If you’ve recently bought a new house or you’re about to build, you should safeguard your investment against termites. While it might take several years for major damage to occur, one 2×4 can succumb to complete consumption within five months. And by the time you notice, you’ve got costly repairs to deal with. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to stop these insects in their tracks. Here are eight tips for preventing termites in your new home.
Provide Adequate Drainage
Termites need cellulose and water in order to survive, feeding on dead or rotting wood, decaying plant debris, tree stumps, and even old clothing if they have access to it. They also need adequate shelter, so any place around your home that provides these ingredients needs to be monitored closely. Start with keeping the area around your home as dry as you can. This includes maintaining adequate rainwater runoff with clean gutters and downspouts, keeping an eye on your AC unit for leaks, and watching for clogged or leaky pipes that can cause flooding on your property.
Repair Foundation Cracks
Cracks in your foundation can allow the collection of water and moisture, resulting in a perfect place to harbor termites. If you notice any cracks, you need to repair them as quickly as possible. If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to use a product that lasts; otherwise you’ll be repeating the process down the road.
Keep Your Garden Well Maintained
Because termites love decaying wood and plant material, it’s vital to maintain your garden and flower beds. Be sure to dispose of dead plants, bushes, and trees by calling your local sanitation department or hunting down a composting center in your hometown.
One of the purposes of mulch is to hold moisture in the soil, but it can create a welcoming environment for all sorts of insects. And because it naturally decomposes over time, it can beckon termites like the mating call of a siren. Fortunately, you’re only at risk if you use too much, so be sure to lay a bed no more than 2-3 inches deep. Anything over four inches can cause a high level of moisture retention and ultimately dead mulch—a perfect feasting bed for termites.
Remove Dead Tree Stumps and Branches
Fallen trees and branches are common, particularly following a storm. But as you know, the cellulose-loving insects will have a field day once that wood starts to rot. If you have a tree stump in your yard, it’s important to have it removed as quickly as possible.
Store Firewood Away From Your House
If you store firewood, be sure to keep it at least five feet away from the foundation of your home. And since termites nest in the soil, make sure that all logs are kept off the ground and stored on racks. Lastly, in case you do have termites in your firewood, you shouldn’t bring more into your home than you need for the day. Any logs that don’t make it into the fire should go back outside.
Install Screens Around the Vents
Drywood termites are common in a handful of states, mainly the hot and humid ones. As their name suggests, they feast on dry wood, particularly furniture and hardwood floors. To keep them out of your home, be sure to place screens around all exterior vents, including doors and windows.
Pre-Treat the Soil
This is advice for those who are getting ready to build their home. With this method, the soil underneath the foundation is treated with a termiticide before the cement is poured in order to prevent future infestation. This method offers long-lasting protection.
Hire a Professional
A pest control professional or termite exterminator like Tri-County Termite & Pest Control can treat your home to prevent infestation, and these methods include both chemical treatments and using physical barriers. Be sure to consult with a licensed individual to decide what’s best for you and your family.
If you live in a part of the United States that experiences blizzards, snowstorms and intense wind conditions every winter, inspect your roof now to protect your home from termites in the spring and summer. Shingles can loosen up and blow off your home’s foundation during seasonal storms. The wooden foundation beneath the roof’s underlayment bogs down with water and rots, which places your home at risk for insect damage in the spring and summer seasons. Here’s what you should know about your roof and how termites affect it.
How Can Roof Damage Lead to Termite Problems?
One of the biggest issues with harsh winter weather is snow and ice. Snow and ice can cause problems if they melt on your roof during the day from sunlight and heat and refreeze during the night when the temperatures drop. The changing roofing temperatures can trap moisture beneath your shingles, which later spreads to the underlayment and insulation on the roof. Unless you have a clear view of your roof’s shingles during the times above, you most likely won’t notice any problems until the snow and ice goes away in the spring. However, termites can notice the damage in your roof and take advantage of it.
Some termite species, such as dampwood, swarm to your home by air and enter the damp, rotting material on your roof. Other types of termites live outside but build deep tunnels that lead from multiple underground nests in your yard to your home. All termite species tend to lose their wings once they land. You may only notice clear-colored wings on your windowsills, baseboards and attic flooring.
You may notice small piles of sawdust on the attic’s flooring if termites infected the wooden trusses that support your attic, or if the pests constructed satellite nesting sites beneath the wet wood of your roof’s underlayment. One of the ways you can tell if termites infested the underlayment is to shine a flashlight along the attic’s ceiling. The light may reveal tiny nicks or holes in the wood. Some of the wood may also appear cracked, frayed or loose.
Taking steps now can help prevent major issues like those above.
What Can You Do?
