Fall has arrived, and winter weather will be here soon. Animals such as raccoons, skunks, and squirrels will be looking for warm places to spend the cold months, and your home could be an attractive option. Take steps now to locate and seal off any places where wildlife could make their homes.
Start at the ground and examine your foundation for openings and signs of animal activity. Focus on areas where pipes, vents, and cables leave the house. Look at places where different materials meet, such as window wells, dryer exhaust vents, thresholds, and gaps in brick or siding.
Next you should check your roof, siding, and trim board. Look for loose vent screens, warped siding, deteriorated trim board that is pulled away from the wall, or holes in the roof.
Check your attic for any signs of animals, such as droppings, chew marks, and nesting materials. Focus on where the roof and trim meet. Turn off the light in the attic and look for light leaking in from outside that can show you potential entry points. Check outside your house several evenings in a row at dusk to see if any bats are leaving your attic.
Inspect your chimney for signs of wildlife by shining a light up the flue and looking for signs on the damper and smoke shelf. Check the flue from the roof or hire a chimney sweep to do it.
Before you close, seal, or cap any potential entry point, you need to make sure that there are no animals inside. To do that, stuff insulation, paper, or cloth loosely into the opening and wait a few days. If the material has not moved, you can assume that the area is not occupied and seal it. Leave the material in longer if there is severe or very cold weather because animals may not leave the house under those circumstances.
You can seal small holes with caulk and larger holes with hardware cloth or permanent repairs. Use 16-gauge 1 x 1 inch steel mesh for raccoons and solid aluminum flashing for squirrels. Light bug screens will not keep out animals like squirrels and raccoons.
If you discover that a wild animal is already living in part of your house, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Contact the professionals at Anderson Wildlife Control, who will humanely remove the animal and tell you how to keep it from returning.