Homeowners Corner: Raccoons, rats, and squirrels oh my! by Michael Mayland

As the weather changes wildlife is looking for a warm safe place to have their young. The changing seasons (cooler weather) kicks in the instincts of animals to begin nesting and mating. Due to so much construction going on in Palm Coast, wildlife is being pushed from their homes. we believe that the area where the animal chose to live is the problem not the animal.
Animals are constantly on the lookout for an easy food supply. The most common culprits we find are bird feeders, fruit trees, palm nuts, pet droppings, or feeding pets outside. Once wildlife finds a steady food supply, they often nest close to the food supply, and what better place than your attic.
Why do they choose attics? An attic is hotter than the outside air. Because of this the attic has a positive pressure. The warm air is constantly pumping out. Couple this with the smell of food, and perfect nesting material (your insulation) and you have an irresistible nesting site.
Most wildlife intrusions into your attic starts with rats. It is estimated that approximately 20% of homes in Florida have rats in the attic and the homeowners don’t realize it. But I am not hearing anything? Often you won’t hear a thing. Sorry about the next part, rats don’t have control of their bodily functions, so they dribble and drop pellets as they run around. Each rat drops about 40 pellets per day. Rats run on top of the insulation, and you won’t hear anything until the insulation is flat from rat urine and traveling the same paths through the insulation.
Only then do you hear the scratching, chewing, and pitter patter of little feet. And it’s a lot of little feet as one pair of healthy rats can produce 2000 babies in a year. The babies start having babies at 8 to 12 weeks. Well, you get the idea. By the time you are aware of them, you may have a maternal colony and have been host to rats in your attic for a year or more.
Just put a rat trap in the attic, you think. The truth is rats avoid rat traps like the plague. They have a human scent and rats are very wary about changes in their environment. If you have ever had rats, you know when you put a trap in the attic you catch a few but with their breeding rate there are rarely a few. Once you get rats in your attic, your attic heats up, the smell goes out and the predators show up. That’s how most raccoon, opossum, snake infestations start.
But take heart, rats do not want to get into your home, and we rarely see rats in a home. Rat’s see you as a big predator and want nothing to do with you. If you were hungry you wouldn’t go into a bear den for a meal. Again, rats want nothing to do with you. They just found a food supply and a perfect nesting ground, and don’t want contact with you.
What can you do? The first line of defense is to remove all bird feeders, pick up all fruit from the ground, remove palm nuts as soon as they emerge, pick up all pet droppings, (animals don’t have an efficient system for removing nutrients and food from waste) and DO NOT feed pets outside.
Remove piles of wood, trim trees and bushes at least 4 feet from your house, secure garbage can lids, and the best tip of all is have a wildlife company seal your house so no wildlife can gain access to your attic.
A preventative seal-up of your house is the best low-cost remediation for preventing wildlife from gaining access to your attic. A wildlife company can also show you how to prevent damage from other animals, like armadillos easily and at a low cost.
But I don’t have any holes in my house that animals can enter, you think (again). I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard that. Yes you do, so have a wildlife company check your house and you will be surprised.
When you hear something in your attic, call a wildlife company to correct the problem once and for all, and make sure they offer a guarantee that you will have no more problems with animals. If done correctly this is a once and done procedure. Just putting traps out will not correct the problem. A wildlife company will:
1) Do a thorough inspection of the entire property to determine what you are dealing with and determine the best course of action to permanently fix the problem.
2) Identify all problem areas for every property to prevent rodent access.
3) Remove all wildlife from the property, usually within 24 hours.
4) Seal-up (exclude) all entry points with ultra-durable metal, stainless steel and concrete.
4) Use an Eco-friendly anti-microbial formula to erase all pheromone trails and kill disease.
5) If the attic insulation has been soiled to a point of saturation, the insulation is sucked out and replaced back to code, R-30 or R-38.
The last three actions are those that are taken specifically by our company, Complete Wildlife Solution. Other companiews may or may not do the same thing but we have found these are the best methods to use after more than 20 years in business.
If you have a digging or burrowing animal going under your property, we use our Rodent wall System. It is a proven exclusion method for all digging animals to make sure they never gain access to your property again.