Common Pests That Can Affect Your Foundation and Home

Houston home foundation

According to a recent survey, a staggering 76% of homeowners experience a pest problem every year. As our mild winters and rainy summers can result in pest population explosions, the risk of a pest infestation is much higher in Houston compared to other areas of the country.

If that’s not scary enough, nearly 50% of pest infestations cause structural damage to homes. Since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t generally cover this type of damage, a pest infestation may affect not only your home but also your wallet. To protect both your home and wallet, let’s take a look at some pests that could wreak havoc on your home before you even realize what’s going on.

Termites and Your Home’s Foundation

Termites are notorious for causing costly damage to buildings. They can easily eat straight through wood, meaning they could damage a large portion of your house framing, floor joists, and foundation’s support beams before they’re discovered. When structural components become weak, it’s only a matter of time until the entire home is affected. 

Because termites can cause a lot of damage very fast, it’s extremely important to reduce the risk of a termite infestation as much as possible. One thing we know is that termites thrive in warm and damp conditions. Thus, if you see any standing water anywhere near your home, make sure that you inspect your property carefully. If you cannot identify where the water is coming from, a good idea would be to have your crawl space and foundation inspected by an experienced foundation repair professional, who can easily determine whether the source of the problem is a leaky pipe, poor drainage, clogged gutters, pool leaks, or another issue. As well, calling in a pest control professional as soon as you observe the first signs of a termite infestation could help prevent major structural damage to your home.

Powderpost Beetles and Your Home’s Foundation

As wood is a versatile building material, it’s been used in many Houston homes. Unfortunately, that means the wood in your home could be damaged by certain species of pests, such as powderpost beetles.

These insects can destroy wood much like termites do. But the biggest problem is that they live and breed in wood, which means you cannot actually see them. So, it might be quite difficult to realize when you have an infestation. However, there are two main indicators of a potential powderpost beetle infestation: the holes created by their larvae as they chew their way out of wood and the small piles of fine sawdust that will appear as a result.

The good news is that these insects prefer wood that hasn’t been sealed, painted, or treated with products that contain borate. Why is that good news? Simply because painting, sealing, or treating any apparent wood, including foundation beams in the case you have a pier and beam foundation, with appropriate products will allow you to keep these pests away from your Houston home.  

Carpenter Ants and Your Home’s Foundation

Similar to termites and powderpost beetles, and as their name suggests, carpenter ants also damage wood. But contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. They do, however, build their nests into it. As these ants hollow out wood to create passageways and nests, a carpenter ant attack could cause serious damage to your Houston home.

Identifying a carpenter ant infestation is quite easy, as you’ll be able to see them wandering around your house. Carpenter ants are larger than regular ants and black in color, but they can also have a yellowish or reddish coloration. You’ll also find powdery sawdust under, around, or on top of infested wood and may even hear a soft crinkle sound coming from inside your walls, ceilings, or floors, especially at night.

Carpenter Bees and Your Home’s Foundation

We cannot talk about carpenter ants without mentioning carpenter bees as well. Similar to carpenter ants, carpenter bees burrow through wood to build tunnels and nests. However, they could also make use of other materials, including concrete. Carpenter bees don’t have the ability to penetrate concrete. But if you have a crack in your foundation, these bees can build their nest into it. Depending on how large the crack is or how many cracks there are, your foundation may become the perfect spot for a large colony, which could build a complex nest inside it. Eliminating these bees can be quite difficult, especially when they build their nest in an inaccessible place, like your foundation. In that case, multiple targeted treatments may be required over a lengthy period of time. When it comes to our homes (and life), pest infestations are no fun! Luckily, there are a few ways in which you can protect your Houston home (and life) from pests. Besides scheduling a free foundation inspection with us, you can prevent pest infestations by simply eliminating excess water or moisture from your property, keeping the area around your foundation clear of plants and debris, sealing small cracks, holes, and gaps to make your home as airtight as possible, and contacting a pest control company whenever you have a pest problem.

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