Wildlife to Look Out for This Fall

Wildlife to Look Out for This Fall

August is here and as much as we don’t want to think about it, fall is right around the corner. As the days begin to get shorter and temperatures drop, wildlife creatures begin to prepare for the fall and winter seasons. Fall is the time when wildlife search for warm shelter and begin to stock up on food, sometimes leading them right to your home!

Here are some of the most common wildlife critters that can find refuge in your home for winter, along with some ways to prevent them from taking up residence in your home.

Squirrels

Squirrels like to “fatten” up in the fall as they get ready for the colder months. They often seek shelter in attics where they will make their nests and store their food. They are especially hazardous in homes because they have a tendency to chew through wires and wood, creating significant damage to your home.

Some ways to prevent squirrels:

  • Install chimney caps or screens
  • Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight
  • Take down bird feeders in the fall as squirrels love to scavenge these for seed
  • Trim back any limbs or branches that extend within 10 feet of your home

Raccoons

Like squirrels, raccoons also like to “fatten” up for the winter. Raccoons are nocturnal, which means they are more active at night. When the weather gets cooler, this causes raccoons to become more active and creative in their search for food. They will often find food in your trash cans and home and can often enter your house through the roof. They are known to seek shelter in either your attic or crawl space.

You can prevent raccoons by:

  • Keep trash in bins with secure, locking lids
  • Seal any entry points on the exterior of your home
  • Rinse out trash cans once a month to help eliminate odors
  • Install bright exterior lights to deter them from your yard at night

Rodents

Rodents, like mice and rats, will begin to be more active in the fall and you can usually hear them in your walls or attic. They seek shelter in your home because it supplies them with an available food supply throughout the winter.

Prevent rodents this fall by:

  • Storing food in plastic or metal containers with tight lids
  • Sealing up holes inside and outside the home
  • Cleaning up spilled food immediately and washing dishes soon after use
  • Keep compost bins as far away from the house as possible

Bats

Once the temperature dips below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, bats will begin their hibernation. While some species of bats do migrate south once the weather cools off, some will be in search of warm, dark spaces to roost that are hidden from predators. Unfortunately, they will often roost in the attic or chimney of your home.

You can prevent bats by:

  • Installing chimney screens
  • Using window screens and draft guards on doors and windows that go into the attic
  • Sealing any openings in shingles and weatherstripping
  • Making sure insulation isn’t worn down

Wildlife removal can be a difficult task to handle on your own, as there are some regulations for certain species. It is often best left to the professionals. If you suspect you have a wildlife problem, contact your local professional wildlife control company. These professionals will inspect your home to identify the animal problem. They will also provide you with the best plan of action to remove nuisance wildlife and prevent it in the future.

Preventing Wildlife in Attics

Preventing Wildlife in Attics

Now that winter is here, it is time to make sure your attic is not harboring wildlife from the cold. The most common pests that find refuge in attics are racoons, squirrels, bats, birds, and mice. These pests can cause severe damage to your home and pose a significant threat to your health.

There are many ways for wildlife creatures to get into your home. The most obvious ways are through vents and construction gaps. These can sometimes be unavoidable, since rodents can squeeze through cracks as small as half an inch wide. Some of the pests can be taken care of with DIY pest control, but some do need professional attention. Bats are a pest that you should not take care of yourself. They can carry rabies and some species are protected.

The damage that can be caused in your attic can be anything from chewed wires to disturbance to your insulation, which can end up being costly for you. There are many ways to implement wildlife control in your attic. Here are a few of our favorites below:

  1. Regularly inspect the exterior of your home to ensure there is no damage to the roof or siding. If you notice any damage or openings, look to seal them immediately. Fixing issues before they escalate is the best way to prevent pests from entering the attic.
  2. Keeping branches trimmed back away from the house will help keep wildlife like squirrels and raccoons from potentially jumping onto your roof. This will not keep them fully away, as they are both good climbers, but it will hinder their options.
  3. Consider investing in some roof vent covers to keep wildlife from accessing your attic. These will help to block entryways on the roof and are built to resist erosion and weather conditions, so they have lasting effects.
  4. If your home has a chimney, getting a chimney cap is a terrific addition. This will help to keep creatures, such as squirrels, from entering through the chimney into your main living space.

If you believe that you have wildlife in your attic, consider calling your local pest control company to help locate entry points, safely remove them, and prevent them from entering your house in the future.

Spring Wildlife Control

Spring Wildlife Control

Warmer weather triggers the emergence of animals from hibernation. What many homeowners don’t realize is that wildlife will sometimes take refuge inside your home during the cold winter months. Once the weather starts warming up, these overwintering pests will start waking up and come out in droves looking for food and water. While some wildlife may be harmless, others can cause significant damage to both your home and your health. Some pests leave feces behind that can contaminate your food, kitchen surfaces, and even the air inside your home. Other pests can chew through wood and wires in your attic and walls, putting you at risk for fires.

