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3 Common Winter Pests and How to Handle Them

Winter can arrive fast or show up a lot later than normal. It can be very harsh, cold and uncomfortable or it might be unseasonably warm without much accumulation or hazardous weather. In other words, winter can be unpredictable. On the other hand, wildlife can behave in fairly regular ways, and that is particularly true when winter arrives and animals look to places like houses, garages, barns, and sheds for shelter.

No matter what the conditions, you can be certain that many animal pests see a home or other shelter as a great spot to settle in for a long winter’s rest. Three of the most common winter pests are:


You will know immediately if your home has a raccoon in residence. They are larger and noisier than other pests and often enter a home through the chimney or attic – meaning you’ll know right away that they’ve arrived.

Because they can be dangerous, if a racoon takes up residence, it is best to get in touch with a professional to help you address the issue immediately.

Mice and Rats

Whether you find them cute or horrifying, mice and rats are some of the most common winter pests your home may face. They look for warmer “digs” in the fall, and have often built nests and settled in by the time winter arrives. Mice, especially, can fit into astonishingly small spaces, and it is often easier to make a pointed effort to eliminate any sources of food or water than it is to find every possible entry they use.

Keeping food inside airtight containers and keeping trash a distance from the home can go a long way towards making your home unwelcome to mice and rats. You can also ask experts to install a chimney cap, cover air vents with mesh, and seal all holes around pipes with weather-proof caulk or foam. You also want to avoid feeding pets outdoors, including keeping bird feeders close to the home, because that too is a nice source of food, water and nearby shelter.

Outsmarting mice and rats is not difficult, but they are truly persistent pests that may need professional removal.


Small and agile, squirrels are also some of nature’s most determined pests. Whether it is the larger grey squirrels or the smaller (and quite aggressive) red squirrels, having even one inside of a home can be disastrous. They typically find their way from the treetops near your home into the attic or chimney. Remember that branches don’t even have to touch your home for squirrels to make a mighty leap and get inside.

While keeping shrubs and trees well-trimmed and even cutting down limbs that overhand the roof will work, you also have to look at sealing the ground area. Eliminate rotting wood, fill chinks in stones, and look at where utilities enter a basement – squirrels easily make their way in through such access points.

There are many other pests that can opt to enjoy your hospitality in the winter, and none of them should remain within your walls as most can cause damage, carry disease, and ruin what should be a cozy winter. Call in the experts at SWAT Wildlife and find out what the team can do about your unwelcome winter guests.

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