I often get calls from clients asking for my help as they are hearing noises in the loft. So what we need to do is find out what it is we are dealing with so we can choose the right coarse of action to deal with the problem. The first question is what could it be? Normally it is either a bird, mouse, rat or squirrel, there are exceptions to this but these are the usual suspects and the reason for entry will normally be to set up a nest. So the first thing to do is a thorough investigation. During this time identifying key signs such as droppings, smells, routes in, gnawed beams, bare wires, an obvious nest and anything else unusual. This should then identify the spices you are dealing with.
A good example of this was a recent call I received to noises in the loft. From talking to the customer I ruled out mice and birds immediately as the noise of movement was large. On entering the loft I got a strong pungent smell of squirrel and the droppings confirmed this. I then looked for potential nest sites, which I found. From this I was able to identify a few possible entry points to which I then inspected from the outside. I found two entry points (shown in picture below) and with this I set three traps in the loft. I came back to the property a couple of days later and I had caught two squirrels. Job done and a happy client.
It was at this point I did a further detailed check of the loft space and found a couple of light cables that had been gnawed to the bare wire. If un-reported it is this type of thing that could cause an electrical fire in the loft. The customer arranged for an electrician to replace the cables. The key for me is to always talk to the customer to find out as much information but more importantly listen to what they are saying and extract the tell tale signs.
Note the teeth marks on the gutter where it had gnawed to gain entry. If you just found these gnaw marks, it could indicate either a rat or a squirrel because the size of the teeth marks. It was all the other evidence that identified the type of Pest. If entering a loft space that has had pest problems extreme caution must be taken, as touching bare wires can be deadly if live.
Kelly – Pest-Tech Ltd.