Inspection Unit 2D

Equipment & Tools

Tools to Use Part 2

Tools for inspection.
Mirror on a stick (left), headlamp, and heavy leather gloves are some valuable inspection tools.

A reflection mirror would be my next choice for your inspection kit . This will allow you to see around corners into eaves or above dampers. It is worth its weight in gold and for a cost of around $20, you can’t lose. The trick with this mirror is to learn how to use your flashlight to illuminate the area you are looking at with the mirror. Believe it or not, the mirror performs both tasks. It reflects the light of your flashlight on the area, which then allows you to see it by reflection. Tom Olander uses the sun as the light source with his mirror. As he says, “Nothing illuminates better than the sun.”

There are different kinds of mirrors you can purchase. The one I use is not a true mirror at all. Rather, it is a flat piece of stainless steel with a retractable handle. While it doesn’t reflect light as well as a true mirror, it doesn’t break as easily either. True mirrors can be purchased from chimney supply companies. The mirror in the image is a stainless steel telescoping mirror.

Other tools you might want to include would be a good pair of tweezers, a magnifying glass, a measuring tape, and a digital camera. Tweezers will be used for picking up feces or breaking feces apart to see what they contain. Get as strong a magnifying glass as you can without breaking your budget. Eight times (8X) strength is a minimum. The measuring tape will help you measure the size of various holes. The digital camera can be used to show your client various findings. Just a caution, be careful when breaking up fecal material. Diseases can be contracted by inhaling the aerosolized material.

Leatherman toolIf you don’t want to carry a lot of stuff around, and who does, I would suggest picking up a Leatherman Super Tool®.  It has a variety of tools that are easy to carry. It even has markings on the side in metric and inches so it can be used as a ruler as well.

One must-have item is a good pair of binoculars. Don’t go out and buy the best because they will get banged up in your truck in no time. I bought a pair of Bushnell Binoculars at Costco. I think the price was under $50. The binoculars were 8-power and 22 degree view. I don’t know how I worked without them for so long. Just remember a few points. The more powerful the binoculars, the more light is lost in the magnification process. If you are looking at a dark area it will become darker through the binoculars. The more expensive brands use higher quality glass so the light loss is less. Choose a pair that fits your needs but remember to ask yourself one question: Can I afford to lose it?

Finally, no inspection can be done without proper ladders. The size of your ladder depends on the size of the buildings in your area. Most two-story homes can be safely handled with a 32-foot ladder. Just ask your local ladder dealer for the ladder height for most homes in your area. A step ladder is also a must. I like the 8-foot stepladder. This ladder is used inside buildings to get to ceiling tiles and inside closets. Whatever sizes you need, get good quality ladders that are rated for your weight. Type 1 and the Fiberglass Type 1A are good choices for sturdiness. The fiberglass ladders are safer around electricity but they tend to slide horizontally when placed against aluminum gutters. Make sure you can handle the ladder, because if it is too heavy, I can assure you that you will not want to move it very much. When that happens, you are out of business.


Todd F. Lewis CIH 52 N. 3167 E. Idaho Falls, ID 83402 (208) 524-9146. I would like to thank Todd Lewis for permission to reprint his articles here. They were both originally published in Wildlife Control Technology Magazine. To learn about the magazine visit

©2005 Stephen M. Vantassel

Move on to Unit 2E