Category Archives: Rats & Mice

Animals That Enter Your Home During the Fall

Animals that enter homes in fall

When summer ends and the temperatures start to go down during the fall months, animals start to prepare for winter.

One of their favorite ways to get ready for winter is to find a nice warm and dry place to stay for those cold months.

Your home is the perfect place for a winter vacation!

Fall is the most likely time of year where you may end up with an animal trying to take up residence in your attic or home.

Attic restorationWhat animals enter your home in the fall?

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Bats

The rodent trio of mice, squirrels, and rats account for the majority of animal invaders to the home during fall and winter. They can all be problems at any time of year but they are especially prone to enter the home in the fall.

Mice and rats look for warm places to feed and breed when cold weather hits. Squirrels and raccoons do not breed in the fall but they sure do love a warm spot for an extended rest. Neither squirrels or raccoons hibernate but they are much less active. Bats may enter your attic in winter and hibernate until early spring.

Related: How to tell what kind of animal is in attic

You don’t want any of these animals in your home or attic. Squirrels cause hundreds of fires every year by chewing on wires. Raccoons will make a mess and leave behind disease-ridden feces.

Related: Raccoon Behavior FAQ

How do animals enter the home?

How animals get into your homeAnimals will enter your home in the fall if you give them the opportunity.

Inspect the exterior of your home using this Guide to Common Animal Entry Points

You should inspect the exterior of your home every year to make sure there are no openings for them to enter. The harsh summer rain, humidity, and heat can create just the tiny opening they need to get inside.

The harsh summer rain, humidity, and heat can create just the tiny opening they need to get inside.

Related: How Do Animals Get Into Your Home?

If you need help with animal removal in Chicagoland or animal cleanup and repair services, contact us Attic Solutions for help.


If you need professional animal removal services in the Chicagoland area, please contact us online or call (847) 464-1861.

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How Do Animals Get Into Your Home?

How animals get into your home

As more and more animals learn to adapt to living near humans and our suburban landscapes and gardens support more wildlife, your home starts to become more of a potential target for animal invaders.

Many of us don’t mind having animals nearby and sharing our environment with them. None of us want them in our homes though. Wild animals need to be left wild, not allowed to move into our homes.

It does happen though. Bats and raccoons will move into your attic, skunks, and raccoons can move under your deck or shed, and mice can move into your basement or walls.

Beware of raccoon feces in attic

Animals in your home can create all kinds of problems, from squirrels chewing electrical wires to raccoons and bats leaving behind disease ridden feces. You can also expose you and your pets to rabies and other hazards.

Getting an animal out of your home can be done, but it is challenging, stressful and an unwanted expense. Cleaning up after an animal in your attic can be hazardous.

Your best option is to keep them out of your home in the first place.

 

Where animals enter home

  • Soffits
  • Chimneys
  • Attic exhaust opening
  • Attic & soffit vents
  • Pet doors
  • Window wells
  • Basement or foundation
  • Decks & porches
  • Roof corners
  • Roof and shingles
  • Overhanging trees
  • Holes around pipes
  • Weather stripping
  • Where to materials meet

Common points animals enter the home:

Interactive common animal entry points diagram

To prevent animals from entering your home, make sure you inspect the interior at least once a year, checking all the common entry points.

Check your home after winter to make sure the harsh weather hasn’t created a small opening for animals. Most of them don’t need much space. You should also inspect the home at the end of the summer before the cold weather hits. If you find any weak points you’ll still have time to fix them before unwanted critters are looking for places to get out of the cold.

Animals that will move into your home

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Bats
  • Birds
  • Skunks
  • Snakes
  • Opossums
  • Wasps

Rodents are the most likely wild animal that will move into your home. Mice, rats, and squirrels account for about 75% or more of all unwanted critters in houses.

The favorite place for animals to take up residence is in your attic. It’s an inviting habitat for a wild animal because it’s low traffic, warm, dry and usually has nice out of the way places to hide.

Related: What animal is in my attic?

If you need professional animal removal services in the Chicagoland area, please contact us online or call (847) 464-1861.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Rat Poison or Mouse Poisons

Rat Poison - Why not to use it.In this post, we will list the reasons why we would never recommend you use rat poison in your home and how it can create even bigger problems.

So you have some rats or mice in the house?

Obviously, you want to get rid of them, and as soon as possible.

