Keeping Rodents and
Other Critters Out of Your Home

Last Updated: December 1, 2021

Rodents and other critters can be quite crafty when it comes to making their way inside homes and structures. From garages to barns to attics, colder months tend to drive wildlife toward your home. Rodents in particular can be extra determined when the temperature drops. It is especially common this time of year to hear scratching in the walls, see droppings around the kitchen, or to discover chewed cables or stored goods around your home. 

In this article, we’ll address some common questions about how you can secure your home against Rodents and other critters, and what to do to prevent activity before it starts.

Table of Contents

“How do Rodents and other critters get into my house?”

By “other critters,” we’re referring to the common animals that likely live around your home, even if you aren’t deep in the wilderness. The Pacific Northwest is home to several species of squirrels, birds and raptors, as well as other occasional invaders like raccoons and bats. They may make their way into your attic or crawlspace, sometimes by accident, and require a professional to remove them. If you do suspect that one of these animals has made a home in or around your house, please call the United States Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services at (360) 337-2778.

Beside these kinds of animals, scratching in the walls, running noises at night, and chewing sounds are usually indicative of a Rodent problem. Rats and Mice don’t like to be outside in the cold, and will chew, gnaw, or dig their way into your home to escape it. Mice can be especially hard to keep out, since they’re able to fit through tiny gaps the size of a pencil.

Roofs and chimneys also provide Rodents with access to your home. While we know that birds may fly in and nest in an attic and squirrels are extremely capable of climbing to the roof, many people don’t realize Rats are also adept climbers. Roof Rats in particular can leap several feet from nearby trees, and are skilled at finding their way up and around structures.

“What signs should I look out for when examining my home for weak spots?”

Weak points around the home that would allow critters to make an access are a no-no. When the temperature drops, Rodents especially may be more determined to make their own door by chewing through siding or digging underneath skirting. 

Another thing to keep in mind is conducive conditions. For example, water-damaged wood is softer, and easier to chew. Other environmental factors may attract pests to your home. Here are some things to consider:

In this article, we’ll address some common questions about how you can secure your home against Rodents and other critters, and what to do to prevent activity before it starts.

  • Weak points such as chewed/broken/missing screens or vents, open drains/ or pipes, gaps around doorways and windows, water damaged wood, wood rot, or a crawl space access door that is not properly sealed.
  • Excessive vegetation, which would provide Rodents and other critters with harborage, attracting them to the sides of your home and making it more likely that they will discover a vulnerable spot.
  • Other conducive conditions such as chicken coops, dog droppings in the yard, animal feed such as dog food or bird feed, standing water in the crawl space, etc. All of these things will attract Rodents and wildlife to your home.

“What steps should I take to prevent critters from getting into my home?”

  • Properly screening bird blocks, foundation vents, and other areas or openings
  • Ensure that water is being properly irrigated around the home. Check gutters and drain pipes, and look for grading issues that may result in pooling of water around the house. Excessive moisture may lead to wood rot.
  • A properly ventilated and clean crawlspace. Insulation should be secured to prevent Rodents or other animals from using it as nesting material.
  • Seal up gaps and openings with something Rodents are unlikely to chew through, such as steel wool.

“What factors would make it difficult or impossible to fully Exclude my home?”

  • A missing foundation around the home, or skirting, which Rodents are able to burrow right under.
  • Soft or sandy soil which would allow Rodent or other critters to dig into with ease.
  • Significant foundation problems that would require a foundation specialist. Sunrise is not able to help repair these types of problems.
  • Uninspectable areas created by structural factors, such as piping or ventilation lines that block the crawlspace and prevent a professional from inspecting the entire area. Low decks or cantilevers prevent a thorough inspection as well. Additionally, personal items stored in a crawlspace or around the perimeter may make certain areas difficult to get to.
  • Environmental factors, such as the home being located near a bay or body of water, on a farm, in a very wooded area, or if there is a significant amount of vegetation on or near the structure.

“What are the benefits of Excluding my home from Rodent and critter activity?”

  • Prevent an infestation. Winter is not the only time these critters are active. All year round, especially if you live in a wooded area or near a greenbelt, Rodents and animals may become interested in your home as a resource for shelter, food, or water. We can’t prevent nature from being curious, but we can help prevent it from getting inside.
  • Protect wildlife. Birds, bats, squirrels, chipmunks, or racoons might get stuck inside of your crawlspace or attic and die.
  • Avoid costly repairs and messes. Rodents can cause a lot of damage. Cleanup, removing and replacing damaged insulation, buying new wiring and hiring an electrician to replace cords that were chewed or damaged… it all adds up pretty quickly. Sealing your home and completing regular preventative maintenance services will save your wallet in the long run.
  • Ensure the health of yourself and your family. Having Rodents or other critters inside your house can be a health risk. By properly sealing your home, you will decrease the likelihood that someone may be exposed to an unwanted disease. And needless to say, animals will defend themselves as needed. We wouldn’t want anyone to have to go head-to-head with a rogue squirrel!

