Most Orlando residents work hard to protect the inside of their homes from wild animals and pests. But many forget to consider the possibility of animals invading the area underneath their homes. Even if you’ve sealed doorways and patched up entry points, animals like squirrels and raccoons can still find ways to take up residence under your porch, deck, or patio.
In this post, you’ll learn the four steps to help you remove any pesky porch guests and keep your home pest-free:
- How to identify an animal under your porch
- How to set wildlife traps around entryways
- Why you need to remove sources of food and shelter
- How to stops pests from returning
Step 1: Identify the Animal Under Your Porch
Because Florida laws protect certain animals during certain times of the year, prohibiting removal and exclusion practices, you must always identify the animal under your porch before you attempt to remove it. Otherwise, you could face fees, fines, or legal trouble. To get an idea of what kind of animal is underneath your home, pay close attention to:
- Animal tracks, including their shape and size
- Holes and how deep they run underneath your home
- The shape and color of any droppings left behind
- Animal noises during the daytime or nighttime
These warning signs can help you get a rough estimate of how large or small the critters living under your porch are. However, you shouldn’t make any assumptions when it comes to wildlife removal. It’s critical that you call a wildlife professional as soon as you notice strange signs or animal activity coming from underneath your home to let them fully inspect the area.
Step 2: Set Wildlife Traps Around Entryways
Once you’ve identified the kind of critter causing trouble underneath your porch, patio, or deck, you can start picking out the right-sized trap. Traditional snap traps are often the perfect solution for smaller critters like rats. For larger critters, such as raccoons and skunks, you may want to consider using steel cage traps instead. Set your trap near the exit or entryway of your porch and use the appropriate bait. If you aren’t sure which bait will lure the animal underneath your home, take a look at this list of common Central Florida critters and their favorite treats:
- Rats — Meat or fruit
- Skunks — Oily meats like fish or chicken
- Raccoons — Marshmallows
- Opossum — Canned cat or dog food
While you can certainly use specific foods to attract specific animals, it’s important to remember that the location of the trap is much more important than the bait you place inside. And because the critters most likely to stake out underneath your home are nocturnal, it’s best to be alert for animal movement around dusk. If an animal isn’t setting foot near your trap, try placing bait at the exit and entry points for a few nights and moving it deeper inside the trap over time. If you don’t have the time to spend monitoring traps or the money to spend purchasing more and more DIY wildlife alternatives, consider partnering with certified animal technicians that can safely trap, remove, and relocate animals with ease.
Step 3: Remove Sources of Food and Shelter
Wild animals are always on the hunt for readily available food sources and safe spaces to nest. Opossums enjoy eating leftover pet food, squirrels like to pick at fallen birdseed, and raccoons love grabbing garbage from uncovered trashcans. If possible, move items like garbage bins, bird feeders, and pet bowls away from your house or make sure they are stored in safe, secure places where animals can’t reach them.
Wildlife animals use tall grass, weeds, and plants as cover to shield and protect themselves from predators and the elements. That’s why you should also trim back any overgrown vegetation under or around your porch. By removing excess brush and trimming tree limbs, you can keep your yard tidy and keep pests away. To get access to the best wildlife prevention tips, partner with a local animal management team that can get to know your property and offer expert insight that will help you exclude unwanted critters for good.
Step 4: Stop Pests From Returning
The longer wildlife nest under your home, the more time they have to try and get inside your home. Take precautions to prevent animals from feeling welcome below your property by:
- Securing your deck or porch with quarter-inch wire mesh placed at least six inches below the ground
- Spreading granular repellents around your deck to ensure that troublesome critters won’t return again
- Repairing entry points underneath your home that lead to the living room, kitchen, bathroom, or other indoor areas
- Creating a barrier around your porch to prevent entry by sealing off the underside and installing a fence around the perimeter
Narrow slots of welded wire or mesh fencing work best to keep pests from squeezing through, while burying your fencing at least six inches below ground can help to prevent wildlife from burrowing underneath. Though you might see a slight difference by taking these types of precautions, an experienced animal control company will be able to maximize your home’s defenses and best protect your family from wildlife in the long run.
Let the Professionals Keep Your Porch Pest-Free
Wild animals belong in the wild, not under your porch. If you have any critters causing problems underneath, inside, or around your home, call Critter Control® of Orlando. Our certified wildlife management technicians will locate, remove, and ban future “residents” from living under your patio, deck, or porch using eco-friendly treatment alternatives and safe pest practices.