If you aren’t using your attic as a living space, the chances are someone else will. We are talking about sneaky wildlife that can gain access to your attic and make themselves comfortable. They live there, stash their food there, even have babies and die there! It’s good to be aware of the kinds of animals that are likely to invade your attic. So when you start hearing odd noises or noticing leaks and roof damage, you can put two and two together. Our Montgomery County animal removal experts are happy to give you some basic information on the Maryland wildlife that likes to nest in attics.
Squirrels in the Attic
We write about squirrels a lot on our blog and there is a good reason for that. Eastern Gray Squirrels are one of the most common wildlife pests found in Maryland attics. Like most wildlife seeking shelter in our dwellings, squirrels typically do so to find a safe place to have their babies. So what you think is one harmless squirrel in your attic is actually a squirrel family with an appetite for destruction. Because squirrels have front teeth that constantly grow longer and longer, they need to gnaw on stuff to keep the size in check. This “stuff” includes wood and wiring in your attic. In fact, squirrels are known to cause house fires due to their chewing habits, so don’t take this invader lightly.
Raccoons in the Attic
Raccoon is one of the largest animals you may find in your attic. Therefore, they are usually one of the easiest to notice, as they make quite a bit of noise, especially at night. Raccoon are very strong for their size. Where a squirrel would gnaw a hole in your fascia board, a raccoon would just rip the entire board off if it’s been weakened by the elements. The worst part about having raccoons in your attic is probably the raccoon latrine—the spot raccoons use as their litter box. Their feces and urine will ruin your insulation and can even soak though the ceiling. Many raccoons are infected with the raccoon roundworm parasite, so be careful if you plan on cleaning up the latrine yourself.
Bats in the Attic
If raccoons are the largest attic invaders, bats would probably take the trophy for the largest crowd. Bats live in colonies, so it’s not unusual to have 50 or more bats living at one time in your attic. The more bats you have, the sooner you may want them gone, because their strength is indeed in numbers. If not for the bat guano (bat poop), having bats in the attic would have been an all-around positive thing. After all, they eat mosquitoes and other insects in large amounts, making your summer nights more pleasant. Unfortunately, all that food ends up as pounds of guano in your attic. In extreme cases, it can weigh down your ceiling so much, it may collapse. In less severe cases, it will stink, stain your insulation and become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, such as the dangerous histoplasma.
Mice and Rats in the Attic
Mice and rats are sneaky rodents that can be virtually anywhere in your house. They can chew holes through most surfaces, creating safe routes they can use to stay out of our sight. They can be found in attics too, where mice and rats can roam freely since humans barely use this space. While they don’t do nearly as much damage as squirrels or raccoons, rats and mice are still unwanted critters. One of the biggest risks of having them around is the fact that they can contaminate your food and your kitchen counters. Rodents often carry numerous diseases and bacteria they can “share” with you.
Birds in the Attic
Birds in residential attics are not very common, but they do get in on occasion. Birds like starlings, pigeons and sparrows will first try your vents, gutters and soffits, but if the access to the attic is easy, they will nest there too. Birds build nests in spring to lay eggs and hatch their young. Once that’s done, they usually leave on their own. However, having birds in your attic means bird poop everywhere and a risk of a bird mite infestation. So depending on your situation and the number of birds in your attic, you may want them gone sooner rather than later. But don’t worry. If you find any of these critters in your attic, you can always rely on Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control to safely remove them and clean up any mess they left behind. Call us or contact online today for help fighting your attic invaders.
The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) has declared the week of November 15-21, 2015 the Rodent Awareness Week, so it’s only fitting that today we will talk about rodents. This time of year this topic is especially relevant, because most rodents are looking for safe, warm places to spend the winter, and our homes fit that description perfectly. To play our own devil’s advocate, let’s first consider this: is there actually a need for “rodent awareness?” It’s not like the majority of the U.S. population doesn’t know what rodents are and what they look like, right? But did you know that rodents can be the cause of over 35 diseases? Or that mice can fit in gaps as small as a dime? Having mice or rats in your home or apartment building can be more dangerous (and more likely) than you think, which is why we are here to raise awareness.
Which Rodents Should I Be Concerned About?
You probably know about rats and mice, but they are actually just two big groups of rodents that consist of many different species.
Deer mice are some of the smallest among mice, with large beady eyes, but they rarely invade homes. However, if you do see one in your home, be very careful, because they can carry Hantavirus.
House mice live up to their name, i.e. they live in your house. They reproduce very fast and in a matter of a few months you can have a few dozens of them rummaging through your pantry and walking on your kitchen counters.
Norway rats are the rats you would probably picture when you think of a rat. They are bigger than mice, and therefore are capable of gnawing on things and causing physical damage.
Roof rats are bigger than the house mouse but smaller than the Norway rat. They tend to hang out in the upper parts of the house, such as an attic, hence the name.
In Maryland, house mice and Norway rats are the two species you should be concerned about. Both of them are good climbers and can easily contaminate your food and food preparation surfaces. Their feces may contain E. coli, salmonella and other dangerous bacteria and viruses. Besides, they can bring in ticks and fleas into your home—pests that can be harder to get rid of than rats and mice. Another thing to consider is that rodents in your home may attract larger predators like snakes. Snakes often follow mice into homes and then stay because they have a steady food supply. They may clean up your rodent infestation, but then you’ll end up with a snake infestation—doesn’t seem like a fair trade-off.
What About Squirrels?
Squirrels are also considered rodents and have many things in common with rats, especially their gnawing habits. Although squirrels are fairly large, they too sometimes can sneak into your attic undetected and live there for a long time before you notice any signs of trouble. Although squirrels generally don’t transmit diseases, they can cause significant damage to your roof, insulation and wiring, and can even cause a fire. If you suspect there are squirrels in your attic, act fast!
