Rodents in Your Attic

Every homeowner knows that rodents in the unfinished or unoccupied spaces of your home can spell trouble. If you see signs of rodents in your attic, it’s a good idea to address the problem head-on rather than put it off. Over time, rodents can cause significant damage to attic spaces and even impact your entire home’s energy efficiency and air quality.

To help homeowners dealing with a possible rodent problem in their attic, we’ve assembled a straightforward guide with clear and easy-to-understand steps. Though eliminating a rodent problem in your attic isn’t always easy, it is essential to ensure your home’s long-term habitability and durability. Let’s explore some of the steps you can take to deal with rodents in your attic, including attic cleanup and decontamination.

Be Proactive

Whether you end up addressing a rodent problem yourself or have a professional team assist you, you will want to address the issue proactively. Rodents won’t go away on their own, and attics offer a warm and attractive space filled with nesting material and shelter from predators.

The consequences of allowing a rodent infestation to become established in your attic are numerous. Rodents infestations:

  • Can damage your insulation and air ducts
  • Cause electrical issues
  • Can impact the energy efficiency of your home
  • Spread unhealthy air throughout your home
  • Lead to loss of stored property in attic spaces

Regardless of which method you prefer for how to get rid of rodents in the attic, be sure to act quickly and decisively at the first sign of a rodent problem. 

Assess What You are Dealing With

Determining the best course of action when confronted with rodents in your attic requires having enough information to make an informed decision. That starts with assessing the situation in your attic. 

If possible, you’ll want to know what types of rodents are living in your attic. Only try to determine what types of rodents are in your attic if you can do so safely. The footing in attics is notoriously precarious, so be mindful of only stepping on joists or boards laid across joists. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so yourself, look into having a professional come to your home for an attic inspection. 

If you find evidence of small rodents and there aren’t signs of extensive damage or large nests, the rodent problem may be something you can deal with yourself. If, however, you find the presence of larger rodents such as raccoons, or bats, you’ll want to leave their removal and relocation to the professionals. 

While you are in your attic, take a moment to assess the physical condition of the attic space. Is there obvious nesting material such as shredded cardboard or insulation? Do you see droppings or smell urine or feces? If there is a strong smell of rodent urine and feces, it’s a good indication that your rodent infestation is well established. 

Formulate a Plan

Your assessment of the attic should have given you some valuable information, including whether a rodent infestation is well-developed and what type of rodent or attic pests are there. Your next decision is to tackle the problem yourself or call in the professionals.

As a homeowner, not every job requires professional assistance. Some rodent-sized problems are entirely solvable on your own. If you choose to try to deal with the problem, you’ll want a clear idea of what type of rodent you are up against. With that information, you can either trap, poison, or have the rodents professionally removed. Finally, the most important step is to rodent proof your attic. 

Although trapping and poisoning are methods used, we do not recommend either. Rodents reproduce quickly, and as soon as you start to trap them, more will come. While trapping can solve an immediate rodent issue, it does not prevent any future re-infestation. Poisoning rodents is another option that we do not recommend. The downside to poison is that rodents need to ingest several doses, they can die in hard to reach places, and it can be dangerous for families with children or pets. We recommend hiring a professional to remove the rodents from your attic, as it is the most effective and safest option of the three. 

Stop Entry

It’s essential to stop the rodents from entering your attic. You will need to identify rodents’ entrance points into your attic and seal them, known as rodent proofing. Most attics in the United States are vented, and the mesh placed around these vent holes are common areas for rodents to enter. Seal any cracks you find in the building foundation, such as around water pipes.

You’ll need to seal any possible entrance or crawlspace a rodent might use and reinforce existing barriers that are worn from weather or age. Be sure to trim back any trees hanging close to your roof and ensure your rafters, gutters, and roof are clear and free of debris.

The UC IPM recommends not using the following materials for keeping rodents out:

  • Plastic screening
  • Wood
  • Rubber
  • Vinyl

A good rule of thumb is if the barrier is chewable in any way, it probably won’t keep rodents out for long. Remember that mice can fit in a hole the size of a nickel when choosing wire mesh for barriers. The UC IPM recommends closing off all gaps larger than ¼” to ensure mice and any larger rodents can’t enter your home.

If you find that your rodent issues persist, there’s a good chance that an entrance remains. Approach this step in a systematic, consistent way for the best results.

Keep it Sanitary

Rodents are attracted to unsanitary conditions. If you’re dealing with rodents in attic, take the time to clean up any debris near or around your house. Piles of leaves, stacks of firewood, or trash cans near your home can all serve as an attractive home for rodents.

Be sure to keep any cooking areas clean and quickly clean up any food spills, dishes, or cookware after meals. Regularly empty your trash, and get in the habit of putting away your pet food before you go to bed. 

You’ll also need to disinfect and clean any areas affected by the rodents while they were in your attic. This can be quite challenging and should only be undertaken with a clear understanding of the risks and adequate protective equipment. If you are unsure how to disinfect after a rodent infestation effectively, consider letting the professionals take care of it.

You should exercise caution when cleaning up after a rodent infestation because rodents can carry various communicable diseases. These include:

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome – Can be spread through contact with infected rodent urine or feces or from dust mixed with rodent urine and feces
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)  – Can be spread through direct contact or inhalation of contaminated rodent urine and feces
  • Leptospirosis – Can be spread by direct contact of the skin or mucous membranes with infected urine

Professionals Can Help!

If the rodents in your attic are driving you crazy and you aren’t sure what to do, don’t worry! While a rodent infestation can undoubtedly grate on the nerves and cause lots of damage, it is also a solvable problem with the right resources and experience.

Our team at Attic Construction has spent decades remediating attics after rodent infestations, so we understand exactly how severe and destructive a rodent problem in your attic is. We’ll be happy to work with you to get your attic back into great shape. With our professional rodent proofing services, you’ll be able to rest assured that your attic space is free from pesky rodents.

Closing Thoughts

Rodents in your attic are a serious issue that can lead to damage to your home and costly repairs. Though rodents in your attic can be a challenge, we’re here to help! Our team at Attic Construction has decades of experience helping homeowners like yourself address and recover from unwanted rodent residents in their attics. We offer rodent proofing services, as well as attic cleanup and decontamination to return your attic back to excellent condition. To learn more about these services, contact us today!

Sources:

  1. “How to Manage Pests: Pests of Home, Structures, People, and Pets: House Mouse” http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7483.html?src=blog24161
  2. “Prevent Rodent Infestations” https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/prevent_infestations/index.html
  3. “Cleaning Up After Rodents” https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/cleaning/index.html
  4. “Diseases From Rodents” https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/index.html

 

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