You know what’s cute? Little cotton-tailed bunnies. You know what’s not so cute? Little cotton-tailed bunnies burrowing and building their bunny homes under your shed.
As you do the research, consult the buying guides, and ultimately make your shed purchase, next comes installation and settling in. For most sheds, you’ll find that the structure overhangs the runners built upon by several inches. This spacing and elevation off the ground inevitably lends itself to unwelcome inhabitants on the hunt for living quarters both warm and cozy.
The unwelcome nature of these situations results from the structural damage said critters can cause after setting up shop. Aside from weakening the foundation, animals under a shed can increase the chances of mold and insect infestation.
If you want to avoid learning the hard way, put the necessary pieces in place upon receiving your building to avoid pest issues down the road. Otherwise, if currently faced with new neighbors living underground, here’s how to keep animals out from under your shed in the future.
How to Remove Animals Out from Under Your Shed
If you’re unfortunate enough to have already opened the doors to under-shed burrowers, it should go without saying that removing them from the scene should take place before preventative measures are put in place. Not only would permanently trapping an animal underneath be — dare we say — cruel, it could also encourage even more damage to your shed.
Decay from a deceased animal under the structure could result in mold, fleas, or other insects spreading up through your floor. Or, you may find, that through scratching and chewing, the trapped animal finds another way out through the floor or walls of the shed itself.
Before removing the animal, try to pinpoint what it is. Some of the most common animals you’ll find living under a deck include:
- Rats and mice
These animals naturally seek out dark and confined spaces, so as to provide them with protection and space to give birth. If these areas are within close proximity to a food source as well — say, in the form of a garden or garbage can — they have even more reason to start digging.
While there are various traps and methods for removing animals from under a shed, it’s often best to call in a professional. This may be especially necessary in the event that a mother and her young are the ones taking shelter. The territorial and potentially vicious nature of the mother in these situations will make hiring an expert safer and simpler for all parties involved. If you decide to go the safe route and use a professional we recommend calling Jim Wettstein at Wettstein Wildlife Services (309-467-5422).
Shed Pest Control: What Not to Do
In an effort to just take care of the situation yourself, you may feel inclined to attempt one of the below methods. All we can say is, think twice.
- Raise the building to draw in more light. You’ll need to lift a shed several feet off the ground to allow in the amount of light needed in deterring burrowing guests. Not only can this be unsightly: it’ll also prove dysfunctional depending on what you hope to store inside.
- Flood underneath the building. You may temporarily excavate an animal with this method, but you’ll also risk the growth of mold and the breeding of mosquitoes.
- Dig out the burrow. Not only will this put you in potential danger should a potential animal prove aggressive: it may also further compromise the shed’s foundation.
- Skirt the bottom of the shed with lattice or cloth. Don’t underestimate the power of those little animal teeth and claws. They will plow on through.
How to Prevent Animals from Living Under Your Shed
With the underbelly of your shed animal-free, it’s time to keep it that way. In order to do so, you’ll need to construct a shed barrier of sorts as a major move toward preventative pest control. It should line along the bottom exterior of your shed and be made out of material that’s heavy enough to prevent being chewed through.
Follow the below steps in creating a blockade that keeps animals out from under your shed.
- Dig a trench along your shed’s outer perimeter. You’ll want to make sure the trench measures at least 7 inches deep and a foot out from the base.
- Obtain the following building materials for the barrier. Base amount needed on your shed’s measurements:
- 1/2 in. x 1/2 in. 16 gauge wire mesh hardware cloth (galvanized after welded)
- High quality coated deck screws
- Zinc plated fender washers, so the screws can better hold the mesh in place.
- Cut the hardware cloth and bend, so that it’s positioned at a 90-degree angle.
- When measuring how much cloth you’ll need along the perimeter, take into account how many inches your shed sits off the ground, the width of the trench, and an extra inch to account for the 90-degree bend (Example: a shed that’s 7 inches from the ground + 12 inches of trench width + 1 inch for the 90-degree bend = 20 inches cut for each new section).
- Lay the wire mesh along the bottom of the trench, bend upwards, and screw to the bottom of the shed.
- Once seams and the bottom of the trench are secured, cover the mesh perimeter with the dirt previously dug out.
Check out a visual of what this should look like, courtesy of Frontline Animal Removal:
Final Thoughts: Preventative Pest Control: Keeping Animals Out From Under Your Shed
As you prep your yard for the cold, heat, and every season in between, keep in mind the migration of critters you might also find in the process. You may not always be able catch those little furballs before burrowing on in, but you can certainly keep them from doing so after the fact.
Does the type of shed affect the above method for preventative pest control? Contact us today to discuss all available options.