Keeping those critters out

The colder weather has us all seeking more time indoors. That list also includes critters and pests who tend to seek warmth inside as well.

There are ways to try to keep those unwanted house guests from gaining access to homes.

“The biggest thing is to tighten up the house and cracks and small holes really need to be patched up,” said Vince Evelsizer, biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Evelsizer said heavy lumber or steel mesh are two types of materials to help seal up holes.

Many people leave bird feed within access of animals such as mice and other rodents, who are attracted to it.

Evelsizer said to try to keep bird feed and pet food stored away. If you do have bird feed in the yard, keep it away from the house.

One other thing to keep away from the house are piles of leaves and debris. Critters can find a home in leaf litter near the house and eventually explore more areas.

“If it’s right adjacent to the house, it be natural for them to explore the house,” Evelsizer said.

While raccoons can be a problem in the fall, it’s not the peak time for them to try to get into houses.

“We actually get more calls in the spring because raccoons or foxes try to come in there and have a litter,” Evelsizer said.

Evelsizer said if your yard has water features, a place for food and big trees, many raccoons will be attracted to it.

“A raccoon is going to look at your yard like a playground,” he said

Overall, Evelsizer said it’s a good idea to look at your house from the animal’s perspective and see what they might find attractive.