Winter Pest Tips

Winter Pests: How to Keep Mice, Squirrels, Spiders and Other Pests Out of Your House

Baby it’s cold outside! This time of year can get pretty chilly in Wisconsin and just like us, winter pests like mice, squirrels, and spiders are looking for a warm home.

Not many of us enjoy sharing our home with these winter pests and for good reason. Mice, rats and squirrels easily spread diseases and can contaminate your food. Spiders and ants also spread disease, contaminate food, transmit bacteria and can bite. Mice, rats and squirrels also can wreak havoc on your home by chewing on wires, drywall, and your wood studs.

So how do we stop those little pests from joining your family in your warm and cozy home? Today we’ll dive into how these pests get into your home in the winter and some tips on how to prevent them from joining you and your family.

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The Great Squirrel Invasion

Squirrel Entering House

In case you haven’t taken notice, in the last few years, there has been a boom in the squirrel population. Squirrels are cute and furry little creatures, which jump to and fro from tree to tree. They’re playful and fun little creatures, and are often fun to watch while they play in the trees or grass. When they forgo the trees and grass, and decide to come inside, they don’t seem quite as adorable anymore. Now, instead of cute little creatures, they have become quite the interlopers…non-paying tenants of the very worst kind!

Weather has a lot to do with the growth in the squirrel population, and with the warmer summers and colder winters we have experienced in the last couple of years, there has been a huge influx in population growth, and therefore an increase in problems that homeowners and even commercial buildings have experienced in what seems like “The Great Squirrel Invasion”. Although many squirrels hibernate, grey squirrels do not, and will seek any heat source they can find as a more secure home, and a source of food.

While living in the wild, squirrels are arboreal, living solely in the trees. The squirrels will usually have several nests, called a drey that they can go to and in case they lose one, they will go to the next one. In the wintertime, you can see their summertime dreys. They are those collections of leaves and twigs visible in the trees throughout the leafless branches. They usually abandon these summer homes in the winter and seek something more secure. The hollow of a tree is an ideal winter home, but your warm attic is a much better choice for them. The problem is that once they find their way in your home, which is much more satisfying, they won’t want to return to the more cold, less abundant option.

Squirrels, unlike mice, are incredibly intelligent, causing a much larger issue than you might have imagined. They are quick to find ways to enter your home. As your home ages, the normal weathering provides the squirrel with the opportunity to discover a damaged piece of trim, allowing them partial entrance. They’ll finish the job, quite easily, and usually very quickly, if they want to. They don’t really need entrance to your attic, when exposed soffit will do just fine. If it’s a soffit, you may not even hear them, and they could be in there for months, undiscovered, causing damage to your home. They are intelligent enough to find any small area to enter in through, and will investigate whatever they can. Squirrels can fit through pretty much anything they can get their head through, which is a tinier space than one might think. Once inside, their innate curiosity will force them to explore their new surroundings, and this is when you will often hear or discover them.

Once squirrels gain access to your home, getting them out and keeping them out, often becomes a very difficult job. The longer they are in there, the harder it is to evict them. If they remain undisturbed for a great length of time, it will be especially difficult. Not only that, but such the structure, over a period of time, tends to acquire an odor that attracts more squirrels. Houses like these will often have intermittent and sporadic squirrel problems for years, unless you take immediate action once you suspect squirrels in your home. The best form of action to take is to hire a professional pest control professional to ensure that the issue is eradicated fully and quickly, and measures are recommended by that professional to prevent re-entry.

These animals, once inside your home, will destroy your home, and many of your possessions and soil the rest. They will search for food, breaking into even sealed containers they suspect of holding food. They could even attempt to consume non-food items as well. They will often times destroy your insulation, and they love to chew…chewing apart your building materials, and domestic possessions. Quick action will ensure you stop any further damage, and keep the population of squirrels in your home from growing.