Surprise! You Have Termites!

Submitted by Mike Hunger, NPI Franchise Owner, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Termites + Damage_shutterstock_190584746It’s spring … lots of activity out there: trees budding, flowers blooming, bugs moving.

Last weekend my grandson was out in the garage playing with his friends when he came rushing in to tell me “Opa, there are bugs flying all over the garage.” I had an idea that it was flying ants because I had seen some about a week earlier and had made sure that they were indeed ants, not termites.

A little later, I decided to go out to the garage and take a look at the little critters to make sure my assumption was true. Well, the verdict was not good. Under a magnifying glass, it was apparent that they were termites.

Because I inspect houses almost daily, I am well aware of the damage termites can do, so I spend a little time under my own house several times a year. My last visit was only a couple of months ago, so I was surprised to see termites in the garage. I had never seen any evidence of activity during my previous visits under the house.

So, I put on my gear and went under. To my surprise, I found no evidence of them anywhere in the structure. No tubes coming up the foundation wall, no wood destruction, no tubes on the framing, sill plates, etc. I’m perplexed. I treated the area with carpenter ant and termite killer, and crawled back out.

Upon returning to the garage, I moved the refrigerator, freezer, and storage cabinets to see if I could find the source. Finally, I saw where they were emerging — behind the refrigerator and in the gap between the foundation wall and the garage floor. There was about 3 feet of dirt tubing. I immediately opened the tubing, destroying as much as I could, and doused the area with the termite killer. All activity ceased.

Thinking back on the experience, I consider myself fortunate because I am able to inspect the area under my house. I have also done this for some of my neighbors. But there are many who may not have the time, ability or desire to visit the area under their house. Someone should go under there; there’s a lot of things that can go wrong.

For information about termite inspections, contact your local NPI or GPI home inspector. In the United States, visit http://npiweb.com/FindAnInspector/tabid/80/Default.aspx; in Canada, visit http://gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector/tabid/157/Default.aspx

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There’s a Bat in the House

Submitted by A.R. Goldyn, Marketing Manager, NPI/GPI Corporate Office

bat-134For several years, friends often joked that I was Batgirl because I’d find a couple of bats in my bedroom every year. The first time it happened, I woke up in the middle of the night because my cat was making a terrible clamor behind my bedroom door. I yelled at him and all of the sudden something started flying around my bedroom. “How did a bird get in here?” I thought sleepily. Suddenly, I realized that was no bird; it was a bat.

Back then, the Nebraska Humane Society had an emergency number that you could call, and they’d come to your house, capture the bat and release it. The following year, when I had another bat in my house, NHS no longer offered that service, so I was on my own. Living in that house for 10 years, I became something of an expert at capturing bats and releasing them. I also called the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for information about what to do when you have a bat in your house and why I kept finding bats in my bedroom. Here are some tips to keep you from going batty when you have a bat in the house:

  1. The first thing to do is isolate the bat in whatever room it is in. Remove pets from the room and close the door if possible.
  2. You should wear heavy leather gloves when trying to capture a bat.
  3. If you have a net, use it to capture the bat and take it outside to release it.
  4. If you don’t have a net, wait for the bat to land and cover it with a towel. The bat won’t be able to move. Scoop up the bat in the towel and take it outside to release it.
  5. If the bat lands on a wall, use a plastic container to cover the bat, then slide a piece of cardboard between the wall and the container to keep the bat in the container. Take the container outside and release the bat.
  6. Bats can’t take flight from the ground, so when you release the bat, you should set it on a tree trunk.
  7. If you wake up to a bat in your bedroom, you should capture it, put it in a box and have it tested for rabies. Bats have tiny teeth, and you could have been bitten while sleeping and not know it. Having the bat tested at your local game and parks commission, humane society, or veterinary office will save you a lot of worry and the pain of rabies vaccination. This is also a good time to mention that you should always have your pets vaccinated, even if they’re indoor-only pets. As my vet said, vaccinating is about what can get inside the house, too.
  8. Bats are a lot like mice in that they can enter your home through tiny holes and cracks. If you have a bat in the house, you should try to determine how it entered your home — whether it was through the chimney, the attic, the basement or a gap around a window frame — and seal any cracks or gaps to prevent more bats from entering your living space.

I’ve since moved from that house, and I haven’t had any encounters with bats in my new home. So, I am no longer Batgirl, but I’ll bet I could still capture a bat quickly and easily.

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