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Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

Bug Problems / Prep the Exterior Before You Paint

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Q:

My colonial home has a complete basement except for under the one step down hallway, which leads to a half bath and laundry room. Every year when the weather turns cold, I get hundreds of small brown ants in that area. I had an exterminator out who explained that under this portion of the house are the pipes for the heating and the ants like to come in when it gets cold so they have found ways to get in. The exterminator did spray for them but said it would not eliminate the problem. Do you know of anything I can do to resolve this problem?

A:

As you’ve discovered, those ants become more prevalent in the winter than in the summer and that’s no picnic. That’s because they are attracted to the warmth of the slab. The pipes and the ductwork warm the slab and out come the ants. It’s sort of watching an ant farm without glass.

You can continue to spray, but it will be an annual project. Your best bet is to have the exterminator put down bait traps. The ants will pick up the poison and hopefully take it back to their colony where you have a possibility of eradicating the entire nest. Spraying kills them in most areas that are sprayed.

You cannot spray and bait. It is one or the other. The professional I spoke with recommended baiting. He says it has a better long-term result.

If you are planning on replacing your carpeting, or tile, before you put down the new carpet or flooring, caulk and fill every single crack in the slab that you can find.

Q:

Several months ago I called a couple of exterminators to see if they could help in locating a bug in my house that keeps biting me. I have even been to several dermatologists, but to no avail. Is there anything more I can do?

A:

Sounds like you have that “itchy-twitchy feeling”.

Have you considered that you might have fleas? Fleas are bloodsucking parasites (similar to a guy I knew in college).  Fleas, mange mites, and ticks are the most frequently encountered and troublesome pests that attack humans and their pets.

If you have a pet, you will need to treat the pet as well as your entire house.

You can purchase pet treatments at pet supply stores. You’ll also have to clean the house. Have all the all bedding, rugs and furniture vacuumed or steam cleaned. Insecticides can be applied inside the house as spot treatments where fleas hide. You can do it yourself or hire it done. Fleas hide obviously in pet beds, blankets, as well as cracks and crevices throughout.

Q:

It’s time to paint the outside of my house. I keep hearing that it’s important to “prep” the surface. Exactly what does that mean?

A:

You’ve heard this before “If the exterior of your house needs painting, the painting is the easy part of the job. The work is the preparation.” Without exception, all previously painted exterior surfaces need to be prepped. Here are some “prep” steps to take prior to picking up your paintbrush:

  • Wash off any mildew thoroughly with a solution of Trisodium Phosphate, bleach and water. With light mildew, mix 2 gallons of water, 4 cups of bleach and 4 ounces of T.S.P. With a lot of mold and mildew, the mixture is still 2 gallons of water, but 8 ounces T.S.P. and 4 cups of bleach. Wear protective goggles and rubber gloves.
  • Rinse and let dry.
  • Remove all loose and cracked caulking and then re-caulk.
  • Scrape and sand off loose, cracked, blistered and peeling paint. Prime all bare, exposed wood.
  • Clean the surface again and make sure it’s thoroughly dry before you paint. Remember if at first you do succeed, try not to look surprised.

By the way, you know you can purchase mildew resistant paints or buy mildewcides that can be added to any paint.

 

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