Animals need shelter just like the rest of us. When a storm destroys their natural habitat, animals will instinctively seek refuge in the nearest dry structure. Unfortunately, that structure could be your home.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to deter these unwelcome guests. Here are some of Texas’s most common pests after a storm and some compassionate ways to prevent a possible home invasion.
Heavy wind and rain will damage rodents’ natural burrowing sites and force them to find a higher level nesting site, including into your home. If you spot droppings or evidence of gnawing on walls and furniture, then you probably have a rodent problem.
- Trim lawns, trees and bushes to get rid of possible nesting sites for pests after a storm.
- Contain trash and other food sources that might attract rodents such as bowls of pet food or bird feeders.
- Seal gaps around water pipes, vents, doors, and crawl spaces to prevent entry. Rats can easily chew through foam and caulk, so use wire mesh to close large openings.
Discarded food and loosely stacked garbage bags will attract hungry animals such as raccoons, stray dogs, skunks, squirrels, and even snakes into your home. To spot them, listen for the sounds of scurrying or hissing coming from your attic and crawl spaces, and check for signs of damage such as chewed wires and shredded insulation materials.
- Cover garbage and food sources. Animals are opportunistic feeders and will migrate toward any available food source.
- Cover any point of entry that is big enough for a small animal to fit.
- Use frightening devices, such as a bright light or static noise, to deter small animals.
- Create an animal-repellent scent by placing ammonia-soaked cloths around the home’s entry points.
Bats and Birds
Bats and birds do not routinely seek shelter in people’s homes but they may hide away in your attic during a storm — and they can squeeze through openings the size of a dime. The best way to spot inward migration is to look for bat or bird droppings and listen for the telltale chattering sound.
- Close the storm windows to prevent bats and birds from flying into the home.
- Repair and seal unprotected vents, split siding, chimneys and other openings and cracks.
- Place mothballs in your attic, as they are an effective repellent for bats.
- If pests do enter your home, do not try to kill or remove them yourself, because hungry, frightened animals may be dangerous to you and your family. A professional animal control company can remove the creatures humanely when possible, and make sure they never return. If you live in Austin and you’re dealing with pests after a storm, contact Critter Ridder Texas to get a quote on safe animal removal.