When you find out there is a squirrel living in your attic, your first thought is probably “oh well, another weekend project!” But as Maryland squirrel removal specialists, we caution you against dealing with squirrels on your own. If it was as fast and easy as it seems, we wouldn’t be getting so many squirrel removal calls from Bethesda, Silver Spring, Germantown and all over Maryland. Here are some of the main reasons our clients choose to work with us instead of doing wildlife removal on their own.
It’s Often More Than 1 Squirrel
Many homeowners don’t realize this, but frequently animals enter our attics to give birth to offspring. While the babies are little, you often won’t see or hear them at all. They are tucked away in a far corner of the attic or somewhere else where they are difficult to find and extract. It takes skill and knowledge of squirrel’s habits to determine whether there are babies. Then it takes some time and climbing through the attic to locate them. This is not something you want to be doing on a hot and humid summer day, trust us!
Squirrels Can Be Aggressive
You wouldn’t think this little critter is capable of anger, but squirrels can in fact be rather aggressive and territorial. When you get too close to a squirrel, especially if it’s a mother protecting her young, it can jump on you, scratch and bite. Although not very common in squirrels, rabies is also a possibility and could be a reason why a squirrel is acting aggressive in the first place. Take a look at this squirrel from California (which is supposed to be friendlier than Maryland squirrels) attack a teenager who just wanted to take a photo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gBPT432m8Q
Squirrels Are Smart
If you are thinking about setting up a cage in your attic and baiting it with peanut butter, think again. Squirrels are rather smart and typically won’t go for bait placed inside their den. They are also smart in a way they enter your attic. Squirrels are good at finding weak spots and vulnerabilities in your roof. They are smart enough to pry small holes open, push their way in or lift loose shingles. For this reason, it can be difficult to locate all of their entry spots if you don’t know what you are doing.
Taking Preventive Measures
Removing a squirrel from an attic is only half the job. The second half has to do with preventing other squirrels or different animals from entering your attic. This is done by patching any holes made by offending squirrels and identifying and sealing other potential entry points. This has to be done the same day or soon after the squirrels are removed. Many homewoners don’t have the time or the tools to do all this right away. It may take weeks until you finally purchase and install a vent cover or a drip edge flashing. Meanwhile, there could already be another animal living in your attic.
Repair and Cleanup Can be Considerable
One of the dangers of having squirrels in your attic is their chewing habit. Squirrels shew on EVERYTHING to keep their teeth from overgrowing. This may include the wooden structure of your deck, wiring, plumbing, personal belongings, etc. On top of that, squirrels like to make nests out of attic insulation they rip up into small pieces. All of this means that your attic will need to be thoroughly inspected and patched up after squirrels are gone. And if you don’t have carpentry skills or would rather not deal with squirrel poop—that’s just one more reason to call a pro! Contact Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control today if you are looking for professional squirrel removal in Maryland.
This time of the year it is very common for the residents of Silver Spring and other Maryland cities and suburbs to find squirrels living in the attic. From late spring to mid-fall, squirrels usually prefer denning in a tree that is covered with leaves that offer great protection from predators and harsh weather. However, after the leaves fall off the trees, the squirrels have no coverage from hawks, rain and wind, so they often chew holes through roofs to den in attics and wall cavities.
Why Squirrels Picked Your Attic
A squirrel will investigate a roof to find the most vulnerable spots to enter the attic. In most cases, squirrels will chew a baseball-sized hole through the fascia board (the board your gutter is attached to). Many homeowners have no drip edge flashing (the L-shaped aluminum flashing installed under the edge of the shingles to close the gap between the roof and fascia board). This allows squirrels and other wildlife to enter the attic anytime, which could be the reason why squirrels picked your house.
What Squirrel Roof Damage Looks Like
The photo below shows that a gray squirrel has been entering through the gap between the plywood roof deck and the fascia board. The photo also shows that the squirrel has ripped up some of the attic insulation and built a den site. Many different species of wildlife including mice, snakes, birds, and bats can easily fit through this gap to access the attic or wall cavities. Drip edge flashing must be installed to prevent further squirrel damage and future pest control problems.
Dormer pockets are another area of the roof where a Silver Spring squirrel control professional may be needed. Squirrels can easily chew through or push through the dormer pocket to access an attic or crawl space. A dormer pocket is the inside vertical corner of a dormer where the rooftop and the dormers meet. Most homes that have dormers have vinyl siding on the sidewalls. When the vinyl siding is installed, it is sometimes tucked behind the corner and not fastened down, which allows squirrels and other wildlife to easily push it in. In some cases, it can be difficult for the average homeowner to determine if the squirrel living in their Silver Spring attic is using the dormer pockets as an entry point because it did not chew a hole and may be pushing and pulling the inside corner of the dormer just like a door (squirrels can be very smart and very inventive).