Although you could call a professional rat removal service, a cheap and easy solution that will occur to many people would be using rat poison or rodent poison. It’s not hard to find in a store, it’s not especially expensive and it can sometimes be effective.

But we would never recommend you use rat poison. It’s a bad idea for several reasons, from safety to the unintended consequences that can result.

Reasons not to use rat poison

Dangers to children

The biggest reason not to use rat poison is potential dangers to children. An accidental ingestion of rat poison by a crawling child or curious toddler could be life threatening.

According to poison control centers, over half of their poison emergency phone calls are for children under five. Over 90% of child poisoning incidents occur in that child’s own home. No matter what precautions you take, it is safer to keep all poisons out of your home.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers advises that if you think someone has been poisoned, call 1-800-222-1222 right away. Serious poisonings don’t always have early signs. The call is free, private, 24/7/365, and expert help is available in more than 150 languages.

Related: Reducing the risks of rats and mice in your home

Dangers to pets

Rat poisons are powerful and they don’t discriminate. If you don’t have children to worry about, you will still be putting your pets at risk. Dogs and cats can both be poisoned by accidentally coming in contact with rat poison.

Dogs are well known to eat almost anything and those little poison pellets just look like food to them. Pets also come in contact with dead poisoned rodents and may be exposed that way.

Related: Identification of Rabies and How to Protect Yourself and Your Pets

Dangers to wildlife

Rat poison kills many wild animals each year beyond just their intended rodent victims.

The most common unintended victims of rat poison are other mammals and birds such as bobcats, coyotes, foxes, hawks and owls. They can become poisoned either by directly feeding on poisons, or indirectly by feeding on rats and mice who have already ingested them.

Many of these animals are protected or even endangered species. You could be unintentionally killing wild animals and hurting our animal ecosystems.

Related: Do I Need a Permit to Remove a Nuisance Animal in Illinois?

Rats and mice can die in your walls

Another great reason not to use rat or mice poison is that these poisoned animals will now be at risk for dying in your home.

A poisoned and sick animal may look for a safe spot to recover and then end up dying in your walls. We don’t know if you’ve ever smelled a dead rodent, but if you have, you’ll remember it. It’s terrible.

Imagine that dead rodent rotting away in your walls for weeks, leaving an almost unbearable smell floating through your entire home.

Besides the smell, that carcass may end up being the perfect habitat for flys. Imagine having a fly nursery in the walls of your home with hundreds or even thousands of flys in your home and no way for you to stop them all. It’s a horror story you don’t want to have in your home.

When it’s time to remove that dead animal from the wall and you realize there may be no other way to get to it other than cutting a hole in your wall, you’ll realize that maybe you should have used another method to get rid of rats.

Want to have a professional safely remove those rats or mice for you?

Contact Attic Solutions online or call (847) 464-1861


 

How to Tell What Kind of Animal is in My Attic?

Squirrel in attic

Hearing noises coming from your attic at night?

Unfortunately, in Chicagoland, it’s not an uncommon thing. The extremes of weather here, especially during winter months will send a lot of animals searching for shelter. They might just decide your attic is the perfect place to settle down to keep warm or raise a family

In this post, we’ll cover some basics on how to try and identify what that animal in your attic is.

Identifying animal sounds in the attic

Most common animals in attic

The two most common kinds of animals that will enter your attic are raccoons and squirrels. This is a good place to start because most of the time that sound is going to be one of these two critters.

Related: Common animal entry points

Raccoon sounds

raccoon roundwormIf you are hearing animal sounds in your attic at night, it is most commonly a raccoon because they are nocturnal animals and thus most active at night.

Raccoons are often the loudest sound you will hear in your attic. They are the largest animal that will enter your home. It will make heavy, thudding, dragging, slower moving sounds. They will sound more like footsteps than any other animal, which can be frightening sometimes.

Related: Preventing Raccoons from Moving into Your Home

Squirrel sounds

If you are hearing sounds in your attic during the day, it’s probably a squirrel. They are typically only active during daylight hours.

Squirrels will make more erratic kinds of sounds. They ar lighter and will scurry and move around faster than a raccoon. Squirrels will usually stick to a schedule and so you’ll hear them moving around at the same time every day, usually around dawn and dusk.

If you hear one in the wall near you and bang on the wall, unlike some animals you’ll hear the squirrel run away from you.

