Humanely Deterring Pests From Your Attic in 5 Steps

rodent hiding in hole in wall

Attic vents are a common place to find intruding pests and rodents that can be noisy, cause damage, and spread disease. Keep little critters out humanely by securing your home and pest-proofing is with these five simple steps.

Step 1 - Inspect Your Attic

Before animal-proofing your attic, first inspect your home to make sure there are no small animals currently living inside. Check for droppings in your attic if you suspect you have pests but can't find them. If you do find an animal, depending on the species and size, call a pest- or animal-control business and ask them to humanely trap and release it in its natural habitat outside.

Step 2 - Tidy Your Yard

Keep your garbage sealed tightly in heavy-duty trash cans with lids that will restrict the scents that can lure hungry critters to your yard. Clean up and discard yard debris such as dead bushes and piles of leaves, as small animals will use these to build their winter nests and homes. Trim tree branches away from your roof as best as you can because animals can jump from them to get onto your roof and into your attic. You can also repel some pests by adding certain plants, like cloves, to your garden.

Step 3 - Cover and Patch Holes

Next, patch any small holes in the roof or around its edges to prevent small critters from getting in. Even holes 1/4 inch wide are large enough for rats and mice to squeeze through.

Next, cover any vents that may lead from the outside of your home and into the attic with screens. Many times vents are large enough for small animals to crawl through. Depending on the size and shape of the vent, you can use a heavy-duty screen or a soft, mesh one. It might be necessary to get or build a chimney cover, too, if the hole is large enough for animals to crawl through.

Step 4 - Install Pet-Friendly Homes

If you live in a wooded area with plenty of trees, try installing several squirrel houses in your yard. While this may seem counterproductive, squirrel houses and dens provide a cozy spot for squirrels to hang out in instead of your home. You can make one of these critter homes yourself, or you can purchase one online.

Step 5 - Use Bright Lights

If you have animals forcing their way into your attic, installing bright lights can offer a more permanent means of deterring them. Bright lights bother the eyes of most small animals, especially squirrels, raccoons, rats, bats, and rodents. Keep the attic well-lit with bright lights to keep the critters out of the area. In addition to the nocturnal nature of many of these pests, a light source that exposes them will make them feel vulnerable and uncomfortable in your attic.

Strobe Lights

Due to the costs of continually keeping your attic well-lit, consider a flashing strobe light that only flashes or pulses occasionally. Or, you can purchase a motion-detector light that will activate if an animals scurries past.