Storms open door for pests

When will this winter ever end? It’s a common lament about our weather, but unfortunately, very true. What else would you expect to hear when it’s 30 degrees and snowing in April? With minimal breaks in the weather, we are able to venture outside and survey all of the damage done by Mother Nature.

And the pest world is just as confused. But for them, good things lie just ahead. Late season storms have really wreaked havoc, not only on our homes but on trees and surrounding landscaping. Storms have created enough disruption for pests to relish in our suffering.

You can’t drive down a street without noticing dangling gutters or strewn tree branches. While we may have appreciated the beauty of those monster-length icicles stretching from our eaves to the ground, the novelty soon wore off. Especially once we realized the potential and real damage that accompanies them.

Icicles were a result of ice dams forming along the edge of the roof, preventing melting water from running off. With freeze and thaw cycles, poor ventilation and improper insulation, water seeps inside. This unexplained moisture, whether visible or not, leaves an open door for many pests, especially ants and termites.

Water, on an exposed surface, will quickly dry up and evaporate. Moisture, when contained within a wall, is wicked-up by insulation, wood framing and wallboard. It can remain wet for months, allowing mold to grow and providing ideal nesting sites for pests.

Besides the hidden moisture that icicles can create, the more obvious problem is the added weight of the ice itself. Not designed to withstand behemoth chunks of the frozen stuff, eaves, gutters, downspouts and most any other building element within range are subject to horrid damage.

Ravaging holes and gaps were left in our structures. This can be attested to by contractors and insurance adjustors. And chipmunks and squirrels appreciate the larger-than-life openings left for them to get acclimated to.

They appreciate not having to chew their way inside, and can quickly set up their new habitat. Attics and wall voids are always preferable to living in trees and under rocks.

Falling trees and limbs create their own set of problems. Pests, using these as a home, are now forced to seek new shelter. Carpenter ants will easily set up a new home as conditions change. They will adapt to an ever-changing environment, as will wasps and mice.

And any damage generated can literally be an open door for pests. Loosened shingles, window and door frame damage and cracked masonry walls are only the beginning.

Inevitably, storm damage can create, as well as expose, pockets of pest problems. Like all remodeling or repair work, a thorough inspection and evaluation needs to be performed. Proper planning with a scope of work needs to be outlined. Problems cannot be skipped or overlooked.

Repairs need to be completed promptly and with expertise. Procrastination only leads to bigger and more expensive problems. And the pests will always appreciate their chance to visit.


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