Wildlife Control: How to Keep Animals Out of Your Home

Wildlife Control: How to Keep Animals Out of Your Home

The winter months can bring wildlife indoors as they search for food and shelter from the cold weather, causing property damage by chewing through the wood, insulation, and wiring in your home, and can also carry diseases that threaten the health of you and your family. What critters should you be concerned about? Most wildlife control services include the exclusion, removal, and control of animals such as squirrels, rodents, raccoons, snakes, bees, and birds. Safe removal of the nuisance critter is always the first priority when it comes to wildlife, but what can you do to prevent these animals from getting into your home or property to begin with? Keep reading for tips on wildlife prevention and bird control.

  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors.
  • Repair or replace any damaged window and door screens.
  • Replace loose mortar around foundations and weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home including the siding for damage, holes, and leaks and repair them immediately.
  • Repair any holes under exterior stairs, porches, balconies, etc. to keep animals from taking up residence underneath them.
  • Install chimney caps.
  • Cover the openings to exhaust fans, soffits, attic vents, and utility pipes.
  • Inspect your roof annually for water damage and loose or damaged shingles.
  • Keep your attic, basement, and crawlspace well ventilated and dry.
  • Clean eaves and gutters regularly to prevent debris from building up.
  • Don’t leave your garage door open for prolonged periods of time or overnight.
  • Keep tree limbs cut back at least 6 to 8 feet from your roof line.
  • Store your firewood off the ground and at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Keep your grills or barbecues clean and grease-free.
  • If you have fruit trees make sure you pick or dispose of ripe fruit and clean up any spoiled fruit that may collect at the base of the trees.
  • Clean up leaves and brush and don’t leave them in piles around your property.
  • Store your birdseed in secure containers and don’t leave birdseed in your feeders overnight.
  • Bring in your pet’s food and water dishes at night.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Dispose of your garbage regularly and use cans that have secure lids.

If you suspect a wildlife problem, contact a professional wildlife control company.  A wildlife removal expert will inspect your home to identify the animal nuisance, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the wildlife from getting into your home in the future. They can also inform you of any existing damage or contamination and provide you with a recommendation for repairs or clean-up.
You May Also Be Interested In:

Lawn Care: 7 Tips For A Healthy Winter Lawn
What Is Green Pest Control? 
Termite Control: Do I Really Need Termite Protection? 
Pest Control: Mosquitoes In The South
Exterminating Tips: Keeping Out Winter Pests

Sneaky Wildlife: Possums and Raccoons

Sneaky Wildlife: Possums and Raccoons

When you think of pest control the most common critters that come to mind are roaches, rats, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and other traditional pests. Wildlife may not be at the top of your list but these sneaky pests can wreak havoc on your home and your health. Two wildlife pests that often get into your home are possums and raccoons. While they are noticeably different in appearance, these two animals share many similarities. They are both highly adaptable to their surroundings and can be quite creative in seeking out food sources. They are both also known to carry diseases that can be harmful to humans. Do you know how to identify a possum or a raccoon? What can you do to prevent these pests from damaging your home and property?

POSSUMS

Possum
Possums are North America’s only marsupial species. They can range from 14″ long to over 3 feet long. Their tails make up 50% of their total body length. They can weight up to 13 lbs. Possums are scavengers and will forage in trashcans and dumpsters for food. They are omnivores but prefer insects and carrion over fruits and nuts. Possums are highly nocturnal and are rarely seen by humans. They prefer to live near water. Possums are found throughout eastern North America. Possums are slow movers but are highly skilled climbers. They can get into attics and under houses, especially in crawlspaces. They will play dead as a defensive tactic.

