With summer comes a variety of problematic insects. While a majority of these summer pests can be harmless, homeowners are often surprised to discover their home plagued with the "not-so-harmless" varieties - especially those with a hunger for wood. Insects such as Carpenter ants and termites are not an unrealistic problem for homeowners, even here in Oregon. They are known for the extensive damage they can do the wood structure of a home, garage, or apartment building. It is important to keep an eye out for these types of bugs - get to know what attracts them and what you should do in case your home also becomes their home.
Ants and Carpenter Ants
Almost every homeowner has battled ants before - those tiny black pests scurrying across kitchen floors in search of crumbs and food. Ants are a common household nuisance, but virtually harmless. To deter ants, empty and wash garbage cans regularly, keep tight seals on your food, check for small cracks from which ants might be able to enter the house, and avoid leaving crumbs, leftovers and unwashed dishes sitting out. There are a variety sprays and poisons available, but homeowners can also contact pest control if the problem worsens.
Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are a much larger problem then the common house ant. These pests are distinguished by their larger size, dark color, and some have wings when swarming. Carpenter ants are known to tunnel and chew through wood, making them destructive visitors. They often nest in the walls of building and houses. Learn more about Carpenter ants from an Inspections Unlimited professional. Removing Carpenter ants from your home is absolutely necessary. Boric acid can kill them, though it is suggested to contact a professional for removal.
Another well-known household intruder, termites are definitely something to keep an eye out for. Homeowners are encouraged to take preventative measures to avoid termite infestation from the start. Termites are very problematic and are know to do extensive damage to homes and other wooden structures. You are cautioned to take action as soon as possible if an infestation has occurred. Depending on the species of termites, these insects range from creamy white, pale yellow, and dark red in color. There are three primary types of termites: the dampwood termite, the drywood termite, and the subterranean termite.
True to their name, dampwood termite colonies exist around moist, damp wood. They are known to appear in the Pacific coastal states and other areas across the country. Dampwood termites can be found in logs, stumps and rotting trees, and from these locations they migrate into wood structures - such a home or apartment building, especially where wood comes into contact with the ground or is deteriorating or moist. And, of course, a source for moisture. Keep an eye out for moisture problems or decaying wood since both create an environment where dampwood termites can thrive. If these critters are found, it's advised to eliminate the moisture source and wood-to-ground contact. Also, any damaged or infested wood should be treated or replaced.
Opposite of their close cousins, drywood termites prefer wood with a very low moisture content. Because of this, this species of termites are often found in the dry areas of the southern United States. Swarmers appear pale yellowish-brown to reddish brown in color, while the solider termites are often orange to reddish brown. These termites are known to swarm and can fly directly into wooden structures to infest them directly, preferring exposed wood first, such as door frames, eaves of a home, etc. They are also known to take up residence is pieces of furniture. The most successful way to ridding a home of drywood termites is fumigation, or if the infestation is limited to a single item, it can usually be removed and destroyed.
Subterranean termites are one of the most common species of termites found in the United States and Oregon. These insects are often dark in color and can often be identify by their wings when they swarm. Subterranean termites often build colonies located in the ground. They build "mud tunnels" from the nest to sources of food and do enter into structures through small cracks or gaps. Usually, subterranean termites can be controlled with a chemical barrier placed around the home. Homeowners are also advised to clear all soil-to-wood contact, along with clearing debris and other possible attractions from around the home.
Unsure about an infestation?
Sometimes, it might be difficult to identify an infestation in your home. Luckily, pest problems can often be found during routine home inspection. Inspections Unlimited offers specialized pest and wood destroying organism inspections. An Inspections Unlimited professional can lend a hand in identifying the insects, assess any damage that might have been caused, and help you better understand the removal process. An infestation can put your home at risk, which is why it's necessary to identifying and solve the buggy problem before it gets serious.