- HOMES ARE PRONE TO GETTING INSECT INFESTATIONS
- PREVENTIVE PEST TREATMENTS SAVE MONEY AND AGGRAVATION
- HOUSES CANNOT BE BUILT INSECT PROOF
- PEST PROBLEMS FOR NEW HOMES
- TERMITE PRETREATMENT SPRAY
- TERMITE PRETREATMENT BAIT STATIONS
- TERMITE PRETREATMENTS HELP STOP FUNGUS ROT
- MOISTURE CONTROL TO STOP TERMITES
- CONTACT US
When most people think about pretreating a home during construction they only consider termites. In fact, there are many things that can be done which will help to prevent future problems from other pests. This article will detail these treatments after we discuss several misunderstandings the general public has about building material and construction methods. Since most concern is about wood destroying pests, this article will focus on termites, old house borers, powderpost beetles, carpenter ants and carpenter bees. Although fungus is not an insect, it will also be mentioned since it can lead to wood damage both directly and indirectly.
HOMES ARE PRONE TO GETTING INSECT INFESTATIONS
Insect control is basic maintenance of home ownership. Virtually all pests find their way into our homes through cracks, crevices and hundreds of routes of entry which are available in every house. There are too many to list and this article will not attempt to do so; however, the point of this discussion is to make you aware that most pests will use these points of entry to gain a foothold into your home. Once established, they will breed and grow in number. Many people think there is something magical that can be done before, during or right after a home is built which will make it insect proof. This is simply not the case. There is no one thing that will make your home free of insects forever.
PREVENTIVE PEST TREATMENTS SAVE MONEY AND AGGRAVATION
Since most infestations occur after the home is built, preventive maintenance outside the home will usually keep invading pests to a minimum. But what about certain types of wood or construction methods that make claims to be insect proof? Generally, the claims are OK but tend to be misunderstood. For example, pressure treated lumber is not insect proof. Though termites and other wood destroying organisms will choose another wood source over pressure treated lumber, if none other is available, they will eat it. I have seen this time and time again.
Another reason this can happen is that pressure treated lumber tends to be used where it is moist or damp. Moisture seems to break the wood as well as the treatment down over time and termites will readily eat this wood once weakened. Don’t think the use of anything pressure treated is immune to wood destroying insects. This is particularly true when such wood is used on decks, landscaping and small structures alongside the home where moisture is high and wood to earth contact exists.
HOUSES CANNOT BE BUILT INSECT PROOF
Another misperception is that cedar is insect proof. People have stated to me that they choose their house to be made with cedar because the builder said termites and other pests will never touch it. In over 20 years of dealing with home builders, I have never had a single one say they ever said that! I don’t know where this misinformation evolved, but it simply will not go away. In fact, cedar homes are the main reason why many people have problems with all types of insects and animals. For whatever the reason, we know many animals including flying squirrels, gray squirrels, woodpeckers, rats and others seem to prefer being active in or around cedar homes. Carpenter bees, powderpost beetles and wood wasps all seem to love this wood as well. Don’t choose cedar for the siding on your home because it will “pest proof” it, choose it because you like it’s look!
And if you choose it because you like it’s look, you more than anyone should read our whole article and be sure to book mark our article archive because you will be needing to reference ours sight as the pest problems of owning cedar develop!
Here are some other myths you need to know about.
1. “Slab homes are termite proof because they have no basement”. In fact, unfinished basements make for easy reliable inspection. Homes which have unfinished basements are easier to treat, less likely to develop any major problem and less likely to have termites in the first place. Most homes with an unfinished basement that get termites have activity where the garage slab attaches to the home, by the front stoop, the rear stoop or any attached patio slabs. However, once the basement is finished, all this changes. Finished basements are very likely to develop termites. You will read below the best way to prevent this from happening. Slab homes are the most likely type of structure to get termites and the reasons are many.
2. “Termite shields are better than a termite job”. What a misrepresentation. Having termite shields really does nothing except let you better see where the termites have entered! For this reason alone they are worth getting. But don’t rely on them to keep termites out. It’s not going to happen. If you want to keep termites out, you will have to pretreat as described below.