 RACCOONS

Raccoon
Raccoons can range from just under 2 feet long to just over 3 feet long. They can weigh up to 23 lbs. They have a distinctive black mask coloring on their faces. Raccoons are scavengers and will often forage in trashcans and dumpsters for food. They are quite dexterous and can use their paws to open doors and lids. They are omnivores but prefer fruits and nuts over meat. They are nocturnal and are rarely seen by humans. If you spot a raccoon during the day be aware – this is often (but not always) a sign of rabies or other abnormal condition in the raccoon. Raccoons are found throughout most of the United States, southern Canada, and northern South America. Raccoons are creatures of habit. Once they discover a food source at your house they will keep coming back over and over. They often access attics and roofs of homes causing significant damage.

PREVENTION

  • Seal any garbage cans and compost bins at night.
  • Use locking lids on trashcans if possible or place a weight on top to keep the lids closed.
  • Pick up any fruit or other food items from your yard.
  • Make sure to bring your pet’s food and water bowls indoors at night and empty bird feeders.
  • Keep the outside of your home well lit at night – possums and raccoons are nocturnal and shy away from lights.
  • Examine the outside of your home for possible entry points and seal them off. Make sure to check chimneys, attic vents, and seams along roofs and foundations.
  • Keep your yard clear of debris and keep the grass mowed.
  • Spray a mixture of half ammonia and half water on your trashcans or soak rags in the mixture and scatter them around your property. The smell will repel these pests.
  • Consider enclosing your crawlspace to eliminate their ability to get under your home.
  • If you think you have a wildlife issue, contact a licensed pest control expert who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
Common Winter Pests and How to Prevent Them

Common Winter Pests and How to Prevent Them

During the colder months of winter, most of us like to stay bundled up and warm – with warmer clothes and inside our cozy homes. Unfortunately, many animals also seek this same shelter and warmth in the winter – oftentimes in our homes! Do you know which animals can cause problems for you during these colder months? What can you do to prevent them from seeking shelter in your home? Check out these common winter wildlife pests and 6 ways you can prevent them.

SQUIRRELS

Squirrel
Squirrels can be a problem year round. They don’t hibernate in the winter and stay very active. They like to seek shelter and warmth in attic spaces. They may also seek out your attic as a storage space for their winter stash of nuts, grains, and seeds so they don’t have to search for food in the cold winter months. Squirrel nests are easy to spot in the winter in bare trees. Squirrels are notorious chewers – so if you have them in your attic you can expect your wood, insulation, and electrical wiring to suffer damage.

SKUNKS

Skunk
Skunks live in the same areas during the winter as they do in the summer. They like to burrow under our decks, patios, and stoops. Skunks don’t technically hibernate, but they do lower their body temperature and heart rate in the winter to conserve energy and therefore become less active. They can go up to a week without food and water but will venture out on a semi-regular basis in search of sustenance. They live in larger communities in the wintertime for warmth.

RATS/MICE

Rats and Mice
Rats and mice are also year round pests but they can become more of a problem in the winter. These rodents seek out warmth, food, shelter, and water inside our homes during the harsh winter months. They can squeeze into your home through extremely small openings. Like squirrels, they are also notorious for chewing through insulation, wiring, and wood.

BATS

Bats
There are at least 40 different species of bats in the United States. Bats are mostly active in the summer months and will hibernate in the winter. They will, however, hibernate in your attic! Bats like to roost in attics, belfries, behind shutters, and loose boards. They are carriers of rabies and can spread disease.

RACCOONS

Raccoon
Raccoons are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. Raccoons can cause significant damage to roofs and chimneys in their search for den sites. They will also get into crawlspaces in search of den sites. They are a major carrier of rabies.

CHIPMUNKS

Chipmunk
Chipmunks are like squirrels in that they gather and store their food in the fall. They are less active in the colder weather, lowering their body temperatures and heart rates to conserve energy. They usually make their nests in underground burrows that can be up to 10 feet long. They will venture out every few days to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom. Oftentimes they will use attics as a storage space for their winter stash.

