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How to Deal With Nuisance Wildlife During the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is here! As you prepare for the holiday season, we want to help you keep unwelcome guests from attending your family celebrations.

Like humans, animals need shelter to survive. Because attics and basements are rarely used by us, they are ideal spaces of shelter for animals during the colder months.

Believe it or not, animals do not want to live with you.

So, when you enter these spaces throughout the holidays, please keep an eye out for any unusual activity.

Decorations and Nuisance Wildlife

If you are traveling throughout the holidays, we want to make sure your home is safe. Unless you have someone watching your home, we recommend keeping as many items unplugged as possible. 

Rats continue to be the cause of many house fires each year, and the additional wires from holiday décor and lights provide rats and other animals with additional opportunity to cause severe damage.

 

The extra lighting and decorations outside will also provide animals with additional nesting material or places to hide. To help keep your property pest free, we recommend keeping clearing your yard of unnecessary clutter or debris.

Unexpected Holiday Guests

If you have people staying a few days, they might identify some other holiday guests. Nuisance wildlife tend to avoid people. They live in areas like attics, wall voids, and crawlspaces. These animals can further hide themselves by sticking to areas of the attic that are further away from human activity. 

So if you have guest rooms that are typically empty, animals like raccoons and squirrels could be living in that part of the attic. 

Signs of Nuisance Animals During the Holidays

Over the next few weeks, it’s likely you’ll be pulling out decorations from your closets, basement, or attic.

While attics and basements make excellent storage areas, they also are ideal locations for nesting critters. The most common nuisance wildlife during winter are mice, rats, raccoons, opossums, and squirrels. None of these critters hibernate so they will continue to be active. Look for these signs as you unbox decorations.

Gnaw Marks

Our biggest culprits of gnaw are rodents: micerats, and squirrels. Because their incisors constantly grow, they need to constantly chew to maintain their length.

Rodents gnaw on boxes, stored items, wires, pipes and rafters. Please keep in mind that rodents can gnaw through material like wood, metal, and bricks.

Animal Droppings

One of the enduring signs of a pest animal infestation is animal feces.

In your attic, you may see droppings scattered through the insulation, while in the basement, rodent droppings will likely be in corners or along walls.

If you are dealing with a larger animal like a raccoon, the droppings will be harder to miss as they are the size of a small dog.

When bats are present, their droppings (guano) are most commonly found around or near the openings they utilize. Guano has an ammonia-like smell and is very dangerous to breathe in.

Not only can we identify what species but also when the species was there.

Is that poop fresh?

If you see droppings while taking out your holiday décor, do not panic! Droppings do not always indicate that you have a current problem. New droppings are shiny and very dark in color, and as times goes on, they will become dull and their coloration will become lighter and lighter.

We do not expect you to be an expert in identifying droppings and their age, but if you see any, we do recommend calling a professional to have a thorough home inspection completed.

Here are the possible outcomes:

  • There is an animal(s) present: We will provide a custom solution for you and your home. We understand how stressful a problem like this can be during this time of the year, but these issues are best resolved sooner rather than later. By having the issue resolved as soon as it is noticed, you can be saving a large amount of money.
  • There is not an animal(s) currently present: In this case, a full home exclusion can be performed to prevent any future animal problems. Animals are creatures of habit, and it is very common for them to return to the same areas. Or maybe a previous homeowner had the issue resolved and your home is already animal proofed!

You will not know until you ask for help. We want you to have a peace of mind through the holidays.

SMELL OF AMMONIA

Urine smells like ammonia. The longer an animal or animals are in your home, the more an animal’s waste will accumulate. In turn, a light smell of ammonia will likely mean the problem has not been present for long while a stronger smell likely means you are dealing with a longer infestation.

RUB MARKS

Rub marks are darkened oily stain marks seen in high traffic areas.  They are mostly seen with mice, rats, and bats. Rub marks provide a great indication of entry points that are being utilized.

Wildlife Prevention During the Holidays

As the weather becomes colder, more animals are looking for shelter.

Keep a well manicured lawn year around, but especially during seasonal changes. Piles of leaves, debris and overgrown bushes and branches can offer a warm, safe environment for critters to nest or den.

Additionally, keeping all food/household waste in tightly sealed garbage bins, along with keeping up any outdoor pet food will help deter nuisance wildlife from being attracted to the property. 

Winter weather can damage your home and introduce gaps for nuisance wildlife. Perform a thorough exterior inspection of your home. If you find any openings, even openings as small as the size of a dime, please seal them before traveling or call a professional for help.

Hole Size Guide by Animal

  • Pencil-width for mice, bats, voles
  • Golf ball for rats, flying squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks
  • Baseball for gray and fox squirrels
  • Grapefruit-sized for raccoons

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