When it comes to the peaceful sanctity of our homes, one of the last things we want to imagine is that there might be unwanted guests living within our walls. While we all enjoy the occasional chirping of birds or the soothing sound of rain, critters in the wall can be a homeowner's worst nightmare. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various critters that might take up residence in your walls, the signs to look out for, and most importantly, how to deal with this unwelcome situation effectively.
Before we delve into the solutions, it's crucial to identify the potential critters that may be lurking within your walls. Here are some common intruders:
Mice and rats are notorious for finding their way into homes, especially during the colder months. They can squeeze through tiny openings and quickly establish nests within wall voids.
Signs of infestation: Look for droppings, gnawed wires, yellowy streaks on wires or pipes in the walls or attic (which is their urine), or scratching sounds within your walls or in your ceiling. You may also notice an entry point chewed on the exterior - mice only need an entry point the size of a dime and rats only need an entry point the size of a quarter!
These creatures are agile climbers and may find their way into your attic or walls. They can create nests and cause structural damage while also being noisy neighbors.
Signs of infestation: Scratching or scurrying sounds, nesting materials in your attic or walls, or visible entry points. Squirrels need an entry point of ~1.5" or larger to gain entry to a structure.
Raccoons usually follow other animals into your walls or attic, specifically mice and rats, which they will hunt. Many of our customers with raccoons in the attic either did not know they had rodents in the attic or did not view it as a critical problem. Raccoons are the most destructive animals in the attic due to their size and strength.
Signs of infestation: Raccoons usually defecate in one specific area, known as a latrine. They also tear large holes to gain entry, usually ~4" or larger, in siding, attic vents, soffits, or shingles.
Opossums can also find their way into your walls. They are less likely to create damage to gain entry, but rather they find pre-existing openings or use other animals' old entry points. Opossums are much less common in attics than raccoons.
Signs of infestation: Opossums usually defecate in a seemingly random matter throughout the attic. Unlike raccoons, opossums usually leave droppings sporadically throughout the attic. They also need an entry point of ~3-4" or larger.
Now that we've identified potential intruders, let's explore how to handle them:
Prevention is the first line of defense. Identify and seal any gaps or cracks in your home's exterior that critters could use to enter. This includes checking windows, doors, vents, and utility openings.
For smaller critters like mice or squirrels, humane trapping and removal is a compassionate way to deal with the issue. Once captured, release them far from your home.
For more severe infestations, consider enlisting the services of professional pest control experts. They have the experience and tools to safely remove critters and prevent future infestations.
After critters have been removed, assess and repair any damage to your home's structure. This step is crucial to ensure your home remains secure and free from future intruders.
To prevent future infestations, maintain a regular cleaning and maintenance routine. Keep your home clutter-free, and inspect for any potential entry points regularly.
Dealing with critters in the wall can be a challenging situation for any homeowner. However, by identifying the culprits, taking appropriate action, and implementing preventive measures, you can ensure the safety and comfort of your home. If you suspect critters have infiltrated your walls, don't delay; take action today to address the issue promptly.