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How AmeriSpec checks for wildlife damage

Attic vent destroyed by a raccoon

Attic vent destroyed by a raccoon. Photo courtesy of ASHI.

Animals like groundhogs, squirrels, raccoons and moles can tear up your grass, shrubs, trees and gardens, and cause damage to your house, too. The droppings and odors they leave behind are health hazards.

AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln looks for signs of animal infestation while performing a home inspection. If we find signs such as chewed insulation, feces or urine smell, wood shavings or exposed electrical wires, we’ll note this in our reports.

Once we’ve identified areas of possible animal infestation, we can recommend resources for identifying the animal that’s causing the damage, and determining the best solution to humanely remove it.

“Unless a home inspector is absolutely certain he knows what kind of animal is present or has caused the damage, he should allow the experts in this field to identify and deal with the pest problem,” advises James Hanratty, a member of the American Society for Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Hanratty said home inspectors may choose to note the likely suspects when they report the damage and recommend contacting a control professional. But there’s no reason to go further because pest control experts should conduct their own inspection before recommending action.

Here are some signs of animal activity to look for that will help you narrow down the possible suspects.

  • If you have noticed digging under your deck or porch, small patches of torn-up grass, and a distinct odor, it’s most likely a skunk. Skunks burrow under structures and often feed on grubs and insects.
  • If there are noises in your attic, you probably have squirrels or raccoons nesting. Raccoons will come out at night; squirrels most often during the day. Young raccoons often sound like puppies and can be very vocal.
  • If you have long underground burrows in your grass and your garden, and have noticed flowers are eaten, chances are a woodchuck – also known as a groundhog or whistle-pig – has made your lawn his home. Smaller burrows and disappearing flower bulbs may indicate chipmunks or moles.

Most animals seek shelter near or in a home because there’s an available food source: a garden, pet food, bird food, or garbage in garbage cans. To secure possible food sources:

Feed the birds, not the forest. Use a bird feeder with a seed catcher tray, and sweep up up seeds and hulls frequently.

Protect your garden with a fence.  Use a chicken-wire fence will work nicely that’s at least 3 to 5 feet high, and make sure it’s buried at least 1 foot into the ground.

Keep pet food indoors. Don’t feed your pets in the garage or on the deck. Bring the food bowl inside after giving your pet a reasonable amount of time to eat. Don’t leave food out overnight.

Use garbage cans with lids that seal tightly. Weigh down the lids with bricks or other heavy objects, if needed, to keep animals from getting under them.

AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln can help you determine if you have animal damage to your home. Our friends at Pest Solutions 365 can assist you with removing the pests. Call us at 402-393-3696 in Omaha or 402-483-2010 in Lincoln for more information.

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