Home and Living is not a fan of the creepy crawlies. That’s why when Mike Holmes came by to give us some tips I said, “Take a whack at it, baby!” So straight from the April 2011 Issue of HOLMES: The Magazine to Make it Right. The article, “Pest Patrol” contains information for every homeowner to learn how to spot, manage and prevent common springtime infestations.
4 SPRINGTIME PESTS: AND WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR PEST PATROL
• Termites – The Stealthy saboteurs, which like to live in underground colonies, enter your home from the soil and eat away at structural beams, wallpaper, floor joists and any other cellulose-based materials.
Signs: Evidence of wings (which they shed in the spring) along the ground surrounding your home and chewed up moldings, beams, floors or window casings.
Management: A professional will either apply a product to the soil near your foundation that kills termites, or use a bait system that draws them out. Once their colony is found, an insect growth regulator, that stunts the life cycle of pests, is used.
Prevention: Keep mulch 12 to 18 inches away from the home’s foundation, trim tree branches back about 6 inches from the siding and store firewood at least 20 feet away from the entire structure.
• Carpenter Bees – Now is when bees mate and create nests by tunneling through wood. They burrow into one spot and then create multiple tunnels that can weaken your home’s structure if too many are created in one piece of wood.
Signs: Perfectly rounded ½-inch holes in your exterior, with the sawdust-like remnants of chewed up wood on the ground.
Management: Typically, a professional will kill them by injecting a spray or dust treatment directly into the holes they travel through.
Prevention: Carpenter bees prefer bare, natural wood, so you can help prevent them by applying paint to exterior wood surfaces.
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“… not a fan of the creepy crawlies … “
• Rats and Mice – While rodents can enter your home any time of the year, they are especially driven by spring rains and floods to seek shelter now. Once inside your home, they can chew through wires, causing electrical malfunctions and house fires.
Signs: The presence of feces and the sound of scurrying in your walls.
Management: Professionals will strategically place either mechanical or chemical traps and bait products to lure them out and exterminate them.
Prevention: Rodents don’t need much room to get into your home—just a 1/4-inch gap under a door or a hole the size of a dime will do. Seal cracks with caulk and stuff gaps around junctions where pipes come out of your home with steel wool to prevent rodents from entering.
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• Carpenter Ants – As they emerge from winter nests, many ants build new colonies inside wood structures—and they like to attract friends by leaving a scent trail. Large colonies can weaken support beams to the point of collapse.
Signs: Look for small piles of sawdust (carpenter ants don’t eat the timber they burrow into), and pockmarks or other abnormalities on wood surfaces such as moldings and door.
Management: Pest management professionals will track down the nest and treat the area with slow-acting bait, whose delayed effect allows one ant to bring the toxin to the colony and share with other ants.
Prevention: Eliminate sources of water, such as leaky pipes, that will attract the carpenter ants and keep your kitchen counters free of sticky substances, such as spilled juice or syrup.
HOLMES: The Magazine to Make it Right is the most recent project of America’s Most Trusted Contractor, Mike Holmes, star of Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection as seen on HGTV.