Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s clean. Many homeowners never inspect the space under their house. Unwelcomed guests love crawl spaces for that reason even more. Pests are looking for areas that people don’t frequent. A home to call their own with lots of room, insulation for making a bed, and a safe place to hide. In and out throughout the night, they drag material and friends back home. They leave behind a signature smell called a pheromone. Animals will be urinating and defecating throughout the crawl space area. This smell lets other animals know this is a safe place to call home. If left unchecked too long, the space under your home can be severely damaged.
Ok, so you know your crawl space is contaminating with animal waste; what do you do now? Aftercare knows; with hundreds of animal waste cleanups under our belt, we will break it down.
- Inspection – grab a flashlight and start looking around. Start from the back and move your way out. Don’t just look at the ground. If you have insulation above, you pull some areas down and look for feces and damage. Smell during your down there. Are you getting foul odors? Look at the corners, check the ductwork for damage and your wood beams. Lastly, you will probably have a giant piece of plastic on the ground. This is called a moisture barrier. Is it covered in fecal drops, a mold of urine?
- Wearing a protective suit, gloves, and a respirator, pull down any contaminated insulation to the ground. Push it all to the entrance door and bag it outside. Now take a brush to all areas like HVAC ducts and flat surfaces to remove any feces. Once all the insulation is removed, carefully gather up the plastic containing everything that has dropped onto the moisture barrier. You don’t want to contaminate the ground under the moisture barrier. Pull this to the crawl space door and remove it from under the house.
- Now your crawl space should be empty of everything except your heating and air trunks. Go under to the middle of the crawl space and turn off your light. Get comfortable, let your eyes adjust, and look for sunlight coming into the crawl area. Now that everything has been removed, you should see better where these critters are coming in and out. You will need to find a way to seal them out. Remember, mice and rats can squeeze into a hole the size of a nickel. Spray foam is not the best choice!
- Now we need to disinfect the crawl space with microbial. This will kill germs and deodorize the area, but most importantly, it will break the pheromone throughout the crawl, causing discomfort to the pests. Remember, mice and rats have no control over their bladders, so where ever they are, they will continually urinate. Using a pump sprayer, treat the beams above and the brick, concrete, and ground throughout the crawl space.
- Wait and monitor the space over a few weeks to make sure you have the pest sealed out, and they are not still getting in. look for evidence of them coming back. If you don’t see any, you can replace the insulation if you choose. The final step is to replace the moisture barrier on the ground. You can buy 6 millimeters of white or black plastic at Home Depot or Lowes. You will also need some kind of spike or pin to hold your new plastic in place. You can use insulation rods sold at the same place.