3. Solid concrete foundations keep termites out. Again, I am not sure where this evolved, but rest assured, termites love to tunnel over solid concrete about as much as they love to tunnel over block, wood, brick, rock or any other building material. Solid foundations do improve inspection capability as well as keep the invaders on the surface. Block foundations can separate and crack and termites traveling in these cracks are much harder to find.
4. “Every crack and crevice leading into this home will be caulked so pests will never be able to enter”. It’s not going to happen. Don’t worry though for it is worth the effort. But again, this is not pest control or pretreating. This is mechanical control. In other words, by minimizing gaps and seams through which insects can enter you can reduce the amount of pests which may infest. Though this is true, there are simply too many cracks and crevice available. Rest assured, you will be able to keep out more by properly sealing your home. But remember, insect infestations generally don’t occur because of continuous migration inside. Most happen because one got inside and produced young. In other words, it only takes one to start a problem and there are simply too many entry points to close. Therefore, if you want to stop an infestation from happening in the home, you will need to first minimize routes of entry by doing a good sealing job but then secondly minimize the amount of pests living immediately adjacent to your home. This combination will prove to be most effective.
5. “We are installing pest treatment tubing so we won’t have to worry about what we actually use to build nor our method of construction”. Wrong again. Such systems do allow you to treat wall voids and other hard to reach areas of the home. However, this only will prove to be effective if the pest problem is actually that deep and specific. Many problems never get below the surface. Even with it’s short comings, it is good to have. But again, don’t rely on one tool. Listed below are several materials which will last for many years if applied to wall voids during construction. These products will stop pests from living is treated areas and are easy to apply during construction.
6. “All the lumber being used for our home has been kiln dried so there is no risk of pests coming in with it”. Wrong again. Though kiln drying will help to kill off many wood destroying pests, lumber can get reinfested simply by being stored. Chances are some of the wood used for your home will have pests in it and such wood presents a real and clear danger of spreading this activity.
PEST PROBLEMS FOR NEW HOMES
Every new home has real problem areas which will vary from state to state and structure to structure. However, there are some which apply to almost all homes and others which only some of you will have to worry about.
TERMITE PRETREATMENT SPRAY
1. Termites. If you have termites where you are building a home, have the home pretreated. If you hire a service company, be careful if they are only charging you $100.00 to $200.00. Most homes will require a cost of chemical alone which will exceed these amounts. In fact, a company can treat a home which is already built in a day.
However, if you are building a home which has a footer, a block foundation, a slab and a veneer, the treatment will have to be done over several days. The actual treatments must be done so that the treated soil does not lay unprotected for any length of time. This varies from label to label and state to state, but the best time to treat a footer is right before they pour the foundation walls or lay the block. The best time to treat under a slab is right before they pour the cement. The soil around the home needs to be treated after it is pushed back against the home and graded. In order for any service company to perform this function they would have to show up at your home many times during construction.
The problem is this is a scheduling nightmare as well as a process which raises the cost so much that the general attitude of many service companies is to simply not do a complete treatment and offer limited warranties. Be aware of such “deals”. If you really want to protect the home properly, get a company to come out at the right times and make sure you see them add the right amount of chemical concentrate to the tank before they spray! Be prepared to pay over a $1000.00 for the completed service, but you can then rest assured it was done correctly.
So if you decide you want to do some of the work yourself, make sure you are getting enough chemical applied. A good product for this is PERM SFR CONCENTRATE. It will cover a large area for several years and you will need to apply it under slabs, around footers and foundation walls, under stoops, under patios and behind veneers. Give us a call in order to get a schedule for when you will need to do the applications around the home you are building. There are too many options to cover all of them in this article but our sales staff will be more than happy to explain how and when you will need to make these critical treatments.
Permethrin SFR: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/perm-sfr
By doing it yourself, you will know the treatment was complete and done right and with the right amount of chemical. Use a HOSE END SPRAYER to apply the material. This both easy to use and works well in providing the right amount of water as a chemical carrier so that it gets down into the soil where it is needed.
