Termites are tiny, but don’t let their size fool you — they can wreak major havoc. In fact, they can cost homeowners around $5 billion a year, and many insurance policies don’t cover the costs of repairing termite damage. Often, they can go undetected for quite some time if you don’t know what signs to look for or how to treat your property to protect against these pests.
Determine the type of termite
Drywood termites live deep inside wooden structures. They survive from the humidity in the air around them and the wood they work hard to chew. This type of termite builds a nest in this wood and can be introduced into your home from other pieces of infested wood-like building materials or even furniture.
Subterranean termites, on the other hand, live mostly buried in the moist ground below and surrounding your home. They like to eat paper- and plant-based products along with wood, and enter your home by building mud tubes and traveling up through any wood that touches the ground near their nests.
Dampwood termites love to eat — you guessed it — damp or water-damaged wood. They’ll chew through support beams that were affected by leaks, especially in your roof, and will plug up their entrance with feces. The same damp wood they eat can also be impacted by fungus and mold.
Look for the signs of termites
- Clicking: Termites love to make plenty of noise when they eat. The soldiers do all of the work, and they signal the other chomping pests when there is danger by banging their heads or shaking their bodies. If you press your ear to the wall, you may be able to hear them.
- Swarmers: Alates, or flying termites that have left the nest to mate, will establish new colonies, which will most likely be in another area of your home. When they finally meet a partner, they shed their wings and then crawl up into a newly created nest to — well, mate. The king and queen can then reproduce for up to 10 years!
- Hollow-sounding wood: Drywood termites eat from the inside out, often leaving a thin layer of timber and paint, varnish, or wood finish behind. Thumping on wood can produce a hollow sound or a papery feel, and wood can even crack without the extra support.
Weird fits on doors or windows: We often attribute doors that don’t close all the way and windows that don’t shut properly to damp weather, but the tunnels that termites create in the wood of these areas can harm door and window frames.
- Frass: This is the fecal matter of termites. While subterranean termites use their droppings as tunnel plugs, drywood termites push it out of the tunnels at the entrance to their nests. Look for small black marks and a dark powdery substance.
Know how to prevent termites
- Start with regular inspections by the pros. Usually these inspections happen on an annual basis, but they should always be performed by a professional.
- Remove access by sealing up gas or water lines and reducing wood-to-ground contact that gives them a highway into your home.
- Address water pooling or water damage in and around your home, especially in your crawl spaces or roof area, and fix any leaky plumbing or HVAC lines.
- Inspect any lumber you’ll be using in your home for tunnels, check wood shingles before installing, and remove any deadwood or fire wood that may look suspicious.
- Apply fresh paint to any wood that shows cracking, peeling, or fading. This can seal out any termites that are looking to crawl through tiny crevices in wood.
Treat the termites to keep them away
The best way to keep termites from entering your home in the first place is by eliminating their food source. Wood pretreatment works to act as a barrier deep inside the lumber used in new construction. Soil pretreatment helps to deter subterranean termites from even reaching your home, and can be used before an infestation hits or when termites are present. Along with the signs above, professional exterminators have the tools and experience to find infestations and develop a plan that gets rid of them for good.
Here at PestShield, we guarantee termite elimination. We use innovative and effective methods to find and treat these pesky pests, and help to save you from thousands of dollars in home repair costs that your insurance policy probably won’t cover. Call us today for an inspection or click here for a FREE consultation!