Related: How to get rid of squirrels

Mice sounds

Being the smallest animal, mice will be much harder to hear. The saying “quiet as a mouse” exists for a reason. But it is possible you may hear them moving around at night. It might sound like a light scratching or chewing sound.

If you hear a mouse in the wall and bang on the wall, unlike a squirrel, it won’t run away. It will remain perfectly still for at least a minute, waiting to move again.

Related: The Differences Between Rats and Mice

Bats

You usually won’t hear a bat at night. They are in places where they’re not likely to be heard unless they are trying to crawl through your wall. In most cases you’ll see a bat in your house before you hear it.

Related: Bats in the attic during winter months

For professional animal removal services or attic cleanup and repair in Chicagoland call Attic Solutions (847) 464-1861


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Do I Need a Permit to Remove a Nuisance Animal in Illinois?

Raccoons carrying disease into your home

You may not realize it, but that nuisance animal in your attic, shed, garage or on your property might be legally protected in Illinois.

Most wildlife is protected by law and cannot be killed or even removed without a permit.

The Illinois Department of National Resources is tasked with conservation and management of wild species in Illinois. By Illinois law, a property owner or tenant needs a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit to trap and remove most species of wildlife.

By Illinois law, property owners or tenants need a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit (PDF) to trap and remove most species of wildlife.

Is the animal you want to remove a protected species? We’ve listed the most common nuisance animals in Illinois below. 


Questions? Call Attic Solutions at (847) 464-1861


Mice, Norway rats, moles, voles, gophers, and shrews

dangerous rats, are rats dangerousThese small mammals may all be removed with no permit needed.

Exceptions to this rule include the eastern woodrat and rice rat, which are endangered species in Illinois. These two species may not be removed.

Related: Rat and Mice removal and control

Ground squirrels and chipmunks

The eastern chipmunk and the thirteen-lined ground squirrels may be removed without a permit.

Franklin’s ground squirrels are listed as threatened in Illinois and may not be removed.

 

Raccoons, skunks, opossums, beavers, muskrats, red foxes, gray foxes, mink, river otters, badgers, weasels, woodchucks, coyotes, and bobcats

striped skunkThe Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional wildlife removal service to capture and remove fur-bearing animals. If you want to remove a fur-bearing animal yourself, contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if you qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit.

In rural areas, the IDNR encourages removal of most furbearers during open hunting and trapping seasons whenever possible. All Illinois hunting regulations must be followed. For more information on hunting and trapping regulations, visit the IDNR Licenses & Hunting site.

Related: Common animal entry points

Gray squirrels, fox squirrels, red squirrels, and southern flying squirrels

Tree SquirrelThe Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional wildlife removal service to capture and remove squirrels. If you want to remove a squirrel yourself, contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if you qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit.

In rural areas, gray squirrels and fox squirrels may be taken during open hunting seasons.

Related: How to Squirrel-proof your home

Rabbits

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional wildlife removal service to capture and remove rabbits. If you want to remove a rabbit yourself, contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if you qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit.

In rural areas, rabbits may be taken during open hunting seasons.

Bats

The (IDNR) recommends hiring a professional bat removal service to capture and remove bats.

Bats inside rooms will usually exit on their own. Close off exits to the room and keep windows open overnight.

Related: How to get bats out of the house

White-Tailed Deer

white tailed deer fawnWhite-tailed deer are protected under the Illinois Wildlife Code as a game species. It is illegal to take live deer from the wild unless you have received a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) or are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

IDNR Deer Removal Guidelines (PDF)

In rural areas,  deer hunting is permitted in season. All state hunting regulations must be followed. Outside of hunting season, or in situations where hunting is not allowed, a deer removal permit may be issued by an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist.

A person who hits and kills a deer with a motorized vehicle can legally claim the deer to salvage the meat, hide, and antlers.

For more information on hunting and trapping in Illinois visit the Illinois Department of National Resources.


