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Rodent Proof Your Home: Warning Invisible Health Risk

Rodent proof your home and keep housebound critters outside, where they belong. At night, hearing strange sounds coming from the attic or behind the walls can be scary. You may wonder if the house is haunted or possessed by evil spirits and spooky ghosts.

Well, It’s more than likely a backyard gremlin gnawing through the siding or roof to get inside. Once inside, these relentless rodents can wreak havoc. They will chew and destroy virtually anything that they get their grubby little paws around or can sink their teeth in.

Rodent Warning: invisible health risk

Parasite-infested rodents carry rabies, harmful pathogens, and spread diseases. House-hunting rodents can run rampant from the attic to the basement and reproduce faster than rabbits.

Inside the house, feces dropping, urine stains, and decaying rodents create a hazardous mess and leave behind an awful stench. When disturbed, dried feces release fungus spores that contaminate the air inside the house. Inhalation of poisonous fungus spores can cause lung and respiratory illness, organ failure, and in severe cases, deaths.

Real Estate Rodents Are happy squatters

A healthy real estate market and attractive mortgage rates got families rushing to pack up, move out, and move into their dream home before winter. This quick change leaves their old house uninhabited while waiting for a new buyer and at risk for rodent invasion.

Every empty home on the real estate market is an open-door invitation for rodents and outside critters that are ready and willing to move inside for the winter. Suburban rodents are more than an outside nuisance. Home invasions present serious health hazards, create extensive damages and costly repairs.

rodent proof home and pest inspection by certified home inspector

Jarrod Lape, Certified Home Inspector, Building Consultant, & Principal Partner of Foundation Property Inspection examines evidence of rodent damage.

Home & Pest Inspection

“We’re finding more evidence of housebound rodents and critters like raccoons, skunks, squirrels, mice, and bats that take up residency in empty dwelling. Animal intrusions and damages are preventable if homeowners understand how to identify the early warning signs. Then, fix weak and vulnerable entry points before putting their home up for sale or moving.” said Jarrod Lape, Certified Home Inspector, Building Consultant, and Principal Partner of Foundation Property Inspection.

Rodents are attracted to smell, food and hunt for isolated nooks and crannies inside the home to nest and hibernate. Rodents are most active at night. As temperatures fall, outside critters seek shelter in empty for-sale homes. Housebound rodents enjoy the safety and creature comforts of an unoccupied house.

These sharp tooth critters are ruthless. They will gnaw through drywall and chew travel paths alongside framing and ceiling joists to access the attic, basement, and kitchen. Rodents build their nest in tight, undisturbed voids behind the walls or the attic.

They eat, sleep, defecate, destroy, and reproduce at an uncontrollable rate. Housebound rodents and critters chew on electric wires, framing, insulation, drywall, kitchen cabinets, and gorge on left behind food.

Rodents Attract Pest, & Wood-Destroying Insects

Rodent nests are plagued with viruses, soaked in urine and feces, inundated with rotting rodent flesh, and drenched with wood-decaying fungus. Saturated food accumulates behind the wall in cracks and crevices and creates mold and wood rot. These infectious hideaways are excellent breeding beds swarming with lice, flies, and maggots.

As scary as that sounds, this hotbed is a dinner bell for termites and wood-destroying insects. Imagine hundreds of thousands of wood-destroying insects slowly eating away at your house.  Read more about invasive insects and wood-destroying insects that are trying to secretly invade your home.

carpenter ant wood eating invasive insects

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants are quick to invade and viciously feed on moist exposed wood recently damaged by rodents or other pests.

termite wood eating invasive insects

Carpenter Bees


Termites love to eat wood and habitually target dark, damp, pungent, rotten wood framing, rafters, and trusses.

beetle wood eating invasive insects

Powder Post Beetles

Powder post beetles have a ferocious appetite for hard and softwood. They board channels below the wood surface, mate, and lay eggs. Their eggs hatch into tiny larvae and continue the destructive cycle.

carpenter bee wood eating invasive insects

Carpenter Bees

Wood-boring carpenter bees will aggressively drill through the soft, rotting wood exterior framing.

