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Keep Raccoons, Birds, and Mice Outside During the Winter Months

waschbär by dr. friendly, on Flickr
waschbär” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by dr. friendly

Insects aren’t the only outsiders seeking shelter from the cold.

During the cooler months, raccoons, birds, mice, and other critters scour the exterior of your home for entry points to escape the cold. These pests can be quite crafty, so it’s important to stay a step ahead of them.

Let’s start from the top—your roof.

Squirrels and raccoons use overhanging tree limbs to gain access to your roof. Once they get there, they usually enter your home through its gable vents (those triangle-shaped vents on the face of your home, just under the point of the roof). Sometimes, pests find a way to enter through the ridge vent (the vent running along the very top of your roof).

Sealing every possible entry point to your home is difficult, but trimming back tree limbs that hang over your roof is a good place to start. If you have trees growing near enough to your house for a squirrel or raccoon to run up and access your roof, be sure to monitor those, as well.

Pests love chimneys. If you’ve got a chimney, make sure it has a wire cap over the opening to exclude squirrels and birds. Even if you don’t use your fireplace, the chirping and chattering of birds in your chimney can be quite loud. You can purchase a chimney cap for less than $50 from your local hardware store or from larger home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

The bottom of your house may be even more vulnerable.

Mice can enter your home through holes as small as a quarter inch in diameter. This means if you can see daylight through an opening, a mouse can get through it.

In many instances, mice find entry through gaps in a home’s sheetrock, usually in small spaces, like the back of a closet. One of our certified pest technicians dealt with such a case recently—he helped a customer locate the source of a mouse infestation by having the customer clear out their upstairs closet. They found that mice were using a gap about as big around as a magic marker to travel between the attic and closet. The rodents had made nests in shoes and clothing stored along the baseboards.

Generally, keeping your storage spaces tidy can be a big help. If you keep clothing, linens, or towels in your attic, try storing them in plastic containers. The same goes for holiday decor—fabric, ribbons, and wreaths are prime nesting materials.

There’s good news!

You can pest-proof your home pretty thoroughly with just a few physical alterations. Here are a few tips to secure your home against pests:

  • Install weather stripping or door sweeps on your doors. Replace them as soon as they show signs of weathering.
  • Check screens on your windows and doors, and make repairs as necessary.
  • Screen over floor drains and outside vent openings.
  • Seal cracks and crevices in interior and exterior walls.
  • Make sure the openings where plumbing and electrical piping enter your home are sealed with caulk or other materials.
  • Check for gaps in the grout around your wall and floor tiles.
  • Make sure your indoor and outdoor trash cans have lids to discourage pests.
  • Clear grass and shrubbery around your home’s foundation.

Our experts are here to help. When we make an initial assessment of a customer’s home, we pay attention to potential entry points and make recommendations on sealing them, changing your storage habits, and rearranging certain items. If the entry points are simple to close, like gaps around the plumbing under a sink, we’ll go ahead and seal those for you.

As always, we believe prevention is the best medicine. You won’t have to fiddle with finicky traps and damaged items if pests never gain entry to your home in the first place. Call us today at (888) 534-4535 or reach out through our estimate page to set up your assessment with a certified Lawn & Pest Solutions technician.

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