Home Inspection Service for Horry and Surrounding Counties

Getting the Best of Pests :

When summer arrives in most areas, the pest parade usually begins. The ones we're talking about don't honk the horn in the driveway, they march across your kitchen counters, ride in on the dog, or go swimming in your gutters.

Once you've tightened and mended all the screens and filled the obvious cracks and holes with caulking, here is your second line of defense. (Screens with 16 meshes per inch are best for keeping out small insects.)

Carpenter Bees: These large bees are usually harmless to humans but bore holes into wood siding and trim to make their nests. A short term partial preventative is to apply with a brush a wood preservative over popular areas like fascia boards behind gutters and rake boards along the gable ends of a house. Inject sevin into the holes and putty them over.

Ants: You will notice ants marching mnd from a food source. They are taking food to their nesting area. Observe their line of march and try to locate their nest which may be inside or outside the house or in a wall or floor. If you see them entering from a wall or floor area try to pick up their line of march on the opposite side. Effective treatments require treatment of the nest area itself. Be patient and try hard to find it. Spray apply a liquid insecticide containing diazanon or malathin (malathion has a strong odor) to general open areas but consider applying liquids with a small paint brush in kitchen areas. Once this is done, caulk any overlooked cracks or holes along their line of march.

Fleas and Ticks: Early in the summer, the grasses around our homes abound with fleas and ticks which may then jump on our pets and ride inside our homes. Here they drop off, lay eggs and again attack the dog. The best prevention is to keep the grass cut short and to dip pets in a mild insecticide. The most effective insecticide dips are obtainable via veterinarians and last about a month. Budget $12 to $15 per summer for a mid-sized dog, half of this for a cat. Thoroughly vacuum, then disinfect the house with a chemical like 'Rid-A-Bug' (contains Durasban) or 'PreCor' (with the growth regulator chemical, methoprene) sprayed into cracks around the floors and on rugs and upholstered furniture and particularly where the dog sleeps. Folk wisdom has it that feeding brewers yeast mixed with the pet's food will make them considerably less attractive to fleas and ticks. It also has it that a dilute solution of 'Penny Royal' available from health food stores is an effective repellant when sprayed on pets and humans too. It is said to smell like cloves and apparently will even keep the gnats at bay. Cocoa butter also is said to keep gnats at bay.

Flies: House flies are filthy and breed in our garbage. Make sure your trash cans have very tight fitting lids or keep your plastic liners tied. Don't allow food to stand out and immediately clean up after pets. If you want to use an insecticide make sure it is for 'flying insects' and be sure to follow the directions.

Centipedes and Millipedes: These multi-legged crawlers invade our homes by accident, usually when the leaves and mulch around the house begins to dry with the summer heat. They don't cause damage but may be annoying. Spray a diazanon and sevin solution directly on them and brush or vacuum them up.

Spiders: Remove any loose materials laying around the house perimeter and clean up any trash. Broom down any webs or egg sacs and crush the sacs under foot. Use pyrethrum aerosols on spider infested areas.

Wasps: If the nest isn't in a contact area leave it alone. ALLERGY SUFFERERS SHOULD AVOID ALL CONTACT WTH WASPS. Wasps are best killed inside their nest at night. (Avoid using a flashlight.) A liquid spray directed into the hole of the nest is effective. Dust or surface shovelful of moist dirt to prevent them getting out.

Bats: Bats usually roost in attics or unused parts of the house. They must be screened out of the house. Use 1/4 inch hardware cloth. Clean up any feces as the odor seems to be an attraction to them. Steel wool stuffed into cracks is often effective. If fumigation becomes necessary, leave this to professionals. Wear gloves if you have to pick up a ead bat. DON'T HANDLE LIVE BATS.

Mosquitos: Destroy the breeding ground of mosquitos by draining any water sources. Don't overlook blocked or clogged gutters and downspouts and drop some oil in puddles that may collect on flat roofing. Don't forget the saucers under potted plants either. Use a 'flying insect' insecticide inside your home.

Squirrels, Raccoons, and Nesting Birds: Secure 1/4 to 1/2 inch 16 gauge hardware cloth over any attic or overhanging soffit louvers and across chimney tops. Encourage existing tenants to leave by placing moth crystals or ammonia in pie tims in attics or within fireplaces prior to screening.

Crickets: Crickets usually come into houses late in the summer and can chew on clothing or fabrics but mostly they make noise and can be generally annoying. The best bet is to seal all cracks around basement window and doors and use a diazanon spray around baseboards, in closets or any cracks where they might hide. Use dusts on bare concrete floors of basements or other non-traffic areas.

Be especially careful using insecticides; read the directions carefully for both use and disposal.