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    Preventing Unwanted Christmastime House Guests

    Friday, December 11, 2020 | Mid-Cities Pest Control

    It’s Christmastime again, a time when halls are decked, the scent of pine fills the air, and the chorus of Christmas carols can be heard all around. It’s a time when families cozy up with freshly baked treats and their favorite Christmas movie as they celebrate this wondrous season. With all the joy and magic filling the air, a scuffling on the rooftop would naturally bring to mind the image of reindeer alighting, their hooves clicking on the shingles, bringing with them good old Santa Claus to come down through the chimney with lots of toys.

    Unfortunately, the noises being heard are rarely those of magical reindeer, and are generally signs of either a rodent or wildlife invasion. You see, animals don’t know what’s expected of them during this season, and even on the night before Christmas, mice can, in fact, be stirring. So what can be done to keep unwanted guests from staying over for the winter? In addition to the standard pest control methods, which you can read more about in the articles below, a vital part of keeping out uninvited guests is to eliminate their access to your home. This can be accomplished in part through home maintenance and repairs you can perform yourself, and in part through professional exclusion work.

    What is Exclusion Work?

    Exclusion work refers to a variety of physical barriers that The Bug Dude can employ in order to keep pests out of your home. These barriers can be items that are installed (like door sweeps), items that are replaced (like vent covers), or they can even be repairs to holes on the exterior of the home itself. Whatever their form, these barriers must be carefully chosen and installed by The Bug Dude in order for them to be both safe and effective.

    Our experienced technicians can not only discover the likely sources where rodents or wildlife are finding ways into your home, they also know which materials are effective in preventing these animals from gaining re-entry. On top of that, they can determine which entry points can be safely sealed and which are necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the home (after all, it’s not a good idea to 100% seal up a home).

    When you call The Bug Dude out to evaluate your home for an issue with rodents or wildlife, they will also check for any potential entry points that these animals are utilizing. If any entry points are found, exclusion work can be performed once the primary issue has been reduced or resolved. It’s important to get the timing right when performing this repair work, as you don’t want to trap animals inside, but you also don’t want to get rid of one issue only to leave an open door for another animal to find its way in.

    What Can I do to Help Prevent Pest Issues?

    Though exclusion work is often necessary once a rodent or wildlife issue has been established in your home, there are steps you can take to make your home less enticing for these animals and prevent having extended holiday house guests.

    The first step is to go through your home and yard and look for any of the issues listed below. Remember, you are trying to keep your home from providing food, water, and shelter to unwanted critters. It may take a little time, but your investment now can keep you from spending sleepless nights listening to scratching and scurrying above your head, and can save you money and stress in the long run.

    In your Home

    • Reduce potential nesting sites:
      • Organize and declutter closets and attic spaces
    • Reduce potential food sources:
      • Keep pantry items in airtight containers
      • Keep non-pantry items in the fridge
      • Don’t leave food out (including pet food)
      • Keep trash in securely closed bins and take the trash out regularly
    • Reduce potential water sources:
      • Fix any plumbing or roof leaks
      • Don’t leave pet water bowls out
    • Inspect for potential entry points:
      • Check that any gaps around doors are less than 1/4” high (mice are able to get in through a 1/4” or larger gap)
      • Check that all window & door screens and weather stripping are intact

    Around your Home

    • Reduce potential nesting sites:
      • Keep yard debris (i.e. leaves, branches, grass trimmings, etc.) away from the home
      • Trim bushes to keep them away from your home and up off the ground if possible
      • Keep firewood at least 20’ from your home and off the ground
    • Reduce potential food sources:
      • Don’t leave pet food bowls out
    • Reduce potential water sources:
      • Keep gutters cleared and in good working condition
      • Don’t leave pet water bowls out
    • Inspect for potential entry points:
      • Check for any cracks in the foundation over 1/4” in width
      • Check for any signs of chew marks on siding or eaves
      • Check around all voids where pipes and wires enter the home and make sure there are no gaps over 1/4” in size
      • Make sure attic vents are property screened
      • Make sure chimneys are properly capped
      • Check for any broken vents, loose siding, loose shingles, or visible holes
      • Remove vines from you walls (rodents can use these to gain easier access to your home)
      • Trim any overhanging tree limbs (they should be at least 8 to 10 feet from the roof)

    In your Garage

    • Reduce potential nesting sites:
      • Organize and declutter any stored items
      • Inspect any cars that are rarely used for signs of rodent activity, especially under the hood
    • Reduce potential food sources:
      • Keep trash in securely closed bins and take it out regularly
      • Keep pet food or bird seed in airtight containers made of glass or metal

    In your Yard

    • Reduce potential nesting sites:
      • Regularly clear all yard debris (i.e. leaves, branches, grass clippings, etc.)
      • Keep your grass trimmed
      • Keep any storage buildings organized and decluttered and make sure to inspect them regularly
      • Regularly inspect hot tubs for signs of rodent activity (the warm, protected area under a hot tub makes an ideal nesting site)
      • If you have a double fence, check for signs that rodents may be nesting in the gap between the fences
    • Reduce potential food sources:
      • Remove bird feeders
    • Reduce potential water sources:
      • Remove bird baths
    • Inspect for potential entry points:
      • Place sheet metal bands around tree trunks to discourage squirrels from climbing them and finding their way to your roof

    This December, give yourself the gift of peace of mind and treat your home to some extra attention in order to pest-proof your house and yard. And if you hear noises up on the rooftop, give The Bug Dude a call at 800-310-BUGS (2847) and let our technicians make sure that on Christmas day, the only noises you hear are those of comfort and joy.

    Further Reading:

    “Rats: Not Even Their Own Are Safe!” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog
    “The Twelve Days of Squirrels” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog
    “Things that go Bump in the Night” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog
    “Make Pest Control Part of Your New Year’s Resolutions” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog
    “Are Unexpected Guests Crashing Your Thanksgiving?” – Alissa Breach – The Bug Dude Blog

    Author Bio: Alissa Breach has been gaining knowledge and experience around pest control concerns over the last 11 years while working for Mid-Cities Pest Control. She has a creative writing BA from UW-Madison and is always pursuing new and interesting writing projects.

    Photos Credits
    Photo by Joshua Hibbert

    The Bug Dude Blog