Some common spring wildlife that can cause issues for homeowners include birds like swallows and sparrows; rodents like rats and mice; bats; squirrels; and raccoons. Birds use eaves, vents, and holes in the roof to make nests. Bird nest removal and bird control is regulated and usually best left to professionals. Rodents are some of the most common nuisance pests, getting inside through tiny spaces and reproducing quickly. Chewing and contamination are huge problems with rodents. While not as common as some of the other wildlife mentioned previously, bats can cause problems for you in the springtime. Bats will usually roost in gable vents and soffits but can also get into your home through the chimney or holes that they can use to access the attic. Larger mammals like squirrels and raccoons can get into attics and chimneys and even crawlspaces and basements. They are some of the most destructive spring wildlife, chewing through materials in your home and leaving behind huge messes.

So what can you do to keep these animals from seeing your home as a safe haven? Check out these tips to help control wildlife this spring.

  • Check the outside of your home for any possible entry points and seal them.
  • Repair any leaks or damaged and rotted wood around your home.
  • Repair or replace damaged window and door screens.
  • Use chimney caps.
  • Use screens over dryer vents, air vents, and stove vents.
  • Trim back trees from your roof line and shrubs from the sides of your home.
  • Seal trash in containers with lids and don’t put it out until the day of trash pickup.
  • Don’t leave pet food or water out overnight.
  • Store unused pet food in sealed containers.
  • Empty bird feeders daily.
  • Keep your gutters clear or consider installing gutter guards.
  • If you suspect you have a wildlife problem, contact a professional wildlife control company to safely remove any animals you may have.

 

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Avoiding A Winter Wildlife Invasion

Avoiding A Winter Wildlife Invasion

When cold weather hits, winter wildlife go in search of three things: food for their bellies, water to quench their thirst, and warm shelter to keep them safe. When the going gets tough, these winter pests have to get creative in order to survive – often by making their way into your attic, chimney, basement, or crawlspace. While it’s beneficial for them, it can cause serious damage to both your home and your health to have them sharing space with you.

How do you know if you have a stowaway for the winter? Common signs of wildlife include:

  • Scratching sounds coming from your walls or attic
  • Chirping or squeaking sounds coming from the walls, vents, or attic
  • Garbage cans and bags that have been broken into
  • Chewing or gnawing marks in the basement or attic, or through wires or cardboard
  • A foul smell that lingers even after cleaning (which could be urine or feces)

Now that you know what to look for, what kinds of animals can cause these signs? Some of the most common winter wildlife include:

  • Raccoons: These nocturnal omnivores use their hands to dig for food, especially in your garbage cans. Raccoons are the largest carriers of rabies in Georgia (along with skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes). Raccoons can damage property, spread rabies, and spread ringworm. They are most likely to nest in chimneys and attics.
  • Rats and mice: These rodents like to live in crawlspaces and between the side beams in your walls. They will venture out to make trips to your kitchen in search of food. Rats and mice carry and spread salmonella, along with fleas, ticks, and lice. Their droppings also contain pathogens that can be dangerous to humans. They are avid chewers and will often chew through electrical wiring, causing property damage and increasing the risk of fires.
  • Squirrels: These are the most common rodents in Georgia with populations in the millions. These pests like to take up residence in attics and basements and will bring in tons of acorns to store for the winter. Squirrels, like their rodent cousins, also carry diseases and pathogens, both on themselves and in their droppings. They can also chew through wires.
  • Birds: Although less common than other winter wildlife, birds can be just as dangerous. Birds like to infest chimneys and attics to nest and lay their eggs. Their droppings can cause quite a mess and also harbor diseases and parasites. They can also cause severe damage to roof lines and chimneys. Many birds are protected so bird control and bird nest removal are usually best left to the professionals.
  • Bats: Bats like to roost in attics where they can hide during the day and venture out at night. They carry disease like rabies and can spread them to humans through their bite. Bats are a protected species in Georgia and killing them is prohibited.

Prevention is key to avoiding a winter wildlife invasion. Critter control starts at home with these winter wildlife prevention tips:

1. Inspect Chimneys

Chimneys provide a great hideout and also a gateway for wildlife to get into your home. Make sure the top of your chimney has a grated screen that is in good repair with no holes. Check above the flue panel for any leaves, debris, droppings, or animals before sealing it up. Make sure your chimney is secure.

2. Inspect Foundations

Small holes, cracks, open pipes, etc. in your foundation provide easy routes for wildlife to get into your home. A careful inspection of your foundations should be performed every season throughout the year. Seal any openings as you find them.

3. Inspect Roof and Siding

Any tiny cracks or openings in your roof or siding means easy access to your attic. Check the entire exterior of the roof, starting with the intersections and siding. Make sure to also check the flushing seams on the roof. Siding that connects to the roof should not be warped or pulled away. Be sure to check around exhaust openings and for loose vent screens, as well.

