How Do Animals Get in the Attic

Have you heard scratching or moving in the walls and ceiling of your home? Or have you noticed unpleasant or stale smells? Perhaps your pets have been paying close attention to your walls and ceiling. These are all common signs that you may need rodent proofing as rodents are actively making a home in your attic.

While you might have an affinity for wildlife, you probably also recognize that having pests make their home in the unfinished spaces of your home like your attic, walls, or crawl spaces is not ideal. In fact, a rodent infestation that is allowed to become established can bring with it harmful diseases and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. 

How Rodent Infestations Occur

How do animals get in the attic? The answer is that pests like rodents and mice gain access to your home through small gaps in the exterior. The reality is that small pests can gain access to your home through a gap as small as ¼” for mice or bats. Rats can pass through mesh wires larger than ½”.

Rats, squirrels, opossums, and other pests are opportunistic when they are looking for a place to nest. Your attic and the other unfinished spaces of your home offer a dry place that is safe from predators. If you have trees or tall bushes that have grown close to your roof it can offer easy access to an unsecured grate, holes, or small gaps in a vent. If you are dealing specifically with squirrels, you can also read further on how to get rid of squirrels in the attic.

It’s not just trees or bushes that can attract critters to your home. Trash near your home can provide an easy meal source. Piles of leaves or yard waste can offer an attractive nest to rodents who haven’t already made their way into your home. If you haven’t yet, it’s a good idea to take some time to ensure your yard and the areas around your house are neat and tidy.

Despite your best efforts, you might find yourself a victim of a rodent infestation. Don’t worry, it can happen to anyone. Remember, it only takes a ¼” gap for mice to gain access to an area, so the exterior of most homes are vulnerable. However, it is important to understand how to recognize a rodent infestation and what steps to take with animal control to ensure you deal with it before it becomes a bigger issue.

What To Do Once an Infestation Occurs

Rodents and pests are a persistent problem, and unless you have taken steps to rodent-proof your home you are vulnerable to a rodent infestation. Once a rodent colony has established itself, it can be difficult to deal with.

One of the first steps is recognizing that an infestation has occurred. The early signs of a rodent infestation may be subtle and can go unnoticed. Common signs of an infestation are:

  • Scratching noises or moving in the walls. 
  • Stale smells from accumulated urine, feces and animal waste
  • Evidence of nesting materials such as insulation or shredded paper. 
  • Rodent droppings. 

Ideally, you’ll prevent an infestation from occurring before it happens, but dealing with one after the fact is possible. If you suspect you have a rodent infestation, it’s important to call professionals to assess the situation and outline remediation such as decontamination, insulation removal, and new attic insulation installation.

For most infestations, the first step is to prevent further access. This involves rodent-proofing the exterior of your home so that pests can’t enter. It may also be a good idea to trim any shrubs or trees that are providing the rodents with easy access.

Effectively rodent-proofing means more than simply trimming bushes or trees back. Every access point on the exterior of the home will have to be assessed and covered if necessary, using mesh and other materials that are rodent resistant and safe for your electrical wiring. 

Once you have secured the outside of your home it’s time to clean up the remnants of the infestation. Rodents love to use insulation as nesting material, so cleanup may involve the removal of damaged insulation. Once any contaminated materials have been removed from the attic it can be decontaminated and new insulation can be installed if necessary.

Final Thoughts

Animals can make their way into your home through any number of avenues. Usually, they do so through small gaps in the exterior of your home, such as near vents or between your eaves. Pests like mice and rats only need tiny gaps in your exterior to gain entry, and they can often overcome physical barriers if they aren’t constructed with rodent-resistant materials. 

Once a rodent infestation occurs, it’s important to contact professionals like Attic Construction to solve the problem. The first step is to deny further access to your home, which means rodent-proofing the exterior of the home. Then it is important to thoroughly decontaminate the space and reinstall attic insulation if any were damaged.

While dealing with a rodent infestation isn’t ideal, catching one early can help avoid costly repairs. If you suspect you have a rodent infestation you should strongly consider having an inspection done. Even if you haven’t seen signs of an infestation, an inspection can help highlight gaps in the exterior of your home. Addressing those weaknesses early can help you prevent rodent infestations before they occur.

To learn more about dealing with animals in your attic or to schedule an inspection, please contact Attic Construction today.

Sources:

  1. https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/attic-pest-removal/
  2. https://www.epa.gov/rodenticides/identify-and-prevent-rodent-infestations
  3. https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/final_ppbd_guidelines_12-5-12.pdf 

 

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