Could pests be secretly compromising your home’s integrity?

Termites are among the most destructive pests that can infest homes, causing billions of dollars in damage each year in the United States alone. These wood-eating insects establish underground colonies and build tunnels called mud tubes to access above-ground wood sources like wall studs, floors, and ceilings.  This leads to sagging floors, walls, or ceilings that may eventually collapse – a serious safety hazard. Hardwood floors, furniture, doors, and window frames are also vulnerable to termite damage. Termites are difficult to detect in the early stages because their damage is hidden behind walls, floors, and ceilings.

  1. Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden surfaces, or floor
  2. Wood that sounds hollow when tapped
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood surfaces
  4. Piles of termite droppings near wood

If termite damage is extensive, floors may become bouncy or unstable. Homeowners may notice hard-to-open and close doors or windows that get stuck due to damaged frames.

Drilling through wood

Like termites, carpenter ants tunnel through and nest inside wood, though they don’t eat it – they just burrow into it. These large black ants severely damage wood framing, floors, ceilings, walls, doors, windows, and decks over time. Signs of carpenter ant infestation include piles of wood shavings or debris near wood, audible rustling noises inside walls or ceilings, and of course, seeing the ants themselves emerging from wood tunnels or openings straight from the source. Similar to termites, homeowners may notice sagging, uneven, or bouncy floors and ceilings if the damage is advanced. One concerning aspect of carpenter ant damage is that their tunnels through structural wood leave it weakened against stress and weight loads – compromising its ability to support weight and distribute force properly.

Gnawing and contamination

Rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents also present a risk to home integrity through their gnawing habits and ability to spread contamination. Rodents have front teeth that never stop growing, so they must constantly gnaw and chew on surfaces to trim them down. This means wood, drywall, electrical wiring, and plastic piping all fall victim to rodent gnawing over time if they establish a presence in the home. Chewed wiring poses a fire hazard, while damage to water supply lines leads to leaks and water damage. Structural wood like joists, studs, and support beams are also vulnerable.

Protecting your home’s structural integrity

Preventing pest infestations before major damage occurs is the best strategy for maintaining a home’s structural soundness. This involves eliminating Entry points, food and water sources, and conducive conditions that attract and enable pests to thrive.

  • Seal cracks and holes in the home’s exterior that allow pest entry
  • Keep kitchens clean and store food properly
  • Fix any plumbing leaks and sources of moisture buildup
  • Ventilate bathrooms, kitchens, attics, and crawl spaces properly
  • Remove sources of standing water around the home’s perimeter
  • Keep vegetation, wood piles, and debris away from the home’s foundation
  • Have gutters and downspouts working to direct water away

Even with good prevention practices, routine inspection for signs of pest activity is recommended – catching infestations early is key to minimizing the damage to a home’s structure and avoiding major repair costs. If evidence of termites, carpenter ants, rodents, or moisture issues is found, it’s best to have a professional pest control service evaluate the situation right away. Homeowners should also consider having professional pest inspections done annually and more frequently if the property is prone to pest problems based on its age, construction, or environmental factors. Many pest control companies offer free inspections and estimates.

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