Whether a prospective home owner is seeking a new or an older property, the caveat, buyer beware, should always be heeded. This is especially true when it comes to potential pest infestations.
While buyers seeking a new home may believe that there is no need for the professional pest-control or pest-management services, they would be just as mistaken as those seeking older residences.
It is important to understand the specific problems associated with both newer and older homes before making the life-altering decision to buy a specific home.
Pest Problems For Older Homes
Homes built before 1920 are considered old, but housing age is a subjective condition that depends upon a number of factors.
Older homes, particularly those constructed before 1950, often have long term issues with marauding pests for a number of diverse reasons that range from the negative impact of weather to the general breakdown of construction materials.
In addition, many older homes were constructed as attachments to even older community structures and were often built in close proximity to other residences from the same time period.
Building standards and materials were different in times past. Two prime examples are lead and asbestos, which were once used in abundance and today have been deemed as harmful to human health.
Lead, which was commonly found in exterior and interior paints before 1978, is very toxic to children. It is also found in pre-World War II plumbing systems and in some water pipes installed before the mid-1980s.
Asbestos was a ubiquitous insulation and fireproofing material until the mid-1970s when it was found to cause a type of lung cancer and other respiratory problems.
By the late 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned most asbestos applications, but for some unknown reason, never forced building owners to remove existing asbestos products. As a result, many older crawlspaces, walls, and pipes still retain asbestos insulation.
Issues With Termites In Older Homes
Our pest-control and pest-management technicians at Pestco are fully aware that older homes are more likely to have active termite infestations or preexisting termite damage than newer constructions due to compromised foundations or drywall. This can arise from either the natural setting of a home or faulty re-modeling projects that may have been made carelessly over the course of time.
For example, any type of addition onto a property without first doing a termite inspection translates into a compromised location that may be vulnerable to infestation. Faulty plumbing as well can allow rodent ingress via a sewer system and a poorly installed roof may have gaps that permit entry to squirrels and bats.
New Home Construction Bugs And Pest Issues
This category refers to any home that was constructed after 1990. Newly built residences may have cracks or gaps along the foundation, allowing unwanted pests to take up residence. Many home buyers do not realize the inherent vulnerability of newer constructions because they are not always built in a pristine factory environment. They are usually outside, which makes them susceptible to insect and rodent access. Many times, materials are stored carelessly in damp conditions prior to construction, and as such may well have insects living on or inside of them.
Newer homes are commonly plagued by mice infestations. This is because they are often built in wooded areas that have been cleared for construction, which disturbs the foliage, dirt, grass, brush and trees that served as homes to many critters.
Another recurring issue is that newer homes are notoriously known to fall prey to building shortcuts, which often result in inviting holes and gaps. Attached garages are often built by leaving a gap where the sheet-rock wall meets the foundation, as well as weep holes in the brick around and outside the foundation. These can be convenient entry points for rodents and insects. Other pests found in newer buildings include: insects, spiders, uprooted wildlife, trapped organisms, aggressive pests and built-in insect marauders.
There are three distinct periods when these unwanted pests are known to invade a new home; namely, pre-construction to completion, fresh or just completed building and recent fabrication (less than two years old).
As a rule of thumb, land may be claimed and purchased by humans, but ants, termites, mice and other organisms don’t understand “ownership,” and they are all silently competing for space on what can never truly be vacant land in the truest sense of the word. They were there first and they aren’t likely to leave without a battle to the death with our pest-control and pest-management specialists — (412) 252-5200.
If a new home is slated for construction, this would be the best time to implement our pest-control and pest-management program. The reason for this is because in many instances of fresh construction, mice and rats are discovered that were trapped inside the structure before its completion.
These rodents have been know to establish themselves on the site itself, especially if construction has taken a longer time than expected to complete. They nest in voids and make bedding out of insulation, scraps of wire, plastic foam containers and other construction materials.
After a new residence has been completed, rodents may gnaw through plastic plumbing lines seeking water. Both birds and bats are known to nest in soffits, copulas and under roofing tiles. In addition, trapped creepy crawlies include: several species of spiders, crickets, cockroaches, ants, flies, moths, fleas and ticks. (Feral dogs, cats, coyotes and raccoons foraging an open construction site are vectors of ticks and fleas.)
Construction crews also contribute to the problem by not disposing of food container properly, which attract these pests, and can easily lead to new infestations of flies and mosquitoes in addition to rodents and other insects. Abandoned equipment and construction containers can provide warmth and shelter, permitting these invaders to reproduce and establish residency.
