Just because you don't find bugs in your home very often doesn't mean they're not swarming around the foundation of your home. While these bugs don't often pop above ground to try your nerves, they should not be ignored. Bugs that take shelter near your home's foundation are probably compromising the structure. Termites are a common culprit of damage to wood structures, but they're not the only bugs that could make a meal of your home's foundation. Carpenter ants, carpenter bees and pill bugs also thrive in the dark, moist environment around your home's base.
Let's start out with the least dangerous of the three. Pill bugs, affectionately referred to as "rolly pollies" by children and kids at heart, are fairly harmless. Although they live in moist areas underground and may try to enter your home, they do not cause any damage to your foundation or other wood structures. Additionally, the environment inside your home is often too dry for them, which means they won't last long inside your home if they find their way in.
The problem with pill bugs is their appetite for plants. Living near your home's foundation means they're probably living among your well-planned landscaping. Since they eat plant material, they may kill small or young plants. A professional exterminator will be able to treat the specific pill bug problem at your home.
Onto a more destructive foundation-dwelling bug -- the carpenter ant. Although they are cleaner burrowers than termites, carpenter ants can do just as much damage to a home's foundation and other wood structures. If you find these unwanted guests in your home, you may already have a problem below your home. Treating carpenter ants may take several weeks, since the strategy is to trick the ants into taking bait back to -- and ultimately destroying -- the colony.
While it may take some time, treating carpenter ants is fairly easy and can even be done without the assistance of a professional. Many store-bought pesticides will do the trick, but something with boric acid will be the most affective.
Speaking of carpenters, we can't forget about carpenter bees. Why would something with wings make its home near your foundation? Female bees are the ones to blame. They burrow through wood to make their nests. And they won't stop at your foundation; your furniture, deck and play sets may also be at risk. These carpenter bugs are a bit more difficult to eliminate, so it's best to seek professional help. An exterminator will have to treat each hole made by the bees. Once you've gotten rid of them, you should seal the holes to prevent future infestations.
- Orkin. "Carpenter Ant Infestation." (July 14, 2012) http://www.orkin.com/ants/carpenter-ant/carpenter-ant-infestation/
- Orkin. "Carpenter Bees." (July 14, 2012) http://www.orkin.com/stinging-pests/bees/carpenter-bee/
- Orkin. "Natural Carpenter Ant Pesticide." (July 14, 2012)
- Orkin. "Pill bugs." (July 14, 2012) http://www.orkin.com/other/sowbugs/pillbugs/
- Scotts.com. "Bugs Around the Home's Foundation." (July 14, 2012) http://www.scotts.com/smg/solve/solution/solutionArticle.jsp?detailId=300032