Do you have termites?
Got termites?!? Termites continue to increase at alarming rates. With the combination of a wet season, no property is completely safe against the slow consistent attack of termites. Especially in the low income neighborhoods where houses can go unchecked for years. Termites like to eat slowly at the base of your home (or any other wooden structure they can find).
They can be crippling for the foundation of your home once under attack. Attackers can be dry wood termites, wet wood termites and underground termites. Dry wood termites live on land and love especially hot coastal sites. For example, California, Texas, Florida, Louisiana.
Here are five signs of termites:
1. Hollow wood
Poke or stab at wood near the foundation of your house with a ridged sharp metal object. Severely damaged wood that was eaten from the inside out is a sure sign of termites. Note that visual inspection is usually not enough as they do prefer to tunnel and eat at the core of wooden structures.
2. Dirty wood
Termites like humidity so that many people often confuse termite damage with damage caused by water and vice versa. The best way to identify and distinguish the type of damage is dirt. Termite damage will have dirt brought into the wood by the termites where as water damage won't.
3. Swarming in spring
A large number of winged termites swarming from wood or earth is often the first real signs of termites. Termites are usually grouped like this in early spring. You may also see winged termites teaming around the window sills in these months.
4. Mud Tubes
Other signs include mud tubes of termites and mud cracks between boards and beams around or under your house. If you observe what looks like mud tubes or cracks that lead in your home, this is often a sign of infestation by termites. If you are not sure what to make of mud in your yard or near your house give us a call and we would be happy to help identify your issue.
5. Follow traces of moisture.
Moisture is the # 1 source that attracts termites. Check areas around your home that are constantly damp. For example, under a leaking tap, a garden hose, and puddles of water.
Following the water can be a great way to find out if you have an infestation or not. Therefore, check anywhere that is damp or highly humid. Everything that allows puddles of water near the foundation of the house should be inspected.
If you see signs of termites, do not panic. Fortunately, termites are slow eaters (but do slow consistent damage, thing tortoise vs hare). According to termite experts, colonies takes five years to eat a pound of wood. However, if you see termites you should call a professional, years of damage can add up to deal costly damage to the structure of your home.
What you need to know about termites
Termites are xylophagous insects that some say goes back 100 million years or more. Termites as a species are very powerful because they can live for so long and can sustain a colony with little food or resources. The high season for termites usually occurs between late February and into May.
There are many types of termites such as wet wood termites, underground termites and damp wood termites. Of these all species can grow and take 4 different forms/roles - winged, soldiers, players, and workers. Because the termites flourish most places like weeds(anywhere and everywhere you don't want), termite control is a must. A precautionary visit can prevent costly aftermath repair.
Termites tend to live in wooden structures near water for a long time (if the wood is not treated), so frequent treating of the wood is also advised. In most warm coastal states, there is seventy percent probability that any wooden structure will be attacked by termites within ten to twenty years.
If the wood inside the foundation itself has been infected, the treatment method must include injections of certain chemicals into the inside of the wood to reach the termites. You can prevent termite invasions by performing simple tasks such as cleaning the wood laying around the yard and getting ride of unnecessary fence posts and tree stumps.
A termite invasion can usually be contained within the year if the appropriate methods are used. Termite bait can get rid of an infestation of termites by attacking at the heart of the problem, going after the colony itself. Using termiticide (termite control product) soil is not a good idea for a variety of reasons, such as concerns of the chemical being near parks or playgrounds where children play. Sometimes we can get rid of a termite invasion just by using termite baits such as boric acid. Termites find bait stations and take the product to the colony. Termite bait is designed so that the termite can bring the product to the colony, either on the ground or in a wooden structure. This is a good choice when compared to the method where you must poison the soil around you.
Termites can make their way into the home or structure through cracks in the concrete base as little as 1/64ths of an inch.
In American termites have caused more than $ 5 billion in damage and destroying over $ 750 million in real estate. Termite control is necessary for any home owner especially if signs of their existence is found.
This is because termites can eat and be active for most of the day (meaning they hardly ever sleep) and do consistent damage to your home. Methods may also vary depending on the severity of infestation.
Colonies of termites work together in cooperation for the creation of their nests. For a termite, strength in numbers can mean they build some pretty amazing things like large structures out of hollowed trees, or transfer large amounts of soil from one region to another.
Once they get started they are very diligent and hard workers. So obviously using the right termite control and prevention is a must.
How To Prevent Termites
The best protection against termites is prevention.
Here are five tips to avoid inviting termites to dinner at your home:
1. Avoid stacking wood or wood products near your home, such as branches of trees or firewood. That's like putting a piece of juicy meat at your doorstep and ringing the termite dinner bell.
2. Avoid moisture or standing water near the base of your house. This is also very attractive for termites, they like moisture. So to them you might as well be pouring them a drink to go with their dinner.
3. Home owners with wooden storage units or wooden sheds should also inspect them regularly. Untreated wood sitting around grass or near a pond is an ideal spot for termites.
4. Make sure to keep the dirt around the house from touching the wooden house cladding. The dirt allows natural underground termites to enter your home as if the dirt is a little ramp for them. Make sure to keep the wood around your home at least 12 inches off the ground, according to the Integrated Pest Management Program in Texas.
5. Make sure to fix any areas that have stagnant water, high moisture or a steady flow of water near the foundation of your household. A flat, dry base is the safest bet for termite prevention.
Termite damage is responsible for the billions of dollars of damage to homes and commercial buildings each year, according to estimates around the country.
Don't let your home be another statistic. Now that you have these simple tips, take practical steps to prevent these pesky creatures from eating your house and home.
If you think you already have termites, consult BioGuard Pest Solutions for a free inspection.