OPOSSUMS

Opossum
Opossums are the only marsupial found in North America. They will occasionally make their dens in attics and garages. They are known to make very messy nests. Opossums have very sharp teeth and will show them, as well as hiss, when they feel threatened. They are known to bite in very rare cases.

PREVENTION:

Winter wildlife can be a problem especially if they build a nest or store food in or near your home in the wintertime. The cold weather also doesn’t eliminate the diseases that they carry and spread. If these pests get into your home they can cause significant damage to your roof, insulation, foundation, wiring, and more. What can you do to prevent winter wildlife from making your home theirs? Check out these 6 tips to prevent winter wildlife.

  1. Eliminate Entry Points. Winter wildlife can’t get into your home if they don’t have a way in. Carefully inspect your home for any openings that animals can use to get in. Check and proof any weep vents in your bricks. Seal around HVAC and utility lines, in gaps in the foundation and siding, in gaps between your roof and soffits, and gaps between the soffits and fascia. Check your roof vents, as well. Seal gaps around windows and doors, including your garage door. Many rodents can chew through rubber or thin plastic seals so consider using heavy duty metal seals or caulk. Check screens on doors and windows to make sure they are in good repair. Use chimney caps. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to prevent unwanted critters, as well.
  2. Clean Your Gutters. Clogged gutters can block the drainage of rain and melting snow and ice. This can not only cause damage to your home, but also invites birds and other wildlife to build their nests here. Make sure drains are clean and that your spouts are far enough away from your foundation. Consider installing Leafproof XP Gutter Guards to make gutter cleaning and maintenance easier for you.
  3. Clear Out The Clutter. Now is the time to reorganize your belongings. This not only lets you get your garage or attic cleaned out, but also allows you to inspect areas of these spaces that you might not normally have access to. If possible, get rid of cardboard storage boxes and use plastic containers with lids instead. Get rid of old newspapers or other paper products as these invite rodents and other pests to make nests.
  4. Get Rid Of Their Food. Winter wildlife will eat anything they can get their hands on. If you have birdfeeders, take them down in the evenings and put them back out in the mornings. Clean up any spilled birdseed from the ground underneath them. If you do keep your birdfeeders out all the time, consider squirrel proofing them. Use trash and compost bins with locks and store them in the garage if possible. Make sure outdoor composts are well sealed. Store food in airtight containers and refrigerate them if possible. Don’t leave pet food out overnight, especially outdoors. Clean up any spilled food and crumbs daily and sweep and vacuum often.
  5. Clean Up Your Yard. Clutter and debris in  your yard can invite all sorts of pests to invade. Keep your yard clean and free of debris. Trim shrubs and branches away from your home as pests can use these to access your house. Stack firewood at least 2 feet off the ground to keep animals from nesting underneath. Dead trees, brush piles, and tall grasses should be put in yard waste bags and kept in the garage until garbage day.
  6. Call The Pros. If you suspect you have a wildlife problem, call a professional wildlife control company. They can come out and inspect your home, remove any unwanted critters, and provide you with a prevention and treatment plan to keep them from coming back.
Common Cold-Weather Critters & How to Control Them

Common Cold-Weather Critters & How to Control Them

Squirrels

Hearing noises at night? You may have squirrels nesting in the attic, looking for shelter from the cold. To get rid of squirrels, first you have to determine how they’re getting in. This can be tricky if you don’t have easy access to your roof and since squirrels can sneak into small spaces. Contact a wildlife removal company to fully inspect your home for squirrel access points, set up traps, and correct any damage caused by squirrels. It’s also a good idea to keep trees trimmed and away from your roofline to cut off direct access.

Raccoons

Raccoons are common home invaders in the winter months, looking for refuge in crawl spaces, attics, and chimneys. Similar to squirrels, effective raccoon control requires professional expertise – to identify and seal entry points, trap and remove the raccoons, and prevent them from coming back with exclusion techniques. To prevent a raccoon invasion, eliminate food sources that attract them by using outdoor trash bins with lids and removing pet food when it’s not being eaten.

