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Attic Discoveries

By Tom Chaces on April 19, 2017.

Q:  What is the most common Pest you find in attics?

A:   I go into a lot of attics and roofline crawl spaces.  When I get up in these spaces, sometimes it is like a time capsule that no-one has disturbed.   Old items stored for years, construction materials, and hidden contraband is encountered on a regular basis.  Some attics have a minimal access hatch in a closet, and others have a stairway or pull down stairs.  Many homes have doors to access interior dormer storage or void spaces.  These rarely visited spaces offer an interesting view of the animals that may live within.  Because we seldom if ever clean our attics and void spaces evidence of any animal or insect activity is often clearly visible.  In most attics, I expect to find dead insects that get trapped and die by the vent or attic windows.  Wasps and ladybugs are the most common attic cadavers, along with conifer seed bugs (stinkbugs), and flies. Insects often enter small openings in homes to rest or overwinter.  Once inside they may not be able to escape and die inside the attic.  The dead insects may tell a history, for example, if there was a Yellow Jacket wasp nest in the attic, there may be many dead Yellow Jackets at the screen vent, or even a vacant old nest in the eaves that went un-noticed.  Most modern homes have some type of insulation in the attic.  Insulation can help diagnose attic pest issues.   Insects will come to rest on top as they die, leaving a history of bug activity.  Animals including bats, mice, rats, squirrels, and birds will also leave tell tale signs of activity in attics and voids.  We have all seen mouse poop: little jimmies in the box of Holiday ornaments, nuts on the insulation, urine stains etc. That is mice in the attic.  When it gets bad, the insulation looks like road map with poop trails and nuts along the routes.  Mice are a serious problem and should be dealt with!  They not only contaminate your home with feces and urine, they chew wires and cause many house fires each year.  Much can be done to control mice in and around homes.   Bats are also commonly encountered in attic spaces.   The Small Brown bat and the Large Brown bat are the most common bats species found in the North East.  Both species roost in attics, and may return or overwinter in the same location year after year.  As the bats rest, the feces drop into the insulation or onto the attic floor in a rough circle or fall as the bats fly around.  Bat feces in the attic indicate that bats have been or are using the attic a roosting site.  Bat feces may has been shown to contain harmful bacteria and should be removed.  Bats can be safely excluded from a structure with the proper timing and technique.  Colonial Pest Control does this work at the highest level!  Flying squirrels are also common in attics, unlike mice and bats, these animals are literally running around.  The sound is quite pronounced as they move about the interior walls and attic spaces.  Attic insulation may be disturbed, and baseball sized holes may be present in the insulation.  Flying squirrels can create large colonies in only a few years.  Only trapping and exclusion will solve the squirrel issue.  We also find red and grey squirrels in attics, but that is usually seasonal, as mothers want to give the babies a warm place to live after giving birth.  All squirrel species are able to chew into a house, but flying squirrels are more likely to take advantage of existing opening on the roofline.  Birds will also nest within structures.  Any opening that leads from outside to a void space is perfect for birds.  Bird feces, dead birds, and contaminated nesting material should be removed from attic spaces.  In general, any access to attic spaces should be limited to the inside.  Suspected pest activity of any kind should be dealt with in a timely fashion, as populations increase with time.  Pest Control Professionals can help assess and solve issues in your attic.  If you think you have a pest problem in your attic, call the professionals at Colonial Pest Control, Inc.

1-800-525-8084

Tim Chace

Photo Credit : Jamie Beverly

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