Mould, mould everywhere

The weather is a constant source of conversation in Canada and a bone of contention.  Every spring we see flooding occur across the country.  The Prairies encounter flooding frequently during the spring and every fall, Eastern Canada gets hammered with tropical storms and hurricanes.  After all of these events we have to deal with the after-effects: mould.

Mould is everywhere.  The small spores are floating in the air you’re breathing even as you read this.  It’s a ubiquitous part of nature.  These microscopic spores float through the air, landing on surfaces.  If the conditions are not favourable for growth, nothing happens.  But when they land on a surface with the right conditions – dampness and a suitable food source, such as wood or other organic material – a problem will soon occur.

When a spore lands on a suitable surface it begins to grow roots, stem and finally a head, which produces many spores in as little as 12 hours, given the right conditions.  These spores are caught by air currents and can then spread.

The spores are small – a typical mould spore is only around three to 40 microns in diameter.  To understand just how small this is, consider that human hairs measure between 30 and 120 microns in diameter.

Spores can travel very easily, seeking new places to grow.  Sometimes they travel throughout a building using the ventilation system or natural air movement and spread, settling on surfaces, waiting for the opportunity to grow.  Others don’t travel far, if the air movement isn’t favourable.  In these cases, you can have large colonies growing in a relatively confined area in a short period of time.  Each plant produces many spores, which create more growth, which creates more spores…and it goes on until either the food is gone or the conditions change.

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