Home Improvement

The 3 Most Common Places for Critters To Hide in Your New Home

Unless you’re Cinderella, rodents and other critters probably aren’t your friends. They scamper into your home, bring their critter buddies and babies with them, and try to live happily ever after—until you discover them.

For homeowners who’ve just moved in, it can be a nightmare to come across wildlife that likely chomped through wires or burrowed through walls just to get inside.

“Critters most often seek shelter, food, and water sources,” says Meg Pearson, wildlife training manager at Critter Control.

A temporarily vacant home can be a perfect refuge for rodents and critters seeking shelter, warmth, and sustenance. Plus, it’s a quiet place for them to hide from predators. So, it’s not uncommon for new homeowners to call pest control about wildlife damage on move-in day.

Here are three main areas of the house where rodents and critters like to dwell.

1. Garage

Garages make perfect spots for rodents and critters to park their family and set up shop.

Rodents are capable of squeezing through holes as small as a dime and gaps as small as ¼ inch wide,” says Jim Fredericks, an entomologist for the National Pest Management Association. “This means even the smallest opening or crevice that goes unnoticed by a homeowner can allow rodents to enter a garage and result in a full-blown infestation. Garage doors are the most common entry point.” 

Many times it’s the worn out seal at the bottom of the garage door near the corners that can provide an easy entrance.  A quick way to test if that’s the case is to shut off the lights in the garage. If any sunlight comes in around the door seal, it may be time to replace it.

“Mice and rats tend to hide in areas where they can create nesting and hiding sites, which could be a new homeowners’ storage boxes or recently used moving boxes being stored in the garage,” says Fredericks.

Bonus unsettling thought: A rodent infestation can bring other wildlife, like snakes, who are also looking for shelter or a meal.

2. Attic

Attics can make comfy nesting spots for rodents and critters.

“This is one of the most common areas we find nuisance wildlife,” says Pearson. “Rodents like rats, mice, and squirrels will gnaw on practically any material in the attic including electrical wiring, wood, and PVC pipes.”

This can become a fire hazard if they gnaw on any live wires.

Rodents can also wreak havoc on your insulation and can create tunnels throughout it. Squirrels and raccoons tend to use it for nesting material.

“All animals in the attic will contaminate it with urine and feces,” says Pearson. “It is recommended that the homeowner remove and replace all the attic insulation after the attic has been sanitized.”

Another problem, though rare, is that some species will chew on the drywall and create an entry to the home. Heavier animals, such as raccoons and opossums, could fall through the drywall if the ceiling is compromised or in poor condition.

3. Kitchen pantry

Kitchen pantries have an endless food supply for uninvited houseguests. Can you blame them for wanting to stay?

“Things like cardboard cereal boxes and paper flour bags are easy for rodents to chew through,” says Fredericks.

He recommends decanting your dry goods into reusable plastic or glass food storage containers.

It’s important to seal up any cracks, holes, or other entryways to the pantry and cabinets to prevent an infestation. Clean up spills, never let food sit out overnight, and keep pet food in tightly sealed containers.

“If a critter finds their way into the pantry, it is recommended to call a wildlife control professional immediately,” says Pearson.

Costs to banish rodents and pests

You will need more than a magic wand or good intentions to remove pests from your home.

Experts say the costs associated with wildlife removal, control, and repair varies and can depend on factors like home size, type of animal, location of infestation, how long the animal has been living in the home and amount of damage caused.

Costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars if the infestation goes untreated for a long time. Since every structure is unique, experts say a pest control pro can provide a comprehensive plan for fixing the problem and preventing wildlife from coming back.

“When dealing with any kind of pest problems, the best practice is to call a pest control professional as soon as you suspect an infestation,” says Fredericks. “Getting ahead of the issue will save money as well as the structural integrity of the home.”

Source By https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/overlooked-areas-where-new-homeowners-find-rodents-and-critters/