After being cooped up indoors during a rainy winter, many Bay Area residents are looking forward to spring. But before you start enjoying the longer days and milder weather, it’s a good idea to survey your property to see how it has come through the winter months. It’s time for springtime home maintenance. Read more
The Bay Area’s moderate climate and abundant green space make pest control a year-round problem. At any given time, residents may find their homes overrun with insects such as termites and fleas or confronting trespassing animals like mice and rats. While many are eager to eliminate potentially harmful pests, there are also concerns about the effects of pesticides on people and pets. In this article, we’ll demystify the pest control industry by defining key terms used by professionals, providing tips for a pest-free home and answering frequently asked questions about eliminating pests.
Key Terms for Pest Control
Broad spectrum: Something that affects a wide range or large number of organisms. In pest control, Read more
Many people assume there’s only one kind of termite, but in reality it’s not that simple. In fact, there are three different types of termites found in the Bay Area, which is why it’s good to know how to identify and deal with each.
1. Dampwood termites
If you find dampwood termites in your home, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: since they only eat damp, rotten wood, they’re actually doing you a favor. The bad news: damp, rotten wood means there’s some kind of leak in your home. Once you’ve fixed the leak and removed the rot, the termites will go away. Read more
If you’ve had a termite problem in the past, the last thing you want is another one. While treatments such as Orange Oil and fumigation may successfully eradicate a termite population in your home, they offer no guarantee against re-infestation down the road, which is why it’s important to take preventative measures. Consider the following tips:
Thoroughly paint and seal exposed wood
One of the most basic preventative measures you can take to protect your home against re-infestation is to make sure any exposed woodwork (both exterior and interior) is thoroughly painted and/or sealed. Things like exterior rafter tails and siding should be coated with paint and sealant to effectively protect the wood from termites. Read more
When it comes to dealing with termite infestations, prevention is always the best policy. Regular monitoring can prevent up to 90 percent of termite damage, so watch for telltale signs of termites and have them exterminated before they get too out of control.
One of the most obvious signs of a termite infestation is the presence of earthen tubes (also called migratory tubes) outside your house. These tubes are the result of termite swarms during the spring and fall, when it first starts to rain. Another thing to watch for is irregularly shaped piles of a powdery, brown substance protruding from your structure’s framing—usually in attics and crawlspaces or on windowsills.
There are several steps you can take to prevent termite damage and sustain an effective termite treatment plan throughout the year. Read more
Years ago, I paid for a half-baked paint job where none of the prep was done properly. It’s sad but true. According to Greg Kuzmicki, owner of Solidarity Painting, a Diamond Certified company, many painters take shortcuts, costly ones. For example, some paint right over dry rot they because they simply want to get paid and move onto the next job. The homeowner pays later when wood fungus spreads causing mildew and mold to grow. Termites live on this stuff.
It’s best to catch dry rot early. Before hiring a painter, do a little inspection yourself by checking siding, window trim and uneven surfaces. Poke in a nail or a screwdriver, and if it goes in more than one-quarter inch, Read more
Many people make the mistake of storing their firewood outside directly up against their house. John Kunkel, owner of Termite Police, a Diamond Certified company, says that’s the worst place to put it. Termites are attracted to any kind of wood, and can easily move from the firewood right into your siding or foundation from that woodpile. It’s much better to store your wood away from the house, perhaps in a shed.
Here’s another tip from Mr. Kunkel. If you live in an old house, and you set firewood down on the hardwood floors, beetles might move right in with the wood. Once these beetles start feasting on your floors, you will need professional help to eliminate them. Read more