The word "termite" generally strikes fear in the heart of any homeowner. And with good reason, too! Termites are the largest group of wood-destroying pests in the country, and can cause a lot of destruction to a house. There's a misconception that once a termite infestation starts, a house is as good as gone. This is not true at all. No house is completely safe from termites, but with a bit of vigilance, professional termite treatment and inspection, termite control is within your reach. Here's what you need to know about these winged pests - and how to stop them:
What are they?
Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite, and are found in most areas of the country. All termites like to feed on material that contains cellulose - things like dead wood and wood by-products.
You're most likely to find termites near house foundations, behind walls, crawlspaces, and in attics - wherever there is a significant amount of wood. Termite swarming can occur at any time, but is usually most common in the spring and fall.
How will I know?
It's important to be on the alert for termites in your house. Although the pests are tiny, the presence of swarming, winged insects in your house is a sign that you may have any infestation. Inspect window sills and other surface areas for shed insect wings; if you find several of them over a short period of time, you may have unwelcome 'guests.'
The most tell-tale sign, however, is damaged wood. To test your wood, use a screwdriver to probe the wood in crawlspaces and along baseboards. If the wood crumbles quickly, termites are a definite possibility.
How can I stop it?
Preventive action goes a long way towards avoiding termite infestations in your home. Termites seek moisture, so avoid moisture accumulation around the foundation of your house.
Termites dig and excavate tunnels in the soil, so make sure there is no direct contact between wooden parts of the foundation and the soil. Remove old tree stumps that are near the building, and avoid using wood mulch near the foundation. And never stack or store any firewood or timber against the house - this is one big temptation for termites!
Termite damage is absolutely no fun to deal with, so it's always better to be safe than sorry. One way to do this is by scheduling termite inspections semi-annually. Termite inspections are a far better bet than self-inspection - and they're also FREE, offered by Terminix, a leading company in pest control. If a service professional determines that you've got an infestation, they will make recommendations on treatment, depending on the scope of the infestation. There are a few options.
Baiting is an excellent means or eradicating a colony. Bait is placed in stations where termite activity is observed, and the company monitors the stations on a regular basis to prevent new infestations from moving in. Another option involves applying termiticides to the soil.
Whichever type of infestation you may have, you can be assured that a termite control specialist will determine the best solution. After your FREE inspection, your pest control expert will offer suggestions on how to best treat your home, and you can rest content, knowing that your house may soon be rid of termites.