When Dan Margenau bought his new house, he found squatters making a big mess.
“Footprints all over; carpet is dirty,” the new homeowner said. “They’re troublesome little creatures.”
That’s right, creatures -- a family of racoons living rent free in his attic.
“It’s frustrating to deal with,” Margenau said.
Frustrating, costly and potentially dangerous.
That’s when Margenau called Whitmore Pest and Wildlife Control.
Worker Jonathan Mulder says his company has received a massive spike in calls lately. He believes the increase is linked to more people staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unfortunately, COVID happened at a time when we were already knowing that we were going to get a higher call volume,” Mulder said.
Across the country, more people are seeing an increase in pest problems.
In New York City, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about aggressive rats starving for food scraps as restaurants shutdown during the pandemic.
Down south in Hoover, Alabama, veterinarians have seen an uptick in snakes biting dogs.
“Pets have kind of been couch potatoes for a long time," said Dr. Jessica Caver, medical director for Steel City Emergency Vets.
She says over the past two months, her staff has seen a 40% increase of dogs bitten by snakes compared to last year.
“The biggest thing that I can attribute that to right now is that a lot of people are out you know get some break from the quarantine from COVID-19,” Caver said.
Back at Margenau’s house, Mulder is working to evict the unwanted visitors.
He understands that there’s an unemployment problem during the pandemic, but says if you’re dealing with a pest problem, it’s best to get it taken care of immediately. If not, it could end up costing you a lot more in the long run.