December 19-13 | Hibernating Critters
“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!”
Quote from “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore
So who are these creatures that aren’t stirring on the colder winter nights and what are they doing in your house anyway?
As winter settles in rodents, insects and small animals will seek shelter in warmer areas to escape the cold. Your house and garage are prime residential real estate for them and once they are in it’s difficult to get rid of them (like some relatives). Here are some things to look for if you suspect that you have small unwanted guests.
Smaller animals like squirrels and bats can find their way into attics and crawl spaces and create hibernating nests, settling in for long winter naps. Be proactive and check that your attic vents are properly screened and there are no gaps or holes in the roof and gables. Raccoons will also use the same areas and are very difficult to remove once they have established their territory.
Mice and rats can also hibernate but most will seek access to warmer areas. They can fit through gaps as little as ½ an inch and once established can cause extensive damage to walls, wiring and drywall. They forage for food at night and care should be taken to ensure that no food is left on counters or in unsealed containers in cupboards. Improperly stored food could become contaminated with their droppings and urine. Garages and workshops are also a prime choice for these rodents, so a careful inspection of doors, windows and building perimeters for gaps, holes, spaces around pipes and siding should be done before and during the winter months.
Insects, although smaller, can also become unwanted winter guests and can establish nests or colonies that can become difficult to find and get rid of. Cockroaches in particular can sense temperature changes and will seek warmer areas to inhabit. Keep firewood, mulch and vegetation away from direct contact with your home and look for cracks in concrete, door and window seal failures and space around piping coming in to the house from the outside.
Bees, wasps and snakes are also common critters that can use your home for their winter siesta although it is not as common for snakes. If you do find wasp or bees nests have them removed professionally.
We hope your winter is pest free but if it isn’t you know we are a phone call or email away.