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Insects and Moisture

05 Pavement Ant

Insects love moisture. All living things need water to survive; from fungi and mold to plants and animals, water is essential. Some creatures absorb moisture from the environment, while others consume or drink it. Water is very important for our survival. With all the melting snow to come, heavy rains of spring, and damage from ice dams, water is getting into homes. Then there are slow leaks from pipes and toilets, excessive water in cellars; condensation on windows, poor ventilation in bathrooms; this is paradise for bugs. Most pest species causing problems in homes are greatly benefited by moisture problems. From decaying fungi eating wood from within, to book lice and silver fish that feed on microscopic growths, everyone is coming to the party.Termites need to live and work in very moist places; the worst damage comes in conjunction with access to wood and moisture. Carpenter ants require moisture and nests usually begin in wet, rotten wood. Powder Post Beetles require moisture content of 15% or higher in order to develop and cause damage to wood. Decaying fungi, mold, ants, springtails, silverfish, book lice, termites, and wood boring beetles all need moist environments in which to live.

One of the most common problems in small residential structures is a wet basement. Examine walls and floors for signs of water penetration such as:

  •    dampness,
  •    water stains,
  •    peeling paint, efflorescence, and
  •    rust on exposed metal parts

In finished basements, look for:

  •    rotted or warped wood paneling and doors,
  •    loose floor tiles, and
  •    mildew stains.

Determine the source of any moisture that may be present. It may come:

  •    through the walls or cracks in the floor,
  •    from backed-up floor drains,
  •    from leaky plumbing lines, or from
  •    a clogged air conditioner condensate line.

Controlling excess water and humidity within a structure is paramount to stoppinginsect pest damage. Pesticides, baits, and traps may aid in reducing the population at hand, but are only part of the equation. Dehumidifiers may be used to literally dry an entire structure, making life hard for pests, and impossible for fungi and molds. Drainage systems, gutters, vapor barriers, sump pumps, dehumidification systems, and ventilation all play an important role in drying a structure. Some buildings are very dry and have relatively few or minor pest issues. Historically the worst cases we see involve a combination of factors, usually taking place simultaneously to create ideal conditions for pest activity. If conditions are unfavorable, damage is usually minimal and easy to control. Severe problems may require not only treatment but also other remedial action. Each case is unique with specific factors involved in conjunction with the pest species.

Professionals from F&W Pest Control will be able to pin point the problem areas and make specific recommendations regarding moisture issues and pest activity.

If you believe that your home or business is experiencing pest control or rodent issues, contact an F&W Pest Control professional today for a free inspection and quote.

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