Fall is finally getting here. We can see the end of the hot and humid days of summer (right around the corner! Really!), and can anticipate cooler weather, changing leaves, and the holiday season. But for homeowners, the cold weather brings a whole new list of home maintenance items. This includes a thorough check of your furnace, making sure your home is properly sealed, and rodent proofing the exterior of your home and attic.
“We have already had our first cool front and have been getting a lot of rain,” said John Moore Services Pest Control Manager Brian Menn. “This means that rodents are now starting to look for a warm and dry spot to live. Their senses are a lot more heightened than ours and they can feel the changes in the atmosphere and barometric pressure.”
When rodents invade your home they cause nothing but destruction. The majority of rodents live inside the attic. They constantly chew on anything they can find, and yes, this includes all your wiring, air ducts, and everything else that is stored in your attic. They will also burrow holes through your insulation to make a warm place to nest. The damage that is caused greatly depends on what type of rodent is living in your home. And being able to identify what type of rodent infestation you have is the first step in the elimination process.
Rat and Mice Infestation
Smaller rodents like rats and mice will definitely leave a different calling card than larger rodents. The first thing you should look for is feces. If you have an infestation, you will more than likely find rodent droppings on the floor of your attic. If they are small, then they come from a rat or mouse. But if they are large, they come from something bigger like a possum or raccoon.
“We also look at the insulation inside the attic. Most of the houses now have blown in insulation as opposed to sheet,” said Menn. “The blown insulation really helps with spotting a rodent infestation because if something crawls through it, it will leave a winding trail almost like a snake crawled through it.”
If the trails are not too big or deep then generally the problem is with rats. However, if the trail is wide and deep then the problem is with a larger rodent. Looking at attic insulation is the best way to determine an infestation. Many times, a home will have an infestation and rodent feces will not be present. This is because during the day, rodents will always leave your home and go outside to get food. They will only go into your house at night to sleep.
Squirrel, Raccoon, Possum Infestations
Larger rodents are more destructive in the way that they enter your home. Small rodents will use entry points that are already there, for example, a small crack in the side of your house. But larger rodents will make their own way inside.
“Squirrels will chew on the side of your house around the roof line and will end up chewing a perfect hole to get into the attic,” said Menn. “Raccoon’s and possums will physically rip open a vent. They can rip the screen out of the vent and peel vents back. They need a pretty big hole to get inside because they are a larger animal, and have no problem destroying your home to get in.”
Preventing rodent infestations in Houston
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Repair all damaged screens.
- Close off all vented areas and breezeways that lead into the home. This is an easy way for larger rodents to get inside. If they are closed off with galvanized steel, they can’t chew through that and get into your house.
- Call a licensed professional.
“I always tell customers that if they hear a bunch of noise coming from the attic at night then they probably have an infestation. A lot of people will discount the noise and think it’s just the house, but usually it is a rodent of some kind,” said Menn. “Every homeowner should go into their attic periodically and look around for signs of an infestation. If you do nothing about a rodent problem, they will cause a ton of damage and cost you a lot of money.”
John Moore Services has certified pest control professionals who are trained to spot an infestation of any kind and can help determine which pest control treatment plan is the right fit for you. If you think you have a problem, or hear things that go bump in the night, give us a call!