What are fungi?
The basics. Fungi are eukaryotes, which means they are neither plants nor animals. They feed off organic material and are significant decomposers in ecosystems. While we usually think of mushrooms, fungi also include molds, mildews, and yeasts.
Some fungi are good and great. However, in most cases fungi within a home is not a welcome sign whatsoever.
Which ones do I have to worry about?
- Dry Rot – This fungus is called such because it only needs a moisture content of about 20-30% to grow and spread. It affects improperly treated wood and can spread quickly, so if you suspect dry rot in your home, stop reading this and call someone immediately! Dry Rot will break down the strength of wood fibers and can damage the structural integrity of walls within a home.
- Wet Rot – It often affects more localized spaces on your home, but it can still cause serious problems if it goes untreated. This rot needs a moisture content of about 50% to sustain itself. You’ll need to watch out as any place in your home that sees high moisture levels or is prone to water damage can be a home to wet rot. Wet rot can ultimately transform rigid wood into a sponge if left unchecked. This can seriously damage the structural integrity of a building.
- Brown Rot – This fun guy goes after any stone fruit trees you might have in your yard like peaches or plums. It won’t kill your trees, but it does infect fruit produced. You’ll notice fruits turning brown, growing a grayish fuzz before hardening or “mummifying.” Brown rot, in particular, can act as a haven for other insects like ants, fruit flies and rodents.
- White Rot – This rot grows on wood, giving it a bleached and stringy look. This rot can damage the integrity of wood potentially causing significant damage to structures if left unchecked.
When Should I Worry about It?
Fungi will thrive whenever and wherever it’s wet, so our winters and springs offer the extra moisture for fungi to thrive in your home. However, if your home has dark shaded moist areas, even during the off-seasons fungi can take root.
Should I really... be worried about a little Fungi?
Absolutely. Better safe than sorry. That's our strategy. Fungi within a home can cause not only damage to the home and the wood within it, but can also cause a myriad of issues for the occupants inside as it will contaminate the air quality, which can lead to - at times - severe health issues.
Do not play with fungi in your home. If you suspect that you may have some, please call for an inspection ASAP.
Failure to bring professionals to tackle a rot infection quickly can often result in extensive and truly heartbreakingly large repair bills if it isn't resolved quickly. A professional can quickly provide an inspection that can help you avoid these costs repairs. We say this because we've seen it time and time again.
How Do I Know if I Have an Fungi Problem?
- Damp or musty smell. You know that smell when you’re trekking through the woods a few days after it rains? If you smell that in your house, it’s a good sign that there’s a dry or wet rot growing.
- Mycelium. If you notice soft white filaments growing from the wood on your house, that’s the fuzzy part of the fungus growing.
- Soft wood. If the wood feels soft, or even crumbles in your hand when you touch it, a fungus has already made its home there. Often times we receive calls from people who only notice rot from fungi when they go to step on a floor in a kitchen or a bathroom and notice that it has become soft and spongy (this is a result from the wood breaking down).
- Spore dust. Fungi reproduce through spores. Finding orange or brown dust that doesn’t seem to have come from anything in particular means that a fungus is soon to be spreading throughout your home.
Can I prevent fungi from taking over my home by myself?
Prevention is always better than working to resolve a rot infection. But it requires constantly being aware of the issues, and the hotspots where fungi may grow.
- Properly treating wood. When building a home, or protecting it, making sure the wood was properly sealed will prevent most rots from attacking the wood of your house.
- Yard and house maintenance. Clearing stone fruit trees away from the walls of your home can prevent brown rot from making the move to a more comfortable living situation.
- Ventilation. Ensuring that places like your basement or attic have proper ventilation can dramatically help prevent the build-up of moisture that is crucial for fungi to thrive.
- Eliminating moisture sources. This can often be as simple as fixing a leaking faucet or toilet, but can quickly become more complex through the installation of vapor barriers (moisture barriers) or even fixes to leaks within a roof.
- Regular checks. Regularly walking through your home and examining places prone for water to build up can be a good step in preventing fungi from infecting your house.
Can I Treat This Myself? When Do I Need to Call Someone?
If you suspect that you have there’s rotten wood in your house, chances are it’s probably too late to treat it yourself. Rotten wood, especially if it’s supporting the floor or ceiling, can’t be fixed and needs to be replaced by an expert.
It's also important to note that simply replacing the rot infected wood doesn't resolve the underlying issues associated with rot. Over the years we've seen numerous examples of well-intentioned individuals trying to clear out rot without properly resolving the actual issue. This can lead to significantly larger repairs and place the occupants in a home at risk.
If you're looking to treat a rot infection, call a pest inspector first to get a professional assessment of the potential scope and scale of the damage. They can also help you figure out how to resolve not only the aesthetic issues at hand but the underlying cause of the problem.
How can we help combat Fungi?
Fungi can be an extremely difficult issue to combat if a full infection of it is in place. Because of this, we are proud to provide a variety of treatment options at Humboldt Termite & Pest Control designed to help take care of the fungi problem and give you peace of mind.
- Step 1: Identification – We’ll help you to determine the extent of the rot infection in your home and provide you with a variety of top of the line treatments options.
- Step 2: Eradication & Restoration – We’ll help you deal with any fungi related problem you have with the most effective treatment possible, that is custom build to resolve your unique challenges.
- Step 3: Periodic Inspections – Regular inspections and routine maintenance help protect your investment from costly repairs by making sure that the fungi cannot lay roots within your home.
Remember! We offer a warranty on all of our services. If the pests come back, so do we. No extra charge. We are confident that the service we provide will help you live fungi free. So rest easy, we're on the job.