The most important thing you want to do is get rid of the termites in your home before you replace or repair the roof. Even if you remove the damaged wood in your roof and other places, termites and their young can hide in seemingly unaffected areas of the home and infect the new foundation later. You may face additional home repairs that add to your expenses.
A termite control company usually treats termite problems by fumigating the home. Fumigation services last about three days, depending on the company providing the service. A pest control company may also help you get rid of any termite mounds on your property by placing chemicals in the soil. However, this is something you can discuss with the contractor you choose before they render services. Every termite control company offers different pest control treatments.
After you secure your home and property, contact a roofer and repair the damages in your attic, shingles and underlayment. Also, repair any problems in your siding and gutters. Termites can re-enter the wet or compromised wood in these locations. Also, inspect the trees on your property for termite damage, such as peeling bark or deep holes. Termites can build nests in the barks of old, decaying trees and infect your home in the future.
For more details about termites or how to protect your home from them, contact a termite control contractor near you.
Termites are a group of insects that feeds on dead plant material such as wood and leaf litter. In forests, this is a good thing since they help to break down dead trees and other plants, but in the suburbs, their preferred food source is a big problem for homeowners. The structure of many suburban homes is made out of wood, and wood is also used for siding, shingles, and other building elements. Every year, termites and other wood-destroying insects cause about $30 billion worth of damage. This damage ends up costing individual homeowners about $3,000. There is a lot of misinformation about these destructive pests; here are three myths that you shouldn’t believe.
Termites can eat through concrete
The myth that termites can gnaw right through concrete is widespread, but, fortunately, it isn’t true. Termites can easily eat through wood, but concrete will stop them. However, concrete isn’t always an impermeable barrier. As concrete ages, it dries out, and when it dries out, it cracks. Concrete can also crack when the soil beneath the slab settles and allows the slab to shift positions. Once these cracks form, termites can enter your house, and if you don’t know about the cracks in your concrete, you may think they chewed right through the concrete.
The cracks in your concrete don’t have to be large to allow termites to pass through. The cracks only need to be about as thick as a business card for a termite to squeeze inside! These cracks can be hidden by things like walls or flooring, so it’s really hard to find and repair all of them. Your best bet is to have your home inspected by a local pest control company on a regular schedule; that way, when the termites sneak inside, you can find the problem early.
Wood piles will distract termites
You’ve probably heard that if you leave a big stack of firewood beside your house, termites will be attracted to it and will leave your house alone. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. In fact, the opposite is true! Wood in your backyard attracts termites who are looking for an easy meal. If this wood is too close to your house, termites can easily travel from your wood pile to your house, and when they reach your house, they’ll continue eating.
If you want to store wood in your backyard, you need to keep it off the ground and away from your house. Termites may still burrow into the wood, but if it’s not directly beside your house, this isn’t much of a concern. Entomologists say that as long as you burn the wood immediately after bringing it inside you don’t need to worry about a termite infestation.
Termites will destroy your house overnight
Termites eat quickly, but it’s not possible for them to destroy your entire home overnight, or even in the first few weeks of an infestation. Even the most aggressive type of termites, Formosan termites, will take about six months to cause serious damage to a home. Other types of termites live in smaller colonies and will take even longer to destroy your home.
This myth probably got its start by the way that termites damage homes. They start eating on the inside of the wood and then work their way out, and this allows them to go undetected for a long time. By the time the termites eat through to the parts of the wood that you can see, they will have already damaged everything behind it. This can make it look like the destruction happened overnight, but in reality, they were eating for a long time without being noticed.
Not everything you’ve heard about termites is true, like these three myths. If you think you might have a termite infestation you need to call a pest control company or go to sites that offer pest control services for help and accurate information.
If you are like most homeowners, you might chalk up a brown, uneven lawn with a few watering issues. Unfortunately, after adding a little extra time to that sprinkler cycle and giving your lawn a few dietary supplements, you might notice that your efforts are in vain. Predators have overtaken that carefully installed grass—leveling it with that lawn down the street with the owners that don’t even fertilize. Fortunately, you don’t have to let a few rogue insects destroy your chances for winning that yearly lawn care award. Here are two signs of a lurking pest infestation, and how you can eradicate issues fast:
1: Loose Sod
When you think of damaging lawn insects, you might assume that pests are eager to get ahold of those crisp, green blades of grass. However, your turf infestation might go much deeper than you think. Believe it or not, several varieties of moths and beetles lay their eggs on the surface of the soil, so their growing larvae can munch away on your tender grass roots. After these pests have set up shop, they can actually eat away entire sections of your lawn’s root system—completely separating sod from soil. Here are a few pests that can cause this problem, and how to detect their presence before they obliterate your entire yard:
To detect root-chomping insects early, take the time to tug your grass every now and again. As you go through to pull weeds like dandelions, grab hold of some of your grass blades and give them a gentle pull. If you don’t experience a lot of resistance, take the time to dissect a section of your lawn to look for insects hiding under the roots.
