First Things First (Part I): Getting Rid of the Pests

As eager as I am to get into the cottage and begin demo (a.k.a. removing the paneling to reveal the shiplap!!), there were three crucial elements that needed to be addressed right off the bat before any other work could begin: pest control, the overgrown vegetation and the rotting foundation.

When I walked through the greatest trial of my life and was completely broken down (much like this little cottage), it was crucial I take initial actions for my restoration process to begin.  I removed facets of my life that could cause further damage.  Pieces of my life were pruned and cut away so new growth could occur.  And the foundation of my life was set as new.

Because my cottage is 90 years old, damage from pests is almost inevitable and honestly, I was terrified what would be found once the exterminator ventured underneath my home.

After I had the house under contract, I researched pest control companies in the Minden area and ultimately contacted Thomas with Belly Up Bugs to do the initial inspection.  I explained the condition of the home, and I’m sure he wasn’t fully prepared for what he might encounter!


Thomas inspected the home and called me with his initial findings.  I was terrified to answer the phone.  I was SO afraid he was going to find extensive termite damage that would outweigh my financial ability to restore the home.  And my dream would die…

Thomas discovered two major issues:

  1. Wildlife had gained access to the attic area and had taken up roost INSIDE THE COTTAGE.
  2. Damage from wood destroying insects was found in and around the foundation.

That was the bad news.  The GOOD NEWS was that everything was treatable.  The house was not a loss.  And Thomas even commented about the house having “good bones.”

Good bones.  I keep hearing this over and over from contractors viewing my home.  “It has good bones.”  Quality craftsmanship and construction.  To me, this signifies resilience; the ability to weather storms and stand firm, strong and resolute even when the outward appearance and mindset seems otherwise.  During trials in my life, when externally things seemed to be crumbling at my feet, my bones were strong and sustained the breath in me.  

I breathed an instant sigh of relief.  I prayed this house through to contract and I wasn’t about to lose it to a bunch of termites!

The first thing Thomas had to address was the wildlife issue in the attic.  He believed a squirrel gnawed a hole near the roof line on the north side and gained access to the interior of the cottage.  Then apparently, like any true drama, a male raccoon commandeered the nest, ran off the squirrel and took over my attic!  Thomas trapped him and removed him from the property.

The entrance for the squirrel and raccoon

The entrance for the squirrel and raccoon

In addition to the squirrel and raccoon drama, Thomas also trapped and removed a SKUNK from underneath the cottage!

So, for now, the wildlife drama/issue appears to be resolved!


Upon crawling underneath the house, Thomas discovered timbers with MILLIONS of tiny holes created by Powerpost Beetles, a wood destroying insect. And although he discovered past damage from termites, the only visible, current sign of this little wood eater was some etchings on a few timbers.


Damage from Powerpost Beetles


Termite etchings

Thomas immediately treated the entire crawl space with a liquid pest control solution.  He also trenched and treated for termites removing any cellulose that could lure them in.  This was an immediate “fix” for the wood destroying insects and luckily NO TIMBERS had to be replaced underneath the home due to the beetles or termites.

Lastly, Thomas treated the yard for fleas as well as fogged and treated the entire home for spiders, roaches, and ANY OTHER creepy crawlies!  Luckily he didn’t mention one word about rats (which I can hardly believe!).  I won’t be surprised to find a few dead ones as I work to clean out the remaining contents.


Looking under kitchen cabinets

Access panel to the master bath

Access panel to the master bath

These rodents and insects have been stopped dead in their tracks (no pun intended)! They didn’t win. They didn’t take over!  Although, I’m certain some long term maintenance will be needed, for now, my little cottage has been freed from the sly little devils who worked so hard to bring it down.

Do you have any of these pesky little pests in your life? A BIG ONE I had to remove was PRIDE.  It caused me to live a pretend life (a lie) for many years. First and foremost, Thomas removed the pests from my cottage:  little tiny insects that threatened to destroy the integrity of my home and larger pests that had eaten and gnawed their way into the inner most workings.  Don’t the pests in our lives do much of the same thing?  Don’t allow them to reside in your cottage (your life) for ONE MORE MINUTE!  Remove them and let the restorative work begin!

(Parts 2 and 3 coming soon! Watch for information regarding vegetation removal and foundation work.)

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*Pest control photos courtesy of Belly Up Bugs, Minden, La.

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  1. Kathryn Benson says:

    Love the beginnings of a new path through the twists and turns of God’s presence in your life. BTW, if there are any cabinets there, I would try to save them. I love old cabinets… crude and primitive as they may be, they speak of authenticity. Love ya!!!!!

  2. Nancy Dumas says:

    Sara, I’m so proud of you. Nancy Dumas

  3. Myrel Jackson says:

    Sara, you are an awesome young lady and cousin. Keep up your good work. Love you.

  4. Nancy Dumas says:

    It won’t be long before it’s all over and you won’t even tthink about what happened to get your home; just keep up with whatever you are doing,

    Love you,

  5. Keep up the great work!

  6. Exterminator says:

    Great work , Really helpful article , will defiantly try this ideas.

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