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Mold on a refrigerator drip pan. Mold on drywall. Mold on sapwood. Vacuum with mold on it.
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What they look like
Though not your traditional pest, these fungi are potential problems for sure. Some make mushrooms; some make mold and mildew. No need to get technical with names: if you see fuzzy patches on your house or stuff, take action.

Where they live
Mold spores—sort of like microscopic seeds—float about in the air, pretty much everywhere. When they land on a hospitable surface, they start to grow. What’s a good spot for a house-pest spore? Moisture and warmth. Which is why you find them in showers, damp basements, and kitchens.

What they do

Mold colonies—the fuzzy spots—on your walls, refrigerator seal, and leather goods are—slowly—eating away at your house and your stuff. Some people are allergic to mold and a few molds cause disease. Molds on food aren’t usually a good sign either (unless you like blue cheese) but they’re not the ones that grow on the wall.

How to deal with mold

Keep the moisture down (30-60% humidity is good), you’re well on your way to solving or preventing a problem. Use dehumidifiers, bathroom fans, and good ventilation.

Take things outside before brushing mold off them.  To clean moldy areas, use 2/3 of a cup of bleach in one gallon of water or a mold-killing cleaner according to the label. Note: never mix bleach and ammonia or other cleaning products.

Learn more

Nontoxic pest management for collections and their facilities: a training manual 200k pdf file

Integrated Pest Management for Northeast Schools 1.75Mb pdf file

Contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.

... and search our database of online publications.