Don’t eat that.
For our next few posts, we’re going to take a look at wood damage, particularly in the crawlspace. For the first post, we will focus on damage to the wood that happens due to pests, that is, things that eat the wood.
There are many things that eat wood. Two big categories and a few major culprits exist in the areas we work on today’s post we will start with inesects.
Termites are the largest culprit that we see in this category.
In the Upstate area, termites live in the ground and need moisture to survive. There are many termite species (over 2,000), but the ones here come out of the dirt. Termites eat damp wood near the ground, but they can also eat walls and ceilings if the wood stays wet. This can happen if there’s a plumbing leak in a wall cavity. A roof leak is another common culprit for attracting termites. Termites eat whatever soft, moist wood they can get their little mouths on. You can see early signs of termite damage by the small tunnels they make between wet ground and the wood. If the damage is worse, there will be holes and tunnels in the wood. Some boards may be completely eaten and crumble easily.
You need a professional to treat termite damage before making any repairs. The queen termite lives up to 12ft underground and produces hundreds of offspring a day. Treating the termites that are visible is only a small part of solving the problem. Without killing the queen, you will still have a termite problem. Boards with damage should be replaced or supported with new lumber.
To avoid termite damage, you can do preventive treatments and control moisture. Dry wood termites are uncommon in the upstate area but can be found along the coast and in Southern GA. Most home insurance policies don’t cover termite damage. To protect your home, treat for termites and check for problems every year.
Powdered post beetles
These nasty bugs boar little holes in the wood and, much like termites, gobble things up. They are far less common in our area and tend to prefer older, harder lumber to go after. This means they are much more common in older homes and rarely seen in new homes. The tiny holes in the wood may seem harmless, but they can cause significant damage to houses.
Treating these bugs is harder than termites because they lay eggs and hide them deep in the wood. Like termites, they also seem to like a nice, moist environment. Keeping things dry is one of the best first lines of defense against most home problems. That advice will come up over and over in this blog.