Lofts are often dusty, dingy places where we put out of sight all manner of things we don’t want cluttering the rest of our home.
But there could be more lurking in your loft than Christmas decorations, old furniture and boxes of miscellaneous belongings you’ve long forgotten about.
We seldom venture into this space at the top of the house, so it provides an ideal location for household pests to go about their business without human interference.
And what you stash in your loft may itself be a pest magnet.
Here you’ll learn about:
- Pests that commonly make their home in lofts.
- How they get into your loft.
- Signs of pest infestation in your loft.
- What you can do about the problem.
Rats in the loft
Lofts provide the perfect warm, sheltered environment for rats to thrive.
Adept at climbing, rats often scale exterior walls in search of entry points. Once inside a wall cavity, they make their way into your loft space.
Rats love to turn cardboard boxes and bags of clothes in lofts into nesting material, and they breed fast.
Besides damage to stored items, other signs of a loft rat infestation include:
- Scurrying and scraping noises.
- Droppings – one to two centimetres long and resembling dark-brown jelly beans.
- Unpleasant smell – from rat urine.
- Rat footprints on dusty floors.
- Chewed electrical wiring or plastic pipework.
Mice in the loft
Like rats, mice are skilled at shimmying up walls. They can also reach the roofline to access your loft by climbing drainpipes or jumping from the branches of overhanging trees.
And being smaller than rats, mice can wriggle through a gap no bigger than the width of a pencil.
Signs of mice in your loft include:
- Light nibbling or scratching sounds.
- Squeaking noises.
- Droppings – about the size and shape of grains of rice.
Squirrels in the loft
Grey squirrels, which have pushed the red squirrel population to near extinction, typically get into lofts by chomping through fascia boards and soffits or via roof tiles or the chimney.
They can get onto your roof by scaling an outside wall or leaping from nearby trees or overhead wires.
Because they’re larger than rats or mice, squirrels make more noise and can wreak more havoc in your loft.
And once they nest, they can be exceptionally territorial and aggressive in protecting their young.
Signs of a squirrel loft infestation include:
- Teeth marks on roof joists, electrical cables or water pipes.
- Loud vocal noises – squeaks, barks or grunts.
- Scratching sounds.
- Damage to insulation that the squirrels have scavenged for nesting material.
- Droppings – usually brown, cylindrical and about eight millimetres long.
Birds in the loft
Birds – particularly starlings and house sparrows – enter homes through the roof to nest in lofts.
A bird infestation can last for months, with incessant twittering reverberating around the house. And the bird droppings create a huge mess and carry parasites and diseases that pose a health hazard.
Signs of birds infesting your loft include:
- Sightings of birds entering and exiting your roof.
- Flapping and tweeting sounds.
- Droppings – splatters of a white sticky paste with a dark centre.
- Leaking roof due to bird damage.
Birds, their nests and eggs are protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act, so you’ll need bird pest control specialists to remove birds from your loft safely and in accordance with the law.
Woodworm in the loft
Woodworm damage is most often caused by an infestation of the wood-eating larvae of the common furniture beetle, which lays eggs in places that provide food for its offspring.
It’s a common problem in lofts, especially if you store old wooden furniture there, which provides an attractive home for the beetles.
Woodworm can spread quickly around your house, reducing wooden objects to sawdust and in some cases causing serious structural problems.
Signs of woodworm loft infestation include:
- Small round exit holes in infested wood – like holes in a dartboard.
- Fine, powdery dust – the insects’ droppings.
- Edges of joists starting to crumble.
- Weakened floorboards in boarded lofts.
Professional loft pest control
No matter what type of unwanted house guests are hiding in your loft, the best solution to the problem is to call in a professional pest control company.
Pests, Birds and Bugs provides specialist loft pest control services for homeowners across Hampshire and Dorset.
Call us on 07388 892414 or contact us online for a free quote and prompt action.