Wood Destroying Insects
National Inspection Service of Indiana offer non-bias wood destroying insect inspections for home owners, home buyers,
& home sellers. There are many types of wood destroying insects, but the following is the most common:
• Subterranean Termites
• Carpenter Bees
• Carpenter Ants
• Drywood Termites
They can eat through walls and areas of the house that contain wood. If wood destroying insects are not caught early, the cost for repair can be extensive..
Termites are small insects that nest and eat wood with few signs of activity. Termites are one of the most destructive wood destroying insects if not the most destructive. Scientists believe that termites can eat 2 to 3 times their body weight, and some colonies can reach up to 2 million termites. They infest nearly 600,000 homes in the nation each year. Home owners in the United States spend approximately $5 billion annually for pest control and repair to their homes combined.
Termites need moisture to survive. Since they need moisture to survive, the spring and fall months are when termites swarm and repopulate in new areas. The flyer termites fly away from the colony and create worker termites in different areas. Flyer Termites do not cause damage to homes. The worker termites created by the flyer termites cause damage. Swarmer termites have a 1/1000 chance of surviving and be successful. So, proper pest control will cause the success rate to be even lower.
Carpenter bees are in the group of bumble bees, but carpenter bees are larger and robust. The thorax of the carpenter bee is covered with orange, yellow, or white hairs. The abdomen is glossy, bare, and black. The male has white markings on the head and the female has a black head. Carpenter bees nest in the winter and emerge in the late spring/early summer to mate. After males and females mate, the males will die soon after and the females will dig tunnels in wood to lay their eggs. Unlike termites that eat wood, carpenter bees tunnel through wood by using their strong mandibles to make tunnels. A sign that carpenter bees are present or have been present is sawdust in the area.
If carpenter bee tunnels are found, they should be plugged or covered up even if there are no carpenter bees present. The process of created tunnels by carpenter bees is a time and energy consuming process. So, most females tent to come back to tunnels that have already been made. If not treated, the carpenter bees will continue to add new tunnels to the old tunnels and make the old tunnels bigger.
Carpenter Ants are bigger than regular ants. The common color for carpenter ants is black, but some are reddish or yellowish. Unlike termites that eat wood, carpenter ants cut into decaying or hollow wood to make passageways to different segments of a nest. A sign of carpenter ants is sawdust near the nest. Carpenter ants feed on protein and sugar like meats, syrup, honey, jelly, and other sweets. They also feed on other insects. Pest control is one way to prevent carpenter ants. Another way is to make sure that you don’t leave food out and clean up spills and stains.
Queens lay 15 to 20 eggs their first year living and up to 30 eggs their second year. Worker ants can live up to seven years and a queen can live up to 25 years. Carpenter ants need warm places to live to survive. If carpenter ants are found inside a home or building during the winter or early spring, there is a good chance that there is a nest inside the home or building.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.
If you are an environmental and/or public health professional, take the Mold Course "Introduction to Mold and Mold Remediation for Environmental and Public Health Professionals." This web-only course contains information on mold prevention and remediation. Designed primarily for environmental and public health professionals, the Mold Course has nine chapters; these chapters are further divided into smaller lessons. At the end of each chapter there is a voluntary quiz to test your understanding of the material covered.
The "Guidance for Clinicians on the Recognition and Management of Health Effects Related to Mold Exposure and Moisture Indoors" was designed to help the healthcare provider address patients with illnesses related to mold in the indoor environment by providing background understanding of how mold may be affecting patients. The guidance was published in 2004, with support from a grant by the U.S. EPA, by the Center for Indoor Environments and Health, or CIEH at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water.
The release of this radioactive gas enters the air you breathe, causing a potential health risk to you and your family.
Radon gas can be found in just about anywhere. It can get into any type of building -- homes, offices, and schools -- and build up to high levels.
What you should know about Radon
Radon is a cancer causing radioactive gas. You cannot see radon and you cannot smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. This is because when you breathe air-containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
You should test for radon
Testing is the only way to find out about your home's radon level. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing of all homes below the third floor for radon.
You can fix a radon problem
If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
If you are buying a home
EPA recommends that you obtain the radon level in the home you are considering buying. An EPA publication "The Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide" is available through most State Health Departments or Regional EPA offices listed in your local phone book. EPA also recommends that you use a certified or state licensed radon tester to perform the test. If elevated levels are found it is recommended that these levels be reduced. In most cases, a professional can accomplish this at reasonable cost or homeowner installed mitigation system that adheres to the EPA's approved methods for reduction of radon in a residential structure.
What are the Risk Factors?
The EPA, Surgeon General and The Center for Disease Control, have all agreed that continued exposure to Radon gas can cause lung cancer.
In fact, their position on the matter is that all homes should be tested for radon gas exposure, and all homes testing over 4 pCi/L should be fixed.
How Does Radon Enter the Home?
Typically the air pressure inside your home is lower than the pressure in the soil around your home's foundation.
Due to this difference, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon gas in through foundation cracks and other openings of your home.
Radon may also be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses.
1 Cavities inside walls
2 Cracks in solid floors
3 Construction joints
4 Cracks in walls
5 The water supply
6 Gaps in suspended floors
7 Gaps around service pipes
Indoor Air Quality
What are you breathing? It is a good question to ask ourselves. All of us face a variety of risks to our health as we go about our day-to-day lives. Driving in cars, flying in planes, engaging in recreational activities, and being exposed to environmental pollutants all pose varying degrees of risk. Some risks are simply unavoidable. The good news is indoor air pollution is one risk that you can do something about. Find out more below about what you are breathing and how to improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) around you.
Indoor Air Topics
About 23 million people, including 6.8 million children, have asthma and 12 million people report having an asthma attack in the past year. Asthma accounts for nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits, and nearly 2 million emergency department visits each year. Learn more about EPA's Asthma Program
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually. Learn how you can protect your family. Learn more about EPA's Radon Program
Homebuyers today are increasingly concerned about the indoor air quality of their homes. To address these concerns, builders can employ a variety of construction practices and technologies to decrease the risk of poor IAQ in their new homes. Learn more about Indoor airPLUS
IAQ Tools for Schools
Twenty percent of the U.S. population, nearly 55 million people, spend their days in our elementary and secondary schools. Students are at greater risk because of the hours spent in school facilities and because children are especially susceptible to pollutants. Learn more about the IAQ Tools for Schools Program
Mold and Moisture
The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, get rid of excess water or moisture and then clean up the mold. Read EPA's Mold Guidance.