As the weather cools, the likelihood of a pest infestation increases dramatically. Animals are always on the lookout for a warm, safe place to rest, feed, and nurse their young; unfortunately, as the temperatures drop, your home becomes more and more attractive to wildlife like rats, mice, squirrels, and bats – and your roof is one of the most likely entry points.
The downsides of a pest infestation are numerous. Beyond the damage to the roofline, attic, and siding of the home, the droppings and fur that animals leave in a house can carry a number of diseases (not to mention the smell). Worse, rodents will gnaw on anything they can find, which can lead to house fires if they get their teeth on any electrical wiring.
Even for beneficial creatures like bats, it’s always best to have wildlife as neighbors, not houseguests. Pest infestations can be a long and costly problem to remove, so prevention is always the best strategies. Here are some tips you can employ this winter to keep pests out:
Trim the Treeline
When squirrels or other rodents get into a house, the roof is often the point of entry, and most pests get to the roof by jumping (or in some cases gliding, as with the southern flying squirrel) from the branches of nearby trees. To combat this, it’s usually a good idea to keep the treeline around your roof well-trimmed, so make sure the nearest perch is at least 6-9 feet away from the house.
For extra protection, prevent squirrels from climbing the trees nearest to your home by attaching a two-foot band of sheet metal around the trunk, roughly 6-8 feet off the ground and fasten it to the tree using wires attached by a spring. The spring will allow the metal to expand as the tree grows, making it much more difficult for squirrels to use it as a launch pad.
Remove Clutter Around the Home
Clutter like trash, old tires, lumber piles, and the like can all be used by pests as a staircase up to your roof. This is especially true for rats and mice, who aren’t as good as jumping from trees as their squirrel cousins but are often just as agile climbers. Worse, some pests will make nests in the clutter, increasing the probability of break-in exponentially as they forage nearby.
To counteract this, it’s imperative to keep the ground surrounding your home free of any clutter that a rodent or other pest might climb up for easy roof access. Anything that can’t be disposed of should be moved at least 6-8 feet away from the home to prevent animals from jumping to the wall and climbing up from there.
Inspect the Roofline
Once you’ve denied rodents some of their favorite entry points, inspect your roof as thoroughly as you can from the ground, looking for any holes or signs of damage, as these could indicate an existing pest’s point of entry – or one that could be used in the future.
While it may be tempting to go onto your roof and inspect it personally, it’s often best to leave that to a professional. Excessive foot traffic is bad for any roof, and a professional will know what to look for to limit any damage he or she might cause – not to mention the lowered risk of falling.
Contact a Professional
One of the biggest mistakes many homeowners make when dealing with a pest infestation is sealing pests inside their home. In their haste to fix the damage done to their home, they inadvertently make the problem worse by either forcing the rodents to gnaw their way out or leaving them to die in the hard-to-reach corners of the house, leading to horrible odor and the potential for disease to spread.
If you think you’re experiencing a pest infestation, or are afraid you might in the future, the proper course of action is always to contact a pest control specialist first, which will save you both money and a lot of headaches in the long run. A professional will know how to eliminate the problem without risking their safety or the safety of your home.
The same is true for your roof. If you want to repair the damage that rats, mice, squirrels, or bats have caused to your roof, enlisting the help of a certified roofing professional is always the best option.
If you are considering a roofer to keep your home safe this winter, download our free informative guide, Questions to Ask Any Roofing Contractor, and get the right professional for your roof today!