Pests be a nuisance if they make a home in your attic, but they can be hazardous intruders as well. If you think critters have invaded your attic, here are some steps to address the problem.
WHY IS AN ANIMAL IN MY ATTIC?
Mice, roof rats, and other pests usually enter houses while searching for food or a warm place to call home, especially in the winter. These animals can squeeze through small openings in vents or crawl through tiny holes or cracks in the sides of buildings. Since attics are not a heavily trafficked area in a home, they offer a quiet place for animals to stay unnoticed.
PEST-PROOFING BEFORE WILDLIFE INVADES
The best course of action to keep critters out of your attic is to pest-proof the space before animals find their way inside. Pest-proofing an attic requires diligence and a little time; however, taking these steps can protect your health and the structural integrity of your home.
Though many attic pests are excellent climbers, overgrown landscaping makes it even easier for them to reach the roof. Prune back tree branches that are close to the house and trim overgrown bushes. If you have a chimney, keep pests out by securing it with a chimney cap. High quality, rust-proof wire mesh can be used to cover vents or roof openings.
Store items in your attic in sealed plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes. Hungry critters may nibble away at paper boxes, damaging items stored inside. They can also use bits of the boxes for nest material. Examine your attic for any cracks or gaps in siding, around windows, or in eaves. Seal these areas off with silicone-based caulk, steel wool, or a combination of both.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF AN ANIMAL IS IN MY ATTIC?
Sounds are often the first clue as to unwelcome visitors in your attic. Scampering, scratching, squeaking, and even growling can signal an animal intruder.
Droppings or urine are sure signs, while damaged insulation, ducts, or siding may also hint that an animal has made its way inside. Many pests will also use materials from the attic or bring in items from outside like leaves and twigs to build nests.
HOW TO REMOVE PESTS FROM AN ATTIC
Homeowners should use caution when investigating if an animal has entered their attic. Some attic pests can become aggressive if startled and most carry diseases that can be spread easily. A trained professional can help with searching for and identifying critters in an attic. Professionals can also make sure you’re acting in accordance with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding animal removal.
If you find yourself with animals living in your attic, there are some things you can do to encourage the intruders to leave your attic and find a new home. It can be as simple as opening a door to let the creatures leave on their own (just be sure to close the door after they leave!). Exclusion doors can be great for this purpose. These doors act as a one-way tunnel or doorway that allows animals to leave an attic, but not return. These should be installed over what is considered an animal’s main point of entry into the attic. After all of the critters have left, the hole where the exclusion door was installed should be patched.
Stubborn animals not budging? Most attic pests are skittish and don’t like a lot of noise. Blast the radio or introduce a high-frequency device to the space. This may also encourage them to leave.
When taking a do-it-yourself approach to removing pests from your attic, do your research to find out what methods are allowed in your state. Check your attic frequently and seal new points of entry as soon as you find them to avoid more uninvited guests. The quicker you take action, the sooner you can take back your attic.