View Full Version : OT-Bugs in my drywall (bats in my belfry!)

Tony Sade
05-02-2003, 1:31 PM
I looked up in my living room this morning and noticed a line of small brown spots, right along the precise middle of a barely visible tape joint at the 8' point. Upon closer inspection, it turns out these are about 10-12 holes, the largest of which is about half the size of a pencil eraser, with some brown crusty material covering up a good bit of each of the holes. The room is the only room on the middle level of a tri-level house and the wall with the holes is on one side of a partial divider between the living room and the entry foyer. The ceiling is sloped as is the roof section above it. I assume that the top of the stud wall is covered with a plate of some sort that will prevent me from looking down into the wall cavity to scope things out, even assuming the area is accessible.

At this point, I assume I have some type of insect activity but I have no idea what type, and more importantly, what to do about it. The damage is negligible so far and confined (some spackle, primer and paint in a roughly 40 sf area will take care of things) but I sure want to stop the little buggers in their tracks. Any guesses what might be going on? Any suggestions for treatment? Is this (exterminating) a DYI project or do I need to call in the pros? I am reluctant to spray anything in the existing holes for fear of damaging the drywall. TIA, Tony

Gary Bindel
05-02-2003, 1:50 PM
I would look to see if there is any jellow-jacket wasp activity around your house. A friend of mine had them build a nest in a wall and chew through the drywall.

Kevin Gerstenecker
05-02-2003, 2:34 PM
Tony, this could very well be termite damage. My Folks had a termite invasion a few years ago, and we are still finding damage and repairing it. For whatever reason, the termites like to get into drywall. The exterminator said they like the paper and the adhesive..........which makes sense, because both are cellulose based, which is like candy to termites. The Drywall damage my folks had were small holes.............some looked like pinholes, and some were larger. After taking the damaged drywall down and inspecting it, there were runs all through it. The only thing holding it together was the paint! If yours are in a line, they may be something else...........the termites made holes in random order........but I wouldn't rule it out. Check your sill area and band board if you have a basement, and look for mud tunnels, using a flash light. That is the most likely spot you will find evidence of termite entry............these little rascals can do BIG damage in a short time. Good luck, and hopefully it is something other than the wood munchers..........let us know what you find.

Bob Boake
05-02-2003, 2:48 PM
Termites can eat the paper in the sheetrock. Sometimes you can feel softness around the area if you press lightly. They can come up through the foundation and you will not see them. the tunnels they build are to avoid sunlight. . If you are the homeowner it might be worth calling an exterminator to take a look.

I'm half an idiot with good drywall repair skills and would be inclined to do some exploratory digging to see if I could trap one of the critters in a jar for identification. If you find a full nest of mad wasps please forget that I suggested this approach.

Kurt Krauter in Indy
05-02-2003, 4:37 PM
We just found the same thing at our offices....Little holes all over the place. Had a bug person come out and he informed us that it was a case of termites in the drywall....I thought they only liked wood but nooooo..... It's gonna take 1800.00 to eradicate and then 175/yr for the next 5 to keep em out....ouch!!


Tony Sade
05-03-2003, 8:29 PM
I didn't have time to do any exploring after I found the holes in the drywall, but when I got off work I poked around and found the tell tale mud tunnels and some of the live workers to boot. The builder had a piece of trim running down to the ground which appears to have been their access point. I'm still kicking myself for not catching this before, especially because I've been alert to the potential problem and have caught and corrected a few other problem areas. The good news is that it appears the infestation is rather recent and there is no apparent structural damage. (I'm still debating getting an engineer to give me a structural damage report-good idea?) The real bad news is that my sole quote so far, from Orkin, is $2500 plus $400/yr for monitoring. There go the new couches I promised my wife.

Like a good consumer, I'm going to get a few other estimates, but the Orkin guys claim (surprise, surprise) that their process is far superior to that of the other folks in business, even the other national chain-Terminix. The difference, as they explain it, is that Orkin is the only service that uses a termiticide that kills the bugs relatively quickly. The other major players use a chemical that may allow the buggers to keep munching for several more months before they die. I did get a chance to see a Terminix contract and that caveat is included.

Anyone have any experience with these type of services and the efficacy of the various treatments? TIA, Tony