Southport Builder Says, “Keep the Bugs Out of Your Home”

No one wants bugs in their home. So if you are buying or building in the Southeastern coast of North Carolina, taking  measures to prevent insect infestations is critical to protecting your home and providing peace of mind.

The most important thing you can do to protect your home from bugs is to have a pest control treatment service plan if you own a home or are considering building or purchasing a home in the coastal Carolinas. To do this enter into a contract with a pest control service to provide regular (monthly or quarterly) treatments to the home. There are  many companies that offer these services. The service usually includes (depending on your contract) regular visits to your home to apply insecticides that will both kill and prevent insect infestations. Baseboard areas and under sink cabinets are routinely sprayed with insecticides. The perimeter around the home is also sprayed with an insecticide. Outside areas are inspected with spider webs removed, wasp nests destroyed and termite traps monitored. The service also usually includes checking for evidence of termite infestation. Your contract may, but not necessarily, include some form of termite treatment and a guarantee that the service will pay for any repair if termites should be found and damage has occurred. You should ask about this when entering into your contract with your pest control contractor.

When building, W. Epstein Builders of Southport, NC includes in all of his homes the installation of the tubes-in-the-walls system for insect control. After the house is framed and the rough plumbing is in, the Home Team Pest Defense Services comes onto the job site and installs specially designed tubes throughout the house where bugs are most likely to enter the home or congregate (often around all of the plumbing and adjacent walls). The tubes have the tiniest of perforations and they are linked to a valve on the exterior of the home. Once the sheet-rock is installed, you cannot see the tubes because they are behind the walls. With this  system installed in the house the homeowner can contact Home Team Defense Services and contract with them for their pest services. When they come to the home, they will pressurize the system from the exterior valve and then inject the insecticide into the tubes from outside the home. This way no insecticide or odor gets into the living spaces of the home. The service can be completed even if the homeowner is not at home because there is no need to enter the home. This system must be installed during construction because it is a behind the walls system. W. Epstein Builders has found it to be very effective, and he includes it in all of his homes.

Termites are one of the most feared of all insect infestations. They can cause thousands of dollars of damage and potentially destroy a home, not to mention the psychological distress caused by knowing these critters are feeding on your house. The National Pest Management Association estimates that termites have caused $5 billion dollars worth of damage nationwide. And according to the Termite Infestation Probability Map developed by the U.S. Forrest Service North Carolina falls into the Moderate to Heavy zone for termite infestations. This means if you live in North Carolina, there is a good probability of having a termite infestation at some time. Therefore, it is critical to provide protection to minimize the possibility of having termite invade your home.

If you are buying a resale, your pre-purchase termite home inspection should discover if the home has termites. And full disclosure statements should reveal previous termite problems and corrective measures that were taken to resolve the problem and fix any damage.

If you are building a new home in North Carolina, building code requires builders to provide some type of termite protection during construction. The method of protection must be one that is approved by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Structural Pest Control Division. The conventional means of termite protection during construction are liquid treatments applied to the soil to form a continuous chemical barrier in the soil around both side of the foundation. For houses with crawlspaces, the soil around the piers that support the floor system is also treated. This barrier should prevent foraging termites from reaching the foundation and piers and, ultimately, the wood in your house. You do not treat the entire soil surface in the crawl space. For slab construction (including foundations, patios and garages), the entire soil surface is treated before the vapor barrier is installed and the slab poured over it. A properly done soil treatment is not a one-time application. It is done in stages from foundation to final grading.

These new home treatments are guaranteed for five years after which additional treatments or preventative actions are needed. Additional liquid termiticide treatments are most often used and are effective, but still require an annual inspection of the home. Another option is the use of termite baits. Termite baits are often used when a home is built on a slab or when extensive drilling would be required to treat areas such as porches, garages, lanais, and patios. The current bait delivery system or bait stations and their contents do NOT attract termites. Termite bait stations contain materials that the manufacturers have determined to be attractive food sources for the termites. Termites find the station during their normal foraging activities. To protect the whole house, stations are installed around the entire perimeter of the home. Baiting is a long-term, reduced-risk strategy to termite control. The currently used baits contain slower acting chemicals that may take several days or weeks to kill individual termites. This is critical to the success of this system because it provides time for the  termites to carry the bait back to the colonies and feed it to other termites within the nest. The baiting program continues year round. But you need to maintain your contract with your pest control company. If you decide to use the baiting system approach, make sure that your contract specifies that the house is inspected annually. No chemical treatment (liquid or bait) is going to be 100% effective every time, so annual inspection of your house is critical.

W. Epstein Builders says, “Keep your house safe from bug infestations by using a reputable pest control management service. You will be glad you did.”

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