Bugs in my new House! #whatbugsme
You just moved into your new home. It is clean, fresh, and empty. This is the start of something beautiful. Until you start seeing bugs. Wait a minute, this house is brand new, it shouldn’t have bugs. We haven’t even had time to dirty it or break anything. What is going on!?
Believe it or not I hear this often. The expectations of a new home are that it is unadulterated and bug free because it is new. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. Think about the house under construction. The project could take 6 months to a year and during those varying stages of construction, now unseen parts were then exposed to the elements. Even before then, the materials used were exposed to who knows what before they were slotted for your home. Exposed to moisture, wind, spores, insects, wildlife, and sun, who knows what went on before the drywall, paint , and wallpaper went up. Once the roof is on and the walls are installed, these previously open areas are closed off for ever. And whatever bug was there then is also closed off in the darkness. This is especially true for overwintering pests such as lady bugs, boxelder beetles, kudzu bugs, and stink bugs. Out of sight and out of mind is what will bite you in the behind.
Besides the altering of the materials inside the walls there are more dangers to consider. Just the fact of the guts of the home being exposed allows pests to hide out just for shelter purposes. Then when they are walled up they also are protected and left to thrive on the other bugs hiding or feeding on fungi. This makes it more difficult to get rid of them. The way homes are built now, if the home owner isn’t going to see it, aesthetics are almost a zero priority. The first example I offer is behind your appliances. Pull the stove out and see if there is a baseboard behind there. Likely there is nothing, leaving a gap between the floor and the wall perfect to catch dust bunnies and your 3 year old’s Cheerios. This makes for the perfect bug highway to food and you will never see it. The second example is plumbing. See that silver ring around the pipe where it goes into the wall? That serves no purpose except to hide the ugly hole poked into the wall to run the pipe through. I call these Plumbers Cheat Rings. Every single home I have ever been in unless the home owner fixed it has these openings. Even when sealing these areas was in the contract for the build they still never do it. I don’t know why except laziness and cutting corners. Pull the ring back, you may have to wiggle it a bit then seal the hole behind it with silicone caulk or expanding foam. Often times there is no room to pull the ring out especially on a toilet. In this case caulking around the ring will do the trick.
If fungi and mold grow inside the walls it has a very hard time drying out with no
exposure to sun or air flow.. Insects like roaches and beetles can feed on this and lay eggs inside the walls. Here they are protected and allowed to thrive until the numbers grow to the point where they begin to come visit you watching TV or cooking. Mold requires an organic food source, such as cloth, sheet rock, or wood, and a moisture source to grow and can begin to grow if any organic material remains wet for more than 48 hours. The way to control mold growth indoors is to control moisture indoors. Mold spores are very common outdoors and there is no practical way to eliminate all mold spores indoors. Molds can grow undetected inside wall spaces, under carpet, and inside HVAC systems. Mold growth can often be the visible sign of a structural defect that allows moisture to intrude into a building. Cleanup of large areas of mold growth can cause airborne levels of spores to increase up to 10,000 times that of background levels. Stephen King (no, not that one) from Mold Doctors USA says that once the moisture problem is inside the wall there are 2 ways to remediate the problem. The best way to abate mold growth indoors is to remove the impacted materials. Cleaning the surface of a material with mold growth may not always kill the mold, especially if mold is growing on porous materials like sheet rock or carpeting. Professional mold removal is the way to keep your family safe. If removing the affected area is not an option they can drill small holes behind the baseboards to blow hot air into the walls but again, removal is always better. Besides the bug issues mold and fungi can be health hazards. Call Stephen at Mold Doctors for a FREE Consultation. (865 945 3000
I have a customer right now that has a sevier issue with ants in a dirt-filled front porch. They may be called “dirt-filled” but they actually can contain rocks, construction debris and food trash from the construction crew. This settles over time to create a void. This settling can also cause the joints and mortar to crack causing access to the protected void containing bug food. In this case the openings are minuscule but more than enough for ants to access the protected playground under the porch. I have only 2 options here, bait for the ants multiple times or drill holes in the porch to inject material. The customer and I chose the less invasive but slower option of baiting the ants. When they are eliminated the cracks will have to be sealed up and inspected periodically to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The point here is, like the walls inside your home, once construction is completed, the treatment options diminish dramatically.
Even moving into an old home has it’s own problems. If it has been vacant for a while, it seems like nature eventually takes her territory back and this includes the pests. Over time the j-traps and toilets dry up. Damage can occur just from not being used and if something breaks, no one is there to maintain it. Best case scenario you are moving in as they are moving out. Hold your horses, even that causes pests. Whether it is you moving in or them moving out, the door is left open more than normal to get the job done. This is also sometimes the first time you see what is actually behind the refrigerator. If something made it’s home there for years without you knowing, you just removed their home causing them to roam around the house to find a new one. If you are moving into an existing home right before you move in is the absolute best time to service the home for pests. This is likely the only time till you move out that some areas are going to accessible.
On a different note, customers tell me all the time that they have lived in this house for 20 years and never had a pest problem. This realization has them stressed out wondering if something is wrong, if they haven’t been cleaning as well as before, or a miriad of other concerns. The truth is, comparing your pest activity from year to year will only take you so far. Many many things change in the course of 12 months you may not even consider. For starters, your home is not the same as it was last year much less 20 years ago. Things have been broken, replaced, and altered since then. Also a house over time settles causing cracks and leaks. Your house, just like our bodies break down and wear out. You may have had beautiful windows 20 years ago but 20 years of sun, wind, rain, and abuse eventually take a toll. Our priorities also change over time. In my house I have given up on keeping the carpet stain free with 2 kids and a dog. We will worry about that when the kids are gone. Our fast paced lives are abusive to the things around us especially if you have kids. When they are gone you may start to slow down and notice things (or remember) that need attention previously prioritized to the back burner. At the end of the day just remember there is always something to do to a house and the pest is not the problem, it is an effect of the problem.
What can you do? Well, prevention is always the key. Right before the walls go up a general application to those interior walls could save you allot of trouble later and considering what you might have to deal with in the future, it is not expensive and well worth it. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know this is even an issue until it is too late. If the issue is pests feeding on mold, then the answer is drying the house out and physical removal which could mean opening a wall, not a favorable solution.
Phoenix Pest Control serves Knox and Blount counties in East Tennessee
Call today for your FREE Diagnostic Inspection
(865) 963-8867 Knox
(865) 455-8571 Blount