Just as we enjoy warmth and protection from the elements in cold weather, wild animals do too and will seek it out during the colder months. However, you may not enjoy it so much when there are unwanted pests taking up residence in your home, causing damage to your property and leaving droppings everywhere! Here are some tips for preventing wildlife from coming inside during cold weather.
Check for Young
One of the reasons why wildlife might attempt to enter your house during winter would be to go back to their nest of babies. To prevent them from dying without access to food provided by their mother, as well as damage to already-sealed entrances the mother can cause when trying to return to its nest, first test the presence of babies. Do the ‘crumpled paper’ test, by sealing any holes loosely with crumpled paper to see if it gets pushed in or out. If the paper stays in place after three days of mild weather, you can go ahead to close up the hole. Animals may not come and go and frequently during extreme weather or cold, so keep watch during such conditions for a few extra days to make sure.
Remove food sources
Easily accessible food sources are another lure for wild animals, and might even encourage them to stay for the long haul and breed. So make sure you clean up or remove these sources promptly and regularly. Bird seed is very attractive to rats and mice. If you do have a bird feeder, locate it as far away as possible from your house and install a small tray to catch the seeds that drop to the ground. Other potential food sources are pet food, trash in the garbage bin, as well as trash composts. Keep pet food storage areas clean and remove any stray bits of food scattered on the ground around feeding areas. Seal these food sources securely.
Find Hidden Entrances
Entrances may not be as visible or obvious as you may think. Many wildlife are capable of squeezing through seemingly impossibly small entry points, so do check for signs of deterioration on your trim or fascia boards, as well as holes or tears in the screening of your attic vents. Make sure that your chimney is capped. Other vulnerable points are around windows, dormers, and other points where building materials intersect. Then, take a look at the ground level to make sure there aren’t any small openings in the foundation. All a mouse needs is a hole as small as a quarter inch to enter your home!
Seal entry points
Once you’ve identified these entrances, seal them securely by putting foam insulator caps in gaps or holes that you find, or contact pest control companies to install rodent-proof screens.
Inspect the foundation
Foundations are where pipes, vents and cables lead out of the house or where there can be holes in the brick or siding. Caulk gaps that are a few inches or smaller, or you can stuff them with copper mesh which is filled with expandable foam. Openings which are larger should be filled and then repaired.
Habitats are areas outside your home, like in your yard, that provide warmth and shelter to hide away in. These could be piles of compost, old boards and bricks, and firewood piles.
Scan Attic, Siding and Trim
In the attic, check for any holes leading in. An easy way would be to turn off the lights and to see if there are any points of natural light shining in. Use a flashlight to check in corners. Then, check for any warped siding or trim board that has deteriorated to pulled away from the wall.
An often-used entry point is through damaged or missing foundation vent screens in crawl space foundations, so be sure to check these places thoroughly.
If you are already in an area prone to certain types of infestations, like rodents, you may place preventative rodent stations outside of your home to lower the population in surrounding areas and reduce the risk of them entering your home. Because these rodent stations are very poisonous, we recommend having a professional install them. If done incorrectly, these rodent stations can also attract other pests. Fischer Environmental can install these rodent stations quickly and easily for you.
While taking precautions may be time-consuming, it’s definitely far less of a hassle than having to remove them after they settle in. Rodent-proof your home today, or contact us to see how we can help!
Filed in: Wildlife