With the start of a new year, you may have begun to purge your home of unnecessary items or mapped out a major cleanup day. While the most lived in rooms are probably on your radar – the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedrooms – areas like your basement and attic can become catch all-areas or forgotten altogether. These neglected spaces are then susceptible to pest invasions and other home issues.
Prevent Pests with these Basement & Attic Pest Control Tips:
- Inspect insulation around your basement. Replace weather-stripping, seal any cracks and crevices, and repair any mortar that is found to be loose.
- When moving stored items to your basement or attic, consider utilizing plastic, sealed containers that are raised off the floor. Cardboard boxes tend to attract pests while plastic bins will deter them from settling inside your stored items.
- To cut down on moisture and areas of standing water, consider investing in a moisture barrier for your crawlspace and a gutter protection system to make sure water is not filtering to your crawlspace/basement area.
- Proper attic insulation is key to keeping pests and wildlife out of your home. While sealing any entry points is a great start, investing in TAP Attic Insulation not only acts as pest control, but can also lower your utility costs significantly.
These tips are only part of your healthy home journey. Schedule a pest inspection with a licensed exterminator, who can identify current pest issues, potential pest threats in the future, and provide a personalized pest control plan for ongoing prevention.
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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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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 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 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.
- 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.
Summer brings hot temperatures and high humidity. It also brings some of the most annoying pests – fleas and ticks. These parasites can cause significant health issues for your pets including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. Fleas and ticks are practically impossible to keep at bay and can take weeks to months to get under control. What can you do to protect your pets from these parasites? Check out these 8 tips to prevent fleas and ticks from taking over your pets and your home.
- Use a preventative year-round. While fleas and ticks are more common in the summer months, some can survive indoors during the winter. Check with your vet to see which preventative product is best for your pet and use it as directed. Make sure to check the expiration dates on products as they will lose their effectiveness after the expiration date. Check with your vet to see if there are any new products you can try that may not have been on the market before. Make sure to check the labels to ensure dog products are used on dogs and cat products are used on cats. Some products that are made for dogs contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats.
- Check regularly for ticks. You should perform tick checks on your pets regularly, especially if you have been in areas that may have ticks. Make sure to check all over your pet’s skin, in their ears, and under their armpits. Remove any ticks that you find immediately and notify your vet if your pet has been bitten.
- Groom your pet regularly. Comb your pet on a regular basis with a flea comb/brush. this allows you to bond with your pet while still giving you a chance to check for any parasites that may be hiding under their fur. Bathe them at least once a week with a flea and tick shampoo.
- Get regular checkups. Make sure to stay up to date with routine examinations with your vet. During the exam your vet will check for any signs of parasite problems to make sure the preventative product you are using is effective.
- Clean behind your pets. Clean crates and carriers at least once a week with warm, soapy water. Commit to a weekly wipe down of their equipment. Bedding should be cleaned in hot water at least once a week. Choose a pet bed that has washable, removable cushions and covers. If you can, try and have more than one cover so you can replace one while the other is washing. If your pet’s bedding looks or smells dirty even after washing, replace it and start a regular laundering schedule.
- Vacuum often. Fleas are known to live in carpets, rugs, and pet bedding. Try to vacuum at least once a week and more often if you actually spot fleas. Fleas also avoid high traffic areas so make sure to vacuum along baseboards, under furniture, under cushions, and anywhere your pets sleep or spend significant time. Change your vacuum bags frequently.
- Clean up your yard. Fleas prefer warm, moist, shady areas while ticks like to hide in tall grass. Mow your lawn regularly. Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed back. Rake leaves, brush, and clippings from your yard to give pests fewer places to hide and breed.
- Don’t attract wildlife. Wildlife like opossums, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and feral cats can bring fleas and ticks into your yard. Try to limit the access these animals have around your house and in your yard. Don’t leave bowls of pet food and water outside. Keep pet food stored in sealed containers. Remove food from bird feeders nightly. Use trashcans with locking lids. Seal any openings to crawlspaces, garages, sheds, and decks.
If you suspect a flea or tick problem, call a professional pest control company who can come and thoroughly inspect your home and yard and provide you with a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.
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.