They Invade Our Homes, So Let’s Invade Theirs

By:

Robin Mountjoy

January 1, 2016

Some of us want a big front yard with a white picket fence, while others want a brownstone in the heart of the city. Regardless of what we end up with, our homes our uniquely our own. That’s what makes them so special. The familiarity, the comfort, the security. All of these things are of paramount importance when it comes to where we live. However, unfortunately, the qualities of our ideal homes are pretty much the same for the average pest. They too seek out comfort and security – the only problem is, they usually find it on our property and in our homes.

Since they come inside our homes, we’re going to take a quick peek inside the homes of some of our region’s most notorious pests. Read on to learn more about the dens, nests, and other residences of our lesser pest counterparts.

Raccoons

The ultimate freeloaders, raccoons can make their homes – also known as dens – basically anywhere. Aside from natural homes like hollow spaces in tree trunks, they look for empty places they can take over and claim as “home”; open attics, basements, sewer drains, and garages are all easy targets. If you’re in a more rural area, remember that raccoons can (and do) make their home in sheds and barns, too.

As nocturnal animals, raccoons typically spend the daylight hours resting in their dens and scavenge at night. They are also relatively solitary animals, and unless they are mating, raccoons live alone. Further, while they don’t hibernate, raccoons do stay in their dens for weeks at a time during winter, using stored fat to survive.

Outside of winter, raccoons are very transient animals, and they don’t stay in their dens for longer than a few days. Once a raccoon leaves their den in search of a food source, it rarely returns to the original den. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re leaving your property though. They’re just improving their situation.

Ants

Though ants typically live outdoors in colonies – think anthills – they can take up residence inside of our homes, too. Ant nests have been found in foundation walls, under concrete slabs, inside walls, on insulation, in rotted window frames, behind kitchen cabinets, and many other unexpected spots in the home. Ants, like most other pests, only care about being near a food source, and plan their nest locations accordingly.

Ant colonies are easy to spot because ants create invisible trails to and from their homes. When ants go out to scavenge for food, they follow these trails and return in the same method. Simply setting out bait such as honey or sugar, and monitoring the ant’s return journey should lead you right to where they live.

Inside of the colony, ants are very organized, and their nests can be rather complex. Interconnected corridors and chambers allow ants to move freely in the nest, but with a purpose. Some ant colonies can even cover many acres underground. They’ve created fascinating underground labyrinths, but we don’t need them on our property.

Mice & Rats

Some of the most common pests in the DMV area, mice and rats can make their nests almost anywhere. They typically enter homes in the fall, searching for warmth and food, and if they find a reliable food source, they’ll typically nest within the walls or crevices of the home. Both mice and rats are very nimble creatures, and they can squeeze their bodies through holes that seem much too small.

Mouse and rat nests are typically small balls composed of many different types of fibrous materials. They’re creatures of opportunity so they will collect string, shredded paper, torn cloth, food wrappers, and the like to create these nests where they live and raise their offspring. The easiest way to identify a mouse or rat nest is by spotting droppings inside or nearby.

If you spot a mouse or rat in your home, it’s best to get to the root of the problem. Check out our suggestions here and here.

Give Us a Call

As always, you should leave the pest control to the experts. At Connor’s, we are always happy to help you protect your home. We offer full-service packages that include humane and eco-friendly identification, extermination, and prevention techniques. If you find yourself face-to-face with unwelcome house guests, don’t hesitate to give us a call today.