pests in attic

Pests in the Attic: How They Get There, and What to Do About It

Have you been hearing a scurry across your ceiling lately? Thinking your house might be haunted?

It’s worse…sounds like you might have pests in the attic!

While supernatural hauntings might seem terrifying, they can easily be placated with a little holy spirit. Living monsters like rodents and other pests, though…those are the real horrors that hide in the dark.

You better act fast to get those pests removed from the attic before they take over the whole house!

Read on to find out all you need to know about rodent control and pest removal.

What Are Pests?

Pests are a nuisance in any house.

They’re small, invasive, and multiplying rapidly. These are the common pests you might find making a home in your attic, uninvited.

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Bats
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Raccoons
  • Feral Cats
  • Opossums
  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Birds

How Are Pests in the Attic?

Now, you’re probably wondering how pests and rodents infiltrated your attic in the first place. It’s airtight, no?

Not to a little rascal like a rodent.

The attic is easily accessible for pests and rodents for two reasons: 1) tree branches and power lines provide easy access to this area of the house. 2) many small entryways can be found into the attic for pipes, wiring, ventilation, and heating.

Let’s take a look at how rodents can ransack your attic.

Ventilation Panels

Most animals need some source of heat, both warm- and cold-blooded animals.

When it’s cold out, the attic starts to look like a good resting ground for the night, or fortnight.

The warm air emanating from your home’s ventilation panels is a welcome sign to pests and rodents.

This includes:

  • air-control exhaust ventilation panels
  • gable vents in older homes for natural cooling methods
  • exhaust vents for kitchen and bathroom appliances like stoves and dryers

Most of these panels are made of metal, but some are constructed of wood or plastic. Many rodents have teeth specifically designed for cracking open the solid exterior of nuts and seeds.

See how this might be a problem?

Squirrels, especially, are very adept at gnawing through an old panel itself, or the foam insulation that lines it. And birds can easily fly right up to a slatted vent and take nest inside your attic.

Roof Joints and Intersections

Roofs are quite efficient at protecting against weather and other elements of nature. But their defenses against tiny invaders?—not so much.

Places where the roof joins together with either a wall or another section of roofing become easy-access entry points for pests. This is due to moisture damage.

Water elements like rain, snow, and ice formations are meant to slide off the roof and onto the ground. For the most part, the water does as intended. However, especially at intersections at joints, this water will collect and build up.

As roofs age, they become weakened due to this water damage.

These thickly moistened roof edges then become an easy target for the gnawing teeth of a rodent. A couple of hours and they’ll have chewed a tunnel right into your attic.

In some cases, pests don’t even have to dig their way inside. They can just walk right in.

Some shingles can become dislodged over time. And when this happens at a point where two roof sections intersect, direct access can be achieved. It’s a small gap that might be missed by water drainage, but a rodent can squeeze right in.

Plumbing and Electric Mats

Electrical wiring and plumbing sometimes require access to the outside through your attic.

During installation for the tubing and panel boxes, holes can sometimes be drilled a bit larger than necessary. These holes are then filled in with rubber matting to seal it off from the elements.

However, like insulation lining, this matting can be easily chewed through. All it takes is one, persevering pest to gnaw through and make home in your attic.

How to Remove Pests?

So we know how they got in…now how do we get them out of the attic?

Well, let me ask you a question: are you a good witch, or a bad witch?

Rodent Traps

There are several styles of traps available for purchase, but if you’re going the route of trapping the pests we recommend humane traps.

They allow for a controller manner of removing the animal without harming it.

Contact your local wildlife refuge for advice on how to properly rehabilitate the critter you’ve just caught.

Pest Exterminators

If you’d like to be one and done with it, it’s best to call up an exterminator.

Rather than setting up multiple traps and disposing of the remains yourself, a rodent removal professional can manage it all in a timely manner. It’s the peace of mind worth investing in, so make an appointment!

How to Prevent Pests From Coming Back?

