If there’s one thing worse than finding out you have pest infestations, it’s what happens next. As you begin to investigate how long you’ve had the infestation and how extensive it might be, you start to worry. “How long have these pests been living in my home?” “What have they been doing since they got inside?” “What have they been doing since then?”
The scariest thing about pest infestations is how they can do some serious damage before you even find them. Pests like the four listed here could cause hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home or property. We’re not writing this just to scare you, however. We say “could” because if you find these infestations fast enough, you could prevent all this potential damage. Here are four pests you want to deal with as soon as you find them.
You knew termites were going to occupy the #1 spot on this list. No other pest does nearly $5 billion dollars worth of property damage every year! Termites have the shocking damage potential they do because they (infamously) infest and eat wood. Termite colonies eat by breaking down the cellulose in wood and carrying it back to their colonies. As their colonies expand, they venture further into the wooden structures they inhabit, carving deeper tunnels. Eventually, these tunnels seriously compromise the structural integrity of the infested wood.
When load-bearing wood becomes compromised, it could fail to, well, bear its load. Termite-infested wood may crack, splinter, or even give way entirely. It’s not unheard of for entire buildings to collapse following a particularly bad termite infestation! As generations of termites grow, they’ll even create “satellite” colonies in new wood sources, spreading the damage they inflict. The longer termite infestations go unaddressed, the worse the damage they inflict could be.
Pantry-infesting pests like the common Indian meal moth do a very different kind of damage compared to termites. Where termites could destroy an entire home, moths can’t do any property damage at all. Instead, they go after something even more basic: your food. It might seem silly to call humble, food-infesting pests like moths “destructive”. After all, you can always get more food. But that’s just it. Consider how much you spend on groceries!
If all that food was ruined before you had the chance to eat it, it would be like flushing money down the drain. And pests will ruin that food. If you found caterpillars writhing around in your cereal, you’d lose your appetite–and the cereal box–pretty fast. The damage inflicted by pantry pests adds up in a hurry, especially if you don’t address the root of the problem. Then there’s the psychological toll to consider. Imagine looking forward to some tasty cereal, only to find that some pest beat you to the punch. Not a pretty picture, is it?
Powderpost beetles tend to be far less well-known than other wood-destroyers, which accounts for some of their destructive potential. Beetle damage can be difficult enough to identify. Some homeowners may not realize they even have a problem until significant damage is done. Powderpost beetles are wood-boring insects that reproduce and lay eggs in the cracks of furniture and other wood sources. When the eggs hatch, larvae begin eating the wood they hatched on immediately.
The tunnels larvae carve through their food sources in the process of eating damages the wood’s structural integrity. Powderpost beetles can eat, mate, and reproduce on a single wood source for several generations, inflicting continuous damage. Identify powderpost damage by looking for small exit holes left behind when larvae emerge from the wood to molt. They also tend to infest moist and/or unfinished wood. Furniture is expensive and difficult to replace, so powderpost beetles can be a particularly infuriating infestation to contend with.
Yes, unfortunately, the extremely common mice and rat infestations also have the potential to be seriously expensive. Our furry foes can do just about any kind of damage you can imagine. They’ll go to ridiculous lengths to access your food. They’ll nibble and push their way through structures to get inside. They’ll make nests out of paper, insulation, and other materials. And worst of all, they never. Stop. Chewing.
Did you know that rodent teeth never stop growing? To keep their teeth sharp, mice and rats have to teethe continuously by gnawing on… anything and everything. Unfortunately, that can include things that are very bad to gnaw on, like electrical wiring. Rodents start a surprising number of serious home fires every year after biting through wires. It’s a frustrating absurd way to have your home burn down, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic. Don’t underestimate the destructive potential of a rodent infestation–and don’t let it go unchecked.
Remember:we call these infestations “potentially” destructive because they don’t have to be. No matter how severe the infestation, taking care of it quickly spares your home (and pocketbook!) from the worst of the damage.
Next time you need some help making sure a “potentially” destructive infestation stays that way, give Griffin a call. We’re always happy to help protect your home and well-being. Especially if it means we can send some termites packing.