2: Uneven Ground
Nothing is more frustrating when you are trying to mow or edge your grass than uneven ground. In addition to posing potentially dangerous trip and fall hazards for your family, little hills or valleys can also make it nearly impossible to make your grass look even and aesthetically pleasing. Although you might assume the issue stems from a poor sod installation, these burrowing pests might be the cause of the problem:
Fortunately, professional exterminators can get you more information and have an arsenal of weapons they can use against lawn-burrowing pests. While poisons and baits can be used to significantly reduce gopher and vole numbers, your pest control professional might be able to use gentler means to eliminate those frustrating pests. For example, by introducing neutral plants to the area, your exterminator can make gophers and voles a problem of the past.
Being able to recognize and treat lawn pest infestations might help you to fend off trouble before the damage is done—so that you can focus on your other landscaping needs.
Bees, especially honey bees, are a vital part of the food chain. These busy workers provide much of the natural pollination needed for food bearing crops to produce. Unfortunately, they do not always stay in their bee box. Sometimes when the queen decides to relocate her colony, it is to a property where she is not welcome. This may be the walls of your home, the corner of your storage shed, or in a dead tree, which is too close to your children and pets. If you have a colony of bees in need of being relocated, there are some steps you can take, making the move safer for you and them.
Know What You Are Doing
One of the most important things when moving honey bees is to know what you are doing. If you do not know how to move them, you run the risk of making them angry. Once this occurs, you will put yourself, as well as anyone else in the surrounding area, at risk of multiple bee stings. This is because once the first bee stings, it will release pheromones which in turn will cause other bees to attack. If you have an allergy to bee stings, even one sting may be enough to send you into an anaphylactic reaction, which could be deadly.
If you are unsure if you are allergic to bee stings, after you are stung look for signs of:
If you begin to experience one or more of these symptoms, immediately seek medical attention. Even if you are not allergic to the sting of a bee, always make sure you wear protective equipment and use the correct tools in your attempt to move them.
Call A Beekeeper
The easiest, and probably the cheapest, way to move a colony of bees is to call a local beekeeper and ask them to come do it for you. They will take the necessary steps to preserve the bees and will try to relocate them to hives they may already have in place.
Most beekeepers will welcome the opportunity to acquire new bees free of charge. Some of them have probably lost colonies of bees to colony collapse disorder; a phenomenon which causes the worker bees to abandon the queen, as well as the colony, and simply disappear. This disorder has caused a shortage of bees available for pollination.
Bee keepers will usually possess all the equipment they need to move the colony from one place to another. Depending on the size of the colony, they will know how to smoke the bees to calm them down, as well as how to move them to where they are going. In exchange for giving the beekeepers the bees, you may be able to negotiate a lifetime of free honey.
Call A Professional Exterminator
If you are unable to move your bees any other way, call a professional exterminator. If it is your preference, ask them if they have the ability to move the bees alive. Some will offer this option, and others may not. Being able to move the bees alive will often depend on several different things, such as:
If they are not able to move them alive, they will know the right pesticides to use to ensure the entire nest is destroyed. If you choose to kill the bees, always ensure that the entire nest is removed and the area is thoroughly cleaned. This will keep any honeycomb contained within the nest from attracting other types of pests. A professional exterminator will be able to review all of your options with you once they have inspected your specific situation.
For more information, contact a local company that specializes in bee removal, like ASAP Bee Removal.
American homeowners will often come across a variety of bugs and insects, and some creatures are more harmful than others. Centipedes are relatively common in North American homes, and while some people find these creatures fascinating, other members of the household will scream as soon as they see these bugs. Learn more about these curious creatures, and find out what you need to do to deal with a centipede infestation.
Appearance and physiology
Contrary to what you may think, centipedes do not actually have 100 legs, even though the name literally translates as such. In fact, centipedes can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs. Centipedes are not insects, and these unusual critters belong to a class of arthropods called Chilopoda.
In North America, the most common variety of centipede is the house centipede. These centipedes have thirty legs (one pair on each of 15 segments), and a dirty yellow body with three stripes.
All centipedes are venomous. Species like the giant desert centipede can inflict a painful bite, and the National Center For Health Statistics reported five ‘possible’ deaths from these bites in a ten-year period. Fortunately, house centipedes rarely bite people unless severely provoked. This species’ venom is less toxic, but can cause some pain.
