InspectThe first step to eliminate unwelcome houseguests is to identify their entry points.
- Do a thorough inspection of the exterior of your home and look for any possible wildlife entry points. These can be big or small.
- Check for cracks and holes, paying particular attention to spaces around vents, pipes, windows, and doors. Small animals only need a tiny gap to crawl through.
PrepareBefore your repair or seal any part of your property, it is essential to ensure that you are not sealing in the very animals that you want to keep out. If you find a den or nest, there are a couple of simple steps that you can follow to ensure that it is vacant:
- Block the entry point with something that the animal can easily break through or move, like a piece of paper.
- Leave it in place for 72 hours (some animals do not leave their dens every day) and then check for any movement. If the paper has not moved the den is most likely unoccupied and you can continue with your repairs.
Repair and SealStart from the roof and work your way down.
- Install or repair chimney caps. Ensure that the chimney cap has no gaps in the mesh and cinch the sides tightly around the chimney so that animals can’t pull the cap off. Avoid using a cap that has a gap below the top. Ensure that the chimney cap is securely installed and won’t be blown away by strong winds.
- Seal holes in your roof with quarter-inch wire mesh and secure with bolts where necessary.
- Repair any cracks, holes, and damage to your walls, roof, windows and doors.
- Repair and install vent caps. Ensure that all vent caps are properly secured so that they don’t come loose in a winter storm.
- Seal holes underneath your property. Don’t just fill them in with soil, first dig a trench around the base of your shed or deck and install quarter-inch wire mesh around the entire perimeter. Then refill the trench with soil. It is difficult to install wire mesh around your property if the ground is frozen so do this before it gets too cold.
PreventDon’t encourage wildlife to move in with you by making your property attractive to them.
- Keep your home and property free of trash, junk, and clutter. Many small animals, especially rodents, love messy places where it is easy for them to hide and nest.
- Store all food in sealed containers, including pet food.
- Block potential entry points with suitable mesh, wood or spray foam insulation.
- Place weather stripping around your doors and windows.
- Install chimney caps and vent caps.
- Keep compost, firewood, and mulch away from your house.