Ants often infest new homes, as their mounds may have already been established on the property and then disrupted before and during the construction process. Spiders too, are frequent visitors to new homes, but they can be more beneficial in the long run because they eat ants, roaches, flies, moths, and other small creepy crawlies.
6 Important Signs That A Home Has Pest Issues
When in the market for a home, whether it is new or old, there are certain indications that there are problems with pests that every potential buyer should know about. These are general issues, as most pests have similar needs that include: food, water, and shelter. Some tips about trouble spots to look out for when shopping for a home are as follows.
Moisture Under the Home
Gutters, drainage, and leaks all affect a home’s vulnerability to a pest infestation. Mold and fungi develop from water, which is a food source for many insects. Moisture can also render construction materials more permeable.
Having proper drainage away from your home reduces insect ingress and also allows for a proper water flow, which will help to retain the integrity of wooden aspects. Leaks in a crawl space can be controlled by use of a good de-humidifier which will kept the area dry and unattractive to invading pests.
Cracks In The House Foundation
Cracks are most commonly found in older homes when building design and building codes were different. This usually means that the structural support piers are sinking and may contain long spans of supports that must be reconstructed, elevated and/or strengthened to properly support the floors and walls above.
Drywall cracks are usually the result of normal temperature changes with the seasons. The wood and soil that support a home expand and contract slightly with the heat and cold. It is vital for a potential home owner to determine the cause of the cracks before purchasing the home,.
Cracks In The Walls
More of an issue in newer homes, cracks in the walls usually occur because new lumber is freshly cut and often retains a high moisture content. With the drying process, some shifting occurs, which can cause small cracks to form in the walls of a home, usually at the joints where the sheets of drywall conjoin.
Changing weather patterns can also affect the ground beneath homes and cause the foundation to slightly shift. This isn’t likely to be a major problem by itself and may be just a matter of the new wood settling. If, however, the cracks show signs of discoloration, this may indicate water damage and with that the potential invasion of unwanted critters.
Cracks In Windows And Doors
Look out for cracks in windows and doors. They are open invitations to unwanted pests. They can usually easily be remedied with some simple sealants, silicone or caulk, but if they are present, a potential home owner cannot rule out the possibility that insect pests have already made themselves very comfortable there.
This is because insects only need a few millimeters, and a mouse just a ¼ inch hole, to gain entry. Door sweeps help by creating a barrier, but a thorough inspection by our pest-control and pest-management specialists at Pestco wouldn’t hurt either. Better safe than sorry!
Dampness or Damp Smell In The House
Dark, damp places are ideal for many types of insects because they provide everything they need to survive. There is food in the form of mold, mildew and other dead bugs, shelter and the perfect milieu in which to breed.
Some of the most common household pests to watch out for that scream of excess moisture and mold in a basement, attic or bathroom are: silverfish, centipedes (meat eaters that are known to bite humans) book lice (lovers of mold and mildew found on the glue, bindings and leather covers of old books ) and dust and wood mites.
Piles of Wood And Holes In Backyard And Lawn
Both new and older homes should have clean backyards and lawns that are free from loose wood. This includes: shrubbery, mulch, building materials, and stacked firewood, all of which should be significantly distant from contact with the lowermost portion of the home.
Why Call Pittsburgh’s Premier Pest Control Company?
Our teams at Pestco Professional Services are highly experienced and have been on the pest-control and pest-management landscape for more than seventy years.
We have an impeccable 5-star reputation for qualified customer service, and we are Google Guaranteed, Quality Pro and Sentricon Certified. We are also proud members of the National Pest Management Society, and 2 of the 7 Ace-certified technicians throughout all of Western PA are a part of our close-nit family!
For the most part, our products and services were focused until recently on industrial and commercial enterprises. However, our new home service division, headed by Bob Weimer, has become very successful, and we provide the potential homeowner with superior professional advice and strategies based on prevention, understanding insect and rodent behavior and the ability to identify signs of an infestation.
Our pro-active pest exclusion services are focused on the selection of appropriate products to implement the process. These will vary in how well they can withstand pest invaders, and one critical consideration is always the realization that there are no one size-fits-all solutions.
If you are a potential home buyer and believe you have finally found the home of your dreams, whether it be old or new, before you move in and that dream becomes a nightmare, call our team today and let us help you with our tried and true, state-of-the-art pest-control and pest-management solutions.