Pest Inspection To Prevent Wood Destroying Insects that cause millions of dollars in property damage for Southwestern PA homes & buildings
Pest Inspection For Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants: These insects like to nest in wood – particularly wet wood. They don’t eat it. A tell-tale sign of the presence of carpenter ants is small recurring piles of sawdust. Carpenter ants are especially fond of softwood; it’s easier to carve out their nest. Typically, they will simply infest one area, not a large portion of the house, as is often the case with termites. Water entry from plumbing leaks or other sources often encourages carpenter ant activity. Carpenter ant damage is typically localized and may be combined with rot damage.
Southwestern PA is a hotbed for Termites, Carpenter Ants, Carpenter Bees, & Beetles. Unfortunately, these wood-destroying insects can cause extensive damage and the warning signs are easily overlooked.
Home Inspection For Termites
Termites: The most destructive of all, actually eat the wood while other insects simply nest in it. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, termites are known as “silent destroyers’ because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper undetected. Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage. They are easily overlooked outside of the home, around the foundation, inside the walls and wood framing.
Look for mud tubes – brown sand-like tubes slightly smaller in diameter than a pencil. Due to their small size and their need to remain moist inside the mud tubes and soil, live termites are not usually seen except when swarming in the Spring. During April through June, winged termites (“swarmers”) appear in large numbers and fly a short distance where their wings will break off – often this is the first clue of a problem. If you have a finished basement or slab-on-grade home with wood framing on the concrete slab, they can enter directly from the soil below.
If the home has a concrete block foundation, the termites can travel inside the hollow cores of the blocks. The top course of blocks should be solid to help discourage termite travel. Termite damage can range from minor (if caught in time) to major, and hidden damage is often a concern. When termites are discovered, treatment is recommended to prevent further damage.
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Powder post beetle Destroy Exterior
Powder post beetles: These insects act a lot like carpenter ants, except their “sawdust” is more refined, actually tiny spheres of wood. Small pinholes on the surface of old wood are usually evidence of past (or present) powder post beetle activity.
If the powder is noted below the pinholes the insects are likely active. Older homes (more than 75 years old) often show evidence of these insects. Damage may be minor in many cases, however, significant structural damage can occur and depends on how much “solid wood” remains.
Carpenter bees bore holes in everything wood
Carpenter bees: They are somewhat like carpenter ants with striped uniforms, often blue or black, and they look like bumblebees. They like to nest in the exposed softwoods (cedar, redwood, pine, etc.) on the exterior of the home – exterior siding, trim, soffits, fascia, etc. Unpainted wood is more prone to damage than painted finishes.
Carpenter bees are more airborne than carpenter ants, which are only capable of flying during one brief period of their early growth. Carpenter bees bore round holes approximately the diameter of your finger in the wood. Coarse sawdust the color of fresh wood can typically be seen below the hole if the bees are active and burrowing sounds can often be heard within the wood. While their damage is usually cosmetic, significant deterioration of the wood can occur.