Winter is the time to seek out warm things, like a cozy space by the fireplace or a spot on the couch under a blanket. While you are sipping your hot chocolate or apple cider, little critters are also seeking out a warm place to ride out a few days (or even the entire season) of the cold. When the weather starts to drop and the ground gets cold, small animals begin to look for places of warmth to either stay for a while or to hibernate for the whole winter.
You may think that this problem can’t or won’t affect you. The truth is, all small wildlife animals are looking for places of warmth, and they don't care if you live in a farmhouse in the country or a townhouse in the city. All they know is that you have a place for them to hide. The only difference that happens is what kind of animals are in your area.
The most common animals that seek warmth in your home when the colder weather comes are squirrels, mice, rats, raccoons and skunks. While these are the primary animals that most people have to deal with when a problem occurs, feral cats, possums, bats, and some kinds of birds have also been found to be living in the dark spaces of homes when winter comes. Before these critters move in, make sure that you don't have spaces that allow them into your home.
Ask yourself this question and answer honestly. Have you taken a really good look at the condition of your home recently? By this we mean, have you checked all the trim on all the doors and windows, have you checked all the gutters and chimney spaces, and have you checked that there aren't spaces in the wood (or other primary material) of the house? While you are prepping your house for the change in the seasons, it is time to make sure that you are also protecting it from the critters who seek a change of shelter during the same time.
Keeping the weather outside not only helps you keep your home warmer and save on your heating bill, it also keeps critters outside. Checking for spaces or holes in the gutters and the gutter trim which can allow an animal access to the insulation space in your home and attic space. If you suspect that you may have a space that is easily accessible, either cover it completely by repairing it or test it with an item like crumpled paper to see if an animal moves it. If you notice missing pieces of insulation, you may have a problem with animals. It is best to replace the missing insulation and get that space repaired as soon as possible.
While it may not be a problem right away, be sure to check for overhanging branches. A heavy snow covered limb could easily come down on your roof, causing major problems and allowing ample spaces for all kinds of animals to move right in. It is a good idea to have your trees checked for bug and pest damage before winter starts to ensure that pests like carpenter ants aren't eating through and killing the trees which could make them fall right on your home.
Before you seal the house completely for the cold season, be absolutely sure that you aren't trapping any animals inside first. While you may have done a thorough inspection of your home, it may be a good idea for you to hire a pest expert to come in and do a go through to ensure that you aren't harboring little rodents that you may have missed or that may be hiding in spaces that you can’t see. Having any of them trapped in the house could be a disaster and before you know it too much damage may occur that could be dangerous or costly to fix. It is also very important to check in the event that there is an animal that has had babies. This prevents a mother being separated from them, which would cause imminent death and horrible odors and the possibility of a fly infestation. Be absolutely sure before you seal the house completely.
Use binoculars if you don't have access to the roof and high point in the attic. Binoculars can help you see areas that may be damaged and are hard to determine from ground level. Use a flashlight or indoor flood light for dark spaces like basements and attics where lights may not be present or may be very dim. Make sure that if you see uncovered insulation that you wear gloves and protective eye wear to prevent skin reactions. If your basement or attic are very dusty, consider using a face mask for easier breathing.
Check your foundation for cracks and holes and if there are any, make sure they are repaired and filled. Check roof shingles, chimney caulking, siding, and trim boards for signs of wear or damage that need to be replaced. Inspect the basement and attic for droppings, nests and pulled insulation and repair if there is some missing and look for where the hole or opening nearby could be.
If need be, it may be in your best interest to hire a winterization company to come and do a full inspection and repair for you. Without the proper sealing of your home, rodents and critters may move in and take up permanent residence.
Alliance Pest Services offers complete pest proofing and elimination of all bug, insect, wildlife and pest problems from your home and office.