Seattle: rodent abatement/structure repair recommendations?

Hello, I'm writing to seek feedback/suggestions regarding my overall rodent home-invasion problem. I have a 1.5 storey 1907 Tudor-style house with a multi-dormer roof structure which makes it an attractive place for squirrels and roof rats to set up housekeeping or contemplate coming inside. I also have a problem with rats in the full basement.
I have up to now just been reacting to the problem...first considered the recommendations of several pest control companies, all of whom could not satisfy my concern that the poisons they were recommending would not indirectly or directly kill off other non-target animals which traverse the property. I have had my trees trimmed, but even trimmed they are close enough to the house to allow animals access to the roof. I do not want to cut down any trees to solve this problem. So I have recently resigned myself to setting and clearing rat-size snap traps in the basement and that part of the attic I can reach [old house, very narrow attic w/ knob&tube wiring strung every which way]. It's a disgusting process, but as it's almost always a quick kill and therefore more humane than the sticky traps or poison, and I have caught some rats-- one in particular was as big as a Buick.
The latest in this saga is that I came home yesterday to find that a very aggressive squirrel [know it's a squirrel; have seen it run out of there when I banged in the wall a few days ago in response to the noise] had actually chewed a hole through the closet drywall [next to a fireplace chimney] on the second floor in one bedroom. Insulation and rodent waste everywhere in the closet. The damned squirrel did not yet venture in, however. I have a cat but do not want to expose her to whatever these rodents might be carrying, so the bedroom door was closed.
I made a hasty repair screwing one of those heavy-guage paint roller metal grids over the hole with molly screws after stuffing as much steel wool as I had on hand into the opening; then I duct-taped over the entire thing. It's pretty slap-dash, and I suspect this animal will just start another hole anyway.
My idea for a systemic solution to this recurring and worsening problem:
Hire a house inspector who is licensed/bonded to get up onto a roof to inspect it and my entire exterior for openings or potential openings, and take photographs of these for me. Then I would hire a critter control company which does carpentry repairs to make permanent, durable fixes to the holes and otherwise install barriers to further invasion. And finally, as I cannot get up on the roof to inspect the work myself I would have the house inspector out a second time to photograph the repairs.
Does this sound feasible? Would anyone be able to recommend a house/roof inspector and/or critter damage repair company in the Seattle area who might be willing to work with such a plan?
Thanks for reading, and for any information.
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As long as you have trees so they can jump on your house forget it . Cut them back . If you seal them in they will eat their way out. Seal them out they will eat their way in to their babies. I had one squirrel I had to trap. Every day he was making a new hole to get in 7 attempts. Id put aluminum where he was chewing, next day he was at it again. They are rodents and can start fires by eating wires I put some aluminum on areas so they could get out , but slipped and couldnt get in. PVC pipe will work if you can angle it. You have a job, finding the holes, and the ones that they will make in the future. Consider heavy aluminum where they eat through, All around the house.
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Here is a trick I learned from my last landlord when I he/I had problems with rats in my basement apartment..
He claims the municipal rotent control people use this method..
Mix 50/50 pancake mix or bisquick with dry plaster or plaster of paris.. don't mix any water, leave it dry.. put it in a open cantainer like a paper plate in or near the area that they are entering..
Theory is, they eat the mix, the moisture in their digestive system mixes with the dry ingrediants. They die for intestinal blockage..
I don't know how humane this is but it sure works. Second day after putting it out I had 3 dead rats to dispose of.. For some reason they come out into the open before they die.. The dead rats are no danger to other animals..
As far as I know this won't work on squirrels, if it would wouldn't have a problem with squirrels in the roof of my shop..
I'm sorry if this grosses some out but to me a live rat running across me while in bed is more gross than a dead rat, no matter how you kill it..
Steve
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clipped

I wouldn't worry too much about animosity from rat lovers. I love animals, but I love humans more. Rats are a very serious threat to health and safety. Do what it takes. Getting the trees away from the house would be primary.
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consider Live hav- a -heart traps for the squirrels, and relocate 5 miles away, Mothballs in the attic may also make them unhappy ,
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But would the trees listen - Stop touching me!
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Thanks for responses to this thread. I have since stocked up on steel wool, moth balls, molly screws, heavy-duty wire guage, plus I already own two hav-a-hart [sp] humane traps [for the squirrels] and a bevy of snap-traps for the rats. As for killing, killing a critter has never been my preferred choice, but in the case of the rats a quick kill by me with a snap-trap is the most efficacious choice. I'll relocate the squirrel-from-hell if I can trap him/her, although s/he's got one over on me in that the area s/he is invading is not a flat surface where one could easily set up a trap. I will definitely set a hav-a-hart trap up in the affected bedroom and close it off, in case s/he busts through the drywall again [perish the thought].
As regards getting trees away from the house, my house is on a smallish lot in an established urban neighborhood with specimen trees everywhere. While I have my trees trimmed by professionals on a regular basis, I would never consider chopping them down in hopes that this would keep an animal from being able to get onto my roof. These trees provide many other benefits that I do not want to sacrifice, e.g., screening me from neighbors, absorbing pollution and sound, shielding from sun in summer, plus they are beautiful in and of themselves. And I've actually seen squirrels shimmy up telephone lines and other outdoor conduit running up the side of my house so I don't think clear-cutting is going to stop them. And I get rats coming into the basement anyway, so stump-grinding my trees is not going to discourage them.
I will post back to let you know of my progress in finding a house/roof inspector and critter control company that can help me solve this dilemma. Thanks again.
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