TERMITE PRETREATMENT BAIT STATIONS
Once the home is finished and you have pushed all the back fill in place, consider setting out some TERMITE BAIT STATIONS. These are are plastic tubes which set in the ground and contain a cellulose lure which termites like to feed. Use a SOIL AUGER to dig small holes around the home, no closer than 3 feet away from the foundation, and then place the Stations into the holes.
Termite Bait Station: http://www.bugspraycart.com/bait/stations/advance-termite-bait-station
Bait Station Auger: http://www.bugspraycart.com/bait/stations/advance-termite-bs-spider-tool
Once installed, they will serve as a monitor of termite activity since any foraging around the home on your property will more than likely find such an offering. Once found, they will begin to feed on the untreated lure. These stations need to inspected at least once a quarter or 4 times a year and once activity has been found, replace the plain stake with a BAIT CARTRIDGE. These cartridges contain a chemical which will be brought back to the colony and indirectly cause it to either retreat from your home or to shut down altogether depending on how much of the active ingredient makes it’s way into their society.
Termite Bait Station Cartridge: http://www.bugspraycart.com/bait/stations/advance-termite-bs-bait-cart
2. Powderpost Beetles and Old House Borers. These wood eating beetles occur in virtually all types of wood. Different species are active in different areas of the country and they are wood type specific as well. There are soft wood eating borers as well as hard wood species. This article will not get into the biology of this destructive pest. But if you want to read up on them, go to this article:
Powderpost beetles are mentioned here because they are no doubt a common problem in new homes. This happens because some of the lumber used in the home’s construction contained an active infestation. The most common scenario is that a few months after the new homeowner moves in, they start noticing exit holes in their wood floor or a cabinet in the home. Our article covers how to treat these problems as well as what you can do to prevent them from ever happening. And if you’re inclined to do some pretreatments, BORACARE would be the way to go for any exposed and untreated wood in the home. It will take care of termites but it also handles most any wood destroying organism so it has a lot of benefit when applied.
The same goes for any cabinets, moldings or other expensive wood you intend to have built into your new home. Treat these first with Boracare or after the wood has been installed but not yet finished. There is nothing more depressing than seeing the dust of exit holes a few months or a year after the home has been built. Such infestations lead to depression, anger and aggravation in getting it resolved. Do yourself a favor and any wood you would like to keep in tact which may be expensive to replace simply treat with Boracare. Powderpost beetles will come in with any cabinet, molding or other exotic wood and once left to live in your new home will cause a lot of grief.
Although the studs, rafters and siding of the home can come with powderpost beetles, most will die out over time. However, you may consider treating it if this would make you happy or if you are building in a region with high incidence of this pest. This is particularly true if you are building in a region with high moisture. Humidity allows these beetles to thrive in crawl spaces and attics. Treating this part of the home is also suggested if you have drywood termites locally. Once treated, you won’t have to worry about needing future fumigation jobs. This alone would save thousands of dollars since most pest control companies charge over $10,000.00 to tent a home and treat for drywood termites when they do a fumigation. Take this possibility out of the equation by treating with Boracare.
If you want to save a little on product cost, at least treat with TIMBOR. Timbor won’t penetrate like the Boracare but it will prove helpful. Both products will help prevent infestations of other pests as well since the wood treated in the structure won’t allow ants, roaches or other pests to live. Apply either Timbor or Boracare with a PUMP SPRAYER. Get one with the tip that allows you to spray wide, flat bands allowing even application coverage.
Solo 454 Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/solo-1-gallon-sprayer
One final word about powderpostbeetles; if you are building a log home, definitely apply Boracare before you finish the home. We have dealt with so many homeowners over the years who have had problems after the home is built. Problems which surfaced years after the home was out of warranty and lead to a lot of damage as well as aggravation. Although most log home builders will make an honest effort to insure the wood is beetle free, there are simply too many logs being used which have problems. Forget that the logs are kiln dried or dipped in Timbor, do yourself a favor and treat them with Boracare while the wood is new and unfinished.
