When I was in high school the guys with the hot cars and the wild girls were called “greasers.” They could easily be recognized by their leather jackets and “DA” hair cuts that they would continually be slicking back with the combs they kept in their back pockets. The slicked back hair style did indeed look like a duck’s ass.
For some reason whenever I think about rodent body grease, I can’t help but think how humans leave the same sorts of marks and that to deliberately add oils to our already oily hair seems kind of odd. I am sure that rats groom themselves, even without combs, but what would they call a “DA?” The mind wants to go to “RA”—but politely stops itself.
If people had any awareness of this body grease they would know how important it is to keep vegetation adequately cleared away from their homes—especially the roof.
Rodents will use vegetation as a pathway to the roof.
If they can get to the roof and gutters, they will find a way into the attic.
The gutters can make a perfect highway where rodents can travel around the roof unnoticed. If they can find a little opening they can make it bigger—and the homeowner would be none the wiser.
At a recent inspection I was walking around the house and noticed some black marking on the electrical conduit and surrounding wood structures. I remarked to my buyer that this was an obvious rodent access point to the attic and I could anticipate a mess in the attic. It takes a considerable amount of time to accumulate this much body oil on a rodent trail. They are truly greasers.
Here is the picture of what could be seen from the ground.
Can you see the black shadowing of rodent body grease?
The “high-lighted” areas in the next picture are the body grease marks left by years of rodents coming and going from the attic.
Here is what the attic looks like at the access point.
Before I entered the attic I laid out my biggest tarp. As expected, it was a good idea as rodent feces rained down when I opened the hatch.
Much of the insulation throughout the attic was totally trampled and covered with rodent feces. The insulation was installed 7 years ago and now it will all have to be removed and replaced again.
Naturally there will be concerns about the condition of wiring as a result of the infestation and that will all have to be evaluated after the insulation is removed.
Are the greasers hanging out at your house?
When was the last time you checked your attic?
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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