Preventive maintenance is the best form of wild life control, or more correctly, “wildlife” control. Want to troubleshoot your home and gardens before problems begin? Check out the tips below.
Preventing wildlife access to your home…
Periodically inspect your home’s exterior, looking for likely entry points for wildlife, so you can avoid needing wildlife control services.
Always be sure no animals are inside before sealing an opening or capping a chimney.
How to check for whether animals are still inside:
- Look for likely entry points and then, loosely plug them with materials than an animal using the space inside would be able to easily push aside (cloth, newspaper, leaves, etc.).
- Watch what happens at these openings over the next few days. If the material has does not move over that time, you can seal the opening. If it gets moved out of the opening, the space is occupied, and you will need to use gentle harassment to encourage the animals to move elsewhere before you can seal the openings.
- Dependent young can be present at many times of year. Squirrels have two litters a year—early spring and late summer to early fall. If you are not careful, you may separate mother from young, which will either result in the death of the young or in the mother damaging your repairs in order to get back in to rescue her young. It’s in everyone’s interest to take time to ensure that no animals are inside before sealing openings or capping chimneys.
Foundation Level: Wherever different building materials meet gaps may form, causing a need for wildlife control. Before wildlife has a chance to move in, fill small holes with caulking, copper mesh, steel wool, or expandable foam. Repair larger openings with more substantial materials. Could small creatures sneak in under your threshold? Home improvement stores carry thresholds and door sweeps to close up that unintended passageway.
Porch or Deck: Spaces under porches or decks make appealing dens. To keep wildlife out, install galvanized welded wire (1-inch square openings) in an “L-shaped” form one foot into the ground and one foot outward from the porch. Latticework can be reinforced with heavy-duty screening.
Ground-level Windows and Window Wells: Replace broken windows and check window casings for gaps. After repairs, add a clear plastic window well cover.
Pet Doors: Add hardware so you can lock your pet door once your pets are in for the night, or use an electronic pet door that only admits your pet wearing a radio-signal collar.
Utility Holes: Caulking and expandable foam sealing utility hole gaps eventually weakens and flakes off, allowing small rodents a path inside. Clean out the old material and put in a fresh seal.
Vents: Use heavy-gauge screening with openings of one inch or smaller to secure larger vents. Ready-made, UL-approved vent covers are available for bathroom, dryer, and stove vents.
Gutters, Trim Board, and Siding: Keep gutters clean to keep gaps from forming and protect the trim board from rotting. Look for—and repair—any gaps in siding.
Roof: Keep branches at least six feet from your roof to prevent them from damaging shingles or giving animals easy access to your roof. Keep birds off your roof by adding bird wire, spikes, or coils, available from home improvement stores.
Chimney: A fire-code-approved chimney cap with a flat, solid top and grated sides will keep animals out, while allowing for effective venting. Check from both the top and bottom of the chimney—as well as on the smoke shelf—to be sure no animals are inside before you cap the chimney.
Protecting your garden and specimen trees…
Not sure you want to share your garden veggies and flowers with wildlife? Then, a little prevention is in order for wildlife control. Specimen trees, too, can be tempting for wildlife, and there’s an effective remedy for that. Even trash can easily be managed to prevent messes sometimes caused by rummaging animals.
Garden Fencing: Height and sturdiness of garden fencing varies, depending upon the animals you are trying to keep out. Unless you have children or pets, electric wire fencing is an option for wildlife control.
Netting: Mesh netting over plantings can protect them from birds, rabbits, deer, and other browsers, but it is important to check it at least daily, if not more often, due to the possibility for birds or other animals to become entangled. An alternative is to make rigid covers from metal hardware cloth.
Sensory Harassment: Most animals can be discouraged from visiting gardens by a combination of sensory harassment. A radio playing and motion-activated lights or sprinklers, for example, should make them nervous enough to look elsewhere.
Tree Protectors: Check your nursery or garden store for tree protectors, or try making your own. Use heavy-gauge wire fencing material and garden stakes to anchor the protectors in place when beaver are a concern. If rabbits and deer are the more likely visitors, you may opt for polyethylene or PVC to protect trees.
Trash Solutions: Animals of all kinds may become interested in trash that is not secured. If possible, store in an animal resistant container, shed, or garage until the morning of pick-up. Otherwise, put a bungee cord or weight (a brick or heavy rock) on the garbage can lid to keep animals out.