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.
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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.
Moisture Barriers: What Are The Benefits?

Moisture Barriers: What Are The Benefits?

If you’re like most of us you don’t spend too much time inspecting your crawlspace. But did you know that moisture that makes its way into your crawlspace can cause significant problems not only for your home but for your health, as well? Dampness in your crawlspace is a common problem in homes without a proper moisture barrier system. Without a proper barrier, your crawlspace carries humid air that condenses and settles on the pipes, walls, and even the subflooring. This moisture provides the ideal environment for mold, mildew, and pests. A moisture barrier prevents this moisture from evaporating and seeping into the air beneath your home. Moisture barriers are composed of either foil or plastic material that helps prevent moisture from penetrating your crawlspace air.
So why should you have a moisture barrier installed in your crawlspace? Check out these 7 benefits of moisture barrier installation.

1. TEMPERATURE CONTROL

The moisture that gets into your crawlspace affects the temperature in your home. It can make your home too hot, too cold, too stuffy, or too dry depending on the weather, the season, and other factors. The moisture either absorbs the warmth from your house or keeps it from escaping. In turn, this causes your HVAC unit or furnace to run too long trying to maintain a steady temperature indoors. Installing a moisture barrier seals those spaces and keeps the moisture out of your crawlspace, helping to regulate the temperature inside.

2. ENERGY CONSERVATION

As we mentioned above, the moisture in your crawlspace can affect the temperature inside your home. As your HVAC unit or furnace runs longer to help maintain the temperature inside, it uses more electricity which, in turn, increases your electricity bill. This also puts additional strain on the HVAC unit, causing them to wear out faster and need costly repairs and/or replacement. A moisture barrier acts as a sealant, controlling the moisture levels and easing the strain of your HVAC system, making your home more energy efficient and saving you money on your energy bills.

3. MOLD AND ODOR PREVENTION

High moisture levels in your crawlspace provide the ideal environment for mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew in your air system can be detrimental to your and your family’s health. Mold can also cause significant damage to your home. Installing a moisture barrier greatly reduces these moisture levels, preventing mold and mildew from forming. Mold and mildew are often the cause of foul odors in your home, as well. A moisture barrier can also help eliminate these stale, musty odors from your house.

4. PIPE PROTECTION

Your crawlspace is home to a number of pipes that supply both water and power to your home. When moisture infiltrates your crawlspace, it can cause rotting inside and around these pipes, leading them to burst or break. Moisture barrier installation helps keep your pipes dryer, which increases their lifespan and decreases costly repairs.

5. ELECTRICAL HAZARDS

As we mentioned above, many of the pipes in your crawlspace house electricity that runs to your home. Moisture and electricity don’t mix! Moisture in and around these pipes can lead to electrical shorts, rusted wires, and even fire. Installing a moisture barrier eliminates the moisture that can infiltrate these pipes, keeping your home safer from electrical hazards.

6. STRUCTURAL PROTECTION

The foundation of your home is vital to its structure and soundness. Moisture in your crawlspace can lead to wood rot, especially on joists and beams. Rotting wood can lead to significant structural damage to your home which can, in turn, stick you with a huge repair bill. Moisture barrier installation reduces the amount of moisture in your crawlspace which helps prevent wood rot, protecting the structural integrity of your home.

7. PEST CONTROL

Your unsealed crawlspace is an open invitation to pests and wildlife in search of shelter, food, and water. Once inside, these pests can cause significant damage to your home and your health. Rodents and other wildlife can chew through wood and electrical wires. Roaches and other insects can use the crawlspace to gain access to your home, posing potential health risks to you and your family. Installing a moisture barrier completely closes off your crawlspace, eliminating this entry point for pests into your home.

Keeping Wildlife Out This Spring

Keeping Wildlife Out This Spring

As winter comes to an end, many animals are starting to emerge from hibernation. You may not have realized it but these animals will often take up residence over the winter in your home. Now that the weather is warming, they will start moving around in search of food and water and to try and get out. Some wildlife that get into your home are harmless but some can cause significant damage both to your home and to your health. They can leave feces behind that can contaminate the air in your home. They can chew through wires and wood in your attics and walls. So what can you do to keep these animals from seeing your home as a safe haven? Check out these tips to keep the wildlife out 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.
Mice, Rats, And Other Problem Rodents

Mice, Rats, And Other Problem Rodents

When the weather turns cold we tend to spend more time indoors enjoying the warmth from our heaters and blankets. Animals are no different! Fall and winter are the time of year when animals invade our homes in search of warmth, shelter, food and water. One of the most common pests we see in cold weather season is rodents. While rats and mice are the most common rodents we see in our area, they aren’t the only ones that can cause a problem. Chipmunks and squirrels can also cause significant damage to our homes if they get inside. Here are a few of the most common rodents in our area, as well as some tips to keep them from invading your home.

