was hired to remove “dive-bombing sparrows” that were disrupting diners at the South Bend Marriott Hotel and causing a health concern for the restaurant.
“Fine mist nets were hung up, but they didn’t work,” he said. “I started trying to figure out ways to trip the net to go over the bird and use my electronics training.
“Most traps are weight sensifive, and the birds weighed so little that they didn’t work. So, I started with the idea of an infrared beam triggering the net. I worked on the design for seveml years and couldn’t overcome the battery life issue. I had a firm in Elkhart that couldn’t figure it out and then went to a firm in Goshen before I finally got a working mechanism.”
He first developed a laser bird trap that springs a net over the bird when it runs into the trap’s infrared beam. Later he decided to use the same technology on a regular animal trap to make the cage door come down when the animal crosses the infrared beam. The location of the beam can be adjusted depending on the type and size of animal being trapped. In both cases, the traps use three AA batteries which last about three months before needing to be changed.
He has also fine-tuned the traps so that the laser bird trap can have zero to 30 second delays to catch more than one bird at a time. The bird traps come in two sizes, 17 by 17 inches for smaller birds like sparrows, and smilar-size birds. The bird traps can also be mounted on the side of a building to catch woodpeckers which can wreak havoc on a cedar house.
Hushower said the traps were received with enthusiasm at both conventions he attended this year and are being purchased by not only pest control companies but large retailers like Wal-Mart.
Most of the house calls he gets are for birds, bats, groundhogs, moles, raccoons, skunks and squirrels.
He also has a contract with AM General to capture pigeons.
As word of his inventions spread, he has been getting calls from other parts of the country from people wanting his help in capturing animals as large as mountain lions and coyotes. Around here, he got calls all the time this last- year when there were several cougar sightings and even had people call him from rural Howard Township near Niles about a black bear.
In many -instances, he will capture and release the birds and small animals since they’re mainly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes, however, he will euthanize animals such as skunks and raccoons that look sick.