Field notes from home inspections on the Sunshine Coast regarding pests, how to identify them and what to do.
Here on the Sunshine Coast and North Shore, because of mild year-round weather, we may have year round pests too! Here are some tips on what to look for if you suspect unwelcome visitors.
- Silverfish and cockroaches, although troublesome, do not pose a structural risk to a building. They are a health concern and do need action by the occupant to remove them.
- Ants come in many varieties and colours. In particular, carpenter ants do burrow and destroy wood. They are usually wingless, however during the reproductive period, winged carpenter ants do appear. Look for these ants on your deck or stairs. Do they go behind the siding? Do they appear inside? Do they go into exposed joists or beams? Do you have fine sawdust or even piles accumulations near baseboards or on or under beams of a cathedral ceiling? Carpenter ants are also noisy. You can hear them chewing on the wood! When these telltale signs appear you have to take action to stop their activities and upon further inspection, repairs may be required as well.
- Termites, sometimes referred to as white ants are in our region. In particular, there have been reports of their colonies in Sechelt. They are similar to ants but with a more tubular body and less prominent division between the thorax and abdomen. Seek the advice of a qualified exterminator if you suspect termites. Flying termites will have two wings of equal size, while their carpenter ant cousins’ wings are of different size.
- Other wood destroying insects are beetles. In particular, their larvae will bore through wood, leaving behind a tell-tale fine flour-like powder. Look for local concentrations of inexplicable dust. Check exposed concrete and block walls for vertical soil tubes that connect the ground to siding or wood structures.
- Mice are everywhere. They can enter through an exterior wall penetration as small is a quarter inch. Rats can gain access through a half inch opening. Garage doors, in particular the floor and wall gaskets are notorious for not being tight and allowing these rodents entry, especially once the weather gets cool. Look for droppings appearing where there were none before and urine smells – an indication of active pests in the area. Look for oily rub marks and hairs around holes. Take action to remove, disinfect and control the situation.
- If squirrels focus on a structure, they will get it, even if there is no penetration, they will burrow to gain access. Facia, soffit, gable ends are all favorite entry points. When you see or hear squirrels in a building, take immediate action.
- Skunks will burrow. Look around the perimeter foundation. If you see a hole burrowed under the skirting, investigate further.