Less Bang for Your Buck – Insects That Decrease Your Home’s Value
Insects have become masters of invading our homes. While some are simply a nuisance, others can seriously reduce the value of your home. Whether you’re planning on selling your home anytime soon or not, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye out for these expensive pests.
Termites are probably the most serious villain when it comes to destroying your property. They cause over $5 billion in property damage throughout the United States every year. What’s worse is that home insurance doesn’t generally cover termite infestations, meaning the money to fix it is going to come straight out of your pocket. Enough termite damage can cause floors and walls to sag because of the loss of structural integrity. And, you don’t want to try and deal with these guys on your own. If you have a termite infestation, immediately call in the professionals to take care of it.
Powderpost beetles are another pest that can seriously harm your home. They are small and black, specializing in boring holes into wood. This means that they will go for anything made of hardwood, including molding, flooring, cabinets, doors and other hardwood furniture. You can detect an infestation by looking for small, round holes in the wood that may have fine sawdust peeking out. These pests tend to infest newer homes. Removing the infested wood is really the only way to eradicate them.
Have you ever had to deal with a termite infestation or powderpost beetles? What did you do to get rid of them?
Termites are one of the most devastating pest problems because of the damage they cause to buildings and structures. That’s why if you have a termite problem, or suspect you may have a termite problem, you call a professional pest management company right away.
And University of Florida entomologists are predicting that termite activity will expand—so much so that by 2040 nearly half of the structures in South Florida will be at risk of infestation.
So, what is being done to get ahead of this problem?
“Facing the increasing pressure of both invasive subterranean termites in South Florida, area-wide termite management programs could be implemented to provide a long-term, sustainable solution for communities,” said Assistant Researcher Thomas Chouvenc.
Chouvenc urges that residents in South Florida monitor signs for termites often and work with a professional pest company to address a potential infestation immediately. We couldn’t agree more!
Have you ever experienced termites? Do you think the University of Florida is correct in their prediction?
Termites normally keep to themselves, working on building a colony. They don’t really focus on starting fights with other neighbors. But when danger approaches, these termites only do one thing – bang their heads on the walls.
Slamming your head against a wall may not seem very helpful, but it’s actually the vibrations that the banging does which alerts the rest of the colony. The noise travels downwards throughout the tunnels at approximately 430 feet per second, meaning that an average 3 foot tall mound would be alerted almost immediately. Termites ‘hear’ these vibrations through their legs. The leg closest to the vibration picks up the sound first, and the farthest leg picks up the noise last. It was found that termites were able to tell which leg felt the vibration first, which allowed them to learn which direction to head to.
Scientists began to wonder exactly how short the gap could be for termites to feel the vibration in between their legs. The answer? 0.20 milliseconds. In literally less than a blink of an eye, termites were able to decipher which way they should be heading – whether it be to battle, or to hide. Soldier termites would immediately head towards the vibrations in order to protect their horde, while worker termites would begin to retreat back down into their cave system in order to protect themselves. When all is said and done, the remaining termites either go back to working on their nest, or begin constructing a new mound, had they lost the battle.
As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Bodies of king and queen dampwood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker dampwood termites are up to 3/4 inch.
Termites feed 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the cellulose found in wood and paper products. They are known as “silent destroyers” due to their ability to compromise the structure of a home without being noticed until it’s too late.
Termites are very destructive and the damage inflicted can be quite costly if left undetected. Subterranean Termites are most likely to cause problems in Southern Arizona at this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to be on the lookout for signs of these wood-destroying pests in and around their property.
Here are a few warning signs that termites may be present in a home:
1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home
2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped
3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures
4. Cracked or bubbling paint
5. Small piles of feces that resembles sawdust near a termite nest
6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home
If homeowners notice any of these signs, they should contact a pest professional who can best determine the extent of the problem and recommend a proper treatment plan. Homeowners are encouraged to get an free annual termite inspection courtesy of Hulett Environmental Services. To schedule your free termite inspection visit www.bugs.com
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