NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — You’ve been seeing more of them lately, but most of all, you’ve been smelling them. We’re talking about skunks!

(Courtesy: Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency)

Over the last month, it’s been hard to drive through Middle Tennessee or Southern Kentucky without smelling that repugnant odor.

For skunks, though, that’s the smell of love. This time of the year is skunk mating season.

“They’re just more active, they’ll be more active during daylight hours,” explained Barry Cross from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. “You might see them more often. They’re looking for a mate.”

Once a skunk finds a mate, they want to build a den to have their babies. That can be out in the wild, but it can also be in the crawl space under your house or under your shed. That’s when you need help.

(Courtesy: Complete Animal Removal)

“We do have a list of qualified animal removal specialists that you can find on our website,” Cross said.

Bryan Swanson, the owner of a company called Complete Animal Removal, explained how the problem occurs.

“When they’re mating, they prefer the crawl space,” Swanson said. “They get under the AC unit. They go through the foundation vents, the ground events around the bottom of the home. They pop that bug screen out and go right in.”

Skunks normally spray when they are threatened, but during mating season, males spray when they fight off other males, and a female will spray to invite a male. However, if that smell is under your house, you’ve got a real problem.

(Courtesy: Complete Animal Removal)

On top of that, skunks can even claw their way into your AC ductwork.

“I’ve gone into the crawl space, Army-crawled in, saw a hole this big in the AC ductwork, and then two beady eyes looking at me,” Swanson recalled. “And I saw that stripe, I said’ OK, that’s a skunk’. And that homeowner was not happy, because when it sprayed in there, it goes through the entire house.”

After they trap and remove the skunks, they disinfect the entire area and then treat it to remove the odor, which is a big job!

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“I’ve been sprayed twice in my career, and it’s always fun walking through the grocery store trying to get those products,” Swanson lamented. “You get funny looks, like ‘what’s that smell?’ So, tomato juice, that whole thing, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide work pretty good.”

Swanson said it takes more than one application to get rid of that smell, so if you get sprayed, you might be washing off for a while.