Termite damage is every homeowner’s worst nightmare, especially because the warning signs appear out of nowhere.
Wall damage, foundation damage, and carpet infestation are among the included damages.
During the spring and summer months, most subterranean termite species swarm. The swarming usually occurs after rain and on a calm, warm day.
Because most subterranean termite species swarm in the spring and summer (and subterranean termite swarms are much larger than drywood swarms), homeowners are more likely to notice signs of an infestation during this time period.
Subterranean Termites: Subterranean termitesare a group of termites that includes some of the most destructive termite species. They prefer to nest and forage in moist soil and wood that has come into contact with soil, hence their name. These termites construct distinctive tube-like shelters, known as “mud tubes,” that extend from the soil to a source of wood. They eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week, biting off small fragments of wood one at a time with their saw-toothed jaws. This feeding behavior can degrade a building’s structural integrity over time, potentially leading to total collapse and failure. Subterranean termite damage is a threat to homeowners across the country, as they can be found in every state.
Termite Infestation in Your Home
An untrained eye may not always be able to detect the signs of a termite infestation. However, as a homeowner, there are some things that will be obvious to you. If you notice any of the following, it’s time to call a pest control expert. A trained eye can determine the extent of the problem and, if necessary, make treatment recommendations:
Mud tubes are containers for mud (apparent evidence of subterranean termites trying to enter your home)
Soft or hollow-sounding wood (tap on wood structures to see if they make a sound). The more damaged the wood is, the hollower it sounds.)
Wooden structures that are darkening or blistering
Weird-looking paint areas or the appearance of sunken areas on walls (Termite tunneling can distort wood surfaces, resulting in uneven walls and bubbling paint.)
Stacks of what appears to be sawdust (wood colored, pellet-like droppings where termiteshave nested and eaten)
Flying termites are a type of termite that flies (known as swarmer’s aka reproductive termites)
Get rid of your wings (after nesting swarmer’s will shed their wings that will look like small heaps of fish scales)
How to Keep Termites at Bay
There are several things you can do to be proactive about termite prevention in order to avoid colony formation and extensive damage.
Remove any wood that has come into direct contact with soil. Termites have easy access to your home for food, moisture, and shelter due to earth-to-wood contact (especially if the wood is attached to your home). Wood siding, door frames, window frames, and other wood easements, for example, should be at least 6″ above ground.
Allow no moisture to accumulate around your foundation or crawl space. Water should be diverted away from your home through the use of functional gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks. Outdoor faucets, pipes, and air conditioners that are leaking should be repaired right away.
Store firewood, lumber, cardboard boxes, newspapers, and other wood-based materials away from the exterior of your home. Such items provide termites with an easy source of food as well as a hidden entry point into your home.
Mulch should be used sparingly around the outside of your home. While you may already have mulch outside for aesthetic reasons or to aid plant growth, improper application can lead to termite problems due to the moisture-retaining properties and insulation that mulch provides.
Consider having a professional treat your home for termites as a preventative measure. While the methods outlined above can help make your home less appealing to termites, you may still be vulnerable to an infestation despite your best efforts. Using a preventative treatment is the best way to protect your home. In the long run, the investment will be well worth it.
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Termites?
Even if you only find one termite in your home, you might not think it’s a big deal. However, that termite is most likely part of a larger colony that wreaks havoc on your home, causing serious and expensive structural damage.
A mature subterranean termite colony can have anywhere from 60,000 to two million workers. Subterranean termites eat wood with their scissor-like jaws 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Subterranean termites, like other termite species, feed on cellulose-containing products.
Even a small colony of 60,000 workers can consume 1/5 ounce (or 5 grams) of wood per day. At this rate, a “small” subterranean termite colony could consume 2.3 feet of 2×4 wood board in a single year. Subterranean termites can completely destroy a building over time, resulting in financial ruin for the homeowner. Subterranean termite colonies can grow quickly and often go undetected for years, allowing them to cause costly and significant damage without homeowners being aware of it.
Termites cost American homeowners $5 billion per year, affecting approximately 600,000 homes. The average cost of termite damage repair is $3300 or more!
Is Termite Insurance Included in Homeowners Insurance? NO, in most cases.
Homeowners insurance is intended to cover unintentional and unexpected risks and damage. Termites, as any pest control company will tell you, are not a sudden