Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Creepy Crawlers

“When I read how many thousands of dollars a city like New York has to spend to keep underground water pipes free of ailanthus, gingko, and sycamore roots, I cannot help but give a little cheer.  After all, water pipes are almost always an excellent source of water.  In a town where resourcefulness and beating the system are highly prized, these primitive trees can fight city hall and win.”  - Annie Dillard

This quote is from the amazing 1972 memoir (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Pilgrim at Tinker Creek detailing how surrounding survival can be frightening.  Nature competes for resources and we are thick in the battle.  Whether in city government or community management, battling with Nature sends shivers down the spine of the person managing a budget or making a community livable.

Consider these actual Atlanta-area occurrences:

“Water is coming down my dining room walls and out of my chandelier.  It started as a trickle and now it is pouring.”  Source of the problem:  rats made their home in the ceiling, licking the condensation off of the sprinkler pipes.  As the population grew, the condensation was not enough, so the rats chewed into the pressurized pipe.  Vendors paid to track down and resolve this issue included a plumber, fire protection, water damage mitigation, flooring, painter, electrician, insurance and wildlife management.  

“My neighbor’s house sounds like an engine.  I see bees coming and going from a small hole in the siding.”  Issue: Bees founded a honey hive in the space between the siding and the wallboard.  Besides hiring wildlife management to carefully remove the bees and get rid of the hive and the honey, contractors were needed to replace insulation and wallboard sections, repaint the room, and patch the exterior entry hole. 

“I have about a foot of sewage in my townhouse that has flowed out of the toilet.”  Problem:  the sewer line was filled with small roots coiled inside and around the pipe, blocking all waterflow.  After calling out the plumber, vendors were needed to mitigate the sewage, install flooring, replace and paint wallboard, and restore or replace sofas, chairs, and antique dining room furniture. 

Other actual incidents:  A window crashing through wall studs weakened by termites, a fire burning a townhome due to mice-chewed wiring, allergy sufferers discovering squirrel or bat infestations…  

Proactive prevention and early detection are keys to fighting a seemingly invisible force.  Partner with plumbers, pest control providers, wildlife management specialists and arborists to work on plans.  Prevention budgeting is cheaper than fixing problems after the fact, and a lot less stressful for all:  Raise community awareness so we can all avoid becoming nature’s next “victims”!

A special "thank you" to Terrence Spires with Team Pest USA and Dawn Shaddix with Northwest Exterminating for providing the pictures used within this post!

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