Back to Blog

Preparing Your Home for Critter Intrusion as the Weather Gets Colder


It’s the skeeeratch in the middle of the night that every homeowner fears: the sound of a wild animal’s nails as they skitter across the attic floor. Yes, fall in Atlanta is a critter’s favorite time of year, too. What can local residents do to put out the “Unwelcome” mat for uninvited furry guests? Here are some tips from our partner, MayDay Pest Services!

“When the temperatures start to drop, the critters are starting to look for places to take up residence for the winter,” says Angel Davis, owner of MayDay Pest.  The first thing homeowners should look for are the trees and shrubs next to the house. Davis says, “Make sure no tree limbs touch the house. Rats and squirrels are natural climbers and live in trees for the most part. They can live up to 80% of their lives without touching the ground, so if they’re already in that tree, they’re going to be able to access your roof and then the attic.”

Once any branches are cleared, the next step is to seal up their potential entry points, such as the decking between the roof and the facia board. This is one of the first things MayDay Pest does when a customer’s house is cleared of furry intruders. Building codes in Georgia do not require the decking of the roof and facia board to meet.


Another potential entry point is the crawlspace. “There are a lot of crawlspaces in Georgia,” Davis says. “You’ve got to make sure the crawl doors stay closed at all times. A lot of these homes have crawl vents you can close, too, but you have to remember to open them in the spring so that you’re not liable for termite damage. If your termite company inspects your crawlspace and your crawl vents are closed, they could deny your claim.”

Another space that’s susceptible to critter invasion is the laundry room, specifically, the dryer vent. Make sure the dryer vent connections are snug enough to keep them out. Squirrels and rats have been known to seek refuge in the dryer vent tube!

While bats are mostly found in Atlanta in the summer—and eat a lot of pesky insects—one place you don’t want to see them is in your attic. According to Davis, “Every now and again, we’ll get bats through November. It’s important for people to do their own bat inspections and check their gable vents—9 times out of 10, that’s where bats will be.” Bats go dormant in the winter—they can’t fly when it’s too cold. However, if you have a house where the sun hits the gable vent in just the right way, they can get enough heat from the sun to live in a dormant state—in your attic.


One of the most common pests Atlanta homeowners will bump up against in the winter is a rat. They’re quiet, nocturnal mammals that are shy and lazy, and can live for years undetected in your attic. They may be hard to detect. What Davis tells his customers is to “buy a dollar rat trap and bait it with peanut butter and put it in your attic, then check it every couple of months. If you’ve caught one, you’ve got more coming and you’ll want to call us to get them out.” Rats bring food into the attic and store it; they can survive weeks without eating because they don’t exert a lot of energy. If they start to get dehydrated, they may chew on condensation lines from the A/C unit, which is something else to check.

What about raccoons? Davis says, “Soffits are their main entry point. Make sure your soffits aren’t rotted. Raccoons need a hole about the size of softball to get in, while rats and squirrels only need a hole the size of a quarter.

Holes in the chimney—especially ones that are not visible to the homeowner—are entry points for raccoons, too, since they’re used to looking for holes in trees to make their home.

Concerned about uninvited furry visitors? Visit and learn how MayDay Pest Control can provide a permanent solution to your wildlife and pest problems. Learn more about on Facebook and Twitter!