HOUSE MOUSE

House Mouse

  • Light to dark gray in color
  • Weighs 1 ounce or les
  • Small and slender
  • Rod shaped droppings
  • Live in and around homes, farms, and commercial buildings
  • Prefer foods high in fat, protein, and sugar
  • Teeth grow continuously
  • Cause damage by gnawing on wood and electrical wires
  • Can contaminate your home with urine and feces
  • Can fit through an opening the size of a dime

NORWAY RAT

Norway Rat

  • Gray in color
  • Small ears
  • Tail is short in relation to its head and body
  • Blunt ended droppings
  • Exist in large numbers
  • Live in and around homes, in basements, in stores, in warehouses, on docks, in sewers, and in dumpsters
  • Burrow to nest under buildings, under concrete slabs, around lakes and ponds, and near garbage
  • Line their nests with shredded paper, cloth, and other fibrous material
  • Nocturnal
  • Eat nearly any type of food but prefer cereal grains, meat, fish, nuts, and fruit
  • Can fit through an opening the size of a quarter

ROOF RAT

Roof Rat

  • Dark in color
  • Weighs less than 1 lb
  • Large ears
  • Tail is longer than its head and body
  • Spindle shaped droppings
  • Spends 90% of its time above ground
  • Nests in trees and sometimes attics
  • Run on power lines or along the tops of fences
  • Nocturnal
  • Can fit through openings the size of a quarter

CHIPMUNK

Chipmunk

  • Small squirrels
  • Tan and brown with dark and light stripes
  • Make a series of high pitched chirps and flip tail back and forth to attract attention
  • Active during the day
  • Sleep in underground burrows
  • Attracted to homes with gardens, flowers, bird feeders, pet food, and nut trees
  • Can damage electrical lines, cable, and AC pipes

GRAY SQUIRREL

Gray Squirrel

  • Predominantly gray with white markings
  • Short thick fur
  • Bushy tail
  • Weighs 1 to 1.5 lbs
  • Sends most of its time looking for food
  • Active year round
  • Active in mornings and evenings
  • Nests in attics or garages
  • Also invade bird feeders and garbage cans
  • Can cause significant damage to electrical wires and telephone cables
  • Can also cause damage to wood, insulation, wires, and storage boxes in your attic
  • Can contaminate your attic with urine and feces

FLYING SQUIRREL

Flying Squirrel

  • Grayish brown body
  • White belly
  • Soft thick fur
  • 4 to 6.5 ounces
  • Up to 12″ long with tail
  • Large eyes
  • Low soft chirp
  • Nocturnal
  • Eat mostly plants, seeds, nuts, leaves, bark, flowers, roots
  • Nest in tree cavities
  • Occasionally nest in attics (enter through roof gaps)
  • Will nest in your insulation
  • Can cause contamination with urine and feces

So now that you know some common rodents, what can you do to keep them from coming into your home? Check out these tips to prevent a rodent infestation.

  1. Clean up spilled food immediately.
  2. Put away all food at night, including pet food and bird feeders.
  3. Keep food, including pet food and bird seed, in sealed, airtight containers.
  4. Keep garbage can lids tightly sealed.
  5. Declutter your attic and basement, especially anything made of cardboard.
  6. Store any items you can on shelves rather than in the floor.
  7. Keep your yard clear of debris.
  8. Keep grass and shrubs cut short.
  9. Trim shrubs and trees away from the sides of your home.
  10. Store firewood off the ground and a safe distance from your home.
  11. Repair holes in your foundation, garage, and interior walls and any gaps in your roof.
  12. Seal any openings larger than 1/4″.
  13. Use rubber seals under garage doors.
  14. Use door sweeps on exterior doors.
  15. Use weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  16. Use screens that are in good repair on doors and windows.
  17. Seal around pipes, drains, and vents.
  18. Use chimney caps.
  19. If you suspect you have a rodent problem, contact a pest control professional.

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