Angie's List Tips: What to do When Pests Move In

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Angie’s List provides tips on handling unwanted pests that are seeking shelter in people’s homes. Pests are looking for shelter anywhere they can find it as they try to either escape colder weather or the influx of residential development into their backyards. While the furry little pests may seem cute, what they leave behind is anything but adorable. But a cornered animal can be dangerous or in some cases, rabid. In these situations, it's probably better to call a professional. Ask what the company does to address the problem and get estimates. It's also a good idea to ask about additional fees if a revisit is necessary.

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Some people will try chasing the animal out

Angie’s List (http://www.angieslist.com)] provides tips on handling unwanted pests that are seeking shelter in people’s homes. Pests are looking for shelter anywhere they can find it as they try to either escape colder weather or the influx of residential development into their backyards. While the furry little forest creatures may seem cute, what they leave behind is anything but adorable.

According to a nationwide Angie's List poll, more than three quarters (77%) of respondents say an uninvited animal has already invaded their home. A third of those say the pest caused damage to their property.

"These animal intrusions vary from the nuisance of a mouse to a family of raccoons who destroyed an attic," says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "We've had Angie's List members report alligators in Ohio and black bears in New York. No matter where you live, if your home is inviting to these pests, they will find a way inside."

Unwanted pests can bring a variety of problems into your safe haven. Raccoons and squirrels can chew up the insulation on wires, creating a potential fire hazard. They can also infest a home with fleas. Bats can take up residence in your attic and leave behind potentially disease-ridden guano. A bird ripped a hole in the corner of a Boston members' roof and caused $500 worth of damages.

"Some people will try chasing the animal out," said Hicks. "But a cornered animal can be dangerous or in some cases, rabid. In these situations, it's probably better to call a professional. Ask what the company does to address the problem and get estimates. It's also a good idea to ask about additional fees if a revisit is necessary."

How do you know if a pest if living rent-free in your home? Angie suggests checking these areas:

  •      Attic: Check the attic floor and insulation for animal feces. Look for any outside light leaking in, which will indicate holes. You can test if an animal is using a hole by placing flour in front of any holes and checking for footprints or stuff the hole loosely with a paper towel. If it gets pushed in or out, assume an animal is present. Even if the paper stays in place or you have no flour footprints - close the hole up.
  •      Roof & siding: Look for loose vent screens, warped siding or holes. Make repairs once you have checked the attic and cleared out any critters.
  •      Chimneys: Check the chimney from the roof to see if any animals are inside. An easy way to keep animals out is to install a chimney cap. Keep your flue closed when not in use.
  •      Pipes: Look inside your home behind appliances and anywhere else pipes enter. These are common entry points for mice.
  •      Pet doors: While these can be a great convenience for you and your pet; they can also be an entryway for unwanted wildlife. Consider electronic pet doors instead of the traditional flaps.
  •      Trash: Just like people, animals are drawn to the smell of food. Always secure trash containers. Put out trash the morning of collection instead of the night before.
  •      Trees & leaves: Keep trim limbs trimmed and away from your house. Accessible branches give animals a gateway to your roof. Cover and secure compost piles.
  •      Take a walk: Mice can get through a crack as small as a quarter-of-an inch big. Check the perimeter outside your home for holes, gaps and deteriorated weather stripping.

About Angie’s List
Angie's List is where consumers turn to get the real scoop on local contractors and companies in more than 280 different categories. Currently, more than 600,000 consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie's List to help them find the right contractor or company for the job they need done. Members have unlimited access to the list via Internet or phone; receive the Angie's List magazine, which includes articles on home improvement and maintenance, consumer trends and scam alerts; and they can utilize the Angie's List complaint resolution service. Get more information about getting rid of pests in your home at http://www.angieslist.com. Learn more about Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks, at http://www.angiehicksbowman.com.

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Cheryl Reed
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