Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to scratching noises and scurrying feet coming from inside your walls. Before you pick up the phone to call a supernatural medium, consider that you may have wildlife that has found a way into your home. The best way to avoid sleepless nights because of this nuisance is to prevent it from entering your home the first place. Here are a few tips on how to properly identify and secure common places around the exterior of your home where critters may find refuge this winter.
Chimneys: Santa Claus should be the only one using this structure as an entry! While some animals are small enough to use your chimney as a way to get completely inside your house, such as squirrels and mice, other wildlife, like raccoons, will simply live inside the chimney for shelter. Chimneys have flues that lead to multiple places in your home. Small animals could end up using the damper to get into your basement or, in a more shocking scenario, pop in through your fireplace opening when your on the couch. To avoid a situation like this it is important to make sure you have a chimney cap. They are available in many different sizes to fit your home and are available at local hardware stores.
Decks, Sheds and Porches: These spaces are perfect targets for animals that wander into your yard. Even exposed crawl spaces that lead under your home can invite animals like raccoons, woodchucks, and opossums. Skunks are also a likely candidate, which you will notice shortly after he takes up residence. Animals such as these have stronger claws so the space doesn’t necessarily have to be open for them to gain access. It is possible for them to dig or even tear down existing barriers that may hinder them from gaining shelter. A great way to secure spaces like these is to purchase metal screening. This requires a little more labor than simply installing a chimney cover. To properly install the caging you’ll need to dig a trench around the opening a foot wide and a foot deep. For best results you’ll want your screening to be in an “L” shape, where the one side meets the ground and the other forms a wall blocking the opening. Screw this caging into place and cover the bottom with dirt. Wildlife will be deterred and forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
Utility Lines: Holes are sometimes made in the exteriors of homes for electrical cords, hoses or any other utilities requiring exterior access, but these can be invitations for smaller critters to hide inside your walls. These holes aren’t always perfect to size and can leave a gap emitting warm air. Before eliminating these gaps make sure that there is nothing already living inside your walls. This can create a new problem if it were to die inside your walls. A good way to test this is to stick a piece of paper or cardboard in the hole and see if there are any cobwebs. If so, it is safe to seal the hole. If not, it would be beneficial to call our wildlife professionals to come out and inspect (877-DEAD-BUG). To seal the hole, insert steal wool and seal with caulk. This will not only prevent wildlife from entering but the caulking will stop air from escaping attracting them in the first place.
Attic Vents: This is another example of wildlife being attracted to air flow. These vents are often high off the ground but animals that can scale structures and nearby trees are sure to get in. The solution to this problem is obvious: trim back those tree limbs! Any kind of tree extension that is close to the house is a highway for critters. Another solution is to install hard mesh (such as chicken wire) inside your home, over the attic vent. This will allow air to move freely whereas mice and other pests are out of luck.
Hopefully these tips can help you avoid a wild holiday season. And as always if you have a problem with wildlife, or any other pests, give us a call!