Squirrels, mice, termites, oh my!

PESTS 101

The Cape House Show: Episode 64

Today’s topic – PESTS – living things you do not want in your house whether you are selling it or buying it, so we’ll talk about some of the most common pests that you’ll find in a house around here and what to do about it and a few pests that you will not find around here but I just like to talk about for my friends in other parts of the world. Alright, so why don’t we start with the good news – here are 3 pests you will not find in your Cape Cod house, and if you do, you have other things going on! One would be scorpions. My sister-in-law lives in Arizona and when they moved down there, that was a HUGE surprise. She would pull laundry out and there would be a scorpion, somehow got into their laundry. Super freaky! Can you imagine finding in your laundry in your skippy load? No I don’t think so. Armadillos! Sounds super weird when I’m talking about New England but again in the southwest, armadillos are all over the place like skunks and they can get into garbage and they get into your house and all sorts of things. And finally, lizards. We’re not going to find lizards here but down in Florida, man they’re everywhere and they get into everything. 
So there’s the good news! You’re not going to have to worry about scorpions, armadillos, or lizards here in New England. However, you will have to worry about squirrels, raccoons, mice, rats (I don’t want to say it but it’s a thing, we actually have them), ants of all varieties, termites (super no bueno) and bees and wasps and also in some cases birds, and I’ll tell you how. 
So, I have to say, I kind of love this topic because I don’t know how I ended up in real estate from here but my college degree is in zoology, so, I kind of love this stuff! 
Okay, so let’s start with squirrels. Squirrels and racoons sort of like to do the same thing. They’re looking for shelter, especially in the winter, and they like to come in through the ridge vent. So if you look, this is the the gable, there’s a gable vent of your house, this is the gable end of your house, and you usually have like a little vent here and they will chew on those slats to try to get in to get warm and dry during the winter. So that’s why you got to keep your gable vents covered and even you’ve got to put a screen there to keep them coming in. Raccoons like to come in through the chimney. They’re very good climbers and it will go down there and they will make a little nest and then we’ll have a raccoon family. It’s all bad, fires, terrible things can happen. 
MICE – mice can get in like a super small hole. They can get in like a dime sized hole. They can put one arm forward and scoop still, as long as their little skull fits everything’s fitting and their skulls can get pretty little, so you really want to watch – that’s why having Cape Safe come in, because not only do they do the insulation, but that actually plugs up places where air goes is often places where mice can go. But here’s the thing there’s a mouse in every house on Cape Cod. There’s probably most in this house right now for all I know So it’s not the end of the world, it’s not the hardest thing to fix, but it’s just not a great thing to have going on in your house because sometimes you’ll notice in the attics too, like a stain on the ceiling and you think it’s water – it’s worse! It’s a mouse carcass just rotting there through your ceiling and it’s really disgusting and it’s very hard to get those stains out, so you want to try to keep the mice out of your house. 
Ants – I don’t know, to tell you the truth, every spring the ants show up at my house and I just feel bad like poisoning things (my husband disagrees) and but they’re not good. Nobody likes to see an ant crawling over your foot when you’re trying to buy this house, like, what’s going on? Is this place full of like, crumbs everywhere? Ants just find us in the spring. They probably – every house gets a little ant issue in the spring, but you know what? It’s not a great way to sell a house – just saying – so you want to do you want to do something about the ants. 
Termites – like “Whoop! Whoop! TERMITES! Oh my gosh, the house is going to fall down”! Yes, that’s actually possible. Termites will munch away at the sill of your house which is the wood that’s on top of the foundation that basically holds up your house. That’s a bad thing. They can eat rafters, they eat all kinds of wood. They love moisture, they love it when wood touches the ground because it sucks up the moisture. Mhmm! That nice soft chewy wood is just delicious. So you really don’t want to have termites. That is the one thing that whether you’re selling or buying or not even in the market right now – whatever house you’re living in – if it’s yours, I would have a termite treatment or termite plan just keep an eye on it because they’re insidious. They can do damage very slowly and really bad damage. Now here’s the good news, most of the time when we find termites even if they’ve gotten into some of the structural parts of your house, it’s often not that hard to fix.Sometimes you just have to sister a beam, or you know, replace part of the sill and then of course get rid of the cause of them – but you do want to address the whole termite thing. 
Finally, bees and wasps. Honestly when you see like a big wasp nest, that’s not attractive. Also you don’t see them sometimes, you just see them buzzing around. They like to get inside windows and between the storm and the regular window. So check all your windows for that. 
The last thing and I don’t know how to get rid of these but every spring, we have this woodpecker guy who comes to our house and he’s trying to impress the ladies so he starts hammering on the side of my house round about 4:50, 4:55 in the morning because apparently that’s when the ladies are
out. So we’re banging on the walls but what it’s more than just annoying, they can make holes in your cedar shingles. So really, no thank you. Woodpeckers find another place to hammer. So you know where they go actually, which is super annoying (less destructive but more annoying) on my aluminum gutter – at 4:51 in the morning. Yeah, it’s not that great. 
Anyway, that’s more info then you probably wanted to know about the gross little creepy crawlies that could come and infest your house and ruin your house sale, yay! But you can prevent that by having a pest treatment, having a preventative system and maybe even having a quick pest inspection before you go to put your house on the market so you make sure you don’t have these issues. If you want any more information about creepy crawlies, more than you ever wanted to know because I’m happy to share with you, contact us today! 

 

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Meet Katie

Picture of Katie Clancy, Agent and CEO of The Cape House in Cape Cod MAMother. Singer. Runner. Dog Parent. Realtor. Speaker. Cape Cod Local Expert. When I want the freshest oysters, I don’t go to the fish counter at the grocery store; I go to John, the East Dennis oyster guy. When my husband wants a perfectly tailored suit, we don’t go to the mall; we go to Puritan Clothing in Hyannis. When I want the best chocolate this side of the Alps I don’t go to the candy store, I go to The Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans. A Cape Codder since I was a kid, I can find you the right house, bank, builder, school, auto mechanic, and yes, even the right oyster guy.

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.