Many kinds of wild animals love to "squat" inside a home’s attic. These unwanted occupants usually produce irritating noises above the ceilings in the form of walking, scratching, digging, high-pitched vocal cries, and thumping. These critters that can usually be found in attics, soffits, overhangs, and gutters include squirrels, bats, mice, snakes, raccoons, and opossums. They often cause damage to the building structure, so it is important that they be detected, repelled, and removed in order to free the building from such an infestation. Following are some simple tips to repel and resolve animal problems in any residential situation.
Tips to Repel Critters
The initial step is to search for the pests’ point of entry. Finding the entrance of most animal squatters will give homeowners a clue in identifying the kind of animals residing in the attic. Clues such as small holes; tunnels or rat-routes; nest debris; chewed wires; suspected noises (scampering or thumping); foul odors; and excretions can be helpful in this search.
Time and Type of Noise
Below is a guide to help decipher what the noises mean and what animal may be producing them.
• Squirrels – These animals are active in the daytime, mostly in the morning or early evening before sunset. A rapid tiny scamper is produced as well as the sound of rolling nuts. Squirrels usually squat near the portal of entry, so they can be detected fairly easily.
• Raccoons – Raccoons are active during the nighttime and are usually detectable right after sunset and before sunrise. The sounds produced are loud heavy thumping and vocal noises such as chattering or growling.
• Rats or Mice – Rodents are active during the nighttime. The noises they produce are rapid, light foot movement sounds anywhere in the attic.
• Bats – Bats are noticeable in the evening. They do not make any noise; however, when grouped together they tend to produce swarming, crawling, flying. and squeaking sounds.
• Opossums – These critters are nocturnal animals and produce a slow-moving and heavy walking sound in the attic.
• Snakes – Snakes can be around any time of the day. They produce ‘slithering’ type sounds in the attic. Control Methods
Each pest should be dealt with specifically to make sure of a safe removal. Below are a few recommended ways of getting rid of unwanted house guests.
• Squirrels, Raccoons, and Opossums – Ultrasonic animal emitters, high-powered rodent strobe lights, and moth balls (naphthalene) can be used to make these animals leave. The most effective method of removing them is through trapping and relocation as they will otherwise continue to come into the house. The attic must be thoroughly searched for any baby raccoons, opossums, or squirrels before sealing the point of entry.
• Rats or Mice – Poison will not solve this issue and could in fact produce other problems. The best way to get rid of them is to seal every single point of entry and use mouse traps to capture and remove these rodents.
• Bats – It is important to note that in controlling this kind of infestation, the bats must be safely removed from the building. They must not be killed because they offer so many benefits to the eco-system, including keeping the insect population under control. They can be removed by: using an ultrasonic emitter or other similar electronic devices; installing screens; and/or placing a bat scat. Although all of these methods can be successful, the best process of ridding a house of bats is to seal all of the possible access points.
• Snakes – The best method of getting rid of a snake infestation is by calling a professional. While rodents can be handled for the most part without the aid of a pest expert, snakes are a whole different story.
When solving an animal infestation problem, it is imperative to determine: the type of critters; the specific noises being heard; and the process necessary to remove the animals from the attic. In the final analysis, there are really three main steps that should be used to keep critters out of the roof: trapping, removing, and sealing all access points. It is also recommended to contact a wildlife control professional to deal with these issues. It pays to inspect the attic for any damage caused by wild animals and to thoroughly clean the area to remove any possible disease source. Following the tips referenced above can help keep critters away from or in any roof!