What could be cozier than an attic that’s quiet, with plenty of warm insulation for bedding? You’ll know rats have moved in because they’re not discreet about hiding their droppings. You might also notice chewed insulation, cardboard, and wires. Rats don’t need much space to squeeze their way in, so your first order of business is finding and sealing holes in your home. “Start at the base of the foundation and work up. Look for siding that is pulling back, concrete that could have crumbled, outright holes, door and window jams, unsecured exhaust venting on your roof,” says Ben Sciortino, owner of Tri-S Pest Control. Next, use traditional traps to ensure that the remaining rats don’t breed. Chemical options kill rats, but they run off and die in the house and you may not be able to find them. Find out the 15 things your exterminator will never tell you. Plus: Don’t believe these rat myths.
“Termites love attics primarily for the smorgasbord of free wood,” says Sciortino. They’re especially attracted to rotting wood, unsealed wood, or old wood. They have a few calling cards—their poo, which looks like tiny piles of sawdust and loose insect wings. Subterranean termites are more common and also create visible mud tubes that they use to transport food. Drywood termites don’t need the soil to survive and are less common. Diatomaceous earth and boric acid are two natural solutions to try, says Sciortino, or you can buy a commercial chemical product. “If none of this works, you’ll likely need a professional who can insert chemicals into the terrain around your home’s foundation.” Learn 13 secrets about termites and other creepy pests.