With the spring season now in full swing, homeowners have to contend with pesky critters on their property and in their homes.
It is generally not recommended that homeowners try to remove animals by themselves, says Brad Gates of AAA Gates' Wildlife Control. Instead, call a professional company that has experience dealing with small animals.
Gates said, at this time of year, it is especially important to leave it to a wildlife control company because most animals have babies in the home that will die if they are removed from their mother.
It is illegal in Ontario to relocate any wildlife more than one kilometre, so leave it to the professionals to transport animals away from your property.
Once the professionals have removed the animals, here are some steps from the Humane Society that you can take to keep your home pest-free:
- Review your home for any new holes in the roof or under the porch or deck. Also check for any open chimney shafts.
- Temporarily plug any new holes with insulation, paper or cloths that an animal who may be using the space can easily push aside. After a few days, check to see if the material has moved. If it hasn't, you can seal the opening.
- Trim tree branches and keep any vines away from your roof, as it's the easiest way for animals to enter your home.
- Choose a metal chimney vent over a plastic one, as they are harder for animals to get through.
- Clean up any debris that has collected in your gutters or around your home’s foundation.
- Keep an eye out for any roof shingles or insulation on your property. This is a "sure sign" that an animal has made it inside your attic, Gates said.
Gates said most of his calls at this time of year are concerning raccoons, whose babies are vocal upon birth. But in about a month's time his company gets inundated with calls for squirrels, as the newly born squirrels become more active.
"What prompts people to call us in about a month's time for squirrels is that those babies now become mobile. They're able to walk around," he said. "When a homeowner thought they only had one squirrel in the attic, now they're hearing six or seven."
Homeowners should also be wary of any animal feces which could cause health problems if ingested by small children, Gates said.