Raccoons are having something of a renaissance in popular culture thanks to the internet, and you may be tempted to give in to your children’s pleas to feed the “trash pandas“. But don’t fall for their adorable faces and cute little hands with kleptomaniacal tendencies – raccoons are a true pest, and once you have an infestation, raccoon removal and pest control can be time consuming and difficult.
Signs You Have a Raccoon Infestation
While raccoons themselves are not shy and a pretty good indication you have a problem, there are some other signs that can confirm these nocturnal pests have taken up residence on your property:
- Trash Banditry – The internet didn’t start calling raccoons trash pandas for nothing. These clever animals are omnivores and see human trash as a nutritious and reliable source of food. If your trash shows evidence of being routinely scavenged, raccoons are a likely culprit.
- The Pitter Patter of Feet in the Attic – Nocturnal tapping, scratching, and pitter-pat may be a sign that any number of wild creatures have decided your attic is the perfect place to call home. A pest control expert will be able to help you determine whether you have a raccoon problem, a squirrel infestation, or a small rodent problem.
- Structural Damage – Raccoons will peel away siding, widen holes, and even build nests in your chimney. Structural damage can be a sign that you have a raccoon infestation.
How to Prevent a Raccoon Problem
There are a few easy things you can do to either discourage an existing raccoon problem or prevent the wily little critters from making themselves at home in the first place:
- Take Away the Food Source – Never leave pet food outside, use metal trash cans with a tight and/or weighted lid (because raccoons can – and will! – chew through plastic), and remove water sources for drinking and bathing.
- Seal Your Home – Raccoons like dark, warm places to nest. Make sure your chimneys, eaves, decks, garage doors, and any other areas that may have gaps (even as small as just a few inches) are sealed. However! If you suspect you already have an infestation, do not seal your house until you are sure ALL the raccoons are out – including any possible babies. If you seal all the exits, you will be trapping the raccoons and they will starve. This can create an entirely new mess for you to clean up.
- Reduce Access to Your Home – Cut back trees and shrubs so it’s harder for raccoons to get to your home and prevent access to the roof.
- Pay Special Attention to Your Swimming Pool – Raccoon feces can cause health problems in humans. If possible, you should keep your pool covered at night. But if you notice any feces in the pool, be sure to contact your pool maintenance company for help and advice to make the pool safe for swimming.
What to Do if You Have a Raccoon Infestation
A lot of the prevention methods outlined above can help if you suspect you have a raccoon problem, but none of them are guaranteed. The best thing to do when you suspect you have a raccoon infestation is call a pest control expert. Raccoons (and other animals) usually build their dens inside your home when it’s time to nest with their young. If you attempt to seal off your home without a full inspection, you might succeed in sealing the mother raccoon out of the house, but not realize that she has her babies hidden somewhere inside. These babies will eventually die and cause new problems like decay, maggots, and smells.
A raccoon pest control expert can help remove the entire problem and advise you how best to prevent a raccoon infestation in the future.
Got a raccoon problem? Contact the experts at OPC Pest Control to make sure your home is raccoon-free!