How to Remove Squirrels from Your Attic
It can be very difficult and frustrating to attempt to get rid of squirrels living in the attic. All too often do-it-yourself homeowners will try to take care of their squirrel problem on their own and fail. They usually seal a squirrel or two up in the attic after repairing the holes the squirrels chewed through on the rooftop. At this point, one of three things will happen: <
- (1) the squirrel(s) will make a lot of noise trying to escape and eventually die in the attic, which will create a very bad odor in the home
- (2) the squirrel(s) will dig a hole through the sheet rock ceiling beneath the attic and get into the living space of your home
- (3) the squirrel(s) will find a vulnerable spot on the interior of the roof and chew their way out.
To prevent future roof damage caused by squirrels it is important to set live-capture squirrel traps to remove the invasive squirrels like the photo below shows:
Choosing a full-service Silver Spring squirrel removal company like Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control is always the best solution to resolve your invasive squirrel problem. After the squirrels are humanely evicted from your home, the wildlife control professionals at Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control will restore any area of your roof or walls that was damaged by squirrels.
It’s the end of the year and it’s time to make plans for 2017! You can plan vacations, major home renovations and your personal goals. And although it’s not a very exiting thing to plan for, we’d like to encourage you to plan to inspect and patch up your home to keep it safe from animal intruders. This is especially important for older homes and houses where maintenance was not been in the budget for the past few years. Make the time for it, put away some money and you will benefit long term from not having to deal with raccoons in your attic or bats in your walls. Our Maryland wildlife removal experts are happy to guide you and help you figure out which items may need your attention.
Sometimes, animals can enter your home through the chimney, but more often they use the chimney as a safe nesting spot. Think about it: chimney is hard to see into, protects well from the elements, and the very bottom of it is warm, as it’s inside the house. Squirrels, raccoons, birds and bats all are known to live in unused chimneys. To prevent this from happening, make sure your chimney has a chimney cap that is securely installed. In addition to living in the chimney, some animals may use the weak flashing around the chimney to get into your attic. Squirrels do this frequently, as they are small and don’t need much of a hole to squeeze through. Be sure to have a roofer inspect your chimney flashing and replace it as needed.
We’ve talked in detail about protecting your vents in one of our recent posts, so feel free to refer to it for more information. To sum it up for you, make sure that all vents that exit in or near your roof have covers on them that prevent animals from getting in. These should be covers made of steel mesh or similar materials—something a squirrel can’t easily chew through. The specific vents you should worry about include gable vents, plumbing vents, appliance vents, etc.
Roof Line and Fascia Boards
Homes are different. Some homes are built like fortresses, while others are much less secure. For example, in many older homes you can find an unsealed gap right where the edge of the roof deck meets the fascia board. In construction, this space is called a drip edge and it needs to be sealed with a metal strip. If it’s not sealed, animals, especially squirrels, can lift the shingles up and then widen the gap with their teeth until it’s big enough for them to get through.
Porch and Deck
If you have a front porch or a ground-level deck with space underneath, you may find that many animals gravitate to it. Chipmunks, opossums, skunks, groundhogs, foxes and raccoons are all known to nest under decks and porches. While a chipmunk won’t do much damage, a groundhog can seriously undermine the structure. To keep these animals out, wooden lattice is typically not enough. You may need a galvanized mesh and you may need to bury it several inches below ground. If your deck, porch or shed is high enough off the ground that you can crawl under it, consider keeping it open and airy instead. Most animals like dark, secluded places, so if your “crawlspace” is sunny and airy, they may be discouraged to use it.
Landscaping is something many homeowners overlook when taking measures to protect their homes from animal intruders. Meanwhile, landscaping is very important in keeping wildlife at bay. For example, maintaining shorter grass will provide less cover for snakes, groundhogs and mice to hide in. Removing overhanging tree branches will help prevent squirrels and raccoons from accessing your roof. Finally, removing certain types of trees and shrubs can discourage certain animals that come to your property for nuts or berries. If you take care of these 5 areas around your home, you will be far ahead of many homeowners! And if you ever find yourself dealing with nuisance wildlife, you can always rely on Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control for immediate help!
One of the most common ways animals can gain access to your home is through vents. Sometimes, the vent covers are missing entirely, and other times they may be damaged or simply not strong enough. So how do you protect your vents to keep raccoons and other animals away? Here are a few tips from our Maryland wildlife removal experts.
