When you hear the term “house eating plant” the first thing you might think about is something out of a sci-fi movie. But just like zombie fungus the house eating plant is real, and its name is Poria incrassata. Poria is a wood-eating fungus capable of wreaking havoc inside a home before you even spot the first signs of the pest. The plant can invade the inside of your walls through minute openings and eat wood by soaking it with water from the soil it transports.
However, so far there hasn’t been enough research to confirm that Poria is toxic or that it has the potential to cause allergies as reported here: http://www.kicrestoration.com/poria-removal-san-diego/
Poria incrassata feasts on dead wood so it can transport the nutrients back into the soil and keep growing. The fact that we use dead wood to build our homes is what causes numerous problems for homeowners who come face to face with this dangerous parasite.
How Does Poria Infect a Home?
Poria can enter a home through an opening big enough to fit a hair through! There are also some cases where Poria passed right through Styrofoam without compromising its integrity. Therefore hoping that Poria can be stopped through structural blockades is in vain. It can crawl right through concrete foundations, spaces between the plumbing liens and plaster.
Can You Use Chemicals to Stop It?
Currently there are no chemicals on the market known to prevent or destroy Poria. Even pressure treated wood can fall prey to Poria that infects the untreated center of the wood. Once infected, the Poria can spread and destroy the wood preservative used to treat the wood.
How to Detect Poria
One of the things that makes Poria very dangerous is that it is almost undetectable until it’s too late. Usually it will eat away your home from the inside, only rearing its ugly fungi once the damage is already done. You will also begin to notice loose baseboards, threaded membranes under your wallpapers and drywall or plaster crumbling and swelling. Apart from a visual inspection, you can use a moisture meter. If there is over 40% of moisture content in the woodworks and there is no apparent water source, your home is likely infested by Poria.
How to Stop or Prevent Poria?
It is next to impossible to give a right answer to this since where and how the Poria will strike depends on different factors. Homeowners can create favorable conditions when landscaping around the home and create an opening for Poria to crawl through. But often the conditions develop on their own as the foundation and other components deteriorate and crack.
To make things worse, you cannot test the soil for traces of Poria as the infection can be in separate areas and at different depths. Even if you somehow could check every inch of the area, it would take years for the culture to grow before anyone could confirm that it is Poria incrassata.
If you notice the rhizomorphs, the fungus-like growth coming out of your walls, the first thing to do is determine the point of entry. The key to stopping a Poria invasion is repairing and sealing off these points so Poria cannot return.
If you suspect Poria has infected your home:
- Verify that the plant in question is indeed Poria incrassata
- Find all the points of entry
- Remove the rhizomorphs and seal these entries
- Get rid of all soil to wood contact
- Create an opening between soil and wood to let air in and be able to see the Poria
- Replace the damaged and dead wood.