4. Inspect the Attic

Many wildlife critters love to hide out in the attic. Use a flashlight or headlamp and thoroughly inspect this space, checking for openings or chewed up or damaged areas of wood. Seal any holes you find but always make sure the animals are not still present before you do.

5. Secure Trash Containers

Your trashcans offer a buffet of food sources for pests. Use cans with tightly securing lids, avoid overfilling them, and wash the bins regularly to get rid of food waste.

6. Maintain Landscaping

Branches and limbs offer squirrels, raccoons, and other creatures a bridge directly into your home. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the house. Prune shrubs to keep them at least 12″ from the sides of your home. Trim any branches that overhang or touch your roof, as well.

7. Clean Up Food

Leaving food sources outside your home will just attract wildlife in. Try to avoid leaving pet food outside and tossing scraps or pouring leftover grease in the yard. Pick up any fallen fruit. Protect your gardens with fences that are designed to keep animals out. Clean up any spilled birdseed from feeders and bring them in overnight.

Wildlife control is an ongoing process that needs special attention and consideration, especially in the cold winter months. If you have a problem with winter wildlife, contact your local pest control company for an inspection and appropriate treatment or wildlife exclusion plan.

 

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Wildlife Control: Animals to Look Out For This Fall

Wildlife Control: Animals to Look Out For This Fall

Fall is a busy time for wildlife. As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, animals begin their frantic preparations for winter. Fall is a time to stock up on food and find warm places to shelter over the cold winter months. These preparations often lead wildlife into your homes in search of food, warmth, and shelter. There are several common critters that become more active in the autumn months. Here are some of the most common along with ways to prevent them from taking up residence in your home.

Rodents

Rodent
Rodents such as rats and mice will often seek shelter in your home because it provides them with a readily available food supply throughout the winter. You will begin to hear their activity in the walls and attic in the fall as they start storing food in their nests. You can prevent rodents by:

  • Sealing up holes inside and outside the home
  • Trapping rodents around the home to help reduce the rodent population
  • Storing food in plastic or metal containers with tight lids
  • Cleaning up spilled food immediately and washing dishes soon after use
  • Storing pet food in sealed containers and not leaving them out overnight
  • Keeping compost bins as far away from the house as possible

Raccoons

Raccoon
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures that hunt for food at night. They start to “fatten up” in the fall in preparation for the cold winter months with a scarce food supply. This makes them more active and more creative in their search for food – often leading them to your trash cans and home. Raccoons will often enter your home via the roof and are known to seek shelter in attics and crawlspaces. You can prevent raccoons by:

  • Installing fences around your yard and garden areas
  • Install bright exterior lights to deter them from your yard at night
  • Keep trash in cans with secure, locking lids
  • Seal any entry points on the exterior of your home
  • Rinse out trash cans once a month to help eliminate odors
  • Spray down trash bags with ammonia to help cover up the trash smell

Squirrels

Squirrel
Like raccoons, squirrels also like to “fatten up” in the fall as they get ready for the cold months of winter. Squirrels will often seek shelter in attics where they will make their nests and store their food. Squirrels are especially hazardous in homes because of their tendency to chew through wood and wires, creating the potential for significant and costly damage to your house. You can prevent squirrels by:

  • Keeping bags of seed sealed and stored high on shelves
  • Rake up and dispose of any seeds or leaves that fall from trees
  • Take down bird feeders in the fall as squirrels love to scavenge these for seed
  • Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight
  • Trim back any limbs or branches that extend within 10 feet of your home
  • Install chimney caps or screens

Chipmunks

Chipmunk
Chipmunks behave very similarly to squirrels with one exception – they will burrow in your yard instead of nesting in your home. Chipmunks build burrows in areas where they can easily access food during the winter. Chipmunks eat the same diet as squirrels including seeds, nuts, berries, grubs, and roots. Chipmunk burrows can cause serious damage to your yard. You can prevent chipmunks by:

  • Consider installing fencing that is at least 8 inches deep around your yard, garden, or your entire property
  • Make sure any exterior holes in your home are sealed
  • Cover chimneys, vents, and pipes with mesh covers
  • Clean up any leaves, nuts, or fruit that fall from trees as soon as possible
  • Take bird feeders down in the fall and clean up any spilled birdseed daily
  • Keep landscaping mowed and trimmed back

Bats

Bat
Bats will roost once temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. While some species will migrate south once the weather cools off, others will hibernate until spring. They will search for warm, dark spaces to roost that are hidden from predators but still easy for them to access. Unfortunately, they will often make their roosts in the attic or chimney of your home. You can prevent bats by:

  • Ensuring the attic is well sealed
  • Checking insulation to make sure it isn’t worn down
  • Installing chimney screens
  • Sealing any openings in shingles and weatherstripping
  • Use window screens and draft guards on doors and windows that go into the attic

Wildlife removal can be difficult and is oftentimes best left to a professional. If you suspect you have a problem with wildlife, contact a professional wildlife control company who can inspect your home to identify your animal problem, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the animals from getting into your home in the future.

 

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