After a somewhat long and interesting winter, we are currently approaching the breeding season for Raccoons and other pest wildlife in the greater Seattle area. This means it is time to make sure any vents leading to crawlspaces and attics are sealed up and all doors on sheds and other outdoor structures are closed, in order to prevent Raccoon mothers from having a litter of new “kits” in these spaces. Raccoons will generally breed in January and February and give birth around April or May. However, there are exceptions to this. The average number of “kits'' born in a litter is 2-4 and this happens only once a year. The kits will stay with their mother for several months and this is usually when homeowners realize they have a Raccoon “pest” control issue. Fortunately it's somewhat of a prolonged process and fortunately lends time for a wildlife pest control professional to assist in the situation. Having Raccoons in your home for several months can be very stressful for the people and pets, not to mention the amount of damage that can incur to your home/property. Do not let this situation extend for too long!
Raccoons can create their own access to homes by ripping through roofs, shingles, siding, vents, and more. Additionally, they will also use pre-existing holes/voids that have been created (or partially created) by rodents, squirrels, possums, river otters, or other pests. If a pregnant female Raccoon has gained access to your structure, a lot of damage can occur. The dangers and risks of having a Raccoon and/or it’s litter in your home includes: structural damage and ripping apart insulation to make a nest, health hazards via feces/urine contamination, and safety hazards through continuously having a wild critter around you and your family/pets. This is absolutely something you do not want happening at your place!
Fortunately, in the greater Seattle area, a few options exist for evicting Raccoons from your attic, crawlspace, or shed during the breeding season in Spring. The most immediate and surefire way of dealing with this issue is through trapping the critter(s). In Seattle (King County) and the rest of WA State, using live cages is generally the only legal method of trapping, even for a professional wildlife and pest control company. If trapping does not seem feasible, then other methods can absolutely be used to get Raccoons out of your home. Exclusive to the wildlife control industry, a unique apparatus referred to as a “one way door” allows the critter(s) to leave unharmed at their will but does not let them back in. This specialized device is mounted over an existing access point and is commonly left in place for a few weeks to make sure all animals/pests make their way out of the structure/dwelling. “One way doors” can be very cost effective and efficient. They are a practical and humane way of evicting Raccoons and provide the wildlife control professional an additional tool to work with during an especially stressful time for both people and pets involved. As far as preventive measures go, not a lot can be done to keep Raccoons out besides routinely making sure all parts of your home are properly sealed up. Due to Raccoons being decent sized critters, spotting these access points should not be too difficult to a trained eye. This is a good reason why it is recommended to hire a licensed, professional wildlife control company in the Seattle area.
After all of the Raccoons (and/or other nuisance wildlife) have been properly evicted from the dwelling, it is time to seal things up and formulate a long term strategy. If one way doors were installed, these are removed. From there, long term exclusion for Raccoons consists of applying wire mesh (“hardware cloth/screen”) to any open access points. It should be mentioned that if one way doors were used, the Raccoons are still out in the wild, so proper exclusion will absolutely be necessary to prevent them, in the case of returning, from repeatedly gaining access. Raccoons will not want to chew through the metal screen that we use, making this method highly successful. After all holes have been sealed, consistent monitoring of the exclusion is the best form of prevention, as this will be an immediate indicator as to whether or not the Raccoons have returned to the premises. If Raccoons do by chance return, a prompt call to King Wildlife Services will remedy the situation once again. Raccoons are notorious for being highly adaptive and pesky critters, therefore, multiple control attempts can sometimes be needed to entirely eliminate a family or two of Raccoons from your property.