Attics, unless you live in them, aren’t visited very often by members of the house. So it’s highly likely that there could be things going on in your attic that you don’t even know about. What type of things? Oh, let’s see… only everything under the sun! Okay, that’s a bit hyperbolic. But your attic and insulation are subject to infestations of a high variety. From fowl to furry, creepy to crawly there’s an abundance of things to greet you when you scurry up there to get your holiday decorations out in the next few days. You want specifics? Oh, we’ll give you specifics. Read on, friends. Read. On. at your own risk! Muwahahahahahaha!!! (Is that spooky? Are we trying too hard? Okay, we’ll stop.)
Your Attic Is A Playground
For dead children! (Sorry, couldn’t help ourselves.) Point is! You can play host to a host of things in your attic. Insects, rodents, and birds are the common types. The insulation lining those bare, rarely checked walls are quite a tempting treat for the common rat or mice to burrow and sleep in. Same for bats and birds (though, they stick mainly to the eaves and hollow spaces between the walls). Here’s what to look for:
Roof Rats: These little guys are small and need an even smaller space in which to squeeze their furry little bodies. They’re mostly attracted to the comfortable bedding that insulation provides. It’s a safe, warm alternative to the outdoors. Plus, there’s a food supply! More on that later. You’ll likely notice droppings around the house, chewed on/through wires or cardboard, or hear the quiet scratches of their feet inside the walls. Nothing creepy about that.
Termites: These tiny titans will bring down a house faster than Joshua and his horns at Jericho. There’re few things in life that are worse than a termite infestation. What can you do about it? Not build your house out of wood. Obviously. But the best way to keep them away is with prevention. Do a regular check for their poop (which looks like sawdust, fyi) and lost wings. Call pest control as soon as you’re aware of their presence. The older your house is (or if the wood wasn’t sealed, or is rotting) the more susceptible you are to their takeover.
Racoons: Rocky Racoon went up to his room to rest in your wide open attic. While they aren’t attracted to insulation, they will straight up just rip your insulation to shreds to get to a place they want. Not only will they pilfer your garbage, but they’ll hide out in your attic if they can get to it.
Mice: Yep, like their buddies the Roof Rats, these little guys need only a quarter inch wide gap to finegal their way into your home. They enjoy an evening at Chez Insulation as much as the next rodent.
Things That Sting: Wasps, yellowjackets, hornets, and bees are all about building a nest in your dry, spacious attic. For the bees, leave them be. We need the bees! But those other guys. Burn them. Don’t burn them because it’s your attic and you’ll set the rest of the house on fire. But get rid of them.
Cockroaches: These guys… these guys. They outnumber us and will outlast us along with Kieth Richards. They’re hard to kill. Once you have them it’s bombs away. Pack up and get away for a few days while the exterminator does his duty.
So What Do You Do?
Prevention is the best method in all cases. Mostly, it’s keeping a look out for gaps in your foundations, along windows and doorways, on the roof, and under eaves. Check for droppings, food scraps, and loose insulation. Often a rodent will burrow into the insulation and build a nest.
Many of these creatures are interested in cardboard; for mice it makes good nest material, for cockroaches it’s food. Switch all your storage containers to sealable containers made of strong materials like glass, hard plastic, or metal. This goes for things you keep up in the attic as well as what’s in your kitchen. Rodents in particular want to steal your actual food, not just your shelter.
Oh! We thought of one more creepy thing that could be hiding in your attic! … Snakes! Fortunately, the ones that slither their way to your shelter aren’t poisonous (typically). Unfortunately, they are attracted to rats and if they hunkered down in your house and haven’t left, that means you have their food source. Rats. Now you have both rats and snakes. In any situation, you want to contact pest control as soon as possible. Happy Fall, Everybody!