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    How to Get Rid of Overhead Guests

    The last thing any homeowner wants is attic pests, such as  mice, rats, bats, and squirrels. But they can be difficult to keep away. It seems like the moment you get rid of them, they come right back.

    But attic pest removal doesn’t have to be a revolving door. If you understand how pests enter your attic and the options for removing them, you can rest pest-free. Here’s how.

    Know thy Enemy

    Wild animals living in your attic can cause all sorts of mayhem. They love to chew on things such as electrical wires, and insulation. They also spread diseases, such as hantavirus and salmonella. Nobody needs that.

    How can you identify the exact pest that’s made your attic a home? They leave things behind, and we all know what that is. And you can use it as a guide.

    Here’s a little cheat sheet on pest droppings.

    • Mouse: 1/8 inch long, pellet-shaped
    • Rat: ¼ inch long, sausage-shaped
    • Squirrel: ½ to 1 inch long, sausage-shaped
    • Raccoon: Up to ¾ of an inch wide, 2-3 inches long; sausage-shaped
    • Bat: ½ inch, pellet-shaped, found in piles

    Once you identify the droppings, follow the Centers for Disease Control’s advice on how to clean it up. Here are a few tips:

    • Open windows to air out the infested area for at least 30 minutes before cleanup. Don’t hang around during this part.
    • Wear protective gloves and masks so you don’t touch or breathe the urine- and feces-contaminated dust.
    • To disinfect, spray the area with a bleach solution (1 part bleach; 10 parts water).
    • Use paper towels to clean up the area, and then dispose of trash in a sealed plastic bag.

    Here are some tips on getting rid of attic pests.

    Mice

    Mice multiply very quickly, making a small problem a huge one in just weeks. Set mouse traps as soon you know mice are in the attic. You almost certainly have more than one, so plan on laying a few traps. And don’t use cheese in the traps. They actually like peanut butter more.

    And make sure you check the traps regularly and remove dead mice ASAP. Dead mice laying around will discourage other mice from taking the bait.

    If you prefer a pro to remove them, it typically costs about $500 for trapping, removal, and follow-up.

    Rats

    You can’t catch rats with regular mouse traps. Unlike mice, which are curious critters, rats shy away from new items in their environment. So scatter traps around the attic for a week before you bait and engage them.

    If you find traps are disappearing — larger rats are known to take off with traps clamped around their bodies — screw the next traps into floor boards, or place them in rattrap covers, which will block escape.

    If a pro removes them, it will cost around $600 to $700 for trapping, removal, and follow-up.

    Raccoons and Bats

    Don’t attempt to get rid of raccoons or bats yourself. Raccoons can be aggressive when cornered or separated from their young; bats are difficult to roundup and escort out.

    Professional fee: $300 to $500 per raccoon; $600 to $2,000 for bat infestations.

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