Even if you’re an animal lover, I’d guess that you’re not keen on the idea of sharing your home with mice, spiders, roaches, and squirrels. They may be cute and fuzzy (or creepy and horrible), but they belong outdoors.
From a home inspection standpoint, there are few things more immediately off-putting than seeing a mouse scurry by or encountering a spider’s nest while inspecting a home. While seeing just one of these critters may actually mean there is just one in the home, it is most likely a sign of a larger issue. Particularly in Wisconsin where many of the homes we inspect are surrounded by woods and/or prairie, it is entirely common to have mice, squirrels, spiders, and even cockroaches invade your home in droves.
No matter the season, now is the time to take steps to protect your home against pests.
Here are some tips for keeping the critters away:
- Lay traps. It may seem cruel, but spring traps are actually one of the more humane and effective ways to take care of mice in the home (as opposed to glue traps or poison, which can prolong suffering). Live mouse traps do exist but, if you use them, you will find you need to drive the critters miles away to ensure they don’t come back and, even then, you may see them again. For squirrels, traps do exist, but you are probably better off calling animal control to capture the critter rather than trying to do it yourself.
- Seal gaps. Mice can fit through cracks that seem impossibly small, so take the time to seal gaps, particularly between your home’s siding and foundation. A flashlight can be helpful in spotting these gaps, and you can use canned foam insulation to seal them up. Mending holes in screens around the perimeter of your home’s foundation (like in a window well or basement window) can be a big help in keeping spiders out.
- Keep nature at bay. Spiders and other insects thrive in bushes, wood piles, and dirt, so consider this while you’re landscaping and keep a zone of at least 1 foot free of these things around the perimeter of your home. It’s also a good idea to sweep out window wells regularly so spiders can’t make a nest.
- Check your crawl space. Spiders also love to nest in crawl spaces and under porches because they are dark and rarely disturbed. Use a broom to sweep out spider webs and spray these areas with an insect killer. Don’t forget to do the same for crawl space vents.
- Stay dry. A damp crawl or under-porch space is also a perfect place for carpenter ants and termites to do their destructive thing, so keeping these areas well ventilated and dry is critical.
- Don’t lay a buffet. Where there’s crumbs, there’s bugs (and mice). Keep food wrapped up tightly and put away rather than leaving things on the counter. You may consider investing in some long-lasting glass containers to hold food rather than keeping things in open boxes.
- Know when to call in a pro. If you’ve tried the methods above and still have critters, or see signs of termite damage like holes in wood pieces on or around your house, small piles of what looks like sawdust, or discarded wings, its time to call in the pros. Same goes with animals trapped in your attic or under the porch – it can be potentially dangerous to try and deal with situations like these yourself.
Pests like mice and spiders are icky but mostly harmless. Termites, however, can do lasting damage to the structure of your home. Regardless of the critter, it’s important to react right away if you notice a new friend has moved into your home.
Are you looking to buy or sell a home and need a home inspector in Milwaukee you can trust? Give Towne & Country a call today!