Mice

Mice are year-round pest nuisances that typically nest in attics, basements, cabinets, and closets. And because mice can fit through gaps as small as 1/4 inch, keeping them out can be difficult. As with other rodent control methods, the first step is to inspect your home for cracks, gaps, holes, or any other openings and correct them. Secondly, eliminate food sources and hiding places by keeping a clean house, removing clutter, and storing food in sealed containers. If you see small, dark-colored droppings anywhere, call an exterminator – quarterly pest control treatments are recommended to get rid of mice and prevent a future infestation.

Rats

Similar to mice, rats are common winter invaders, searching for food and warmth inside your home, needing holes as small as a quarter to get in. To prevent this, and other rodent invasions, seal any gaps or holes in your home’s foundation, around your roof, in the crawl space or basement, or around doors and windows, keep garbage away from your home’s exterior in sealed bins, and check for evidence of rats – usually indicated by droppings (larger than those left by mice), gnawing, or footprints and tail tracks.

Roaches

Cockroaches, too, are looking for food and warmth during colder months. The best way to prevent roaches is with preventative pest control and by eliminating what attracts roaches – food left out, crumbs, pet food and water, clutter, and water leaks.

Spiders

Common house spiders will start making their ways indoors starting in the cooler, Fall months. Prevent spiders with ongoing pest control treatments, by eliminating clutter (spiders like to hide in dark, undisturbed places), and by knocking down cobwebs regularly.
 

Common Cold-Weather Critters & How to Control Them

Common Cold-Weather Critters & How to Control Them

Squirrels

Hearing noises at night? You may have squirrels nesting in the attic, looking for shelter from the cold. To get rid of squirrels, first you have to determine how they’re getting in. This can be tricky if you don’t have easy access to your roof and since squirrels can sneak into small spaces. Contact a wildlife removal company to fully inspect your home for squirrel access points, set up traps, and correct any damage caused by squirrels. It’s also a good idea to keep trees trimmed and away from your roofline to cut off direct access.

Raccoons

Raccoons are common home invaders in the winter months, looking for refuge in crawl spaces, attics, and chimneys. Similar to squirrels, effective raccoon control requires professional expertise – to identify and seal entry points, trap and remove the raccoons, and prevent them from coming back with exclusion techniques. To prevent a raccoon invasion, eliminate food sources that attract them by using outdoor trash bins with lids and removing pet food when it’s not being eaten.

Mice

Mice are year-round pest nuisances that typically nest in attics, basements, cabinets, and closets. And because mice can fit through gaps as small as 1/4 inch, keeping them out can be difficult. As with other rodent control methods, the first step is to inspect your home for cracks, gaps, holes, or any other openings and correct them. Secondly, eliminate food sources and hiding places by keeping a clean house, removing clutter, and storing food in sealed containers. If you see small, dark-colored droppings anywhere, call an exterminator – quarterly pest control treatments are recommended to get rid of mice and prevent a future infestation.

Rats

Similar to mice, rats are common winter invaders, searching for food and warmth inside your home, needing holes as small as a quarter to get in. To prevent this, and other rodent invasions, seal any gaps or holes in your home’s foundation, around your roof, in the crawl space or basement, or around doors and windows, keep garbage away from your home’s exterior in sealed bins, and check for evidence of rats – usually indicated by droppings (larger than those left by mice), gnawing, or footprints and tail tracks.

Roaches

Cockroaches, too, are looking for food and warmth during colder months. The best way to prevent roaches is with preventative pest control and by eliminating what attracts roaches – food left out, crumbs, pet food and water, clutter, and water leaks.

Spiders

Common house spiders will start making their ways indoors starting in the cooler, Fall months. Prevent spiders with ongoing pest control treatments, by eliminating clutter (spiders like to hide in dark, undisturbed places), and by knocking down cobwebs regularly.

 

Pin It on Pinterest