The fun isn’t over just yet.

After getting rid of the current residents, you’ll have to do all in your power to make sure they don’t come back!

First, get rid of all the remains. Scents and territory markings, fecal matter, nesting materials—everything that could indicate to a wild animal that this could be their new home.

Once that’s done, it’s time to foolproof your roof and attic.

Make an appointment with a professional for pest and rodent prevention services. They’ll have the proper training and knowledge to block off any and every nook and cranny.

Take Action Now

Pests can be quite a nuisance with their incessant scratching and scuttling across the floor.

Worse, though, they can be a terrible financial burden. The damage they cause can require full replacement of ceiling beams and roof structures.

It’s better to take care of the problem sooner than later.

Contact us now for a free estimate on our services in regards to rodents and pests in the attic. We provide quality service for all your attic and roofing needs.

how to insulate an old house

How to Insulate an Old House: Why the Attic is Key

Have you been experiencing colder winters lately? Is your house an older structure with an attic? If it is, you need to look into adding proper insulation to your home.

The energy efficiency of a house can cut down on costs bigtime. An example is how water heating uses around 90% of the energy it takes to operate a washer. Modern washing machines can clean your clothes without hot water.

The insulation heat loss of your home can lead to paying a higher bill than cutting down on it. So how do you keep your home warm in the winter seasons without emptying your wallet? The key is to invest in insulating your attic.

Below, we will give you a guide on how to insulate an old house.

1. Why the Attic?

We all know that hot air rises as cool air sinks to a low level. Let’s apply this knowledge to your house. Without proper insulation, in the winter months, the warm air you need will seep up to the attic.

No matter how small the gaps that lead up to your attic, warm air will find ways to go up. Other than that, the pressure in the area with warm air will increase. On a cold day, that pressure and the lower pressure from outside pull the warm air through any gap in can find.

Other than that, the high air pressure at the top of the house will create low pressure at the bottom. The cold air gets pulled in because of these different air pressures, making your home frigid. This is what energy experts call the stack effect.

Before you insulate your attic, read these pre-insulation steps first.

2. Fill the Gaps

Your insulated attic isn’t necessarily a sealed attic. Before you begin the installation of insulation, you have to make sure to seal all the gaps in your attic. Insulation works to slow down heat loss but not to stop airflow.

Check all the gaps and holes where air can pass then seal them up. Cover gaps with planks or drywall pieces. You can also use latex caulk or urethane foam for wider gaps.

Check gaps from light fixtures, pipes, wiring, and heating/cooling ducts. For chimneys and stove flues, use sheet-metal collar and caulk to seal gaps around them. Use weather stripping around the edges of your attic door for an attic door seal,

Warm air can also leave through your attic ventilation. In the summer, vents in the attic keep the house nice and cool. In the winter months, you want to cover your attic vents if you can.

Attics that are already insulated will need more elbow grease. Roll back batts so you can seal all the gaps under them. Remember your safety gear: pants, long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and a dust mask.

What if the attic has loose-fill insulation, which you can’t pull back? It’s better for you to call a weatherization contractor to find all the gaps and holes. Don’t leave a breach for warm air to escape through.

3. Install Attic Insulation

The answer to making an old house inhabitable is insulation. Even if you bought the house with insulation already installed into it, it’s best to double check. The insulation materials used in older houses are not as effective in keeping heat in as the new ones.

The insulation must meet DOE standards. For most of the US, the DOE’s standard is R-38. Your area may have a different standard so be sure to check first.

You have many choices for your insulation batting. The traditional option is fiberglass insulation. When you choose this solution and work at it alone, be careful and wear safety gear.

You can add R-30 insulation batting throughout your attic. Or, you can also use blown-in insulation which has environment-friendly materials available. A 15-inch thickness is like the R-30 insulation batting.

For a greener insulation project, Cellulose blown-in insulation is available. Recycled newsprint makes up cellulose. The R-value is greater than fiberglass and it is fire-retardant.

