The fall and winter weather may attract more house guests than you invited to your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday mixer.
As outdoor temperatures begin to drop, pests including raccoons and squirrels will search for warm, dry places for comfort and protection. Due to both the climbing abilities of these pests and openings in your home like chimneys and vents, your home’s attic could very well become the cozy safe haven these animals seek.
While pests are using your home as a base camp, they will still need to go in and out in order to collect food and water for survival. As omnivores, raccoons have a diverse diet allowing them more variety when searching for food in the colder months. Not to mention, they are so accustomed to human presence in suburbs that they are not shy about accessing food from neighbourhood garbage cans. This makes suburban winter living a bit easier for these creatures. Since raccoons are also predominantly nocturnal, they’re most active at night. If you’re unlucky enough to host these pests in your attic, you will most likely hear nighttime activity, such as animals scurrying around and growling.
You’ll want to be sure to get rid of your raccoon problem immediately since a typical raccoon gestation period occurs for just over two months in the winter. If you take no action as a homeowner, you risk a female raccoon giving birth to a litter of two to five “kits” as the warmer spring months arrive.
Squirrels, on the other hand, are a bit different. Their food source is not as easily accessible in the winter. Squirrels are traditionally herbivores and often search for nuts that are rich in protein but have also been known to eat small insects when food sources are scarce. Squirrels in the house can be detected by movement and audible chirping, but are more active during the day in comparison to raccoons. They are able to grip and climb easily due to their little dexterous hands, and their small bodies allow them easy passage into your home, should you have any vent openings uncovered.
Not only will raccoons and squirrels disrupt your home, but they can become a fire hazard by chewing into your electrical wires as well. In order to prevent these pests from taking over your attic as the cold weather arrives, you need to ensure you do everything possible to block off and seal both openings and cracks on the outside perimeter of your home. Preventative measures will certainly help control these pests, but if you do happen to receive some unwanted visitors, dealing with the problem as soon as possible will avoid having to deal with baby pests come the spring season.