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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:
Now that you know what to look for, what kinds of animals can cause these signs? Some of the most common winter wildlife include:
Prevention is key to avoiding a winter wildlife invasion. Critter control starts at home with these winter wildlife prevention tips:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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