Cooler Weather Brings Unwanted Attic Guests
An unwelcome consequence of the change of seasons is an increase in rats, mice and other animals finding their way into our attics. Adam Jones, vice president of quality assurance at Massey Services, recently shared his expert recommendations for keeping these unwelcome guests out of our homes with the readers of Pest Control Technology magazine.
Massey Services recommends a comprehensive rodent control program that incorporates sanitation, exclusion, repellents, traps and baiting. “Taking one action without the others may allow rodent problems to persist,” Jones says.
Homeowners can apply many of these strategies in their own efforts to keep rodents out of their homes.
Sanitation. Proper sanitation is the first step. Animals need food, water and shelter. Eliminate debris such as piles of unused lumber or trash to reduce potential shelter. Remove fruit that falls from trees in your yard and keep lids on trash cans. Store pet food and seeds in rodent-proof containers.
Exclusion. Rodents can squeeze through any opening their heads can fit through. For mice that can be an opening as small as ¼ inch. Conduct inspections for possible access points, focusing around wires, conduits and pipes, chimney and plumbing stacks. Also inspect soffits, eaves, attic and crawlspace vents for openings, and check your doors for worn or missing door sweeps. Seal small access points with rodent proof materials such as copper mesh, ¼-inch hardware cloth, 24-gauge metal or cement.
Repellents. Place gel repellents made with plant and pepper oils in and around access points. If you have a heavily pitched roof or a crawlspace with large open areas, consider using strobe lights to drive animals out of the space. The light should be placed in an area that allows for maximum coverage.
Traps & Baiting. Use snap traps or sticky traps baited with seeds, fruit and other foods that attract pests. Secure the traps so that the pest cannot move it. Repeater traps can also be used. It’s important to follow up once traps are placed. Dead rats or mice must be removed before decay begins. This helps avoid odor and staining and prevents the attraction of other pests, such as flies and beetles. Note: Rodenticides should never be used in the attic.