What To Do If You Think You Have Pests in Your Attic
Out of sight, often out of mind, but always critical to your home’s well being, your attic is uniquely vulnerable to a wide variety of household pests. The combination of stable conditions, readily-available hiding places, and low foot traffic add up to make your attic an ideal place for unwanted critters to hide. Letting them stay though simply isn’t an option so keep reading and learn what to do about pests in your attic!
Signs of Pest In Your Attic
Pests may be sneaky, but if you know what to look (and listen) for, you’ll be able to pick up on their activity in no time. With that in mind, a few dead giveaways of pest activity in your attic include:
- Scratching, chewing, or squeaking noises coming from your ceiling.
- The presence of nesting materials including paper, insulation, twigs, cardboard, and more.
- Evidence of daily activity such as footprints and feces.
- Missing shingles or damaged ducts, siding, or screens which can be seen from outside.
- A sudden and unexpected rise in your utility costs, which may be an indicator of damage to your insulation.
Common Pests You May Find in Your Attic
While your attic is vulnerable to more or less any pest that is willing to make the effort to get in, a few seem to like it more than others. Some of the usual suspects include:
Rats and Mice
House mice and roof rats are among the most common pests found in attics all up and down the Mid Atlantic. Rodents’ expert climbing capabilities and ability to get into tight spaces make them particularly adept and sneaking indoors where they’ll often set up their nests. Keep in mind that rats and mice are among the most destructive and potentially dangerous household pests around, so always let a professional know as soon as you discover them in your home.
Roaches prefer dark, rarely-disturbed spaces, making your attic and ideal place for them to live. This is particularly true if your insulation isn’t in great shape, allowing excess moisture to accumulate. Worse still, roaches love to lay their eggs in attics, meaning that it can be ground zero for a severe infestation.
Just like cockroaches, centipedes are attracted to moisture. So while they’re harmless enough in and of themselves and they’re usually eating other pests, a centipede infestation is a sign that your attic needs better moisture management. Fortunately, even adding a simple dehumidifier can encourage them to move along and find a new place to live.
If you aren’t regularly cleaning your attic (and let’s be realistic, you probably aren’t), spiders will quickly establish webs and reproduce. While their presence is stressful enough on its own, spiders feed on other pests— that means that an established spider population in your attic is probably a sign their other pests are there too and in large enough numbers to provide a stable food source.
Silverfish are uniquely well-suited to life in our attics. They can survive for weeks without food or water, are highly adaptable to varying conditions, and prefer to live in and around old cardboard and paper products. Silverfish traps can be highly-effective but should be changed out on a regular basis, particularly if an infestation persists.
Similarly to rats and mice, tree squirrels excel at getting into attics. Their powerful jaws can chew right through insulation, allowing them to come inside and establish their nests. Look for them in fall or winter as squirrels prefer to avoid the outdoors in colder temperatures whenever they can.
The attic is the closest thing that your home has to a cave, a fact which isn’t lost on bats. Several common bat species love to roost in attics and can get indoors through a hole as small as half an inch in diameter. A bat infestation can be particularly dangerous though, as they’re known to carry diseases like Rabies and Histoplasmosis. This makes professional bat removal critical in the event of an infestation.
Intelligent, relentlessly curious, and deceptively strong, raccoons can easily rip apart ducts, siding, and even roofing materials to get into your attic. Once indoors, raccoons will use the attic as their home base, taking advantage of it’s safe and comfortable conditions while searching for food outdoors. Like bats and rodents, raccoons can spread diseases and cause serious injury when mishandled, so always contact a wildlife control professional whenever they get indoors.
North America’s only native marsupial and critical to keeping tick populations under control, possums are amazing animals that still don’t belong in your attic. They’re most likely coming into your attic in search of shelter but can cause a significant amount of damage in the process. But given their beneficial niche in the Mid Atlantic’s ecosystem, we highly recommend a professional and humane relocation as a way to resolve an infestation.
When you think about it, your attic is basically a giant birdhouse. It’s little surprise then that a wide variety of bird species may try to establish nests there. Fast removal and reliable excursion are critical when trying to keep birds out though, otherwise, they’ll try to come back every year during nesting season.
Snakes don’t always come to mind right away when we think about pests, but in fact, they’re a common attic invader. Similarly to spiders and centipedes, snakes typically come into your attic in search of food. This means that discovering a snake in your attic can be a sign of a mouse, rat, squirrel, or bird problem as well!
How to Prevent Pests from Infesting Your Attic
Control and removal of attic pests is challenging once they’re indoors, making prevention that much more important. The best way to do this though is through routine maintenance and strategic materials upgrades.
- Be sure that your insulation is up-to-date and of a high enough quality to keep pests like rodents outside.
- Heavy-duty steel screens and vent covers are similarly effective and should be installed wherever they’re needed.
- Take care to regularly inspect the space and quickly repair any holes or gaps you find.
Done together, steps like these can go a long way toward preventing infestations from happening at all.
How to Get Rid of Pests in the Attic
Given just how many pests are capable of causing injury and spreading disease, this is one that’s best left to the professionals. So once you notice the signs of attic pest activity, give a reliable expert a call to receive the relief you need and to keep your home safe.
Here at Blades of Green, we’ve treated Maryland and Virginia’s homes for rats, mice, spiders, silverfish, roaches, centipedes, and millipedes for more than 30 years, making us the ideal candidate to get the job done for you! However, if you’re dealing with a wildlife infestation in your attic, we recommend looking to another local provider as that is not included in our current catalog of services.
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