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How To Identify & Get Rid of Termites

Home Maintenance
By on Feb 25, 2018
 How To Identify & Get Rid of Termites

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When it comes to pests, homeowners have a lot to be concerned about. There are many creatures that can invade homes and not just cause an annoyance, but damages as well. One of those pests are termites. These insects can be devastating to homes if not taken care of.

If you’re concerned about termites in your home, you should be aware of the signs and how to handle them if you discover they are indeed causing damage. Here is how to identify and get rid of termites.

To properly get rid of termites, you should call a professional to help. Contact a pest control pro today for quotes from contractors in your area, for free.

Termite Damage

Why Are Termites Dangerous?

Termites are tiny insects that can cause a lot of damage. Termites don’t live by themselves, but they usually have colonies that include thousands of others. They feed on organic materials, specifically wood, making your home an easy target. An infestation can cause serious damage to the foundation of your home and any wooden structural beams your home has.

“Termites are sometimes called the ‘Silent Destroyers’ of homes because they seem to come out of nowhere and eat the cellulose material or rather the wood found in the structural components of most of our homes,” Bill Hastings, branch manager of Rose Pest Control Solutions. Even if your home is made entirely of concrete and steel, you may still have a termite infestation.”

Termites are often hard to identify until the problem has already begun. So, it’s important to keep an eye on any changes you see. Here are some ways you can prepare yourself:

  • Know what termites look like
  • Know where termites typically live
  • Understand the common signs of termites
  • Have a trusted pest control pro’s number on hand
  • Use tactics to prevent termites

Where Do Termites Live?

Many people associate termites with hot and humid climates, but the truth is there are many types of termites that can thrive in different parts of the country. “Termites are found in every state except Alaska,” Hastings said. “Termites eat a variety of things from paper, plastic, drywall and other plant-based materials. They have even been known to eat foam insulation”

Termites thrive in areas that are dark and have a moisture source. So, if you have a leak in your basement or attic, you may also want to inspect for termites as well.

What Do Termites Look Like

What Do Termites Look Like?

There are different kinds of termites but generally, homeowners should be most worried about drywood and subterranean termites. Drywood termites spread by swarming and then lose their wings when they find a new place to start a colony. You might mistake these termites for ants if you’re not looking closely enough, but their bodies are longer and their wings are larger.

Subterranean termites can often cause more trouble as they live under the ground and their colonies can grow exponentially quicker. Hastings said these termites are the most commonly-found termite and the “worst of the lot.”

“They will tunnel great distances to find food (wood) and once they find it, will continue to consume it, unseen, until it is all gone,” he said. “They require a great deal of moisture and therefore will stay concealed in the wood or in 'mud tubes' and unless you physically break open a mud tube or remove a piece of wood they are consuming, you will probably never see a subterranean termite.”

Signs Of Termites

One of the things that frighten many homeowners are that the signs of termites in the home are very subtle. “Signs that you might have a problem or have had a problem can be difficult to determine for most homeowners simply because where you would see a problem are in areas that you hardly ever look, like under the house, in crawlspaces or along the foundation,” Hastings said.

A common sign for some homeowners is wings around areas that your home opens to the outdoors. This could be a window, door, vent or small crack. This means that a colony of termites might be calling your house home.

Another sign to look for is difficulty with windows and doors sticking or bubbling paint. Termites can tunnel through the walls and paneling making the shape of the wood and paneling change.

A clear sign to look for is damage to wood. This might be on floorboards, paneling or doors. The wood will feel soft or hollow. This is a sure sign that termites are doing damage to the home. You may also notice visual signs like sagging of the wood or other structural change.

Signs Of Termites

Termite Treatment

When you find termites in your home, you may not know what to do at first. It's not advised to get treatment without the help of the pro, as you want to be 100% sure they're fully eradicated from your home. Some homeowners choose first try DIY pest control solutions, like cardboard baiting and termite motels that can be effective for small infestation or even prevention. But for larger infestations and simply peace of mind, you’ll want to contact a pro.

Most pros will start with an inspection to see where the exact problem is and what treatment is required. A termite inspection costs about $350. Treatment costs can vary, but the average cost of termite pest control is $489, with most homeowners spending between $222 and $615. It’s certainly an investment you’ll want to make for the safety of your home.

Termite Prevention

If you’ve just exterminated termites from your home, or you want to prevent a termite infestation from happening, there are some steps you can take to prevent them from entering your home. If you’re building a new home, Hasting suggests you get started right away on your termite prevention.

“During construction, there are items that can be built into the home to help prevent termites from gaining entry, post construction the first and foremost thing to do would be to ask for a WDI, or wood Destroying Insect, inspection on an NPMA form 33 prior to purchasing a home,” he said. “This is different from a general pest inspection report and comes with certain warranties.”

However, if you’re already in your home and want to prevent termite infestations, here are a few to keep in mind.

  • Termites look for entry points to the home. Be sure to check and repair any cracks in the foundation, near window sills or doors.
  • A broken roof tile or shingle can be a place termites begin to colonize. Repair any broken roof tiles or shingles.
  • Never keep firewood right next to your home. This is a common mistake that makes it easy for termites to invade.
  • Use plastic boxes to store papers, photos and more. Cardboard can attract termites, especially if it's near moisture.
  • Avoid using mulch around your home when you can. This can attract termites.
  • Check your basement and attic for increased moisture. Invest in a dehumidifier if you find the air is too humid.

One of the best things you can do for your home is conducting an annual inspection with a pest control pro. “Yearly inspections that check for activity are a good idea but like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Hastings said. “Finding out after a year of termite activity may be too late to do very much good.”

Conclusion

Termites are little insects that cause big problems for your home. If you find yourself with an infestation, don’t wait. Contact a pest control contractor who can help you eliminate them before the damage becomes expensive. Take the steps needed to prevent termites in your home so hopefully, you can worry less!

Looking for more information on how to prevent pests in your home? Read Guide To Safe And Natural Pest Control.

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