Are You Buying a New Home? How to Spot Pest Damage
Are you looking to buy a new home in the Jacksonville, Florida area? Before you make a purchase, it's important to get the home inspected for potential issues, such as faulty wiring or a leaky roof. You may not know this, but it’s equally as important to inspect a home for pest damage, too. Pests such as termites can cause considerable harm to a home, particularly to wood, without potential buyers having any clue. Unfortunately, many homeowners' policies don't cover the necessary costly repairs. Before you make any decisions on purchasing a home, it’s important you keep a lookout for signs of pest damage.
Signs of Pest Damage
If there are signs of pest damage, chances are there are probably pests present in the home. Some people find bed bugs to have a sweet odor while mice and rats smell like urine or ammonia. You may also find live or dead pests in window ledges and basements, as well as in the kitchen, bathroom, and outdoors. Other signs to look for in these places are:
- Droppings and roach egg cases
- Holes in floors and walls
- Ant hills
- Stagnant water
- Loose electrical wires
- Shrubs that touch the house's exterior
Certain bugs can wreak havoc on a home's interior and exterior wood. Here are three of the most common pests responsible for damage to a home's walls and foundation:
1. Termites: These bugs are synonymous with wood damage, particularly in the southern and western United States. One way to check for their presence is to knock on walls, listening for a hollow sound. They resembled winged ants, and you may find their clear-colored wings on the exterior of the home. Also, be on the look out for small mud tubes, comprised of mud and termite droppings, in the home's support structures. These tubes provide termites with moisture. Termites usually live in the following places:
- Woodpiles, trees and tree stumps
- Foundation walls
- Floor joists
2. Carpenter Bees: Although they look like bumblebees, carpenter bees are bigger and make more noise. They congregate on a deck, porch, or under the eaves of a home. Carpenter bees tunnel through wood to create their nests. Over a long period, they can cause structural damage. In addition, these bees attract carpenter ants, which excavate wood to build their nests.
3. Powderpost Beetles: The term powderpost beetle describes several species of wood-boring insects. These beetles lay their eggs in wood, which the larvae then consumes. You can look for a flour-like substance on the wood or tiny holes 1/16 in diameter. However, if you suspect an infestation of powderpost beetles, you will probably need to call a pest control specialist because they can be hard to detect.
In addition to hiring a professional for pest control in Jacksonville, there are several steps you can take to keep out unwanted visitors:
Be sure to:
- Remove all obstructions from around the home's foundation.
- Cover the crawl space with a plastic vapor barrier.
- Repair leaking pipes so as not to attract certain types of insects, such as mosquitoes and carpenter ants.
- Never stack firewood near the home because it can be a major cause of infestation.
- Trim plants and shrubs so they don't touch the home's exterior because bugs can travel across them to gain access.
- Keep gutters clean to keep away mosquitoes, small flies, and carpenter ants.
The best way to ensure a home is free of pests permanently is with professional pest control in Jacksonville. Here at Paul's Termite and Pest Control, we can inspect your potential home for pest infestations and can consult you with you on what it will take to treat it if it does have an infestation present. You know what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Taking a proactive approach with pest control is always the best option, rather than putting it off and finding out later down the road there are significant problems.