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Pest Control: How to Keep Furry Invaders Out

Five surefire ways to keep unwanted house guests from putting a damper on your holiday gatherings

Not Everyone is Welcome

Illustration by Penelope Dullaghan

There's no worse time than the holidays to have unwanted house guests

scurrying across your dining room floor. Unfortunately, fall and winter are prime pest invasion times. To prevent rodents and winged critters from breaking in, start by strengthening your home's vulnerable spots.

Window and Door Frames

Photo by Kindra Clineff

Replace worn weatherstripping. Repair soft spots in wood sills and frames; rats and mice can gnaw at them to gain entry. Screens should fit frames tightly; patch tears right away.

Roof

Banish bats by closing up gaps in eaves and flashing joints with aluminum or galvanized steel. Fill holes in soffits and fascia with expanding foam. Trim back trees to reduce access paths for squirrels.

Foundation

Photo by Erik Rank

Use river rock or stones as a barrier between your home and mulch—it'll prevent mice from cozying up to your foundation. Seal any cracks or crevices around basement pipes with mortar.

Chimney and Attic Vents

Photo by Kindra Clineff

Cover the flue with a chimney cap to keep out squirrels, bats, and raccoons. Screen vent openings with ¼-inch hardware cloth.

Siding

Photo by Webb Chappell

Mice and bats can burrow through damaged panels, so replace them. Fill gaps between trim and siding with caulk, and stuff larger holes with copper mesh or steel wool; seal with expanding foam.