For professional animal removal services in Chicagoland call Attic Solutions (847) 464-1861


 

Top 10 Signs Of Rats

top 10 signs of rats

During autumn, animal pests like to enter your home, seeking shelter and food. In rural areas, when fields are plowed, rats lose their habitat and make their way indoors. In urban areas, the cool weather drives them into your home. Regardless of where you live, rats can cause big problems. Aside from the numerous diseases and parasites they carry, they can cause major damage. If you have a hunch that you have a rat infestation, check out our lists for the top 10 signs of rats:

TOP 10 SIGNS OF RATS

  1. Scratching in the walls – Scratching or rustling sounds in the walls is one of the early, subtle signs of a rat infestation. They run through the walls to and from food sources. In addition, if they are building a nest, they will be moving materials between the walls.
  2. Rat droppings – Rat droppings are small, brown, and rice-shaped. A single rat leaves between 10 and 30 pellets a day.
  3. Grease marks – Rats have an oily fur that leaves grease or dirt tracks. You may notice them along floorboards or across counter tops in your house.
  4. Footprints – Their tracks have front and hind paw marks plus a tail print. You may notice them in dustier areas of the home.
  5. Rats holes – Brown rats are great burrowers and may leave holes as evidence.
  6. Rat nests – Rats make nests with cardboard, straw, and other soft items. You may notice them in your attic or basement, depending on the type of rat in your home.
  7. Rodent odors – You may notice a musky smell with the presence of rats.
  8. Urine stains – Their urine stains glow under UV lights.
  9. Chewed wires, floorboards, & boxes – Rats’ teeth are continuously growing, which means they gnaw on plastic, wood, and anything hard to keep them filed. You may notice gnawed floorboards, boxes of cereal, or walls.
  10. Rat sightings – If you’ve seen a rat, dead or alive, in your home – you may have an infestation.

If some or all of the top 10 signs of rats apply to your home, it may be time to call pest control. Attic solutions can safely and effectively remove rats from your home and repair damage caused by rats.

What Do Animals Do During Fall?

Where do animal pests go when the whether becomes chilly? Surprisingly, many of them stay active before the snowy, winter months hit. Read more to discover what do animals do during fall.

what do animals do during fall

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Migration

Many birds and insects migrate to warmer areas during the chillier months of fall. Because temperatures begin to drop during the fall season, these creatures begin to find more suitable conditions. For example, swallows migrate south once the weather begins to cool and their food sources dwindle. You may think that since some animal pests are leaving during this season you’ll see less activity, but it’s far from the truth. In fact, you may see more activity in your home at this time of year.

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Hibernation Preparation

Other animals prepare to hibernate during the fall. Squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhogs will gather food to store for the winter. Although chipmunks and squirrels do not go into a true hibernation state, they a relatively inactive during the winter. This leads them to frantically stockpile leftover food near your garbages or from your bird feeders. These small mammals can be quite pesky during the fall.

Bats will also hibernate during the cold months. You can expect their presence to taper off as the insect population dies down with the cool weather.

In addition, wasps and bees will still be active during the fall. They do not hibernate until winter. If there’s a nest near your home that needs to be removed, unfortunately the cold weather won’t be enough to detract them. Make sure to call pest control for assistance moving wasps or bee nests.

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Stay Active

Many other animals stay active during this time of year. Skunks, for example, stay in their dens but are awake during winter. You’ll see (and smell) plenty of skunks during the fall. Raccoons behave similarly, and will stay active year round. This means, you still have to be vigilant and remove outdoor food sources for these pests. In fact, you may notice more pest activity because homes have plentiful opportunities for food, while the cool weather limits natural sources.

Opossums are also active during the colder months. You may be surprised to know that they’ll even become active during the day, though they are nocturnal. Nonetheless, you should never take a chance with an opossum behaving strangely, as it may be infected with rabies or another disease.

Lastly, rodents remain highly active during the cold months. You may see more mice and rats in your home during the fall, as fields are plowed and they escape to your safe home. In addition, homes are full of food sources and provide shelter from the elements. Your rodent problem may be highest during the fall. Call Attic Solutions to remove your pests safely and efficiently, so you can enjoy the fall season without pests.

Leptospirosis: One More Pest-Related Infection

leptospirosis

What is Leptospirosis?

Animal pests are known to carry many infections and diseases from plague to rabies. These diseases can decimate human populations and have been tough to eradicate. As a result, education, cleanliness, and pest control have improved to tackle the perpetual pest vector problem.

