How To Recognize and Avoid Termite Damage
Termites are seriously destructive insects. Crawling up into foundation posts or sill plates from damp soil and flying into crawl spaces or attics, these relentless insects can tunnel into and chew through wooden components of your home, most often undetected. Given the right conditions, termites can spread and leave nothing but paper-thin layers of what used to be strong pieces of wood. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites do an estimated $5 billion of property damage in the U.S each year. These costs are typically not covered by home insurance policies. Early detection of termites can help mitigate damage and minimize the cost of repairs.
Common Signs of Termite Infestation
- Termite Noises and Wood Excavation
One common sign of termites is quiet clicking sounds coming from the walls. Soldier termites shake their bodies or bang their heads against the wood to guide the rest of the colony to the food supply or signal danger. Worker termites are noisy eater and you may be able to hear them munching away.
- Mud Tubes
Termites need moisture to survive. As they make their way into your home, they’ll build moisture-rich mud tubes to protect them and allow them to travel to your home’s foundation. These mud tubes are easy to spot and the more you find, the more severe the infestation may be.
Flying termites around your home are a clear indication of an infestation. Dampwood and subterranean termites typically swarm on spring and summer days, while dry wood termites swarm in the fall and after rainy seasons. Residual evidence of swarms like discarded wings and termite droppings that look like dark powdery substances are a telltale sign of termite presence.
- Swollen Floors and Ceilings
Swelling ceilings and floors may indicate water damage or termite infestation. Termites burrowing into wood cause it to bulge, swell, or sag. While this swelling is unsightly, it can cause unsteady floors or ceiling to cave in when enough damage has been done.
- Buckling Wood
Wood tends to buckle when attacked by termites. This can occur anywhere from structural beams and floorboards to wood furniture and crown molding. If you see buckling, you should investigate to determine if you have water damage or a termite problem.
- Hollow Sounding Timber
Typically, termites consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin, papery, or hollow-sounding timber. And as they consume cellulose found in timber, you may notice unexplained cracks on internal walls, ceilings, beams, skirting boards, and rafters in the attics.
How to Avoid Termite Damage
If you have detected the presence of termites in your home, there are several measures you need to take to prevent termites from invading your home and causing significant damage. Here’s a list of things you can do:
- Reduce or eliminate excess moisture in and around your home.
- Divert water away from your home by ensuring your gutters, downspouts, and splash block are properly functioning.
- Ensure your soil drainage system is effective in preventing pooling water and minimizing overly moist soil.
- Fix leaky faucets, pipes, and exterior AC units.
- Store firewood, mulch paper, and wood off the ground and away from the foundation.
- Repair or replace fascia, soffits, and damaged roofing materials.
- Get rid of unused papers, magazines, newspapers, and cardboard boxes from attics, basements, and garages.
- Keep plants a few feet away from your home and use pine needles instead of mulch.
- Install a vapor barrier in your crawl space
- Seal off cracks in the foundation.
- If you live in a humid environment, use a humidifier to keep termites at bay.
- Affected pieces of furniture should be placed in direct sunlight for at least four consecutive days since termites cannot stand the heat.
- Inspect all components of your home that are made of wood for evidence of termites. Look out for mud tunnels, cracks, blistering, or frass (termite droppings).
- Sign up for an annual inspection.
If termites have already attacked your home, you need to move with urgency before they do more damage. The pest control specialists at Pest-Away Exterminators are highly trained and equipped with quality the latest technology to detect termites even when there are no obvious signs. We use a wide range of high-quality products that allow us to effectively get rid of termites. Contact us to learn more and to schedule a termite inspection.
Tags: early detection, inspection, pest control, significant damage