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Raccoons, squirrels, woodchucks, mice, bats, and snakes can be nuisances to homeowners and building managers. These animals cause damage and/or pose health risks when they enter buildings. This manual provides an overview of the different ways to solve animal problems in and around buildings. It is intended for use by property managers and pest control operators who are unfamiliar with nuisance wildlife control. The species and techniques are applicable to New York State and may be relevant in other states throughout the Northeast.

Reasons for Entry

Animals enter homes because they are seeking shelter, food, and places to cache food. Sometimes they are just exploring. Animals behave this way to meet their needs. Although these behaviors may have negative results for us, animals rarely intend to be malicious. The attitude of the inspector should be one of caution and respect; the goal is to enable the humans and other animals to co-exist with better boundaries!

Damage and Risk

When animals enter human structures, the results range from simple nuisance (such as disturbing noises) to health risks and significant destruction. Animals can damage woodwork, plastic, and other materials in a variety of ways. They can chew electrical wires, causing system failures and fires, and can soil insulation. Birds release fecal droppings that mar building exteriors. Some animals carry diseases and parasites that are zoonotic that is, they can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Dealing with Animals

The three major steps for solving and preventing animal problems are inspection, removal (if necessary), and exclusion. Inspections provide important information about current problems as well as on conditions that may create future problems. Any animals present in the building will need to be removed. Effective exclusion is the best approach for the prevention of structural animal problems.

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