As Texas is Swarmed by Wasps, are Patches and Improvements to Your Home Covered by Insurance?

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They say everything's bigger in Texas. Unfortunately, that often applies to insect infestations, most notably, wasps and bees. Recently, an increasing number wasp infestations are bugging a large number of Texas residents. And while having stinging insects in your walls is certainly an annoyance, they can also be extremely dangerous.

In 2016, an 8-year-old Dallas boy was killed by a car while fleeing a swarm of wasps. According to the CDC, insect stings cause 90-100 deaths per year due to severe allergic reactions. A number of wasps call Texas home as well, including the jet-black Cricket Hunter Wasps, which Texas A&M notes can “become a pest in Texas homes.”

Why Do Wasps Infest Homes?

Wasps tend to prefer dark and warm environments that are protected from the elements. Most make their way into your walls for overwintering purposes, but may remain there even after the short Texas winter is over.

Importantly, wasps that get into your home are also looking for a reliable food source. Many wasps are omnivorous, eating anything from fruit to dead insects. If your home already has another insect infestation, such as ants, roaches, or flies, wasps may find your home to be a more inviting place.

Once they get inside, wasps don’t always make nests. There’s also a good chance that the wasps inside your walls may leave after the cold weather has passed. However, those same wasps may decide to build their nest inside your walls. If that occurs, you’ll likely be faced with a troublesome infestation.

How Do Wasps Get Into Homes?

Like most insects, wasps will use any opening in your home to get inside. Some of the most common entry places are open doors and windows. Since keeping your doors and windows open is common in Texas, wasps often have an easy time getting into many homes, especially in the spring.

However, most wasps do not begin their infestations in the open spaces of a home. The majority of infestations occur in your home’s walls. Wasps typically get into a home’s walls from the outside of the house, utilizing holes in your wall as entry points. Should these home invaders find the space between your walls desirable, they may bring in the rest of the hive, and begin to build a nest. If you live in a wood home, wasps can cause significant damage to your walls by using the wood’s fibers to help build their nest.

How Do I Get Rid of a Wasp Infestation?

Patching up your outside walls will prevent most infestations from happening at all. However, if you already have an infestation, do not attempt to shore up your outside walls until you’ve had the infestation removed.

Although removing your infestation yourself is a tempting cost-saving measure, calling in a professional is more likely to guarantee success. If you fail to remove the entire infestation and all parts of the nest yourself, the wasps may simply return in force later. Additionally, wasp infestation removal can involve harsh and dangerous chemicals, and can result in a dangerous swarm inside and outside of your home.

If you believe you may have an infestation, call a professional company that specializes in wasp removal. They will perform an assessment to determine whether you have an infestation, as well as provide an accurate measure on how extensive the damage may be.

Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover Patches and Improvements?

Once you’re sure your infestation has been completely removed, you will need to patch up any places wasps are using to enter your home. That includes holes in your outside walls, cracks between windows and doors, and holes in your roof.

Getting your homeowners insurance to cover the costs of most repairs may be difficult, however. Most homeowners insurance policies will not cover infestation removal and patches to your home’s interior and exterior. In general, these types of improvements fall under general home maintenance, which falls under homeowner responsibilities.

Still, your insurance company may cover the cost of repairs related to wasps under certain conditions. For example, if you had no way of knowing that the insects were in your home, you might receive coverage for damages to your house.

There may also be other situations in which your patches and improvements may be covered. For example, if you discover that the wasp infestation has created a potential fire hazard in your home. In addition, other problems you discover during the home improvement process may also be covered by your insurance company.

Before beginning home improvements related to wasp infestations, call your home insurance company to determine if there’s are any coverage in your policy that relates to safety improvements.

It’s also important to always consider notifying your insurer of any changes to your home. If an infestation has forced you to make changes to your home’s structure in any way, your home’s value may have changed. After such a change, you may find yourself needing different limits to your policy. Depending on the type of improvements you’ve made following an infestation, you may find your home value has risen or decreased, resulting in a need for more, or less coverage.

This content originated with ValuePenguin

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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