They say, there is no place like home, but to furry pests in our area, there is no place like your home. Just as we enjoy the cozy indoors during the fall and winter months, so do local wildlife like roof rats, squirrels, raccoons and even bats. It’s important to know the telltale signs of a potential infestation and steps you can take to keep these critters outside where they belong. Wildlife can cause significant damage once inside and can also carry and transmit diseases. Unusual noises in your attic or droppings found in the pantry, along the baseboards or in the attic could indicate that unwanted guests may have moved in for the winter ahead. The most common furry intruders of fall are:
Roof Rats which weren’t even found in our area 20 years ago and now are the most frequent invader. They are typically tree dwellers and look for high places inside your home including soffits and attics to survive the winter. They also reproduce very quickly, making them nearly impossible to control without the help of a professional.
Squirrels: Both gray and flying squirrels will seek shelter in attics, exterior walls and even between floors using insulation as nesting material. Squirrels can also carry fleas, ticks and mites that can infest your home once inside.
Raccoons: These furry bandits live in a constant quest for shelter and food and use their very adept hands to open garbage cans as well as remove siding and tear off shingles to get inside. Raccoons are also known to carry rabies.
Bats: Finally, you should keep an eye out for evidence of bats in the attic. They can fit through spaces as small as half an inch and often find their way inside along rooflines, chimneys, gables or vents – making your attic a prime location to take up residence and nest.
To keep these furry pests outdoors this fall and winter, we recommend the following steps:
• Seal all cracks and holes, paying close attention to the areas where utilities lines and pipes enter your home
• Use plastic boxes and containers with seal-tight lids for storage and be sure to keep them elevated off the floor to keep wildlife from finding a home in undisturbed areas of your house, garage, basement and attic
• Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean
• Keep bird feeders away from the house and use squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder
• Do not leave pet food or water bowls out overnight
• Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can with a tight lid and keep it sealed at all times
By knowing what to be on the lookout for and putting the above tips to use, we’re hopeful that your family and friends are the only guests you have in your home this fall. However, should one of these furry intruders make an appearance, be sure to contact a pest professional licensed in wildlife control and exclusion immediately.