How to Rodent Proof your Home

Often, homeowners ignore signs of rodents living in the house. Attics and crawl spaces make fantastic breeding areas and hibernation zones because they are out of sight and therefore out of mind.

It’s best to start with a Professional Home Inspections and a Pest Inspection to get a good idea of what you’re looking at, or you may have a difficult time trying to locate, track, and get rid of unwanted house guests.

  • Inspect, repair, or replace the chimney cap
  • Secure attic vents & rescreen if necessary
  • Inspect the dark attic during the day & seal daylight openings 
  • Inspect roofline, & ridge vent. Secure open entry points
  • Closer gaps along soffit & facia
  • Remove gutter debris
  • Plug foundation cracks with steel wall & seal with caulking
  • Seal gaps around windows & doors
  • Caulk around exterior water pipes
  • Seal around electrical lines
  • Install exterior vent covers
  • Trim back overhanging branches near the roof or house
  • Relocate birdhouses far away from the house
  • Move outside feeders away from the residence
  • Seal outside garbage containers
  • Pick up & seal pet food
  • Clean up the landscaping around the house
  • Remove yard debris, leaves, dead flowers, & twigs
  • Keep outside doors closed
  • Clean floors and countertops
  • Remove all food crumbs

Rodent proof your Home To Keep Out Masked bandits

Protect your home from raccoons and masked bandits

Raccoons are mischievous and appear playful and skittish. They have dark eyes surrounded by a black mask, white and gray fur, and a fluffy ringtail.

Naturally, you would expect these wild, nocturnal critters to live in the woods inside a hollow tree, but don’t be fooled by their charming appearance. These trash pandas are very clever and always searching for an opportunity to crawl inside.

As real estate inventory increases and empty homes sit on the open market, Home Inspectors are finding more and more evidence where raccoons have scratched and chewed their way through eves and into attics.

Raccoons are strong, skilled climbers, scavengers, and prowl for a weak entry point to access the roof or attic. Once inside, these ringtail bandits can destroy eaves, ridge vents, heating ducts, and electrical wiring throughout the attic. Undetected, these hidden damages are water and fire hazards.

Raccoons are infested with parasites like fleas, lice, suffer from mange and roundworm, and carry rabies. Coons also spread distemper, a viral disease that infects foxes, coyotes, skunks, and unvaccinated dogs and can cause acute illness and death.

Raccoons are unpredictable. These four-legged criminals become aggressive when encountered or provoked. Here are some important things you should know if you are bitten or attacked by a raccoon with rabies or other diseases.

Rodent proof your Home & Shoo Away The little stinkers

skunk Little stinkers big rodent proof problems.jpg

Neighborhood skunks love to shack up under the house, deck, porch, shed, and even inside the garage. Any occupied building or shed presents an ideal opportunity for skunks to crawl in and hunker down and stay undetected.

These smelly vermin are attracted to smelly food, trash, and easy suburban living. Nearly every yard has a vegetable garden, bird feeder, squirrel feeder, pet food dish, and outside trash cans.

Their favorite nighttime snacks are grubs, ground worms, cutworms, beetles, and other creepy crawlers.

Skunks are nuisance scavengers and key carriers of rabies in Southwestern PA. Skunks, also known as Polecats, and pose a health risk to homeowners and family pets.

Our certified professional Home and Pest Inspectors frequently report inhabitation evidence and property damage from these stinky critters.

Skunks have an extremely pungent odor and defense system. When threatened, they can raise their tail and spray a foul-smelling, potent, chemical irritant. Inhalation of the harmful spray will immediately inflame respiratory linings, trigger gagging, nausea, and vomiting. Ingestion can produce severe internal organ damage that can also be fatal in rare cases. This highly toxic animal defense spray can cause temporary blindness with direct or indirect eye penetration.

Skunks and skunk spray are problematic for home buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and homeowners. The foul odor can last 2 to 3 weeks. Due to the inherent risks and dangers associated with skunks, it is best to consult a pest management professional to investigate and remove skunks from your property.

