Christmas seemed to just fly by at the speed of light, and before I knew it I was back at my desk trying to let it sink in that it’s now 2015! However as I struggled to let go of Christmas and the year of 2014 in general I seemed to have overlooked the task of taking down my decorations and here we are well into the new year and my tree is still up… oops!
This coming weekend however, I have cleared my schedule to make room for a full on blitz of the house, new year, new cleaning regime and I am committed to finally packing away the tree and the last of the decorations.
But the one thing that worries me about this plan is venturing into the attic, I recently moved house and I haven’t had the nerve to pull out the ladder and explore the unknown. But I can’t and shouldn’t put off the inevitable and so when I’m putting away my decorations I may as well do a quick sweep for any problematic pests that could have set up home in my new attic.
Our very own Dr Colm Moore, Rentokil’s Area Technical says that: “Mice, rats, bats and birds don’t take Christmas Holidays. At this time of year, home owners visit their attics to put away Christmas decorations until next December. It is a good time to check for signs of a rodent infestation and ensure pests don’t make their way into the family home or business premises.”
It can be a bit intimidating checking your attic for pests, and there are a number of different species that could be living there so here is an example of the type of pests generally found in attics and some tips for spotting the signs of various infestations.
- Rodents: Rats and mice
If you think you might have a rodent problem, look out for the following signs:
Scratching noises in walls, attics or under the floor as mice and rats scurry around.
Droppings – rats leave dark, tapered droppings about 10-14mm long. Mice leave small, dark droppings particularly along walls, in cupboards or under sinks.
Distinctive smell – both mice and rats leave an ammonia-like smell that will be particularly strong in enclosed areas such as under cupboards.
Ripped food packaging – rodents will tear open food which may leave teeth marks.
Nests – rats and mice build nests in warm, hidden places using shredded material such as newspaper and fabrics.
Tracks and footprints – lay some plain flour along the edge of the floor by the walls or on surfaces close to where you think the nest might be. You’ll notice tracks in the powder within a few days if the nest is close.
Bats: All Bats in Ireland are protected under the Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000. Bat droppings do not only smell bad, but may contain health affecting pathogens but unfortunately there is nothing that we can do to remove a bat infestation from your home. Take a look at the Bat Conservation Ireland website for more information. http://www.batconservationireland.org/
Birds: Birds in attics not only create mess and nuisance noise but pose health risks to humans, spreading illnesses such as ornithosis, E. Coli and salmonella. Prevent pest birds by blocking entry points using chicken wire or a solid barrier. Bird spikes, wire systems or netting can act as deterrents.
Squirrels: Noises in the attic during the day may indicate squirrels. Proof your home, take simple precautions to cut overhanging branches and repair roofing to deny them entry. Squirrels can be removed with DIY traps, but take care while handling live squirrels as they are likely to bite and scratch.
Here’s a handy infographic to break down some of the creatures big and small that could be causing some of the noises in your attic.
Wish me luck in my attic exploration, hopefully I don’t find any unwanted creatures up there waiting for me!
Preparation is so important to avoid an infestation. Start by sealing up holes and gaps in walls and under the doors. Rentokil offers a free of charge, no obligation, call out survey.
Rentokil Pest Control technicians are experienced professionals with a thorough understanding of pest habits and use this knowledge to get rid of pests in the home effectively.
Call Rentokil Pest Control on 1890 666 444 for more advice or to arrange a visit by a pest control technician.