Jerry Ludwig 5:27 p.m. ET June 13, 2017
Real estate columnist Jerry Ludwig(Photo: File photo)Buy Photo
Dear Jerry:My issue is with tobacco beetles.
For the record I don't smoke. I have lived in my house for 30 years all 925 square feet of it. I am also a "clean freak" I even do a complete and thoroughcleaning each spring everything is "touched and cleaned."
Last year about the month of April, I noticed these little bugs in my bedroom and bedroom closet I just chalked it up to being April everyone gets a few bugs or spiders sometimes right?Unfortunately I did nothing about it and they spread to my bathroom, living room they were everywhere! (They never got to my kitchen).
I finally called my exterminator in August and he ended up coming fourtimes to rid my house of these "monsters."He used all sorts of sprays and "powder bombs" along the entire perimeter of each room in my house. In late September I hired my professional carpet cleaner for my annual cleaning.
I looked all the time for these "tiny black dots" but when winter came I didn't see any bugs. They could have been lurking, but I didn't see them.
Then spring arrived and they're back bedroom closet floor had exterminator come back and spray. He sprayed inside and outside around my entire house. It has now been 3 weeks and I have seen 3 in my closet, but now they are in full attack mode in my bathroom and it appears they are coming from under the vanity.
I am desperate to have these critters gone any suggestions?My home is on a cement slab and my exterminator now believes they are getting in from under my house somehow because they are so tiny.
I am at wit's end squishing these bugs and just want to be rid of them any suggestions?
I had never heard of tobacco beetles until your email. They are called that because they love tobacco products; they are also called cigar beetles or cigarette beetles. (Any old Camels or gars stashed away?) In addition to tobacco products, they also like cereals, dried fruit, flour, sage, bird seed, grain products in the pantry, and dried dog food.
There is no magic fix here, according to John Fraysier of Castle Guard Pest Management. The cure is to remove what is attracting them. Fraysier stated that, The first step is to find the food source and remove that. The beetles will go away with no food."
Fraysier continued: Sometimes the food source is inaccessible. I once had a situation where mice had hoarded dry dog food under a kitchen cabinet. The insect infestation was there and unseen. Not until the kitchen was remodeled was the source found, and the problem was solved.
Spraying will not solve the issue; it may temporarily help, but the food source must be removed. However, if the food source is found and removed, spraying will likely not be needed at all. Vacuuming will help eliminate them faster.
So there you have it. Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and start checking possible food sources. Anything that might attract the beetles should be placed in a tight container, such as Rubbermaid. That will be your solution.
Dear Jerry: With the windstorms this spring, I would imagine a lot of folks might be interested in knowing the latest thinking on re-roofing their homes. In the past, I'd heard it was standard practice to install a new roof over an existing roof if the old roof had only a single layer of shingles. Now, however, I'm hearing that it's desirable, if not necessary, to strip off the original roof regardless of the number of layers.
Has something changed that would now require a complete tear off prior to a new installation?
You are correct in that if the current layer is in good condition, then re-roofing over it is okay. However, if there are significant irregularities in the shingles such as raised or puffed-up areas or racked or missing shingles, then its time to remove everything and start over. The new shingles will only be as good as their base, so if the base (current shingles) is flat, then go ahead with a second layer. If not, plan on removing the current (and any other layers) and start fresh with new ice and water shield and shingles per current codes. Check with your local building department for more information.
Jerry Ludwig is a former contractor and home inspector. He is an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects. Email your house questions to email@example.com or write him at P.O. Box 25510, Rochester, NY 14625. Please include the year your house was built and the town where you live.
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