what are some common pest control techniques that are available to handle pest activity in my home?
common types of building damage caused by animals include:
Shingle deterioration can occur if animals continually walk across a roof, or if persistent bird excrement is present. Raccoons can actually tear shingles off a roof to gain attic access. Other animals access attics by damaging soffit/fascia or roof vents. In addition, resultant water entry into a home through very small openings caused by pest intrusion can cause many problems, ranging from cosmetic damage to interior finishes, to wood rot of structural framing, if moisture persists for extended periods of time.
Significant structural damage can be caused by wood-boring insects, such as termites, powderpost beetles or carpenter ants. Unfortunately, this damage is often hidden behinds walls and is not detected for a long period of time. This damage is usually discovered after the pest infestation has occurred.
Damage to attic insulation can be caused by larger animals, such as raccoons. In some cases, they can compress insulation up to 25% of the original thickness when rummaging about in an attic. This greatly reduces the air spaces in the insulation materials and makes the insulation less effective. Following pest removal, compressed insulation should be carefully “fluffed,” or in some cases, retrofitted with additional insulation, in order to restore or improve energy efficiency in this area.
Common Pest Control Techniques:
Unique pest problems often require specialized or unique solutions that can be offered by qualified contractors. However, there are several common pest control techniques that homeowners can often use.
Seal any opening larger than 1⁄4” on the exterior of the home. This may involve repairing sections of trim, installing vent screens or spark arrestors on chimney flues, and ensuring any other openings are properly sealed. Large tree branches should be cut away from the roof to reduce accessibility to the home. If animals, such as mice have already entered the home, setting traps or bait to control the mice, is often effective. If mice persist, or if other larger animals are already in the home, we recommend consulting a qualified pest abatement contractor for assistance.
Since insects can be much smaller than 1⁄4”, sealing the exterior of the house to prevent insect entry is not always very effective. However, it is a logical first step in reducing the potential for entry to the home. Certain insecticides or pesticides are used by homeowners to control and kill insects. In some cases, certain flying insects, such as bees or wasps, attempt to build hives in exterior cavities by entering through weep holes at the base of brick siding. The weep holes are one of the few locations on the exterior of homes that should not be sealed, as they allow building materials behind the brick siding material to dry properly. Steel wool can often be inserted in the weep holes to prevent insect entry, and to allow air to dry building materials.
To reduce the potential for termite entry, all “wood pathways” between the soil and the home should be removed on the building exterior. This includes removing wood to earth contact associated with decks or fence posts, wood siding, and all vegetation that may be growing against the home. It is recommended that a qualified contractor be consulted when dealing with wood- boring insects, because of the specialized and sometimes regulated nature of treatment methods.
Visit the home inspection experts at AmeriSpec of Canada for more tips and valuable home improvement information.