There are many things that homeowners or owners of other buildings can do to help prevent pest invasions without using pesticides.
Below is a list of “conducive conditions.” Conducive conditions refer to conditions that may either cause or indirectly lead to an infestation of a pest. For example, some conducive conditions relate to such things as rot, possible rodent entry points into the home, or conditions that make carpenter ants feel welcome when looking for a nesting spot. Listed below are several conducive conditions, why they may be a problem for your home or building, and what you can do to remedy the situation:
- Conducive Condition: Tree or shrub branches are touching the siding or roof of the building.
Why it is a problem: Carpenter ants or rodents use branches to avoid insecticide or rodenticide treatments. Tree branches are like highways for ants or rodents, and they readily use them to gain access to the roof. Shrubbery against your building can also hold moisture against siding, exacerbating the rot process and inviting carpenter ants and moisture ants inside.
Fix: Cut back all vegetation away from the building at least three feet. Consult with a certified arborist (Whitworth Pest Solutions has two certified arborists on staff). In some instances it may be best to remove the tree/shrub altogether.
- Conducive Condition: The siding of the building is in contact with the soil.
Fix: You must dig any mulch or soil away from siding, deck posts, deck staircases, etc. Provide plenty of clearance (3” or more) from the bottom of the siding to the soil so that the building foundation can be clearly seen. The soil or mulch landscape must then be graded away from the building so water does not accumulate against it.
- Conducive Condition: Soil or mulch slopes or is graded toward the building.
Why it is a problem: Water flows against the siding causing decay and possible flooding of the basement or crawl space.
Fix: The soil or mulch landscape must be graded away from the building so water does not accumulate against the building.
- Conducive Condition: Gaps around the crawl space (under the building) access doors or holes in foundation vent screens.
Why it is a problem: This allows rodents easy access to your crawl space under the building where they will damage the plastic vapor barrier, insulation and wiring with their feces, urine and constant chewing. They often go unnoticed until eventually finding a way into your living space.
Fix: Hire a contractor (Whitworth Pest Solutions, Inc.), or take on the job yourself to make a new crawl space access door that fits properly. Damaged foundation vent screens must be either repaired or replaced. Use galvanized ¼” hardware cloth for the screening material. Depending on the type of foundation vent frame, use stainless steel staples, screws, or all weather heavy duty adhesive to attach the screen.
- Conducive Condition: Soffit vent screens that vent the attic (often called bird vents) are either missing or damaged.
Why it is a problem: Birds, bats and rats enter the attic, causing damage, odor and potential health issues.
Fix: Re-screen the problem areas with galvanized ¼” hardware cloth. Use stainless steel staples or screws to attach the screen.
- Conducive Condition: Gutters are plugged with debris.
Why it is a problem: Water overflowing the gutters and running down siding causes decay, which attracts pests.
Fix: Gutters must be cleaned regularly. In fact, even if there aren’t that many leaf-dropping trees around the property, it is surprising the amount of debris that can accumulate in gutters and downspouts.
- Conducive Condition: Downspouts are disconnected.
Why it is a problem: Water doesn’t drain away from the building, but may drain on it or under it, creating moisture/decay problems, leading to the invitation of pests.
Fix: Make sure your downspouts are connected properly and that there is an elbow at the bottom that drains water away from the building. Walk around your building during a heavy rain and observe where the water is going. You may be surprised.
- Conducive Condition: Wood or other items are stored against the building.
Why it is a problem: “Stuff” or wood against the building creates harborage areas for a myriad of insects including carpenter ants. Carpenter ants love to be in and around any stored firewood and often want to move into the adjacent building.
Fix: Make sure all items (especially any wood) are stored away from the building. If space is an issue, at least make sure any items are pulled out a foot or more, so that the foundation can be clearly seen.
Tree Growing Against the Building
Tree Touching the Roof–Highway to the roof/attic
Damage done over time from tree against the building.
Screen is missing from right side of foundation vent–an invitation.
Missing Crawl Space Door–An Invitation
Damaged foundation vent screen allows rodents into crawl space
These are just some of the many conditions conducive to pest infestations that occur on a regular basis. Some fixes are quick, easy and inexpensive; others may be difficult and require outside professional help. If you have one or more of these problems please don’t hesitate to ask Whitworth Pest Solutions for advice on a solution. We’re here to help.