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#AskOrkin Twitter Chat: 5 Things Homeowners Need to Know

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Thinking of buying a new home? Ever bought a home before? Want to make sure your home is safe from pests? You’re not alone! We recently asked our Twitter followers to send us their questions about homeownership. Here are the top 5 questions, answered by Orkin.

  1. What key signs of pest issues should you look for on the exterior and structure of your house? Keep an eye out for cracked and bubbling paint, and mud tubes in or outside the basement or hollow-sounding wood. This could indicate termites or even wood-boring beetles. If you notice windows that look soft or sunken, there might be water damage from a leak, which could mean ant or termite problems. Double-check wood decks and railings for any possible sign of carpenter bees that might have been drilling on the underside of them. Last but not least: don’t forget to take a look in the chimney. Nests could mean wasps or birds have taken up residency in between owners.

  2. What should I be looking for inside the home that might alert me to a pest problem? In kitchens and bathrooms, take a look at pipes and areas under the sink to make sure everything is tightly sealed. Pipes provide a water source that can sustain roaches, so you want to make sure they can’t get any further! Also when you’re in the kitchen, keep an eye out for little black spots, which could indicate cockroach droppings. When you’re looking in bed rooms, pay close attention to the areas under and around baseboards and sockets. If you see tiny brown stains on the wall, you might have some bed bugs to deal with. One not-so-obvious red flag is a looking for fungus, mold or wood decay from moisture in the walls, which could indicate a number of pest problems.

  3. Are newer homes susceptible to pest problems, or is it only older homes? All homes, whether old or new, should be inspected for pest problems. New construction homes are not immune to pest problems, so make sure the home—and especially the foundation—was pre-treated. For example, if it rained a lot during new home construction, some of the moisture could have gotten trapped, which could lead to future ant and termite issues. In older homes, the easiest way to prevent pests is to replace all weather stripping.

  4. What things should I look for in areas like attics, basements and garages? New or old, if the home has been on the market for a while, don’t forget to double-check attics and basements, as these places are often overlooked in initial showings. Pests are drawn to warm, humid hiding spots, so make sure storage areas are well-ventilated, cool and dry. Believe it or not, bats, raccoons, squirrels and flying squirrels can all find their way into attic spaces—make sure those are sealed and hard to access from the outside. Spiders often hide in closets, garages, crawl spaces and sheds. Most eat other insects, which can help control some pests; just make sure they aren’t dangerous.

  5. Do I need to worry about inspecting the outside property for potential pest problems before buying a home? Rats, squirrels, ants and smoky brown cockroaches all nest in trees. Take a look at whether you’ll need to cut back branches, so they don’t have easy access into the attic. Also inspect lawn drainage, too, by making sure the yard slopes away. Water running back toward the home can lead to termites, and standing water makes an ideal mosquito breeding site.

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