9 Pest Issues to Look for When Buying a House

  • July 26, 2012

9 Pest Issues to Look for When Buying a House


1. Termites: What do termites eat? Wood! Termites can cause costly structural damage to a home.  These insects actually eat wood.  Search the home for signs of termite tubes, wood damage, and termite frass.  Inquire if termites have ever been a problem.


2. Carpenter Ants: Carpenter ants cause similar structural problems to homes as termites.  These ants do not eat wood, but make extensive tunnels throughout it instead.  Walk around the outside of the home at night with a flashlight.  Look for trails of ants either entering or exiting the home.  Hollow sounding wood and piles of sawdust are also signs of carpenter ants.


3. Dry Rot: Dry rot is damaged wood that is often mistaken for termites or carpenter ants.  However, dry rot is caused by fungal spores, and is a result of excess moisture or leaks inside of a home.  Dry rot is a serious problem when it affects loadbearing wooden beams.  This can be expensive to repair.  The source of dry rot must also be found, and is often a problem with the roofing or plumbing.


4. Rodents: Search for sign of rodents.  These include gnawed wood, mouse and rat feces, and dark smears along baseboards.  Rodents also leave musky smells, and can have nests in isolated areas, such as between walls. Also be sure to check the attic and behind appliances for shredded nesting materials and mice or rat droppings.


5. Pigeons: Pigeons prefer to roost in interior areas.  Check inside the attic and under roof eaves for pigeon droppings.  Nests may also be visible in these areas. Pigeons can cause thousands of dollars of damage by defacing property. These pest birds can also pose a serious health risk.


6. Bed Bugs: Inquire if bed bugs have ever been present.  Look for small red-brown spots on the carpet.  These are excrements from the bugs.  Bed bugs also leave behind small skin replicas.  Search between the carpet and wall and in other dark tight places for bed bugs.


7. Ants: House ants can be a serious nuisance.  Look for trails of ants, especially in the kitchen, pantry, and bathroom.


8. Moles and Gophers.  These animals cause tunneling damage to lawns and gardens.  Look for ridges created by moles, as well as mole and gopher hills.  The damage caused by moles and gophers is often very visible.


9. Bats, Raccoons, and other Animals in the Attic: Check the attic for signs of damage and bat droppings.  Look for chewed wood, wires, and insulation.  Animals, such as raccoons and opossums can live in attics.


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