Pest Info

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We know our pests!
Find out more information here about pests that are common to the Northwest and how we control them
 

Wood Destroying Insects

The Facts

With our wet climate here in the Northwest, our structures are constantly exposed to rain and the elements.  This increases our risk for water intrusion and dry rot.  Although moisture is almost always the underlying issue, once wood destroying insects take hold they can speed up the damage exponentially.  However sometimes their presence is noted before we are aware of the moisture problem and can be a helpful warning that repairs are needed before the problem gets any worse.

 

 

Termites are not as common in homes as carpenter ants are here in the northwest, but when they do make there way in they can cause serious damage. In most cases, the damaged wood is usually noticed before seeing the actual insects, as termites travel in protected mud tubes or inside the wood. Unlike carpenter ants, termites actually feed on the wood fibers. Dampwood termites are the most common here, and their presence indicates that there is already a leak or dry rot in the wood. The workers are very light in color, while the large winged termites are an amber color, and we often see them swarming here in the fall.

Moisture ants are small, amber colored ants that are fairly common around here. As their name indicates, these ants only infest wood that is wet, usually in an advanced stage of decay. They will construct their nests from the decaying wood, and will grow to have very large colonies that may thrive for decades! Even though they may cause further damage to wood, in most cases their presence is an early indicator that there is a leak or moisture problem that needs attention that may have otherwise been overlooked until the damage was far more extensive.

Powder post beetles are another wood destroying insect, and in most cases are associated with high humidity. There are many cases however where these beetles are introduced with the lumber when a home is being built, only to emerge later. Adults deposit eggs inside the wood where the larvae spend months, even years developing, until the adults emerge from the wood, leaving behind pinhole sized openings all over the surface of the wood. They also leave a very distinct powder when exiting the wood that is about as fine as flour. These beetles prefer hardwoods, but if the conditions are right they will readily re-infest lumber and begin the process over again.

The Solution

Because different wood destroying insects leave behind different signs, it is important to identify which pest species is causing the damage. Termites deposit fecal pellets, which are easily distinguished from powder post beetle evidence. In almost all cases, these insects entered the home to do their jobs in the environment - help break down decaying wood! This means that the first half of remediation is repairing the leaks, and replacing the dry rot and decaying wood with dry, sound wood. It is also important to make sure that there is no wood underneath or around the perimeter of the home that is in contact with the soil, which will wick up water and invite insects inside. The second part of the process is where we come in with specialized products to target the pest species and prevent the infestation from spreading. We give a 1 year guarantee on all wood destroying insect treatments!

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