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Storm Related Pests: Wood-Damage Insects

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Carpenter Ants

removing tree from roof Wet and decaying wood becomes an ideal nesting site for carpenter ants. Even small amounts of damage from flying debris or trees that strike the house, the gutters or electrical meter bases can allow moisture to collect in wood, insulation, roofing paper, etc. Carefully inspect your home for damage particularly:

Interior: Attic, crawlspace or basement

Exterior: Eaves, Fascia, Gutters, Soffits, siding and roof shingles.

The sooner that you begin temporary or (preferably) permanent repairs, the less likely you are to have a carpenter ant problem later.

Damaged trees may become nesting sites for carpenter ants. Watch the trees around your house for signs of ants 'moving in'

Magnolia tree damaged by wind is infested with carpenter ants

CLICK HERE for more information on carpenter ants.

Termites flooded home

Flooding can affect the termite treatment around and under your home. Flooding or "washover" deposits debris and silt (displaced soil) along the foundation and in the crawlspace. This material provides a "bridge" for termites to cross over the underlying termiticide-treated soil. For houses that have termite baiting systems, the bait stations may become covered completely with soil or even washed away. Water-logged monitoring devices and/or bait within the stations may become contaminated with chemicals in the water or be moldy or rendered unacceptable to termites and will need to be replaced.

Damage from hurricanes, flooding or other storms often creates "conditions conducive to termites". For example, standing water in the crawl space or basement, wet insulation, damaged roofing or other structural wood may result in problems sometime in the future and may even void your termite protection warranty if they go uncorrected. In some instances, wood that is weather-damaged or wet for extended periods may result in a secondary or aboveground termite infestation, i.e., a termite colony with no apparent ground contact. Secondary infestations are rarely, if ever, covered by a termite protection contract. Similarly, termites may pose a problem down the road if the foundation or footing is damaged by flooding, tree roots being pulled up from the soil or damage resulting from other similar mechanical disturbances. Termites only need a opening of only 1/32 to 1/16

storm damaged tree on groundTree stumps and wood debris in the yard will eventually become an attractive food source termites, but that should not be any big surprise. Termites are part of nature's way of recycling dead wood. Yes... you really do want termites in your yard; but you do not want them in your house.

With all of the problems and worries that you have with storm cleanup and repair, you do not need the additional worry of rushing to get your house retreated for termites. While working with your insurance company on your claim, you may also want to check on whether a retreatment of your house for termites is covered by your policy. Regardless, we strongly recommend getting an inspection done within the following FOUR to SIX MONTHS, if possible. If you have a termite protection contract, the company may contact you first and request a re-inspection in order to evaluate the damage to the termite treatment caused by any flooding. Your pest control company may even contact you first about flooding and the status of your termite guarantee under the assumption that your house was flooded.

COMMUNICATION is the key to keeping termite problems at a minimum. Keep in mind that home repairs that require excavating soil around the foundation may remove the protective termiticide treatment. In such instances, the repair work may void your termite contract. If repairs to your home are likely to disturb the soil around the foundation (inside or out), or if you decide to install a drainage system around the house, then make sure you contact your pest control company BEFORE the work is even started.

For more information about termites and termite control, visit the following:
Termite Biology and Control
Tips on Selecting Pest Control Services.


While there should not be any problems with the *legitimate* pest control companies in this state, you should also beware of anyone who tries to convince you that you NEED to have your house treated without providing proof that such a treatment is necessary. If you are pressured by such a sales tactic, ask to see the person's pest control license, certification card or registered technician's card. If they can't produce one of these identication cards, then do not sign a contract with them. Also, if you have a current contract and the company informs you that retreatment is necessary because of flooding in your general area, make sure that you communicate with them as to whether you specifically had flooding or not. Don't be pressured into getting ANY pest control treatments done quickly if you are unsure of what you are being told. When in doubt, contact the NC Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division at (919) 733-6100.

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