Critters come with the turf for home inspectors.
Get a few home inspectors in a room and, pretty soon, you’ll be hearing their snake, spider, skunk, mice and raccoon stories.
After years of inspecting homes, here are a few “inside scoops” on handling the animals you do not want moving in.
First, make the house yours – not theirs. Secure your home against intruders. Close their doors.
It’s a nice bonus that animal-tight home is more energy efficient too.
Start with the cracks in your foundation. Sealing cracks makes good sense, not just for pests, but also to prevent water penetration.
Repair any holes. Screen the ones you need to stay open, such as gable vents and crawl space vents.
Repair or replace warped or loose trim, siding, and any other entry points. Make sure corners of the roof line are closed and weather-proof above gutters.
Don’t think for a minute that new construction is animal proof. Plenty of homes built in the boom years, only a few years ago – in every price range – were put up so fast that they are dotted with easy entries.
Keep vines off of a home. Vines are expressways for animals to cruise in.
Shrubs, tree branches, and other plants should be about a foot away from a house walls or roofing. Think about how branches and shrubs move in storms. Be sure links and branches won’t get blown into the siding or the roof.
Many animal intruders follow walls in the basement. Chewing, on wood, cardboard boxes, or papers, is another sign.
Let’s not forget the sounds. Scurrying sounds in the attic often announce squirrels or birds. Bats inside walls make similar fluttering and scratching noises. None of the, will go away quietly, most of the time. They have to be evicted.
As our cities and suburbs keep creeping out into the farms and woods, it is inevitable that lots of wildlife will get displaced. Some will come nosing around for food and shelter.
Around 30% of Americans used pest control services last year (2012), according to the National Pest Management Association. That was a big increase from 2004, when only 20% of Americans put pest control specialists to work on their homes. But not all pest control contractors are born the same. Have second thoughts about a contractor if you find anyone applying toxic chemicals with their bare skin exposed and no eye protection.
Deer in the yard are a breeze — even when they are beheading plants and nibbling shrubs or trees – compared to trying to run off raccoons, mice, skunks and snakes.
Those critters like pretty much everything people like. The same food, the same temperature, the same roof over their heads in the rain.
An once of prevention is worth a summer of cures, and way better than drums of chemicals.
If it starts to feel like a losing battle, your home inspection probably has a few more tips. And the names of skilled, safe pest control experts in your area.