The best way to insulate attic doors is to make a pillow made of insulation batting. Measure first before you stick it onto the attic door with tape. Add foam to the edges to keep it air-sealed.

Did you know that 42% of the energy used in homes goes to space heating? Compare it to the energy air conditioning uses up, which is 6%. When it comes to keeping the house habitable temperature-wise, homeowners use up more energy and money in colder seasons.

4. Other Ways on How to Insulate an Old House

For the most part, the attic is a big factor in heat loss. Still, that doesn’t mean we should ignore other common heat leaks. The following are other measures you can take to keep heat in.

After the attic, windows are the second major problem. Make sure you have storm windows in place. Next, keep your exterior walls insulated as well.

Check your home for other gaps. Follow pips, cables, or drains that may lead outside the home. If you find any, seal them up to keep heat in.

When you insulate light fixtures, make sure your insulation materials are a good distance away from the heat of the lights. You may need to install wooden blocks around the lights. Insulation materials too close to the heat generated by the lights can cause fires.

Make Your House Energy-Efficient

Before you seal or insulate your attic, it’s best to clear it out first. This way, it’s easier to remove the plywood on the attic floor. Before you peel away the plywood, assess its condition if it’s fit for insulation.

Check your current insulation for dampness. The presence of molds and stains means that it’s time to change them. All these steps on how to insulate an old house are great investments in energy savings.

Don’t wait to insulate! Feel free to contact us today and we can help you get started. If you’re not so sure yet, don’t worry about the cost because we offer free estimates as well!

Rodent Proofing Your Garden Helps Rodent Proof Your House

rodent proofing your garden helps rodent proof your house

Mice and rats are intelligent and curious creatures and, like humans, they love to find a safe and consistent source of food and shelter. By finding ways to rodent proof your yard and garden spaces, you’ll inherently protect your home from unwanted rodents.

Rodent proofing your garden starts with denying the food source

Your vegetable gardens, along with fruit and seed bearing trees and flowers, serve as a one-stop grocery store and restaurant for rats and other rodent pests. Rats and mice love to feast on tender leaves and greens every bit as much as they love to eat seeds, nuts, fruits, and sweeter veggies. They even love to eat worms and insects making their home in your soil and garden beds, not to mention the allure of your irrigation system’s supply of fresh water.

Once your garden becomes a favorite rodent hotspot, it’s inevitable that the rodents will migrate into your warm, cozy home – including attics, basement, and crawlspaces.

Thus, taking the steps necessary to rodent proofing your garden and outdoor spaces is a first line of defense in rodent proofing your home.

Rats and mice spread pathogens

In addition to protecting your plants, the final harvest and your home – there’s another important reason to keep rats and mice away from the garden; they spread pathogens.

For example, rodent fecal matter often contains Salmonellosis. When droppings are watered, the bacteria spread into the soil and splashes up onto the leaves of lettuces, greens, and other edible plants and veggies. Without diligent washing and cleaning, the pathogen can spread to your family, causing serious illness – particularly in babies, young children and the elderly.

They also spread other known pathogens and viruses, and are hosts for other unpleasant parasites – including fleas and ticks.

Keep rats, mice, and rodents out of the garden

Here are some of the ways you make your garden less attractive – or impenetrable – to rodents and other unwanted guests.

Start seedlings indoors

Rats and mice love tender seeds, and freshly-sprouted seeds are an even better source of protein and nutrients. Planting seeds directly in the ground makes easy pickins for mice and rats. Instead, sprout your seedlings indoors so they have a chance to grow, planting them in the ground after they’ve taken off and have a good, strong start.

Protect your compost pile

Compost piles are wonderful, reducing landfill waste and using food scraps to help nourish next year’s garden. Unfortunately, they’re also a feasting ground for rats and mice. Make your compost pile as unpleasant as possible by turning it regularly and spraying it down with a garden hose, making it more difficult for rodents to access fresh food scraps.

