The droppings and urine from rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, bats and other wildlife can leave your Florida home with severe health risks and awful smells. Wildlife can also leave ticks, fleas and parasites that can cause many different health problems. A Rodent Solutions tech will inspect the severity of the damage in your house or attic and recommend a course of action.
Q: We recently had our cedar-shingle roof replaced, and it looks great. The problem is, the attic is now quite a mess with dirt and debris from the removal of the old roof.
We don't know where to begin with the cleanup and whether we should try to do it ourselves. We also would like to replace the insulation in our attic. When the house was inspected before we bought it, we were told that the attic needed more insulation. These two issues are further complicated by lots of rat droppings in the attic (it's a 90-year-old house that used to be covered with vines).
Should we try to clean the attic and replace the insulation ourselves or should we hire someone to deal with the mess? Is the cleanup a job for a handyman or someone with more specialized experience?
A: It's a shame the roofers didn't clean up their mess after they tore off the old roof and before they installed the new one. That should be part of the job. What would not be part of the job is removing the old insulation and cleaning out the rat droppings.
Normally we'd encourage you to tackle adding insulation yourself. But the presence of rat waste gives us pause. You can still do it, but you'll need to take some serious precautions. Dried rodent droppings can contain agents that, if ingested, can cause serious illness.
Whether we'd tackle the job ourselves depends on the location and extent of the fecal matter. If it's limited to a location or two in the attic and the amount is minimal, we'd consider giving it a shot. But if the infestation is moderate or severe, we'd leave the job to professionals.
If you decide you want to try to do the job yourself, we recommend that you call your local health department for advice before starting. If you decide to do it yourself, the first step is to eliminate the rat droppings. Wear long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat, cotton gloves and a dust mask. Do not sweep or vacuum up droppings. This creates and spreads dust from the dry droppings.
Instead, wet down the droppings with a solution of 1 1/2 cups of household bleach diluted in 1 gallon of water. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution. Allow the bleach solution to soak in for at least 20 minutes. Then scoop up the droppings using a disposable, wide-blade plastic putty knife and deposit them in newspaper or paper towels. Put those in triple-bagged plastic bags and put the bags in the garbage. Finally, when you are done, discard the dust mask and wash the clothing.
Here at Rodent Solutions we highly recommend you have us come out for a PROFESSIONAL ESTIMATE before trying to do any clean up yourself.
A family of raccoons moved into the attic of Deborah and Richard Blanchard's $700,000 home in Largo last year.
Their parting presents?
A lot of parasite-infested poop.
And the cost to clean it up?
Around $44,000, according to the animal damage specialty contractor A-Plus Restorations of Pinellas Park.
That was a price the Blanchards' insurer, United Property and Casualty Insurance Company, was not willing to pay.
The company offered half that.
And now, the owner of A-Plus Restorations, Alex Pemberton, is suing, according to a circuit court filing earlier this year.
Cleaning up raccoon feces, he says, is not as simple as putting a plastic baggy over your hand and holding your nose.
"Seventy percent of raccoons carry raccoon roundworm - which is completely impervious to chemical disinfectant," Pemberton said.
Baylisascaris procyonis, or raccoon roundworm, "is increasingly recognized as a cause of serious or fatal larva migrans disease in humans and animals," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site.
And the process to get rid of the fecal-borne parasite's eggs, Pemberton says, involves either fire (not an option in a home), or an extermination method Pemberton said is a trade secret.
"Regular cleaning may kill a lot of bacteria, but it might not kill baylisascaris procyonis," he said.
Bill Burke, an attorney for United Casualty, said he couldn't discuss the claim because the litigation is pending.
Don't be duped - Call Rodent Solutions today for an ESTIMATE and honest work.