One infection you may not have heard of is leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacteria infection that is spread through raccoon, rat, and other mammal droppings. Both humans and animals can contract this infection. However, it cannot be passed between humans. The infection can cause serious health complications. Humans become infected through contact with contaminated food, water, or soil that has infected urine in it. Also, dogs frequently pick up this infection.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs of leptospirosis range from severe to mild. Infected people may experience headache, high fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, meningitis, and even kidney or liver failure. In some cases, the infected shows no symptoms. The symptoms appear within 7 to 12 days. Most cases of leptospirosis are mild. However, severe cases are characterized by meningitis, liver damage, and kidney failure.

Treatment & Prevention

The infection can be treated with antibiotics. In severe cases, cefotaxime or ceftriaxone are used. Also, salt infusions and dialysis may be used in serious cases. An estimated one million people are diagnosed with severe cases of leptospirosis each year. Consequently, of the severe cases, there are nearly 59,000 deaths.

Pest control has helped aid in minimizing the risk of leptospirosis. In addition, you should avoid urine contaminated water, food, soil, etc. If you believe you’re infected or at risk, seek medical care immediately.

If you discover raccoons or other pests in or near your home, call animal control to safely remove the pests. Preventing pests from leaving droppings can prevent infections from reaching you and your family.

Working Cats In The City

working cats

The Rat Problem

Chicago’s rat problem has grown over the past few years, with complaints up in 2016. Though the mayor is working to address these issues, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. As a result, people are using working cats to combat the rat problem. The Cats at Work Project pits cats against rodents, providing a home for the cats and humanely eradicating rats.

Working Cats

Through this program, felines are put to work by controlling the rat population through their presence and hunting. They are vaccinated and sterile, and often come from former life-threatening situations. This option allows the them to stay out of the shelter system while providing a rodent elimination service from their natural behavior. The felines will hunt the rat pests, not eat them, and keep your home and yard free of animal pests. There have been over 225 working cats successfully placed. Many who have used the program claim to see an immediate rat population decline within a week of having working cats.

Does it Work?

Some criticize the working cats method. Experts say that cats may reduce the number of rodents spotted, but not diminish the number of pests. Because of the cats’ presence, rats may behave more secretively. Experts suggest that there may not be concrete science to back up the eradication of rats due to cat presence. In addition, cats may cause harm to the bird population. They hunt rats, mice, birds, chipmunks and many other small animals. This means, a working cat likely will not discern between animals and target rats, specifically. Lastly, experts are concerned that cats could cause exposure to parasites through their feces. Consequently, the felines would become pests.

How to Get Rid of Rats

Experts suggest limiting the rats’ access to food, water, and shelter. Rats can be tricky to remove though, and breed incredibly quickly to restore any population loss. If you are experiencing a rat problem, contact pest control to take care of the solution safely and effectively immediately.

The Differences Between Rats and Mice

RATS AND MICE:

If you’re not sure which pest has made it’s way into your home, take a look at our list of defining similarities and differences between rats and mice. Although they are similar in some ways, there are significant differences between their behavior, appearance, droppings, and where they may be located or causing damage in your home. Both animals are rodents and reproduce incredibly fast, up to 10 times a year, so if you suspect they may be in your home, call pest control immediately.

Wood mouseMICE:

  • Smaller 3-10 cm
  • Nocturnal
  • White, brown, or gray
  • Produces 40-80 droppings a day, smaller sized with one pointed end and one rounded end
  • Long thing, hairy tails
  • Triangular snouts
  • Long whiskers
  • Have larger eyes in proportion to their bodies
  • Live 1 year in wild, up to 6 in captivity
  • Prefer carb-loaded food like cereal, occasionally fruits and sweets
  • Do not usually burrow or dig, make nests instead
  • Cannot typically gnaw through glass and metal containers
  • Gnaw electrical wiring & cardboard boxes
  • Timid nature, not aggressive
  • May be found in nests in the walls of a home

RatRATS:

  •  Larger in body size, larger heads and feet proportionally, 16-40 cm
  • Nocturnal
  • White, gray, brown, or black depending on species
  • Produced 20-40 droppings a day, larger sized and banana shaped
  • Long tails, hairless and scaly
  • Blunt snout
  • Have smaller eyes in proportion to their bodies
  • Live about 1.5 years in wild
  • Prefer grains and meat foods
  • Burrowing behavior, can dig deep long burrows near your foundation or in your yard
  • Can gnaw through sheet metal, building materials, cinder blocks, wood, and glass
  • Greasy fur may leave marks on surfaces that they scurry across
  • Depending on species may be found in basement (Norway Rat) or attic (Roof Rats)