Know Your Vents
If you are a new homeowner, it’s understandable that you don’t yet know your home inside and out. However, if you’ve been living in your home for a while now, there is no excuse to not knowing what kind of vents your home has. Knowing the types of vents and their locations is essential, because with this knowledge you can decide which vents may need reinforcements. And you will also know where to check to make sure no wildlife is trying to get in. Some of the vents frequently used by animals include:
Gable vents are located on the gable ends of the house and their purpose is to ventilate the attic and prevent high humidity in summer and ice dams in winter. An average house has 2 or more gable vents, depending on the size of the vents and the house. On most houses, gable vents are located within arm’s reach of the roof edge. This is often close enough for a raccoon to make his way in.
Soffit vents are located on the underside of soffits either in several spots or along the entire length of the soffit. They also help with attic ventilation and aid with air flow. Besides the soffit vents, some roofs also have ridge vents along the ridge of the roof, but they are unlikely to be bothered by wildlife.
Besides soffit and gable vents, most homes also have a variety of vents that remove air or exhaust from appliances, such as dryers, stoves, furnaces, cooktops, etc. These vents may either exit through the roof or the side of the building.
Reinforce your Vents
Now that you know where all the vents are, it’s time to inspect them and see if they need reinforcements. This may require climbing on the roof, so be sure to take safety measures or hire a roofing contractor or a Maryland animal removal professional to do this for you. When we examine vents, here are some of the things we look at:
- Is vent framing in good condition?
- Is there a vent screen or vent cover present?
- Is the screen/cover strong enough to stand up to a raccoon?
- Is the flashing around the vent intact?
If there are issues with any of these items, then we will recommend how you can properly seal and reinforce your vents. In most cases, we install galvanized steel mesh or cage-like screens over your vents. They prevent any birds and other small critters from getting in, as well as stand up well to larger animals.
Before Screening Your Vents
Before you take any steps to reinforce your vents it’s important to make sure there are no animals already in your home. If you found a vent damaged in any way, call an animal removal expert for an inspection. Take a look at this video from an art gallery where four raccoons became trapped after the roof vents were sealed. KPTV – FOX 12 If you have any other questions about roof vents or think you may have animal intruders, feel free to give us a call!
Wildlife is all around us. Whether you live in Glen Burnie, Bethesda or Rockville, not a day goes by without seeing at least one representative of the animal kingdom. It’s often fascinating and even awe-inspiring to run into them in the wild, but it can be scary and unsettling if the encounter happens inside your own home. Today, we want to talk about 2 Maryland animals that are common in our state and are beneficial to the environment, but can wreak a havoc on your home if they decide to move in.
Maryland is home to 10 species of bats. Bats are nocturnal creatures that leave their roost after the sun goes down and go hunting for insects. Each bat can consume over 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour! If you leave near a pond, a swamp or near woods, having bats in your neighborhood can be a huge blessing. They are the reason you can stargaze from your deck without being bothered. And the reason you can take your dog out before bed without coming back with 10 itchy bumps. Take a look at this video highlighting the importance of bats not only for your personal comfort, but for the global agriculture and economy: www.youtube.com
However, bats can also become a nuisance when they take an opportunity to move into our attics. They use the attic during the daytime to rest and digest, which inevitably leads to piles of guano (bat poop). Now, considering that each bat can eat as much as their own weight in insects each night, imagine how much guano you will have from a colony of 50 bats. This guano can ruin your attic insulation, soak through the ceiling and harbor dangerous bacteria. If you have bats in your attic, contact a bat removal professional to have them safely and humanely relocated. Remember, bats are protected by the Maryland law and killing them is illegal.
Yes, snakes! As menacing as they can look, some snakes are actually good to have on your property. For one, they help control mice population, which means fewer mice thinking about moving into your home. Snakes can also be beneficial for your garden, as they eat slugs and small insects, helping keep your crops healthy and whole. Here is a great video showing a garter snake and explaining what it does for the environment: www.youtube.com
Unfortunately, not all snakes are this helpful and some are actually venomous. On occasion, a snake may chase after a mouse and get inside your home where it may decide to stay. Snakes are known to live inside walls, ceiling and even air ducts. Large colonies of snakes can cause thousands of dollars in damage, because drywall generally has to be removed to clean out their nest. If you’ve encountered a snake in you home on more than one occasion, this could be the first sign of trouble. It could be a lost wanderer, but it’s also possible that you have an infestation. Contact us right away if you think you have snakes or bats in your home!