The last thing any homeowner in Berks County wants is attic pests, such as  mice, rats, bats, and squirrels. But how do you keep them away? It seems like they just come right back as soon as you get rid of them.

The good news is that you can keep those pesky critters away for good if you understand how they get into your attic in the first place. You also need to understand your options for keeping them away.

Here's a few tips to help keep your home in Berks County pest-free.

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. You may hear a knock in the night, but you may not be able to see what's making all that noise.

How can you tell what pests have made your attic their home? It's what they leave behind that tells all.

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.

Mice

Mice are very good at multiplying. One or two mice can turn into dozens in a short time. As soon as you suspect mice in the attic, set out the traps immediately. Set out several traps. You might think that using cheese to bait the traps is the right move, but peanut butter actually works better.

Check the traps daily for dead mice. Other mice will be deterred from the traps if they see what those traps did to their friends.

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. And bats are difficult to round up and escort out.

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

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