It is possible to stop termite infestations before they happen!

Although termites are less common than other insects, they can cause more damage than any other pest and even compromise the structural integrity of your house. They can chew through wood, wallpaper, and flooring without you even realizing!

“The problem with them is that they’re hard to see because of their underground tunnel and if they are in the house, then they are in the walls,” explained Dr. Thomas Chouvenc from the University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Most homeowners deal with subterranean termites and dry wood, which each have their own challenges.

Subterranean termites are the most common household termites. They form large colonies underground, and then build mud tubes to retain moisture as they travel back and forth from one colony to another (aka your wood). They can grow in underground tunnels up to 150 feet in length and feed on different wood materials found within the environment.

Dry wood termites are more difficult to find and are more common in the Southwest and Southeast regions of the U.S.

“Dry wood termites are a different kind of biology, which allows them to infest homes even if they come in contact with soil. Cooper explained that termites can infest wood furniture and not just the wood used for construction.

Termites love wood so they will eat your house’s walls and structure. However, they are particularly fond of wood that has come into contact with soil.

Termites signs

Termites can be silent assassins so you may not realize you have one until it’s too late. You can be alert for these signs that indicate a termite infestation.

  • Wood damage:

According Mannes, termites love to eat wood from within. If your wood is hollow sounding when you knock it on the floor, this could indicate a problem. Rotting wood can also be a sign of termite infestation.

  • Mud tubes:

Subterranean termites require moisture as they travel between their colony in the ground and their food source. They build mud tubes. They are most likely to be found near the foundation of your home, but they can also be found underground or in crawl spaces.

  • Frass:

Dry wood termites love to leave these powdered shavings behind while chewing through wood.

  • Swarmer’s:

These termites are young females and winged termites that can be found in homes during spring often get confused for flying ants. Cooper stated that termites could be seen if they are ant-like creatures with or without wings and if there are discarded wings left on the ground near the site of the swarm, Cooper suggested.

Are termites dangerous?

The good news is: The good news? Termites won’t harm your health. The bad news is? They can cause major damage to your home.

“Termites are not known to transmit disease or bite humans, so it is a good thing that they don’t do this. They can cause severe structural damage if they aren’t controlled. Hartzer said.

According to the National Pest Management Association termites can cause property damage of more than $5 billion each year. That’s right, billion with a “b”.

As if that weren’t bad enough, many homeowners’ policies don’t include termite damage. When we talk about structural damage, it’s big bucks.

How to get rid of termites

Termites are not like other pests and can be difficult to eradicate on your own. It’s difficult to control termites without professional help, as many homeowners won’t notice a problem until it has spread rapidly.

“Termites can do extensive damage so it is important to consult a professional in the case of an infestation. Cooper explained that depending on the species of termites being treated, professionals can recommend a treatment tailored to your home. This could be anything from a liquid treatment to baiting systems or fumigation.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do some DIY pest control to try and avoid termites.

Mulch shouldn’t be overdone! It should be kept at least 15 inches from your foundation.

Repair any cracks or holes in your exterior.

Firewood and any other wood should be kept at least 20 feet from your home, and at least five inches above the ground.

Any visible changes in exterior wood such as doors frames or skirting boards should be noted.

Send water away. “Termites need moisture to survive. Therefore, homeowners must ensure that their property has adequate drainage and that downspouts and gutters drain water away from the structure. Cooper stated that equipment like air conditioners should be inspected for moisture-producing components and condensation lines.

You should ensure that your crawl space, basement, or attic is well-ventilated.

A pest-management professional will typically offer a variety of treatments for termites depending on the severity of your infestatio

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