Case Studies

Wildlife Removal Case Studies: Raccoons make a mess of New Egypt attic - Wildlife Control & Removal in NJ

Tuesday, November 21st, 1899 by Bill Cowley

Challenge

A Cowleys wildlife control team was dispatched to a home in New Egypt. This homeowner had a family of raccoons that had nested in his attic, apparently for quite a long time. The raccoons were accessing the attic through an opening around the attic fan. Also, the raccoons had clawed out multiple spots in the soffits, the underside of overhanging eaves that bridges the gap between a home’s siding and the roof-line. Soffits are a popular access point for wildlife entry. Usually made of vinyl, they are a soft, easy material to claw through.

Fortunately, there was no longer an active infestation — the raccoons were long gone. However, the attic was a toxic mess from all their urine and droppings. While the pungent odor of animal waste wafting through your house is a problem, the real concern is the health hazard. Toxic pathogens — parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses — in animal waste are capable of causing a long list of diseases in people and pets. And this list includes a number of serious, chronic diseases for which there is no known cure.

Cowleys wildlife control technicians are trained not only in trapping and excluding wildlife from homes and commercial buildings, but also in safely sanitizing and deodorizing those areas that have been infested. In homes, commonly inhabited areas are basements, attics, and crawl spaces. Cowleys technicians follow all safety protocols to prevent animal waste from becoming airborne and use personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely restore contaminated areas. 

Raccoons can transmit many infectious disease. Some, like rabies, can only be transferred directly through bites and scratches. However, there are other diseases that can be transferred if you or a family member comes into contact with raccoon urine and feces. All you need is a small open cut or wound for the pathogen to enter your body. If you have young children at home, they are at particularly high risk since they play outdoors and may not yet have the judgment to avoid these toxic materials. Also, when wildlife feces dry, microscopic spores are released in the air. If breathed in, they can trigger a respiratory infection. In addition to transmitting diseases, the pheromone scents left behind from animal waste is a powerful attractant for a re-infestation. In short, these materials must be removed from the home and the area must be completely sanitized. Simply trying to mask the smell with an industrial-strength air freshener is not enough.

One particularly nasty parasitic disease found in raccoons is raccoon roundworm. If a raccoon is infested with roundworm, the worm’s eggs will show up in the raccoon’s feces. Even a small quantity of feces of an infected raccoon can carry millions of roundworm eggs. These eggs can survive for years, and if the health consequences are serious if transferred to a person. Raccoon roundworm can cause an enlarged liver, a brain infection, blindness, coma, and even death. Raccoons can also transmit leptospirosis, a bacterial infection, through their urine and droppings that can cause meningitis and kidney and liver failure. Another common infection from raccoon feces is salmonella poisoning. Suffice it to say, NEVER handle or clean raccoon waste without the training and proper protective equipment. Cleaning up bio-hazardous waste materials is simply too dangerous to be a weekend DIY project.

 

 

Solution

A Cowleys wildlife control team carefully removed the contaminated insulation from the attic in this New Egypt home. We then used our industrial HEPA filer vacuum cleaners to remove leftover debris. Finally, we sanitized and deodorized the attic using Steri-Fab, an EPA-registered deodorizer and disinfectant. Steri-Fab is applied to the contaminated areas using a fogging machine. 

When our cleanup was completed, there was not a single trace that the attic was once inhabited by a family of raccoons. There was no more unsightly waste and no more repulsive smells. Now, the attic was now safe to enter and posed no health risk. The homeowner was pleased with our work, and was happy that he once again could safely use his attic.