How to Solve Your Rodent Problem
Your initial instinct may be to set up mouse traps or poison to deal with rats or mice. However, this is rarely a one-and-done solution. Trapping and killing rodents by itself is simply population control, but it won’t stop more rodents from getting in. To successfully get rid of rodents, you need to identify and seal any holes and gaps where a rodent could fit. And we are talking about very tiny gaps you would probably discard as “impossible to get through.” Once the gaps are sealed, existing rodents should be removed and the infestation cleaned up. The approach is vastly different to rodent removal and squirrel removal. In either case, you may need professional assistance to get the pesky animals out of the house. Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control will be happy to help you remove them and prevent future infestations. And we will clean up too, to save you time and effort!
If you’ve never had to deal with wildlife critters in your attic, it’s understandable why you may have no idea about how it works. Most people know that traps are usually placed to eliminate mice, but what about bigger rodents like squirrels? Are they also caught in traps? This is true to an extent, but the traps used are different and their purpose is different as well. Let our Maryland squirrel removal experts show you how this works.
This video is actually from our Georgia colleagues, but it illustrates well how squirrel exclusion works. As you can see, this squirrel family has been getting into the attic through a hole in the soffit. You can count a total of 4 squirrels inhabiting this attic, but there could be more. Imagine how much damage they did to all the wooden beams, insulation and wiring! To evict the squirrels, a mesh is installed over the entrance home. Keep in mind, this is not your chicken wire—squirrels can chew through that with no problems. The mesh is screwed in safely and forms a sort of a tunnel that narrows. Squirrels are not nocturnal, so they come out during the day to look for food. While they are hesitant at first, you can see them eventually exiting the mesh tunnel one by one. Because the exit is so narrow, they have to literally squeeze through. They hang around for a bit, exploring the odd structure, but soon they leave to go about their business. They can’t enter back through the same narrow hole, and before they try the hole is sealed shut. Mind you, this strategy will work only if there are no other holes squirrels might be using to get into the attic. While this loose soffit board is the obvious culprit, the entire perimeter of the roof needs to be inspected. Otherwise, the squirrels will always find their way back in and your efforts will be wasted.
How Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control Removes Squirrels
At our Maryland animal removal company we use the same approach, but execution is a bit different. Instead of letting the squirrels pass through the exit hole and leave, we actually trap them with one-way door traps and then relocate far away from your home. Below is the photo of the type of trap we use. We do this to ensure that squirrels don’t come back and chew a new hole in your roof.
Also, extra precautions need to be taken if squirrels are removed in late winter-early spring or in late summer-early fall. These are the times when squirrels are likely to give birth. Baby squirrels remain dependent on their mother for a long time. They are likely to stay in the nest for several weeks, so you won’t catch them in the trap when the mother exists. To improve everyone’s chances of survival, baby squirrels should be manually removed from the attic at the same time as the mother is captured, and then relocated to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. These are some of the reasons why you may want a professional to conduct squirrel removal from your Maryland attic. Although traps can be easy to purchase and install, it doesn’t mean you will do it the right way. Our goal at Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control is humane wildlife removal, and we’ll help you clean up your attic too! Give us a call or contact online with any questions.
A Chambersburg, PA man was recently cited by the police for discharging a firearm in the Chambersburg borough. He was trying to shoot a raccoon living under the shed near his office building. This is only one of the many documented and undocumented cases of homeowners, property managers and random strangers trying to deal with nuisance wildlife with weapons or lethal traps. You should know that not only is this illegal in some cases, but it’s also for the most part ineffective and can even put you in danger. Our Maryland raccoon removal specialists are here to explain why.
Killing the Animal is Unnecessary
Let’s face it, no one has to die in a human-animal conflict, unless you are dealing with a raccoon that has rabies. Most animals can be safely captured and relocated, never to come back and bother you again. Yes, it may cost a bit more money than firing a bullet, but then you won’t be stuck with a dead animal under your deck or shed, which if left there can cause unpleasant odor and even infest your home with fleas.
Dead Animal Removal is Not Free
The state and county roadkill removal teams don’t remove dead wildlife from private properties. This means you would either have to hire a dead animal removal company or you would need to drag or drive the dead raccoon to plant it as roadkill. Either way, that’s an unpleasant undertaking that can be easily avoided.
Animals Can Get Aggressive
Don’t underestimate strength and viciousness of a raccoon, especially if it’s a mother protecting her nest. Raccoons generally don’t attack people and try to stay away from us, but they may also carry diseases that can make them aggressive. For example, rabies and canine distemper are fairly common in raccoons. A recent case in Largo, FL involved an elderly man who simply stomped at two raccoons crossing a street, which was enough to provoke one of the animals (possibly carrying a baby on its back) to attack. The man ended up with 19 stitches from a raccoon bite and a broken bone from the fall.
There are Laws for Discharging Firearms
Discharging any kind of firearm within the city limits is typically illegal outside of a few exceptions. Outside of the city, you are typically allowed to fire a weapon on your property, as long as it’s not automatic. If you are not very experienced with guns, you risk injuring the animal and causing it a slow and painful death.
Killing Rarely Solves the Problem
People hire us not just because we remove nuisance wildlife from their property, but also because we clean up, repair damage and take measures to prevent future problems. Shooting a poor raccoon under your shed does none of that. There is still a hole you need to fill in, maybe boards to replace, and there is no guarantee more raccoons won’t come in its place. This is one of the reasons you may want to leave wildlife removal to a professional instead of settling a personal vendetta. We have studied these animals for years, we know their habits and lifestyle, and we can leave you with a clean consciousness and a peace of mind. Give us a call today for raccoon removal or other animal removal in Howard County, Montgomery County and throughout Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region.