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Dealing with Animals in Roof Vents and Attics

Do you have bats in your belfry? In Michigan, it’s more likely you have squirrels in your attic and raccoons in your chimney.

Unwanted animals in roof vents and attics are a hassle and can cause a lot of damage. Plus, it’s just weird to hear them scrabbling around in there. Furthermore, we DO NOT want them IN the house. Yikes!

Let’s reveal how animals may be getting in there in first place, what to look for, how to get rid of them, and most importantly, how to keep them from coming back.

Signs of Animals in Roof Vents and Attics

You may hear noises overhead in the attic, on the roof, or inside chimneys, walls, ducting, or exhaust vents. The sounds of squirrels, rats, and mice are light and scurrying. Raccoons are much bigger and tend to sound slow and heavy. Bats make small squeaking noises and you may hear them scratching around at dusk and dawn when they are waking or returning.

Raccoons (nocturnal)

Raccoons will typically invade your house looking for a warm safe shelter to have their babies. So, not only will you have adult raccoons, you could be hosting an entire family of them. Not good. Raccoons can rip the shingles right off your roof and pry up the soffit and fascia in order to get into your attic. Have you seen their tiny, weird hands? Mother raccoons are territorial and fiercely protective – so don’t approach them.

Raccoons will leave gaping holes in your home so it can be pretty obvious if you have them. This allows rain and snow to come in which causes serious water damage. While living in your attic, raccoons may also chew on insulation and wires creating a potential fire hazard. These cute trash pandas can be so much trouble.

two raccoons on house roof

Squirrels (active during the day or diurnal)

Did you know that in the fall squirrels will travel up to 50 miles looking for a warm home for the winter? Hopefully, it isn’t your home. Squirrels can gain access to your home through the same holes as raccoons and also much smaller openings.

You may have even seen these acrobatic troublemakers run across power lines to your roof. Or even more entertaining, fly through the air from a nearby tree and land on your roof. A good reason to keep the trees around your home trimmed.

Squirrels build nests in attics and walls and can be quite noisy. They will use chew through wires and PVC pipes, tear up exposed wood, and shred insulation. They can also potentially transmit serious illness to us and our pets, so don’t try to approach them or let your dog or cat try to catch them.

squirrel on roof

Bats (active during the night or nocturnal) 

Bats can enter your attic through a hole the size of a dime. This makes your home extremely vulnerable to their infestation. And we do mean infestation. Bat colonies grow very large very fast. Their guano (poop) smells really bad. Bats and their guano are really good at destroying attic insulation. After you remove bats (and their poop) your entire attic should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Damaged building materials must be repaired or replaced. It’s not unusual for bats to carry the rabies virus. If you or your pet have been bitten, seek medical attention immediately.

bats under the roof

Mice and rats (nocturnal – typically dawn and dusk)

Rats and mice are among the most common pests to invade a home. They are looking for a safe, warm place to live near food. If you have these critters, it is not necessarily because your house is dirty, despite what your grandma might say. If you see one mouse (or droppings) it’s a given there are lots more. They reproduce very fast and have large litters.

Fun (gross) fact: One mouse can poop up to 70 tiny mouse turds a day. That’s 25,000 A YEAR from just one mouse! EWWW.

Mice tend to come indoors in the fall right before the cold winter weather comes. Typically, they enter your home at the ground level and can squeeze through a crack or hole as small as a quarter-inch. Rats are much bigger but can still fit through holes the size of a quarter. They can travel up walls and between the studs. They will sneak throughout your entire home and into your attic.

Along the way, they will chew through wood, wires, PVC pipes, insulation, and even concrete. They can cause so much damage and create fire hazards. Not only that, rats and mice can also carry diseases that affect us and our pets. This can happen in several ways:

  • Directly through their feces, urine, or saliva
  • Indirectly, through fleas, ticks, or mites that have fed on an infected rodent (dead or alive)
mouse under the roof tile

Wasps and Bees

Insects like attics because they are quiet (unless you have a bunch of the above-listed critters in there.) The greatest danger bees and wasps pose to humans and pets is their sting.

Note: Honey bees will typically avoid the attic because it can reach up to 180 degrees in the summer. Instead, they are more likely to choose the cool shade of your eaves.

These insects won’t necessarily cause a lot of damage to your home, but it’s best to have hives removed to reduce the risk of being stung, especially if someone in your family is allergic.

wasp nest under the roof

Signs of Animals in Roof Vents and Attics

Look for the following signs on the outside of your home for unwanted guests:

  • Missing shingles
  • Holes in the soffits or siding
  • Loose fascia boards.
  • Unscreened, open gable or ridge vents
  • Open or uncapped chimneys
  • Gaps between the fascia and the eaves

Read more: Roof Shingle Repair Mistakes to Avoid

Look for the following signs on the inside of your home for annoying critters:

  • Ripped insulation or air ducts
  • Gnawed wires or PVC pipes
  • Nests or hives (These may also appear on the exterior)
  • Urine or droppings
  • Unusual sounds overhead or inside walls, day or night

How to Keep Critters out of Roof Vents and Attics

It’s always easier (and more cost-effective) to prevent something from happening rather than fixing a problem. But, since you are reading this article, we can assume you might already have a problem. These tips will help you fix the current damage and hopefully prevent future invasions.

Note: Weather Vane Roofing provides FREE Drone Inspections of the outside of your home and GoPro camera videos of your attic space. We can help you fix several of the problems on the list below.

Call us today! 1-800-517-3214

  • Inspecting your home from the ground up
  • Seal all holes or cracks. Remember, mice and bats can enter through really small holes.
  • Use steel to seal. Rodents can chew through almost anything, even concrete, but they can’t chew through metal.
  • Replace any missing shingles and repair any holes in the soffit or fascia. Call Weather Vane if you need help with this at 1-800-517-3214.
  • Cover downspouts and use gutter guards to help keep squirrels from entering. We can also help with this!
  • Install metal mesh or screening over large openings such as chimneys or gable or ridge vents. And we can help with this!
  • Remove climbing vines on the outside and trip branches and bushes so they are at least 6-8 feet away from your roof.
  • Use a plastic wire/cable organizer to shield electrical wires or phone lines that are nearby or going into your home. This prevents squirrels from performing high-wire acts onto your roof.
  • Add plastic around the bottom of columns and decorative trellises to prevent raccoons and other critters from climbing them.
  • Install plastic spikes along the eaves to prevent birds from roosting and pooping. Owl decoys and windsocks may also work.
  • Remove insect hives as soon as possible. Pro Tip: This is much easier and less dangerous to do at night when the hive is sleeping.
  • The smell of mothballs can deter rodents, but you and your pets might also find the smell unpleasant. You’ll need to replace them frequently as the smell fades and be sure to keep people and pets away from them.
  • Call an exterminator or animal removal expert.

Roofing professionals and animal removal experts often collaborate. We are happy to give you the contact information of reputable area businesses we trust. Call us at 1-800-517-3214.

About Weather Vane Roofing

We provide roofing, siding, insulation, windows and gutters. Making your house beautiful and efficient is our main goal. We use the latest in technology and products to provide eco-friendly and cost effective solutions for your home and business. With locations in Lansing, Owosso, and Brighton/Howell we are Mid-Michigan’s roofing experts. Let us transform your house into a home.

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