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What lurks in the attic?

Jim Boxberger Jr.
Posted 10/28/22

  So it is getting colder outside and the garden is gone. The leaves have fallen, so there is not much to say about the trees and shrubs.  

The grass is done growing, so there is no …

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Garden Guru

What lurks in the attic?


 So it is getting colder outside and the garden is gone. The leaves have fallen, so there is not much to say about the trees and shrubs. 

The grass is done growing, so there is no more mowing and your pruning should be well at hand. Plants that need need wrapping for the winter should be almost done and deer fence should be up almost three hundred and sixty-five days a year anymore. 

So there isn’t mush to talk about except for the noises in the attic. Now I know halloween is coming, but I am pretty sure these noises are not ghosts and goblins, but more likely, mice and squirrels. 

It is that time of the year that rodents of all sizes want to come into your house for the winter and If you are like me, your are not to happy about it. 

Most people do not like roommates that don’t pay rent, clean up after themselves and eat all your food. Now mice are easy to control, the basic snappy trap or mouse poison will work fast on them, but chipmunks, red and grey squirrels are a lot harder. 

Unlike mice, poisons will not work on these rodents as they have the ability to regurgitate the poison before it has a chance to do it’s job. So it is either snappy traps, live traps or repellents to get rid of them. 

Now most people don’t like to use a snappy trap on a chipmunk because we think of them as cute little critters like Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Then there are the live traps (Hav-a-Hart) to catch those little critters. Using these traps, you need to make sure you check the trap at least once a day and if you catch someone you need to take them for a long ride. 

So lets skip ahead and say that you have now trapped and removed all the critters from your attic, how do you keep them from coming back? 

First you have to find where they are coming in and this is not always easy. Is it some loose siding or did they chew a hole into the wall? 

Loose siding is easy, nail it back fast to the building and you should be all good. If it is a hole that they have chewed, it needs to be filled. Expanding foam insulation that comes in a can is the best way to get inside the hole and make sure all the gaps are filled. 

But you must add the secret ingredient for it to work properly so that they will not just chew throught the foam insulation. Since I am such a nice guy I will tell you what it is so that you don’t have to make a special trip into the store to see me. The secret ingredient is steel wool. Not the Brillo you use to clean dishes as that has detergents in it that can effect the foam insulation, but just plan old steel wool like the type used for wood working and refinishing. 

Don’t worry if you are not sure where go get it, I know a guy. This steel wool has no detergents and will not react badly to the foam insulation. Pack some steel wool into the hole before applying the foam insulation, the foam will go through and around the steel wool totally encapsulating it. 

By doing this you can ensure that the rodents will not chew through the foam, for if they do they will hit the steel wool and it will cut up their mouths and they will stop. Now this is not to say that they won’t try to chew a couple feet down the wall, but they will at least have to wait a couple weeks for their mouths to heal first. 

Maybe in that time, the neighbors cat will get rid of them for you. Now the last way to get rid of the critters, is good old fashion moth balls or flakes. Yes, they stink, but that is why they work. The critters do not like the smell as well and they use their noses a lot more than we use ours. 

I find that moth flakes are generally better to use in enclosed spaces as they cannot be removed by the critter. Critters can pick up moth balls and remove them from an area but flakes would simply melt in their mouth, not in their hands.


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