Eliminate prospective shelters

Rodents love to hole up in wood piles and overgrown vegetation. Eliminate prospective shelters by moving wood and kindling piles regularly, keeping lawns and perimeter vegetation neatly mowed and trimmed and bagging yard waste immediately for disposal.

Install wire mesh below and alongside raised beds

Mice and small rats can squeeze through holes the size of a dime. Keep this in mind as you work to prevent underground and above ground access. Mesh wire should be laid along the bottom and sides of raised garden boxes – preventing burrowing access.

Use plants that keep rats away in borders and perimeters

There are some plants that naturally assist with rodent proofing your garden from rats and other rodents, so try these plants that keep rats away, using them around your yard, garden as borders, etc. These include:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Bay (sprinkle bay leaves around the garden beds)
  • Catnip
  • Onion
  • Daffodil
  • Wood Hyacinth (squill)
  • Elderberry
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Camphor plant

Sachets made from mint, lavender and other fragrant flowers or leaves have long been used to keep stored garments fresh; they also help to repel rodents so you can turn the yield from these outdoor plants that keep rats away into natural deterrents.

Control lawn pests – particularly grubs

A grubby lawn, plus a nearby garden is a win-win for rodents. By using eco-safe grub control methods for your lawn, rodent proofing your garden combined with some serious garden control and rodent repellents, will make your yard and home less attractive to those pests.

How to eliminate resident rats from the garden

First, identify which rodents are the problem so you can target specific types for elimination:

  • Look for them. Rats and mice are most active at dusk and dawn. Look for them scurrying along powerlines, fences and tree lines.
  • Plants disappear from below. Gophers and moles may be your problem, but rats and mice are tunnelers, too. They love to gnaw and tug on plants from their root base, bringing the whole feast back home to the family.
  • Look for holes and burrows. Because rodents are tunnelers, you’ll typically see evidence of their superhighway via holes or mounds of fresh earth.
  • Do you see any tracks – which will appear in trail formats on well-worn rodent pathways.
  • Mounds of soil indicate the entrance of a gopher, mole or rat hole. Rats make smaller mounts, gophers make larger mounds. Heart-shaped mounds are the sign of moles, rounder mounds are more typical of gophers.
  • Keep an eye out for droppings. If you have mice or rats in your garden, you’ll see evidence of black- or dark-brown droppings on top of the soil.
  • Smear marks will appear on fence lines, the top of wood piles, stone or metal caused by body oil and debris that remains from well-worth paths.
  • Chewed or damaged fencing material is evidence that they’re gnawing their way in.

Any of these signs indicate rats in the garden – and probably your home – warranting attention from you or a professional to start rodent proofing your garden.

Traps are the best means of eliminating rats and rodents

The best way to eliminate rats and other rodents from your garden is trapping. You can flood burrows with water – flushing rodents from the ground – but they’ll return. If you opt for this method, flood the burrows a few times a week for several weeks, forcing the intelligent rodents to find a newer, safer place to live.

Poisons are risky

Frustrated homeowners can forsake their ethics and opt for poison when they aren’t able to get a handle on things but this is a risky choice. Rodents and mice that are poisoned may be eaten or played with by your own dog or cat. Unwitting children may mistake a slower-moving poisoned rat for a tame “pet” or plaything.

Once sick and/or dead – poisoned are eaten by other animals that are then poisoned. These untargeted victims are often the same predators you want to hang around because they keep rodent populations in check.

Consider using baited and/or live traps for rodent proofing your garden

If you are against using a traditional snap trap, consider live trap options – some of which are designed to capture multiple rodents at a time. Just remember to let them go at least a mile away – multiple miles away is best –from your home since rodents are likely to find their way back otherwise.

Are you concerned you have rats in the garden or fear rodent proofing your garden hasn’t worked? Contact us here at Attic Solutions and we’ll rodent proof your attic and crawl spaces, helping you to eliminate rats and mice once and for all.