A Wild Animal in Your Home Can Turn Any Holiday Hectic

The holiday season is here! As you prepare for the holiday season, we want to help you keep uninvited guests from showing up.

If you haven't already, the next few weeks you'll be pulling out seasonal decorations from your closets, basements, and attics. Attics, basements, and crawlspaces make excellent storage areas and nest sites for animals like mice, rats, raccoons, squirrels, and bats. Animals prefer dark, snug, and isolated areas of your home.

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.

The Dangers of Decorations

House fires are most likely to happen in the fall and winter months with December and January being the peak months. The majority of fires start in the kitchen, and the second leading cause is heat sources like wood stoves and fireplaces. But rats and mice can increase the risk of fires.

Current estimates attribute that rodents are responsible for 20% to 25% of fires with unknown causes. That’s because rodents are well known for their inclination to chew on critical infrastructure points such as electrical wires and gas lines.

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 opportunities 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.

5 Holiday Signs of Nuisance Wildlife

1. Strange Sounds

After Thanksgiving, we tend to get an uptick in calls. Why? Houseguests stay in rooms you do not frequent. Animals like squirrels and raccoons will den or nest in a specific spot in your attic. This holiday season if a loud thumping is keeping your cousin awake at night or if scampering early in the morning wakes up your brother-in-law you probably have an extra holiday guest.

2. Gnaw Marks

Our biggest culprits of gnawing are rodents like mice, rats, and squirrels. Rodents constantly gnaw. Please keep in mind that rodents can chew through materials like cardboard, wood, PVC, metal, and bricks.

3. Animal Poop

Droppings are a great indication of an existing or preexisting animal problem. Not only can we identify what animal is in your attic, but also we can tell how recent the infestation was. 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.

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 peace of mind through the holidays.

4. 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 slight 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.

5. 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 Holidays

As the weather becomes colder, more animals are looking for shelter. If you travel for the holidays, 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

Adrienne with Raccoon

Adrienne Vosseler

Adrienne, a graduate from Wilkes University in Biology, has been with Trutech since 2016. She loves animals and is always willing to help any customer. Her favorite part of the job is providing her customers peace of mind while solving wildlife issues.