Keep the Critters out in the Cold

When the cold winds of October and November blow, our thoughts turn to hearth, and home, and hot chocolate. It’s time to settle in with a good book or a family meal. Nothing can upset the harmony of the home more than the spotting of a mouse. Married men must go on high alert devoting all available resources to the removal of the mice. Warm-blooded furry little (and not so little) critters will poke and prod our sanctuaries in their desire to escape the cold and enjoy civilized living powered by gas heat. Mice, squirrels, possums, skunks and raccoons are hoping you’ll extend your hospitality by letting them ride out the cold winds of Lake Michigan under your porches, in your soffits and attics and crawl spaces.

Critters are scavengers and freeloaders. They’ll gladly take the freebies from an open trash can and will gnaw through or knock the trash can over for a taste of your leftovers. From the trash can they’ll check out the garage for bird and grass seed, a sack of grass seed can feed a family of mice for a couple of generations. Nothing is sweeter for a critter than to feed at the family pets’ trough, feed and water the pets inside the house. Finally if you have apple or other fruit trees the critters will camp out in your yard and when the cold comes they’ll look to your house for warmth and comfort. Remove food sources and most likely the critters will go elsewhere for their sustenance and winter lodging.

Critters will try to find a way into your home. Mice need a hole the diameter of a pencil to get in your basement, squirrels and raccoons will chew and claw open fascia boards to get in your attic, skunks and possums will dig under your deck lattice work to get good and comfy in a nest close to the warmth of your home. You’ve got to be vigilant, critters in and around the house pose health threats, can be very destructive, and generally creep you out while they are in residence. So take a good close look at your house, inspect it, make sure your house is closed off to the critters. Look closely for:

  • any unfilled holes caused by utilities (cable, gas, HVAC, plumbing, electricity) in the siding and foundation;
  • check for digging around porches, decks, and the foundation;
  • check gable vents in the attic for torn screens;
  • inspect the eaves of the roof particularly soffit and fascia boards for wood that has been gnawed on;
  • keep the tree limbs off your house;
  • make sure there’s a critter guard on the top of the chimney.

Critters are going to eat and keep warm whether it’s at your property or someone else’s. So keep them moving, let them enjoy the hospitality of others so that you can enjoy the warmth of your home with loved ones and invited guests.