As the cooler weather starts to roll in, we are all thinking of cozying up indoors and unfortunately our furry friends outside are also thinking the same. Wild animals are currently looking for warm spaces to call home for the winter months and unfortunately our homes can be an attractive target. When animals get into a home, the damage can be severe and costly to fix but fortunately, with some careful planning you can ensure that you are not welcoming some unwanted guests over the winter months.
Ottawa is home to many different critters but let’s take a look at the most common and how we can prevent them from entering our homes. While you are doing your fall maintenance, take some time to inspect your property to ensure that you are not providing easy access.
Mice are the most common animal to have in your home. Their small size and ability to squeeze through the tiniest of spaces make them hard to prevent. You will want to search the exterior of your home for any possible entry points. Look for cracks in the foundation or walls and seal anything that is any larger than a quarter of an inch. Also, check your window and door seals. If you have mice in your home, the most common sign is their droppings which look like dark brown grains of rice. Mice can cause a lot of damage by eating insulation and wiring so if you believe that you have a problem, it is important that you deal with right away; you will want to eliminate food sources, set traps, and try to find their entry point to seal it up.
Rats are becoming more and more prevalent in Ottawa and are a growing concern. Like mice, they can squeeze through small spaces and can be incredibly damaging in your home. As rats are considered a public health issue, it is important to report all sightings to the city as they may choose to put poison in your sewers or take action if they feel it is a neighbourhood problem. Unfortunately, if they are on your property, it is your responsibility to take care of the issue. The type of rat currently being found in Ottawa tends to live in the ground but will access your home, especially at night, if it provides them with a food or water source. If you have rats in your home, determine how they are entering, set traps, and eliminate food and water sources. To keep rats away from the exterior of your home, it is very important to secure all garbage properly and dump standing water after all rainfalls.
Raccoons are highly intelligent trouble makers. They are known for their opposable thumbs and the ability to outsmart our best efforts to keep them out of garbage and food. They come out at night and can often be seen roaming the neighbourhood looking for food. At this time of year, raccoons are looking for a warm place to hibernate for the winter and attics are their favourite spots. Ensure that all aspects of your roof are in good shape (shingles, vents, soffits, chimney, and fascia) as any fault can provide them with easy access. It is also important to ensure that all trees are cut away from your home as they can help provide these animals access to the roof. If you suspect that a raccoon has taken up residence in your home, it is important to call in a professional right away to deal with it; raccoons carry many diseases that are dangerous to both you and your pets.
Taking Care of an Animal Problem
Depending on the type of animal and the scale of the problem, it is completely reasonable to deal with some pest issues on your own. Make sure that you understand the city bylaws for the types of traps you can set and where and remember, it is forbidden to relocate a healthy animal of any type. For larger infestations, larger animals, or ongoing problems it is advisable to hire a professional pest control company. Look for companies with a strong reputation and great references. Some offer guarantees and will return at no additional cost to you if the problem persists which may also provide you with some peace of mind.