A few weeks ago I asked that you imagine that you went away for a few weeks over the winter and when you came back, you found your home or business ravaged by a gang of raccoons. Those cute little masked faces. Those stuffed animal looking bodies. You couldn’t imagine them reeking havoc in your attic. I know. I remember tossing them pieces of cat kibble on my porch, while drinking a glass of wine. These little creatures would never destroy my property, right?
Let me tell you, nothing is worse than the stench of an attic than has been turned into a raccoon den. I can smell it the minute I walk up to a home or building that has been infested. You see, raccoons, if you pardon the expression, like to poop where they live. They poop in areas of your attic, away from where they nest, in huge piles called latrines. These latrines may contain parasites that can be very hazardous to humans.
These parasites, called raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis), live in the raccoon’s intestine and produce microscopic eggs that are shed in the raccoon’s feces. One raccoon roundworm can produce more than 100,000 eggs a day. A raccoon can pass millions of eggs in its feces everyday, depending on how many worms are in its intestines. Once deposited into the latrine, these eggs develop into the infectious form in two to four weeks and can survive for several years. If the infectious form of the eggs is inadvertently swallowed or inhaled by humans, the larvae hatch out of the eggs and move into the organs of the body. The larvae travel throughout the body and may cause serious eye disease, spinal cord or brain damage, or death.
You’re not thinking they’re so cute anymore, right?
Cleaning up the mess can be dangerous and costly. My workers follow strict remediation protocols which I developed with help from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and a respected toxicologist friend, Dr. Charles Gilbert.Typically, cleanup methods include the physical removal of the contaminated attic insulation, duct insulation and debris by scraping, H.E.P.A. vacuuming and wiping all affected walls, floors, rafters and sheathing with a biocide solution. We always install engineering controls and critical barriers which include the use of H.E.P.A. filtered high capacity air ventilation units in the work area to prevent the generation of dust and the spread of any bacteria. After removal of the raccoon waste and fine cleaning, all building materials are covered with an antimicrobial encapsulant that inhibits any future bacterial growth and the spread of the parasitic roundworms eggs.
So, is there any good news here? Yes. You’re probably covered. Although damage from rodents and other vermin is not covered under most commercial and residential insurance policies, raccoon damage is. Raccoons are not rodents. They are members of the bear family and therefore the damage caused by them doesn’t fall under the rodent/vermin exclusion of most insurance policies.
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