Everything About Bug Control
The news nationwide warns us that El Nino will be responsible for an insect population the likes of which we have not seen for some time. A winter with overabundant amounts of warm rain will produce an overwhelming population of termites, bees, wasps, carpenter ants, flies, ticks and moths and you will most likely need pest control services.
Keeping the preceding in mind, it is important to look out for insect infestations as the weather in your area begins to dry out. Even during normal conditions it is wise to keep a sharp lookout. This year’s expected population increase makes being on the lookout an even more important activity.
Termites are a friend of the forest. They feed on dead trees converting them to rich fertilizer. However, once out of the forest, and into our neighborhood, they become less then beneficial. Can you spell “major nuisance”?
In addition to the potential for extra insect problems, the condition of your home can add insult to injury. High moisture content in the wood siding and under the house will attract the little pests of all kinds. Most of which are constantly searching for a damp dark place to procreate.
With that in mind, it is a good idea to make a through investigation of your home to insure that the damage is kept to a minimum. Here are a few things to check and maintain:
Earth to wood contact – anywhere that the earth comes into contact with the wooden parts of your home is an open invitation to tiny things that crawl. Even an adjacent fence can act as a superhighway that allows termites to travel undetected from beneath the ground into your home. Placing a metal flashing between the exterior siding and the fence can reduce the problem. Even though stucco isn’t wood, when it is in contact with the earth termites (and other structural pests) can travel between it and the foundation gaining access to your homes wooden parts.
Shrubs & trees – structural pests can use foliage to catapult themselves into the place where you live. They may look beautiful, but shrubs that rest on the exterior surface of your home provide yet another mode of travel for pests. Prune them away from exterior walls and provide lattices for those that need support.
Moisture – most insects that want to live inside your home want the same things that you do: warmth, safety, food and water. Standing water near the house and ponds of water beneath or within it act like insect magnets. Eliminate all standing water and wet wood and clean up and discard all food spills and your home will become less interesting to most pests. Leaky plumbing can also create standing water. Also, a poor paint job allows the wood beneath to become water logged. To a termite a piece of water logged wood looks like a hamburger stand.
Vents – foundation, eave, gable, roof and ridge vents must all be properly screened. Your attic or subarea can become a breeding ground for flies, carpenter ants and other pests.
Firewood – firewood stacked against the house becomes a nesting place for everything you can think of that either flies, crawls or slithers. Furthermore, the wood pile can act as a “private pest bridge” between the earth and your home.
Here are a few things to look for that are “dead giveaways” that pests have taken up residence in your home:
Sawdust – if you haven’t been doing a home improvement lately and yet you discover sawdust, chances are tiny, little critters are remodeling your home for you. They don’t charge anything for the remodeling that they do, but the result of their presence can end up being terribly costly.
Mud tunnels – termites travel on the surface of concrete (and other things they can’t chew their way through) via mud tunnels that are about the diameter of a pencil. Finding such tunnels is a dead giveaway that structural pests are in your live.
It doesn’t take much room for an insect to nest and begin raising a family. To reduce the possibility of having to host these unwanted insects, caulk all joints and cracks of every kind. Inside and out. Outside, caulk soffits, walls, around windows and doors and all joints, cracks, corners and other connections. And don’t forget that area at the foundation where the siding or stucco begins. There can be gaps so large that wood shims must be used as fillers before caulking can be used. Give the caulk time to dry and apply a second coat if necessary. Inside, use expanding foam sealant or steel-wool to plug holes under cabinets, behind appliances, in the attic and in the basement.
Wasps and bees usually nest in areas not normally accessed by humans. Like under eaves and on dormer walls. The hives are usually protected from wind and rain and other inclement weather. If there is a hole in your siding, they will find their way into wall cavities and can be difficult to exterminate. If you are allergic to their sting, don’t hesitate to call your local pest control specialist. They have ways of getting rid of such pests without exposing you to harm. And, good luck!
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