Alarmingly, skunks and natural gas odors are extraordinarily similar. If you smell something unusual, don’t take the risk. Quickly and safely evacuate everyone from the house and call the local fire or police emergency department.

Rodent proof your Home & Stop Squirrels from driving you nuts

Squirrel invading house through window driving homeowner nuts

Squirrels are agile, non-aggressive, curious, but deceptive rodents. Typically, squirrels are considered hoarders in the animal world. They instinctively stockpile an overabundance of nuts and food for the upcoming winter. Unfortunately, they have a poor memory and rely mainly on their sense of smell to relocate buried food.

Often called tree rats, squirrels are relentless when presented with an opportunity to nest inside the attic. These invasive critters can squeeze through a hole the size of a super ball and can chomp through screens, vents, siding, and eaves to get inside the house.

“Squirrels can drive a homeowners nuts. This time of year, we see exterior and interior squirrel damage on virtually every unoccupied home that we inspect” said Jake Schneider, Certified Home Inspector, Building Consultant, and Principal Partner of Foundation Property Inspection.

Squirrels have an appetite for destruction. Think of them as piranhas with legs and fuzzy tails. More importantly, it’s the amount of damage that a squirrel can inflict on a home. Once inside, nothing is out of reach. They eat and nest in the insulation, gnaw on rafters, furniture, toys, and chew insulated electrical wires. Exposed electrical lines in the attic are a hidden fire hazard. Compromise electrical wires could trip breakers, overheat, and ignite fires.

Rodent proof your home keep Mice away

Rodent proof kitchen mice

Mice can dash inside the house through open house doors, windows, or garage doors as homeowners move out, and new buyers move in.

Contrary to fairytales, mice are not blind. They have perfect night vision and seek out tight cavities nestled inside the wall. Mice have a remarkable sense of smell and often nest near kitchens. A hidden nest with easy access to food is the ideal condition for an extended breeding season.

These sneaky long-tail critters are virtually undetectable until the residents smell the urine, hear scratching behind the wall, scampering across the ceiling, or droppings in the cabinets or on the floor.

Now here’s the scary part. Mice are pack rats that spread disease and pathogens like Hantavirus, Lyme Disorder, and Leptospirosis. These invisible viruses get released into the air as their urine and feces dry out.

Rodent proof The Bat Cave

Brown Bats Pennsylvania home attic

Typically, people think of bats as night flying bloodsucking vampires that dive at your head and want to nest in your hair, but none of this is quite accurate. 

Primarily, bats are attracted to light because they eat flying insects that swarm around outdoor lights like flies, beetles, mosquitoes, and moths. As neighborhoods expand, additional street lights and porch lights are necessary to light the roads and driveways. Consequently, attracting more night-flying insects and more bats.

It’s true, bats prefer cave-like dark, dry, cool areas to hibernate. Pennsylvania brown bats prefer residential attics because of their comfortable temperature and environmental access.

It’s common knowledge that bats harbor rabies and spread harmful diseases, but their droppings host a wide range of parasites and pathogens that are deadly. Dried bat feces release a cloud of infectious dust containing spores of fungus when disturbed. Inhalation can cause chronic lung disease and negatively affect several internal organs. If you suspect bats are living in your attic, contact the health department immediately.

Several rabies warnings and advisory precautions for residents and pets by The Allegheny County Health Department. Hire a certified professional Home Inspector from Foundations Property Inspection to Inspect your Home.

Don’t risk your family’s health, rodent-proof your home

Rodents and neighborhood critters can quietly invade your house and cause extensive damage and costly repairs. Often homeowners are not aware of early signs of trouble. 

More importantly, rodents are infested with parasites, carry rabies, harmful pathogens, and spread disease. Dried rodent feces can and will release deadly fungus spores when disturbed. 

Accidental inhalation of this infectious dust can cause lung, respiratory, and organ failure and be fatal in some cases. Contact Foundations Property Inspection and schedule a professional Home and Pest Inspection and keep your family safe.