COMMACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The seasons have turned, fall is here and along with cooler weather pesky fall critters will try to get into your home for shelter and food.
The season has pest removal experts quite busy.
Every day, Long Island homeowner John Sanchez checks his Commack property to make sure there are no more unwelcome visitors.
"About three weeks ago, we had a rat run across our yard, our backyard backs up against a highway," he said.
Setting down rodent traps is one answer, but they aren't the only home invaders.
"You can have problems with squirrels, with raccoons, with bats, with flying squirrels," entomologist and exterminator William Somerville said.
Somerville said with the colder weather his exterminating firm has been getting lots of calls from homeowners, whether it's raccoons and squirrels, or swarms of ants and crickets.
"They're seeking shelter, they're seeking warmth. There's probably a nice healthy supply in there," he said.
The experts said the on the move critters will exploit any opening in the home larger than a dime. Cracks in the foundation and windows need to be caulked, broken screen doors replaced, vent pipes covered, and outside vegetation kept away from the home.
"Ideally, you want to establish a zone 18 to 24 inches from the home with no overgrowth," Somerville said.
It's advice that Sanchez has strictly followed, exactly since he's worried that pesticides might harm his dog.
"I just try to keep the grass cut, keep it clean, don't keep any food around," he said.
It's not just stray cats that will feast on discarded food in your outdoor garbage cans, especially if there's no lid. Even inside, uncovered food items like a sugar bowl can invite unwanted visitors so it's always best to keep them well sealed.
"Sometimes you have to calm people, that it's not their fault that rodents found their way into the home," Somerville said.
With a little prevention seasonal predators will be forced to roam elsewhere.
If you use most pesticides there are some less environmentally harmful organic ones.
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