If you’re a keen gardener you will know that termites are good news for the soil as they break down waste and add vital nutrients that feed our vegetables and plants. This same feeding behavior though, when unleashed on your home, is something of a disaster. Termites feed predominantly on wood, bad news for your home’s structural strength and safety.
Image courtesy of American Home Shield
Termites are social insects that live in large colonies that are structured similar to the bee hive. Subterranean termites, the most virulent species we have, nest in the soil and can attack your home by building tubes that connect their nest to wood in structures. They can also build aerial nests that don’t require a ground connection at all - in fact all the nest needs is moisture!
Subterranean termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the United States causing more property damage than that caused by fire and windstorm combined.
Termites are a problem even if your home isn’t predominantly made of wood as these determined insects are capable of moving through plaster and even metal sidings. The termites are then free to munch on cabinets, floors, ceilings and wooden furniture causing costly damage and distress.
Spotting termite damage can be tricky. An infestation makes surfaces and areas such as walls and ceilings bulge and warp. It also smells similar to mildew and therefore it can easily be mistaken for water damage from a leaky pipe or gutter.
If you see these signs in your home you may have a termite problem and need to act immediately!
So what should you do if you think you have termites in your home?
Unfortunately you normally only spot a termite infestation once damage occurs. If you can see termite damage you should definitely contact a pest control professional rather than trying to tackle the problem on your own and run the risk of spreading the infestation or creating more damage to your home.
A pest control specialist can identify the problem and discuss the best treatment options with you. Most pest control companies even offer a free home inspection to check for termites before they become a problem - so please check out the company website before booking to claim any special offers.
If you are unsure whether you have a problem or not it is still worth calling in a professional rather than hoping for the best. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) U.S. residents spend at least $1 billion on termite control and repairs each year. Some experts estimate it is closer to $2 billion.
Most insurance plans don’t cover the treatment or repairs either so it really does pay to be vigilant. Working with a professional you can even put in place a termite prevention plan to reduce the risk of these costly visitors to your home.
In the meantime you can reduce your risk of attack by reducing the key resources a nest requires - namely food (wood) and water. You can also keep the perimeter of your home clear so that any potential attack can be seen before it takes root in your home.
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