Important stuff the inspection that the home inspection doesn’t cover…
While termite control outfits are often called pest control companies, pests are a different thing. Many of the below creatures warrant removal by ‘pest control’ companies. As with many of the concerns noted in this chapter, home inspectors may report on noxious pests or those that pose a health or safety hazard – assuming they are visible or leave clear evidence of their presence; mice infestations can be an exception as they are not always apparent. A few pests include:
- Mice. Literally every home (excluding newer and/or tightly built homes) will have mice infestations, unless controlled. They usually come in during the fall when it starts to get colder. Mice do a lot of damage to finished materials and stored items and their infestations are both unhealthy and bad for the home. They should not be allowed to proliferate so control mechanisms in the fall months are critical. Insulation that has housed mice will often be urine soaked and will need professional removal.
- Shrews are small rodents that often come with mice infestations – simply because they like to feed on mice. Shrews are not, however, a viable way to control mice infestations! They leave behind partially eaten dead mouse bodies and foul defecation odors. Usually controlling or getting rid of mice will get rid of the shrews.
- Bats. Bats are misunderstood. They are ugly and have all that Dracula thing about them – but they are harmless except for the (very) occasional rabid bat. But you don’t want them in your home (and especially not in the living space). Bat guano (or any pest guano), sometimes found in an attic, is not something you want to be exposed to and breathe in. It is best that any significant amount of bat guano be professionally removed. Antique homes have been torn down due to 100 years of bat guano deposits found in their attics. To get rid of bats pest control companies must find the likely entrance points and put ‘one way’ exits so the bats can get out but not back in. Bats are a ‘protected species’ so you can’t just kill them.
- Squirrels. They can do a lot of damage if they get into a home. Usually, they are in attics. They need to be removed and one-way exit screens installed by a pest control company. Open holes in the fascia or siding may need to be sealed and tree branches allowing access to the roof cut back.
- Raccoons. These need to be removed by a pest control specialist. If already nesting in the chimney you sometimes have to wait until they leave with their young.
- Rats. May be found in both urban and rural (farming) locations. These would need removal by a pest control specialist and blockage of access points. Food sources in the home (such as poorly sealed foodstuffs) would need to be securely stored.