“How can Sunrise help stop critters from getting into my home?”

  • By identifying potential and existing concerns with an Exclusion Survey and completing any subsequently needed repairs.
  • By telling you if there are further areas of concern which would require another contractor or specialist’s attention. Yes, we will let you know if there are things we cannot address. We care about you, your family, and your home, and will make every effort to tell you what we believe will be most effective at keeping critters out.

“What are the benefits of getting an Exclusion Survey from Sunrise?”

  • Unlike general contractors, our Technicians will be inspecting and evaluating your home from the perspective of a Pest Control Professional. We may notice things that a general contractor would not or may not be trained to look for.
  • We’re able to provide you with pest control services and repairs, we can make recommendations about future services, and help you prevent activity from persisting.
  • Prevention is important. We always recommend a proactive approach to pest control. If your home cannot be fully Excluded, our Technicians can make recommendations regarding what you can do to protect your home.
attic space

“What kinds of repairs can Sunrise perform?”

We have a wide range of repair work that we can provide: from crawlspace access doors and frames to rescreening vents and soffits, sealing small gaps and holes, foundation screening, and more.

“Sunrise has determined that my home is not Excludable. What do I do now?”

Even if your home cannot be Excluded (whether for Structural or Financial reasons), we are still able to help. Regular services to monitor activity may still be beneficial. We are here to assist you in finding a solution that is best for you, your home, and your wallet.

Getting Rid of Rodents

If you already have Rodent activity in your home, we need to address it before we can get things sealed up. First we will send a technician out to complete a full inspection, looking in all areas for potential activity. Rodents tend to nest in places like crawlspaces and attics, so we will pay special attention to those locations. Your technician will place traps in those areas where they will be most effective.

Depending on the size of your home, we’ll also place one to four Rodent Bait Stations around the outside perimeter. These are locked, black plastic boxes that rodents can enter and exit. Ideally, they head towards your home, take some of the bait, and then head back out into their nesting sites in the wild where they’ll die. These help mitigate the outside population while we deal with anything inside.

Once the technician has finished his inspection, he’ll provide you with any important information, and will also determine whether or not you are eligible for an Exclusion Survey. This survey is a thorough inspection of the structure that will help us identify if there are any potential entry points for Rodents which would need to be sealed. Not all homes are eligible for this Exclusion Survey (for example, if the crawlspace is too small to inspect, or you have decks too low for our Technicians to get underneath). 

After this Initial Inspection, depending on what the Technician recommends, we may want to come out and do a Follow-Up service for you about two weeks afterwards. This is just so we can re-bait the stations, check the traps, and monitor the problem closely. These two-week Follow-Ups will be recommended until we think that activity has subsided or that the infestation has been handled.

Once things are under control, we could get you started on a monthly maintenance service. This might include checking and re-baiting the Traps in addition to monitoring the Rodent Bait Stations. It could be one or the other–our recommendation will depend on your situation, as every infestation is different.



If your Rodent infestation has been handled, and your home has been effectively sealed, a broader pest-prevention service may be best for you. We offer a maintenance service to help with all kinds of pests, including Spiders. All Pest Protection is a quarterly maintenance service aimed to prevent infestations of general pests such as Ants, Rodents, Wasps, Spiders, and other insects. We come out on a 3-month rotation to provide an exterior perimeter spray where the home and foundation meet, spot treat around doors and windows for activity, sweep reachable webs and Spider egg sacs, and maintain Rodent Bait Stations (secured, locked, black plastic boxes) on the exterior of the home to mitigate outside Rodent populations.

All Pest Protection (APP) also can include various warranties for general pests, which are established after the Initial Inspection and Treatment. Once you get started, each quarterly service is only $109 before tax. Should your house be overrun by Fleas, Bees, or Spiders, or any of the pests eligible under your warranty, all you would have to do is give us a call. We’ll dispatch a Technician to complete a pest-specific treatment at no cost to you under your APP Warranty.


Ambrose, Kevin. “The Wolf Spider Is Autumn’s Most Frightening Home Intruder.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Oct. 2018, 

Antonelli, Arthur L. Pest Management Study Manual for Pest Control Professionals. Washington State University Extension, 2016.

Boriyo, Hawii. “How to Identify a Wolf Spider.” OSU Extension Service, Oregon State University Extension Service, 19 July 2018,

Bush, Michael R, et al. “Common Spiders of Washington.” Washington State University Extension, Sept. 2018, pp. 1–15.,

About the Authors

This article was created and edited in collaboration with multiple licensed pest control technicians, experts, researchers, and authors.

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