Pests that can Damage Alabama Homes
Spring is not far ahead and that means that nature will be waking up, bringing all sorts of creatures out into the open and some of them into homes. Although the winter season can be problematic with pests seeking shelter from the elements, springtime is no exception.
The number one thing to come to mind may be termites, and of course that’s certainly something to look out for – they are absolutely infamous for the damage that they can do. However, there are a number of insects and other kinds of pests that can be just as damaging, if not more so.
“Carpenter” is a fitting name for this type of bee, but it’s not the good kind. Carpenter bees get their name from the fact that they are known to bore holes in wood in order to nest. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University describes these pests as particularly destructive and they are very active in spring. When they bore into wood, they can go for as much as fourteen inches. Anything with a wooden surface can be in danger from the carpenter bee. They are similar in appearance to bumblebees, but can be told apart from them with their abdomens being shiny and hairless.
Dry Rot and Wood-rotting Fungi
It’s not just animals that can do damage to the house. Some types of fungi have a nasty habit of latching onto wooden surfaces with enzymes that can break down the plant-based material. Some can cause dry rot, which can turn wood weak and brittle. They may not be quite as well known as animal pests but there are cases in which they’ve caused extensive damage, such as one in Falkville, Alabama that caused collapses in the structure of a couples’ house. According to the report, experts say that wood-rotting fungi are common in the state.
Black Carpenter Ants
This is the kind of ant that’s not just annoying if you have food around but are not good for any wooden structure. Like the carpenter bees, they attack wood in order to live in and nest. They have a tendency to target wood that is moist or have suffered damage from mold. Unlike termites, they don’t eat wood but will chew it up for excavation. Insectidentification.org says that they can nest under wood piles, sheds, beneath house insulation and in walls. They can build colonies of up to 10,000.
“Powderpost” is a collective name to multiple kinds of wood-boring beetles and, unfortunately, they do make their home in Alabama. This archived article from the Alabama Cooperative Extension says that some types of powerpost beetles will borrow into wood to lay eggs that eventually grow from larvae to adults by the springtime. Different types will feed on different kinds of wood, but they are known to infest both soft wood and hard wood. If given enough time, powderpost beetles will damage wood to the point where they will become a powdery substance, giving this home-damage pest its name.
If you’re in the market to buy a home in Alabama, you definitely want to have a professional licensed inspector check for signs of past or present damage due to pests. Homeowners should also schedule annual inspections of their attic and crawlspace to prevent costly repairs down the road.