Pests that infest your living space can be disgusting, a nuisance, and even hazardous to your health. But an infestation in a part of your house you don't live in, such as your roof, can be even more insidious. The infestation can progress to an advanced stage before you catch it, which could result in structural damage to your roof or attic.
To prevent this type of infestation from happening to you, you need to understand the factors that can make insects, birds, or mammals target your roof and what you can do to mitigate these factors. Here are three reasons pests can be attracted to your roof or attic.
1. Warmth and Security
Mammals and birds who infest your roof and attic are likely looking for a warm, safe place to sleep and/or raise their young. To dispel the appearance of warmth and security, add repellents to your attic or roof that make the area seem less pleasant and less safe.
Specific tactics for repelling birds include hanging reflective tape around your home, installing a fake owl or a balloon with scary eyes, and playing recordings that frighten birds off (such as recordings of predators and of birds in distress).
Prevention tactics for small mammals include spraying or scattering repellent products to encourage pests to look elsewhere for their shelter. However, these products are unlikely to work reliably on their own or if you already have a pest problem.
2. Food and Water
Pests such as squirrels and mice may be attracted to your home particularly because human homes provide great foraging grounds, no matter how great your housekeeping is. Leaving bird feeders hanging from your eaves is a great way to get rodents (especially squirrels) to move in. And for wood-chewing insects, like termites, the roof itself can be both food and drink.
Some types of termites need to be able to access the soil so they can get water from it, but drywood termites don't have this requirement. Instead, they get their moisture from the air and from the wood they're eating. This means your roof may be the perfect meal to them, especially if your attic has high humidity.
Signs of an attic humidity problem include condensation, frost, or rusty roofing nails on the underside of the roof; decayed wood; mold and mildew; and a quilted appearance to your attic floor insulation. If you have a humidity problem, your attic needs better ventilation. You may also need better attic insulation and basement waterproofing.
3. Easy Access
Like human vandals, small mammals and insects tend to be opportunists. If you make it easy for them, they're much more likely to move in, and vice versa. For example, pressure-treated wood isn't actually termite-proof, but it's repellent enough that if termites can't easily access the untreated wood, they're more likely to leave your house alone and target a dead tree instead.
Here are some other maintenance steps that can help you keep wildlife from moving in:
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed back away from the roof and sides of the house.
- Use tough metal mesh (20 gauge or smaller) on all vents to keep out insects as well as mammals.
- Don't forget the chimney; use a chimney cap with wire mesh to keep both large and small animals out.
- Check for chinks and knots in your roof and insulation (for example, in and around fascia boards), and then seal them up with expanding foam.
- Cover your downspouts so critters can't climb up or build nests inside them.
If you're worried about termites, you should also take specific steps such as regular termite inspections and professional chemical treatments to keep termites from accessing your house.
These are three major attractions of your roof and attic to wildlife such as termites, raccoons, squirrels, mice, and other critters. If you'd like to upgrade or repair your roof, ventilation system, and attic to repel and exclude pests, give Lane's Contracting, Inc. a call today.