Keeping your home clean and appealing is not only important for its value and curb appeal, but also for reducing the risk of infestations and damage from common pests. Considering termite infestations cause an estimated $5 billion in damage each year in America, understanding the signs of these small insects is imperative for your home and finances. Using this guide, you will understand the signs of a termite infestation and learn the best techniques to rid your home of these well-hidden yet overwhelming pests.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
As a homeowner, you most likely inspect your home periodically for signs of distress. Buildup of dirt, dust, leaves, and even mold is easy to see and remove, but inspecting your home for signs of a termite infestation can be a bit more difficult. If you notice the following signs, you most likely have a termite issue:
- Wood damage. Wooden areas of and around your home may feel soft since termites will eat through and move around inside the wood. The wood may also sound hollow if you tap on it.
- Paint damage. If you notice numerous cracks and chips in the paint on wood surfaces, you may have a termite infestation.
- Path tubes. Termites will create tunnels out of fecal matter, soil, and other debris in the ground that will allow the termites to move up from the ground to the wood of your home.
- Frass. Frass, or the fecal matter of termites, may also be visible around your home. Frass will look somewhat like a pellet form of sawdust.
- Wings. Mature termites will leave their existing nest to start new colonies. While leaving, they will shed their wings, leaving them behind. Check window sills, corners of the home, and spider webs for these discarded wings.
These visible signs of termites should not make you panic, but you should contact professionals to treat your home before further damage is done.
Treating your home's pest problem will depend on the severity of the termite infestation. In most cases, professionals will apply a liquid pesticide to infestation sites and entry points around the home. This pesticide may also be injected into wood areas of the home that may be infested with termites. When the termites consume this liquid bait, they will bring it back to other termites in their colony. This will eradicate an entire colony of termites, protecting your home from further damage from these pests.
If your home is suffering from a more serious infestation, a fumigation may be necessary. During an entire home fumigation, professionals will install a large tent over your entire home before pumping in a gas that will kill multiple termite colonies and other pests. The gas is capable of treating the entire home, including the cracks and crevices that become pathways for termites.
Once you eradicate the termite issue, you should prepare your home for preventing future infestations. Here are a few ways to help deter termites from your home:
- Moisture control. Moisture quickly attracts termites, so removing any water from around your home's foundation is essential. Make sure your outdoor spigots and hoses are free from leaks. Remove unused pots, planters, toys, and debris from around your home, as well, since rain and morning dew can build up inside these containers.
- Humidity control. Reduce humidity under your home by installing a vapor barrier over at least 75 percent of the soil surface under the home. Your crawlspace should also be properly vented, according to your local building codes.
- Wood removal. Do not store extra firewood or lumber around your home. This wood will eventually become damp and rot, which increases your risk of a termite infestation.
Termites may be difficult to see, but they can do enormous visible and structural damage. Using this guide and the help of professionals, you will be able to diagnose and treat a termite infestation. Click here for more info about pest control.