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Keeping Wildlife Out of the Attic

Your home is your castle but it’s not a fortress, at least as far as the local wildlife is concerned. Squirrels, mice, raccoons, bats and birds are known for finding ways to enter your home and move into walls or your attic. They can cause damage to your home, create annoying rackets at night, and bring diseases to your home.

According to Bredapest.com, these little intruders can climb or fly around to look for openings at the following entry points:

1. Chimneys – A chimney cap has steel mesh barriers that can keep wildlife out. 

2. Roof Vents – During colder months, animals like to stay warm, too, and vents can be pulled up by squirrels.

3. Fascia – Fascia are the finished boards that support your home’s gutters. This area is particularly vulnerable because it can succumb to water damage from damp leaves and debris. Squirrels know they can gnaw through wet or damaged wood, so consider sealing your roofline with something stronger than wood such as metal. 

4. Damaged Roof Shingles – Roof shingles can fail due to age, weather, poor quality and other factors. If your shingles are curling, blistering or loose, get them repaired.

5. Construction Gap – Bredapest says to look for light shining through the attic from outdoors. If you see light, you have a construction gap. Seal it with galvanized metal flashing.

Generally, your first clue that you have invaders is noise. Wildlifecompanytn.com explains that different critters make their own discernable noises. Rats skitter quickly across the ceiling. Bats make high-pitched cricket-like noises and scratching sounds in the wall and are most active at sunup or sundown.  Mice make noise late at night, but you should also see evidence of them trying to get into pantries. Heavy thumping could indicate a raccoon colony, and kitten-like noises could indicate a litter has been born. Squirrels like to store nuts and may try to bury them in the insulation, as well as dig dens and tunnels. Woodpeckers will tap rhythmically to create nesting holes and to make noise to attract mates. Grinding noises are most likely being made by some kind of rodent.

What if you don’t hear any noise? Animals are smart and can curb their noises when they know you’re awake. They also leave the house to forage for food, so you may think the noises you hear are in your imagination or part of the air conditioning system. Also, you may have excellent insulation that baffles sound as well as temperature. 

To be sure, call in the professionals for signs of infestation. Before cold weather, examine your home for cracks and gaps that you can seal or have a siding or roofing professional seal to prevent intrusions into your home.  Have your roof inspected after storms to make sure your home doesn’t need repair. If you find damaged shingles, replace them promptly. Keep trees pruned so that branches don’t provide easy pathways to your roof. Put mesh over vents so that critters can’t enter.

Most important, don’t give critters temptations and comfort. Cover dishes. Don’t leave pet food out. Seal trash cans. Store items in your attic in plastic containers, not cardboard boxes. Don’t allow clutter to accumulate.