Habits and diet
If you’ve ever seen a centipede, you will probably already know that these creatures can run pretty fast. In fact, it’s almost certainly this behavior that unsettles anyone who unexpectedly comes across a house centipede. At home, you’ll usually find them in dark, damp places like your garage or crawl spaces, but you’ll sometimes find a centipede stranded in the bathroom or kitchen because he or she is unable to get out of a sink.
Centipedes normally feed on insects and other bugs that live in your house. Popular dietary choices include silverfish, firebrats, cockroaches and spiders. Ironically, if you have a lot of centipedes in your house, it’s quite likely that you have another, more serious infestation of another bug that is attracting these predators.
Ideally, you should get rid of any conditions that will encourage house centipedes to live in your house. By taking some sensible precautions, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see many of these creatures.
Pest control experts recommend that you deal with any points in the home where centipedes can easily get in. Fill up cracks and crevices in concrete slabs or walls, and seal sump pump covers with screen and caulk. You should also install window screens in any basement floor drains.
Centipedes enjoy damp conditions, so it’s also a good idea to tackle any problems with humidity. Use a dehumidifier where necessary, and make sure the fan in your bathroom helps extract excess moisture. You should also clear the perimeter of your home of leaves and any other damp debris that centipedes may like.
Like many other pests, centipedes can also make their home where you have a lot of clutter. For example, old cardboard boxes and magazines can sometimes make an attractive habitat for these creatures. As such, it’s also a good idea to clear out attics and other spaces where you may have clutter that will attract centipedes.
Tackling an infestation
If you have a serious infestation, you may need to contact a pest control company. A pest control specialist can use a strong insecticide in cracks and other areas to kill off the centipede population. He or she may use a spray or dust. Dusts are more suitable in homes that have pets, as the boric acid content generally poses little risk to mammals.
A pest control workerr will also need to see if another pest is attracting centipedes to your home. You can leave sticky insect traps around your house, so you can then see if another type of bug is active. According to what you find in these traps, a pest controller may need to take other steps.
Centipedes are relatively common in North American homes. If you have a problem with these strange creatures in your property, contact a pest control expert for more advice.
Bats are nocturnal, and they’re the only mammals that can fly. They take refuge in sheltered places like caves, trees, or your attic during the day, and fly out at night to look for insects and fruit to eat. If you have a colony of bats living in your attic, you probably aren’t too happy about the situation, and want to get rid of them. Getting rid of them by yourself can be difficult, especially if you make one of these serious mistakes.
Killing the bats
Pesticides are an effective way to deal with many types of household infestations, like spiders and ants, but they’re not a good way to deal with a bat infestation. Bats are unwanted pests, but many of them are actually endangered, including bats like the Hog-nosed bat, the Indiana bat, and the Gray bat.
These bats are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is a federal law, so it’s effective in every state. The penalties for killing endangered animals are very strict, and can include fines of up to $50,000 and one year in prison.
The bats in your attic may or may not be endangered, but to the untrained eye, different species of bats are hard to identify. You should assume that the bats in your attic are endangered, since killing endangered bats is much more expensive than calling animal control.
Removing the bats by yourself
Some people think that trapping the bats in their attic and releasing them somewhere else is a good way to solve their bat problem. This is a bad idea since bats carry a wide variety of dangerous diseases and the risk of getting bitten by one of the bats that you’re trying to remove is high.
Bats carry rabies, a fatal disease that most people are already aware of. Rabies is spread by saliva, so if an infected bat bites you, you will be exposed to the virus. Bats spread less well-known diseases, too, like histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is a fungus that grows in bat droppings; its spores can become airborne and enter your body when you breathe.
If you have bats in your attic, you need to stay as far away from them as you can. Don’t climb up into your attic to try to trap them, since even the air up there can make you sick.
Sealing the opening to your attic
Swarms of bats fly out of your attic every night to hunt for food, and once they’ve flown away, it may seem like a good idea to seal the opening to your attic so that they can’t get back in. If the opening is sealed when the bats are out hunting at night, you may think that there’s no harm done, but this isn’t the case. Not all of the bats leave the nest, so some will be trapped inside, such as injured bats or baby bats that haven’t learned how to fly yet.
Baby bats are born during the summer months, and for the first several weeks of their lives, they can’t fly, and they feed on milk, just like other baby mammals. If you seal the entrance to your attic when their mothers are out hunting for food, the babies will die, and dead animals smell very bad. Sealing the attic at any time of the year can lead to a smelly situation, due to the potential for injured bats being trapped there, but it’s even riskier in the summer.
Bats are pests, but their protected status, potential to carry diseases, and nesting habits make them hard to get rid of by yourself. If you have bats in your attic, you should call a professional pest control company to help you get rid of them. Visit http://cavanaughspest.com to learn more about pest control services in your area.