According to the Institute of Real Estate Management:
“Building owners and managers must be on the lookout for five winter pests. The first is the box elder bug. Such pests feed on the little “whirlybird” seeds that are released from box elder and maple trees in the fall. When colder temperatures hit, they like to find a nice warm spot to hunker down for the winter. Box elder bugs are only a half inch long, so finding a way into most buildings is pretty easy. Look for them just inside the exterior walls of your building, on the warm sunnier side. Then, to stop these pests, all exterior cracks and crevices must be sealed. In addition, exterior doors must be sealed tightly on all sides. Cluster flies are the second winter pest to guard against. They tend to cluster in large numbers and come inside when winter arrives. To combat them, air handling and exchange units must be maintained with proper filters that prevent these pests from entering the airflow. Additionally, filters must be properly fitted within the unit to prevent bypassing. Asian multi-colored lady beetles are a potential third pest problem. They are often found in buildings during the winter, moving in groups, and releasing a smelly, yellowish liquid that can stain wall and ceiling coverings. Entrances must be fitted with brushes, gaskets, air curtains or other devices as appropriate to ensure that such insects cannot crawl or fly into the building.
A fourth pest to fight off now that it’s cold is the brown marmorated stink bug. Such pests, when disturbed, release a strong, foul order to the point where the surrounding area can be rendered unusable. The article’s author urges that all exterior doors and windows be kept closed or properly screened when open. In addition, the most effective means of removing these pests is by vacuuming occupied areas. Finally, be on the lookout for common house mice. Removal typically requires an effective trapping program.”
At Homestead Pest Management, we can help you to get rid of these and other pests, then design your plan for ongoing maintenance of your pest-free status. Contact us today to get more information or to schedule a personalized assessment of your home and/or property.
Do you have floor joists in your crawl space that look like the one to the right? When you do, you’ll notice the ‘furries,’ as one of my friends called the microbial infestation growing on that wood. What’s going on here? Why is stuff growing on the wood down in the crawl space?
Well, it might be mold and here’s what’s necessary for it to grow:
- Spores – They’re everywhere and will grow if the other conditions are met.
- Appropriate temperatures – They like pretty much the same temperatures we do, and even colder. Ever seen mold in your fridge?
- Food – Organic matter is what they like, and it’s everywhere. Mold likes cellulose (wood) and the more processed, the better. Paper is called mold candy by people who work in this field.
- Moisture – To sustain growth, a mold colony must have water. When the relative humidity of the air is 70% or higher, mold has enough water to grow.
So, of the four requirements for mold growth, the one we have most control over is moisture. Keep the materials and the air dry enough, and we won’t have a mold problem.
Have you measured the relative humidity in your crawl space? When I was doing improvements on homes, I’d install a digital thermo-hygrometer with a remote sensor in the crawl space so the homeowners could track the relative humidity. If you’re not doing this yet, and you have a crawl space, get yourself one of these devices now.
OK, so you’ve measured and determined that you do have high relative humidity in your crawl space. That’s not unusual at all, especially in a humid climate like we have here in the Southeast. Where’s the moisture coming from? And why is the humidity in a vented crawl space higher than the outdoor relative humidity? Here are three reasons.
1. Bulk Water
The first problem to look for is bulk water. If there’s standing water in your crawl space, you have either a drainage problem or a plumbing leak. You need to fix this immediately. Having a pond under your home is a bad, bad idea.
In the photo above, the problem was that the back yard sloped down to the house, bringing water up to the foundation wall. Since it was just a crawl space, the builder didn’t put any kind of water proofing on the concrete block or grade the yard properly to keep the hydrostatic pressure from building up against the block wall. You can see the result here. This was a new house with a serious bulk water problem. The joists were already growing stuff, and the fiberglass batt insulation was getting heavy and falling down.
2. Moisture Evaporating from the Ground
In the photo above, the ground was partially covered with a polyethylene vapor barrier. The dirt that wasn’t covered looked dry, but when I pulled the plastic back, I found that there was a lot of moisture in that soil. The soil that looked dry only looked that way because it was constantly evaporating moisture into the air of the crawl space. The foundation walls can also evaporate moisture into the air.
What do you do to solve the problem? Cover it all up with a vapor barrier!
3. Outdoor Air Coming in through the Crawl Space Vents
Some people find this hard to believe, but when you bring outdoor air into the crawl space, the relative humidity actually increases. Think about it this way: When air enters the crawl space, it cools down. Cool air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air, so the air that enters is now closer to its saturation point (which we call the dew point). It might’ve been 60% relative humidity outside (relative to a temperature of 90° F, say), but when that air came into the crawl space and cooled down to 75° F, the relative humidity jumped up to 95%. Not good!
What Can You Do?
If you’ve got a vented crawl space with high relative humidity caused by one or more of the above, to solve the problem, you’ve got to remove the causes. Bulk water is solved by fixing the drainage or plumbing problems. Water evaporating from the ground or coming through the vents can be fixed by encapsulating your crawl space.
One thing that does NOT work is to try to treat the symptom by installing a dehumidifier. Don’t do that!
In the midst of the warmer months of the year there is not much concern of pests that typically invade during the winter. After all, there is a lot of time to be spent on the lake, gardening and other fun-filled summer activities to pursue. But did you know that even when the weather is warm outside, rodents may still be trying to get into your home?
Although typically more of an issue in the winter when they need a warm place to reside, mice and rats are still in search of food during the summer which means they can still invade your home. When it comes to rodent infestations there are many concerns that should be considered even when the sun is shining and the warm weather abounds.
