What are some typical pests encountered in Canada that can affect my home?
Household pest types vary significantly across Canada, and include animals, such as birds, bats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, etc. and insects, such as termites, powderpost beetles, ants and stinging insects. Pests can enter a house through common building openings, such as chimney flues, roof vents, dryer/ bathroom/kitchen fan vents, openings in soffits/fascia, holes in window/door screens, the top of an overhead electrical mast, or utility penetrations in the foundation. Most insects and some small animals (i.e. mice), can access the home through holes as small as ¼” in diameter. Wood-boring insects are unique because they don’t need a hole in a building for entry; termites and powderpost beetles typically enter the home through exposed wood on the lower perimeter of a home.
What are some health and safety concerns associated with pest entry into my home?
Several health and safety concerns associated with pests are summarized below:
Mice and other rodents can chew through electrical wire sheathing, and pests can sometimes build nests or hives in electrical panels, creating a potential electrical safety issue that may be a shock hazard or cause a fire. This emphasizes the importance of responding quickly to control/remove pests at the first sign of pest activity in a home. Licensed electricians should also be consulted if repairs to electrical systems are required.
Bird or rodent nests built in chimney exhaust flues can go unnoticed through the summer, but when colder fall nights arrive, the nests can prevent proper venting and cause combustion gases from appliances to back up into the home. This can cause harmful exhaust gases, such as carbon monoxide to enter the home. To enhance safety, proper spark arrestors should be installed at the peak of all chimney flues to prevent pest entry. Chimneys should be inspected annually by a qualified contractor to ensure there are no blockages in the flues.
Certain bird and bat feces can grow a fungus that is toxic, which can cause a disease called histoplasmosis, a potentially serious illness. If bird/bat feces are present in an attic, it should be left undisturbed or removed by a qualified contractor who will have protective clothing on, and who will be able to dispose of the waste safely and properly.
Holes that are created when an animal enters a building often create pathways for moisture to enter into a building’s attic, walls, etc. The moisture may be concealed and unable to dry for long periods of time. This environment is ideal for mold growth, which could potentially be a health concern, especially if residents have mold allergies.
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