Tips for keeping unwelcome critters off your property

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Cooler weather is coming and so are critters. When the temperature drops, rodents and other pests are looking for a meal and cozy place to stay. Deer can quickly ruin your landscape and rodents can take over your home before you even know it.

“This time of year a lot of animals are going to be looking for food and looking for warm places to go,” Frank McGee, Area Wildlife Manager at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said. “Here locally obviously we have a lot of deer.”

A hungry deer family can easily devastate a garden or landscaping.

“Some of your landscaping will bring animals in because it basically tastes like ice cream to them, and so you can plant things that aren’t palatable for deer,” McGee said. “That will help encourage them to go elsewhere.”

But it’s the smaller creatures that can be the creepiest.

“There’s always a health risk of rodents and their droppings,” Tyler Gehauf, Vice President of Integrated Pest Management, said. “Spiders can bite you. A lot of them are just nuisances though. Raccoons can do a lot of damage obviously. Squirrels are the same way.”

That’s why pest control professionals recommend walking around your home and scanning it for areas that varmints would enjoy.

“Once looking down and once looking up. We’re looking for harborage areas, wood piles, debris, all of that should be away from the foundation,” said Gehauf. “Look in window wells. Look up at the eaves and the gutters. Make sure the gutters are clear and there’s no nests on the eaves and the drainage from the roof is doing its job.”

Plus, one rodent can quickly turn into a full-blown infestation.

“Rodents, like if we’re talking about field mice, they usually have litters of about five every 28 days, and within 60 days those babies are ready to go out and have babies of their own,” said Gehauf.

Pest control experts said most of the time, being proactive saves you from needing a professional, and pesticides should be your last resort.

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