Gnawing on furniture, structures of the home, personal belonging, food packaging
Leave urine and droppings which leads to contamination
Can transmit diseases through droppings and biting
Cause fire hazards from chewing on electrical wiring
Can introduce other pests into the home such as fleas and mites
Clearly, rodents do not make good house guests regardless of the season and if you have been distracted by the long summer days (which let’s face it, we all have), it is possible that mice and/or rats may find their way into your Midwest home. Thankfully for homeowners, there are rodent prevention techniques as well as professional pest control services that are designed to keep mice and rats from breaking and entering no matter what time of the year.
For residents who are living in the West Tennessee area including Jackson, Lexington, Milan and throughout our large service area, Homestead Pest Management is prepared to help protect your home from mice and other rodents. With our trusted home pest control services you can set your worries aside and rest assured our experienced team will get rid of rodents and many other common household pests. To learn more or to schedule your pest control service, please give us a shout today!
During the fall and winter months, you won’t be paying as much attention to the outside of your home as you do during the spring and summer.
The weather is cooling down, leaves have fallen off the trees, and plants and other landscaping needs are not as critical.
However, failing to properly maintain the outside of your home this time of year can create an open invitation for many different types of pests, especially as they seek to stay warm inside your home during the cold winter months.
Fall Bugs & Pests
Fall bugs are abundant – as the seasons change, you’ll see pests coming and going.
Overwintering pests start making their way inside for shelter, while “summer” bugs, like flies and stinging insects, linger.
Watch as Jeremy from Homestead Pest Management explains a little about the VERY LARGE Yellow Garden Spider!
Crisp mornings and cozy evenings by the fire are welcome signs of the autumn season. But fall also signals the start of home insect invasions – not so welcome.
In temperate regions of the country, as days shorten and temperatures tumble, insects begin to seek out winter quarters. In warmer regions, as dry seasons fade to wet, insects shift into gear to search for dry quarters. While you anticipate spending the coming season snug, warm and dry indoors, insects are also eyeing your home as a potential winter havenContinue reading
With all these hot summer days, you wouldn’t think this is the time to be worried about the cooler weather and protecting your home from termites. But let me explain why getting started now makes the most sense for piece of mind and your pocket book.
When termites get to your home, they are literally designed to tear it apart, tiny piece by tiny piece. This fall is it is critical for your home’s safety that you get on a program to prevent these types of infestations. Let me explain why. Fair warning.. this gets a little scary.
Termites and ants are the home wreckers. They breach your home’s defenses and build colonies in your walls. Those colonies feed and burrow into your wood, making vast pathways through support beams and framing. Many homeowners don’t even see the destruction till it’s too late, and they are looking at thousands of dollars of repairs–if they can repair at all.
Rodents get into your crawl spaces and walls and bite on wires, and snack on sheet rock. In this way, other than being an awful, shaggy, disease carrier, that creeps through your cubberds and pantry, they can also cause issues with your electric, telephone, web, and TV wiring. These are difficult to find issues covered up inside your attic or walls, and can cost a great deal to fix. On the off chance that you’ve at any point paid an electrician to do anything, you know they’re not cheap.
Fall critters also bring infections and sickness. The cockroach loves microorganisms and rot. When he is finished dragging his gleaming dark colored body through the sewer pipe, he is all too happy to slither into your flour pack, or over into your silverware drawer. The bad part is, normally you don’t know it. Your kids becomes sick with this season’s flu virus, and you think it is just the season, unaware that the issue is being brought into your home by a fall intruder.
Creepy crawlies, wasps, insects, and ticks, love a decent warm place to spend winter. They get you while you’re sleeping or while you’re relaxing on the deck. They get you while you’re comfortable on the sofa. Insect bites are worse in the fall, because there are more of them. Also to the bugs, your warm, secure home, looks like a great place to settle in for their long winter stay.
Then, there are a whole slew of pests that are just plain irritating, like: ladybugs, stink bugs, crickets, silverfish, centipedes, cluster flies, and more.
In the fall, bugs and rodents are looking for a place to hibernate or overwinter. And they can turn your happy home into a horror film. That’s why fall pest control is so important. A pest professional can treat your yard, and set up devices that watch for harmful insects, like termites. They can stop many bugs before they even get to your home. Professionals have training on how to seal your house, and can spray the outside of your home, especially in hard to reach places, like the roof line and third story window frames.
You don’t have to live in fear of bugs and rodents. Proper fall maintenance can keep your home and your family safe, and bug free. You have enough to worry about. Leave your bug worries to the professionals.
Spring is almost here, which means many homeowners will indulge in spring cleaning in the next few weeks. During this time, we encourage homeowners to consider pest-proofing in and around the home.
Spring is the time, no matter how good or bad the winter, when people begin to notice an increase in pest infestations like ants, termites, flies and wasps or mosquitoes. The simplest way to minimize the possibility relevant to an infestation is prevention. Adding just a few quick and simple tasks along with the spring cleaning to-do list can work very well in keeping pests away from the home.
We recommend the next steps to prevent an infestation this spring:
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water at your house, including birdbaths also in clogged gutters.
- Seal cracks and holes along the foundation of the house including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Screen windows and doors.
- Keep tree branches and other plants from touching the house .
- Store firewood at least 20 feet off of the home on a raised structure with concrete blocks.
- Inspect the skin of a home for nests built by stinging insects, which can be found in the eaves under roofs or under the vinyl lip.
- Keep kitchens clean by wiping down counters and also other food surfaces after meal prep.
- Take out the trash frequently and store it in a sealed container outdoors.
- Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time.
If you suspect you have an infestation, contact us at 731.422.2643 so we can help you determine the best course of action by determining the species of the insects and recommend a program of treatment.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”