Recently, I was sent to a home in Sea Girt, NJ, to deal with a messy squirrel and bird infestation. The animals had found shelter in open soffits under the roofline that had suffered from neglect. During my inspection, I observed that pieces of dangling soffit and some pieces were outright missing. Unfortunately, neglected home maintenance often compounds problems because wildlife can be quick to exploit these readily available access points. As temperatures start to drop in the fall and stay low over the winter, all sorts of wildlife seek refuge from the harsh outdoor elements. Our warm homes are always a prime target. Here, squirrels used openings in the soffit to gain attic access.
To deal with this infestation, i repaired the missing soffit. For any wildlife infestation, it is critical to identify and seal all entry points. I purposefully left out one piece of soffit. Why? I wanted to give the animals an avenue of escape. It does little good to completely block them inside your home and they can do tremendous damage in a desperate attempt to leave. In place of the missing piece of soffit, I installed a one-way door. These devices, similar in function to a one-way vale, allow only one directional flow. The animals can freely leave; however, once outside, they soon find out that any attempted return inside is prevented. They are “locked out.” I also placed baited traps on a lower roof. When the squirrels are outside foraging for food, they will hopefully enter the trap. I will safely relocate the trapped animals to a location far away from human habitats.
After I determined that there were no more wildlife in the attic, I dealt with a common aftermath of a wildlife infestation — toxic animal droppings. Animal waste not only make the attic unsafe, but is a health hazard for the entire home. When droppings dry out and are disturbed, microscopic particles can become airborne traveling on air currents throughout the home. Any occupant can potentially become quite sick just by inhaling these particles. To deal with this potential health hazard, we completely sanitized and deodorized the attic and all of the soffit areas that had been infested by wildlife. Finally, I installed the last piece of soffit, securing it with screws so that it would not fall out or blow back. Now, with the soffits repaired, there is no easy entryway to gain attic access preventing any future wildlife infestations.