Leaves are changing and the air is cooling sending many folks indoors, but they’re not the only ones eager to enjoy the cozy comforts of home through the winter months.
Local wildlife will also be looking for a warm environment to call home and it’s important for homeowners to know the telltale signs of a pesky intruder as these unwanted guests can cause real damage while nesting and can also transmit diseases.
Arrow Exterminators, a pest and termite control company that serves customers in several states and operates a Cartersville office, has several tips. Unusual noises in the attic or droppings found in pantries, along baseboards or in attics could indicate that roof rats, squirrels, bats or even raccoons may have settled-in. The top furry pests looking for a home this winter are:
Roof rats were not even found in many southern states 20 years ago, but they are now known to be the most frequent fall intruder. These rodents are typically tree dwellers and look for high places inside structures including soffits and attics to survive the winter. They reproduce very quickly, making them nearly impossible to control without the help of a professional.
Both gray and flying squirrels are known to find shelter in attics, exterior walls and even between floors using insulation as nesting material. Squirrels can also be carriers of fleas and other unwanted organisms that can infest the home once brought inside.
Raccoons live in a constant search for shelter and food, and will use their very adept hands to open garbage cans, remove siding and tear off shingles. Categorized as an extremely dangerous and destructive pest, raccoons can cause structural damage to a home and infest living spaces with fleas and parasites. They are also known to carry rabies.
Homeowners should keep an eye out for evidence of bats in their attic. Bats can fit through spaces as small as half an inch and often find their way inside through rooflines, chimneys, gables or vents – making attics a prime location to take up residence and nest.
“We see an increase in calls related to wildlife infestations every fall,” Arrow Pest Expert Shay Runion said in a release. “Much like humans, these pests crave food, warmth and shelter driving them into homes as the temperatures drop.”
To help homeowners prevent furry intruders from entering their homes this fall, Arrow Exterminators recommends the following tips:
- Seal all cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home;
- Use plastic boxes and containers with seal-tight lids for storage, keep them off the floor and organize items to prevent wildlife from residing in undisturbed areas of the house, garage, basement and attic;
- Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean;
- Keep bird feeders away from the house and use squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder;
- Do not leave pet food or water bowls out overnight; and
- Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can with a tight lid – and keep it sealed at all times.