TERMITE PRETREATMENTS HELP STOP FUNGUS ROT
3. Fungus. Although this is not an insect, it certainly is a “pest”. Fungus will lead to a lot of wood damage for two reasons. First, the fungus itself will “feed” on cellulose which weakens it both structurally and and cosmetically.
Secondly, such moisture and fungus growth ultimately will lead to one of several types of pests including any of the major wood destroying ones listed above. Although moisture can occur from a leaky roof, most fungus problems are the result of a long term moisture supply, generally small and hard to notice, which works it’s way into wood. This can occur one of two ways. If the home is built on a lot which has high water levels or where water tends to accumulate, the cement foundation of the home will absorb the water and then transmit it to the wood sill plate and structural members above. This will not happen immediately. In fact, it could take years.
This scenario can also occur if the home is a slab. Moisture will creep up through the cement and then be absorbed by the studs and other parts of the home above. The more direct way moisture finds it’s way into the home is when the house is constructed over a crawl space. If there are high levels of moisture in the region, this moisture will permeate through the soil and readily absorb into the wood above. If you intend on building your home with a crawl space and believe there are high levels of moisture close by, there are a few things to do which will help to both keep moisture levels low and to remove them before they can absorb into the wood of the home.
MOISTURE CONTROL TO STOP TERMITES
First, be sure to have enough ventilation in the crawl. Although you can use traditional manually controlled vents, upgrade to TEMP VENTS. These are temperature controlled and because of their construction, will not break down. Metal vents need to be replaced. Temp Vents will last a life time.
The next thing you can do in the crawl space is to install at least 4 MIL POLY on top of the soil. This will act as a moisture barrier between the soil and the wood above. Once in place, it will prevent the moisture from releasing and allowing fungus to grow above. The last thing you can do is pretreat. Do this to any wood you feel will be exposed to high moisture. Again, wood which is directly above a moist crawl space or wood which is sitting on top of a slab are key areas to treat. If you want the ultimate protection, use Boracare. If you are not too concerned about problems but want to do something while the wood is easy to treat, use Timbor. Again, this easy to do treatment will provide both protection and assurance that you don’t quickly get problems where future treatments are difficult and costly.
4. CARPENTER ANTS and CARPENTER BEES. Although these are two pests which infest wood, they are very different from termites and boring beetles. The big difference is that they don’t actually eat the wood. Both only bore through it for nesting. However, both can cause a lot of damage. Although there are many pests which can infest homes after it has been constructed, these two are of economic importance due to the damage they will cause. However, there is not much that can be done during construction to prevent such infestations. We feel it is important to educate about these two pests because preventive maintenance to keep them off and away from your home will work to control just about every other insect as well. Therefore, if you follow a regular pest control program geared at stopping them from getting into your home you will actually be achieving a broader pest control result.
Carpenter Ants: http://www.bugspray.com/article/carpenterants.html
Carpenter Bees: http://www.bugspray.com/article/carpenterbee.html
These treatments can be done every month or every few months, depending on the material which is used. If you prefer to treat monthly, use a product like CYPERMETHRIN. It is easy to mix because it comes in a container which has it’s own measuring device. If you want a product which will last a little longer, try DEMAND. It uses new technology which basically time releases the active ingredient. This means treatments will last 2-3 months. Great if you prefer to treat less and spend more time doing stuff like cutting grass or other home repairs! Apply either product with one of our Pump Sprayers listed above and be sure to concentrate your efforts around point of entry like windows, where pipes enter the home, decks, doors, garages and air compressors.
If you are building a home and want to do so using products and design methods which help to reduce pests and pest activity, it can be done without major sacrifice. Over the years, we have seen certain patterns which repeat themselves over and over regarding pests and why or how they come to infest a home. We hope to have dispelled some misunderstandings about certain building materials and at the same time educated you about some of the real problems that may need to be confronted. As many that we have listed we know there are more and rest assured we will add to our list as time goes on. For now, once you make some basic decisions on how you intend on building your home chances are there is something listed above which you may consider doing. As we have tried to explain, preventive maintenance is so much easier to do than complete applications intended to eradicate a pest once it is established in the home.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
Email questions here: http://www.bugspray.com/about-us/contact-us
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