Noises from the attic are never a good thing. It indicates the presence of rodents or other wildlife. Attic makes an ideal environment for pests like rats, mice, and possums to live in. It also makes the perfect environment for nesting birds. Pests or birds living in the attic not only damage the property but also spread diseases like salmonella and hantavirus. Therefore, it becomes a necessity to get rid of attic pests.
Some signs that indicate the presence of pests in the attic include urine, nests made of paper, leaves & twigs, disturbed insulation, and ducts ripped apart. While nests are a sign of squirrels, rodents, and birds, disturbed insulation usually indicates raccoons and squirrels. Ducts ripped apart are another visible sign of raccoons.
You can also check for audio signs to identify attic pests. Some of them include:
There are different ways to get rid of attic pests. The methods and traps that are used for mice won’t work for rats. You need to find the right traps and methods to eliminate them. Using the wrong methods send out warning signals to the pest, and make them aware of the oncoming evacuation attempts. Here is how you can get mice, rats, squirrels, bats, and raccoons from your attic.
Mice in the attic can be a real pain. They tear out books, wood, plastic, and pretty much anything that they can set their teeth on. Mice are very small and can crawl through drain pipes and follow electrical wires within the walls. Mice multiply quickly. If unattended, the infestations blow out of proportion.
The most effective way to get rid of mice is to set mouse traps. A mousetrap costs around $1 per piece. Set mouse traps near drainpipes and places where mice can get access to electrical wiring. You can use peanut butter, cotton batting. or dental floss as bait. You can also use glue traps, snaps traps, zap traps, poison traps, and live traps.
When done, take out the traps. Dead mice around the attic will discourage other mice from taking the bait. If the mice’s problem isn’t getting better, you are going to have to call a professional for help.
Rats are a lot like mice, but they are more vicious in looks and nature. A hole the size of a quarter is all a rat needs to get into your home. They usually find a way to areas of the home that are dark, like the attic basement, or find a way into the walls. They can be difficult to get rid of, and it may take a lot of time to rid them from your home.
Rats are harmful and pose health risks to the residents of the house. Rats’ teeth grow throughout their life, which makes them do more damage to your property than their smaller counterparts. Some of the signs that indicate rats in the attic are chew marks, package tampering, noise, and rat droppings.
Wooden snap traps: The good old fashioned snap traps are the most effective ways of getting rid of rats. Place the traps in the target area and leave them for a few days. Don’t add bait. Rats are cautious about new items in their environment, let them get used to the new additions in the attic.
Seal entry holes: Although this method doesn’t remove the infestation, sealing the openings will prevent more rats from entering into your home.
Poison: You can either place rodent baits/poison around and lure them or simply mix them the food they feed on and keep near the target area.
Rats that consume poisonous bait will most probably go to an isolated place to die. Since all the entry holes are closed, the rats are likely to die in the attic. Make sure to look for signs of stench from the attic as it is likely to be a dead rat that needs to be disposed of.
Note: If you find traps disappearing, don’t be alarmed. Large rats are known to run away with the traps clamped around their bodies. Screw the traps into the floorboards. You could also place them in rat trap covers. Ps- Do not use sticky traps for rats as they can pull away from the trap, and all that you’ll find is some hair stuck to the glue.
Squirrels can gain access to your attic through holes that are around 1.5 inches long. They sometimes even chew the hole to make it bigger so that they can gain easier access. These holes are generally found around vents, pipes, or corners. Alternatively, they can also enter through the garage, walls, or decks.
Squirrels tend to chew through wires and insulation and cut through your home’s roof timbers and underneath eaves. If a squirrel gnaws at a wooden beam for long enough, it could pose a threat to the home’s structural integrity. If there is a large number of feces or droppings in the attic, it could endanger your family to the risk of salmonella infection.
Removing squirrels from your attic involves various steps such as:
When it comes to choosing traps, always go for one that will not hurt the squirrel. Do not use body grip traps as they harm/kill squirrels. Choose a safe option like a live cage trap or one with one-way exclusion doors as they catch squirrels without harming them.
1. Live Cage Trap: It traps the squirrel without harming it in any way. Once it is captured, you can take the trap with the squirrel and free it.
2. One-way Exclusion Doors: This is a trap in which there’s only one way in and no way out for the squirrel. You can take the squirrel to a place away from your property and free it.
Note - Before you try to remove a squirrel from your attic, you need to contact your state extension facility or the wildlife agency to determine what laws are permits apply to trapping and relocating these pests.
Unlike rodents, bats aren’t destructive. But bat guano or bat droppings can also pose health risks to the members of the household. Bats shed hair regularly. Their hair, along with the guano buildup, can grow mold and trigger allergies for sensitive individuals. It could also trigger a disease called Histoplasmosis or Bat Guano disease. Therefore, it is wiser to get rid of bats from your attic and avoid potential harm.
Bats can enter your home through gaps that are as small as 3/8th of an inch. They generally enter through holes in ridge caps, fascia boards, or broken windows and vents. Remember that it’s illegal to poison or harm bats.
There are a few ways that can help you to get rid of bats from your attic. They are:
Bats migrate in cold seasons. If you have a cold season coming up, save yourself the trouble and wait for them to move out of your attic naturally. Once the bats leave, you can identify the entry points by looking for piles of bat guano. Usually, wherever you find bat poop, there’s an entry point closeby. Seal those holes. Once all the entry points are sealed, clean up all the bat guano that has been collecting in the attic.
This method is advisable only if you have one bat in the attic and not for an infestation. Shut the attic to prevent the bat from flying into the house. Make sure you are fully protected before you approach the bat (mask, goggles, long-sleeved jacket). A bat, when scared, could bite as a defensive resort when cornered. With a small towel or a net, gently cover the bat and scoop it up. Make sure not to squeeze the bat tightly. Take the bat outside and let it loose on an elevated platform as bats cannot take off easily from the ground. Look for possible entry points and seal them to prevent more bats from coming inside.
If you have a bat infestation, then call a wildlife removal expert. This is the safest method that doesn’t compromise on your family’s health and can get rid of the bat infestation at the earliest.
Other than in the attic, bats can also be found in the chimney and other dark areas that are shut-in.
Racoons are skilled animals that have nimble hands designed to climb. They usually make their way into an attic by climbing trees and finding a small hole in the attic that they make bigger or making a hole in the roof where sections of wood overlap. They are also capable of climbing wooden walls or brick walls to make their way inside. They also bite electrical wires that can cause fires. In extreme cases, if the raccoon problem isn’t dealt with, it claws its way through the ceiling and can even fall into the house. Hence, it’s best to deal with a raccoon problem as soon as you become aware that you have one living in your attic.
If you have a raccoon in your attic, first check what the state laws on raccoons are. Don’t attempt to get rid of raccoons on your own. They get aggressive when they are cornered or separated from their young ones.
One method is to trap the raccoons. While trapping a raccoon, first, the young ones need to be taken out, and then the mother must be trapped. Trapping raccoons require body grip traps, live cage traps, and paw hold traps. Ensure that the raccoon is trapped in a gentle manner and is released back into nature. Also, do a double-check and ensure all the entry holes have been sealed.
The most humane method to get rid of attic pests is to ensure that they don’t enter your home in the first place. Inspect in & around your home and seal or repair all the possible pest entry areas.