Pest control is the practice of managing or exterminating populations of dangerous pests that threaten the livability of homes and owned property.
What Attracts Termites?
Termites create colonies near sources of food. Because termites eat soft or rotting wood, they usually seek places where plenty of decayed wood is present. Homes, woodpiles, and surrounding structures can become prime environments for termite colonies if wood is left untreated or unmaintained.
Regardless of where you live, there are several different types of termites that you may find on your property. Subterranean termites create colonies in the ground near sources of wood and use mud tubes to move around. A subterranean termite nest can be huge and can span multiple properties. Dampwood termites are specifically drawn to moist, soft wood. These termites will build colonies in structures where moisture is often present, such as cellars, crawlspaces, sheds and other outdoor wooden structures. Drywood termites don’t require as much moisture to survive, so they will often build their colonies in other locations with lots of wood. They can be found throughout a home and even in places like attics and garages.
Here are some DIY things you can do to prevent a termite problem from developing in your home.
Monitor Piles Of Wood
Firewood and woodpiles can attract termites, drawing them closer to your home. Then, termites will migrate from the piles of wood to the housing structure, causing a great deal of damage inside. To avoid a termite invasion, stack wood 20 feet away from your home and keep it at least five inches off the ground.
Clean Up Excess Foliage, Mulch, and Clogged Gutters
Dead trees and stumps attract termites as they rot. Termites will migrate from this excess foliage to your home. To prevent this, clear stumps and dead trees from your yard. Tree limbs and leaves that touch the roof can attract termites to your home. These branches give termites a pathway from the ground to your house. Regular tree trimming can dissuade termites from migrating to your roof.
Just like tree limbs, mulch can attract termites to your property. The wood chips retain moisture, providing an attractive food source, especially for dampwood termites. Lower your likelihood of developing a termite problem, especially in your home’s foundation, by keeping mulch at least 15 inches from your foundation. As leaves and twigs build up in your gutters, the excess moisture softens or rots your roof. These soft spots allow termites to penetrate your home. Clean gutters lower the opportunities for termites to invade by preventing a soft or rotting roof.
Watching for Signs of Termites
Several key clues signal that termites may have created a colony in your home. Even if you don’t spot an actual termite, they could quickly and quietly damage your property. Although they may seem small, homeowners should immediately consult a professional upon finding any of the following signs of termites.
- If you find small bug wings lying around, check for termites. Termite swarmers shed their wings shortly after they find a mate, leaving behind an obvious sign that they are occupying a space. If you see piles of wings on your porch or in windows, you may have a termite infestation.
- Mud tubes on or inside your walls are a sure sign of termites. Termites are virtually the only type of pest to build mud tubes to commute between their food source and main colony. If you find these tunnels in the ground or inside wood on your property, you will likely find more termite activity inside your home.
- Termites leave small, brown droppings, known as frass. These droppings often look like wood particles or sawdust due to how much wood termites eat. If you find these pellet-shaped droppings, your home may have a termite infestation.
- If you notice structural damage or wood damage in walls, you likely have a termite infestation. Homeowners who discover a late-stage termite infestation often notice visibly damaged wood. A pest control company can tell you if the damaged wood came from termites or another structural issue.
If you need a good pest control service with good local expertise on termite control, then check out this pest control company in Las Vegas, Nevada for help. They are very good at quickly killing termites.
It can be shocking how quickly termites can eat through wood. Each year, termites have been known to cause more than $5 billion in property damage. They make tunnels inside the wood, further damaging the structural integrity of your home. Termites can eat your home quickly, so get help right away and don’t wait to take action against termites. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about termite damages.
How Do Termite Damages Add Up?
By the time you see the results of a termite infestation, there may be a lot of damage that’s beneath the surface. How fast do termites eat wood? Termites can spread and eat through wood quickly. This can affect the stability of your home.
If you have termites in your house it’s difficult to say exactly how much damage can take place before you decide to get a termite treatment. The type of termites, the size of the colony, and their location can all determine the amount of damage done. Even the type of infested wood can be a factor.
What Are Termite Colonies Like?
Termite colonies can range from populations of 60,000 workers to populations of 3 million. Regions such as Ballarat, Tucson, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, and Reno that have fairly warm climates mean more months where termites can reproduce and be active nearly all year long. In colder regions, termite activity levels drop down during the winter.
An eastern subterranean termite colony’s mature size is about 60,000. On average, this size colony can eat about 1/5 of an ounce of wood in one day. If you do the math, that means that these termites can consume one foot of a 2×4 pine board every six months.
However, the average size of an eastern subterranean colony contains 300,000 workers. This many termite workers can consume about one cubic foot of wood in one year. In the warm climates of the southwestern U.S., subterranean termite colonies can quickly consume large sections of housing.
In some places, supersized termite colonies containing an average of five million termite workers can be found. Colonies of this size can gorge through one foot of a 2×4 board in just 12 hours!
It can be difficult to assess the exact size of a termite infestation to know the exact rate that the termites in your home are causing damages. The smaller the infestation, the less extensive the damages and the cheaper the restoration costs will be.
How Do Termites Damage Your Home?
Termites look for and love to feed on wood and moisture. Even if all that you can see is a tiny hole or minor evidence of termites in your home, there may be a lot more damage beneath the surface. Termite damage can affect the structure of your home even if your home is primarily built of brick or masonry. Virtually all homes built today are constructed with wooden wall, ceiling, and roof framing, and if termites access those wood parts of your home, they will wreak significant havoc. Termites have been known to chew through wood paneling and drywall.
In addition to the extensive structural damage they cause, termites leave a foul-smelling odor in your home from the fecal pellets that they leave behind. Their fecal matter can cause your walls and ceilings to blister and become discolored.
All of these factors can result in serious repairs and clean up. This can further add up the longer you wait to take action. To be sure that termites aren’t hurting your home, you should do a pest inspection yourself about once or twice a week.
How Do Termites Attack You?
You can reduce your risk of a termite attack by maintaining a clean and dry environment in your home. Water leaks or unattended woodpiles around your home can create habitats in which termites can thrive. Trimming tree branches that reach near your house will lower your termite risk as well since trees can become a bridge for termites to reach your house.
Antique wooden furniture or discarded home furnishings that have not been properly disposed of are also vulnerable to termite attack. Termites like to breed in antique or improperly stored or disposed furniture.
Unfortunately, homes that have had termite infestations can sustain significant structural damage and lose significant amounts of their value unless the damage is satisfactorily restored. Preventing termite attacks before they happen is vital for the protection of your home’s value.
Debunking common termite misconceptions is important for a correct understanding of pest control. Homeowners need to empowered with the right knowledge to know how to protect their property. Termite limitations and preferences reveal the key areas where termites can enter and damage homes. While termites are destructive, you can discourage them from building a colony in your home by understanding the ways they behave. But in order to understand how termites actually behave, you need to know what termite misconceptions are and why they are wrong.
Misconception Correction 1: Termites Really Do Eat Wood
Termites eat wood and anything containing cellulose, such as wallpaper, books, boxes, carpet backing, drywall and furniture. In their natural environment, termites support the ecosystem. They digest rotting wood, turning it into humus, an organic material that improves soil. When land development displaces termites, they can occupy and destroy buildings.
Misconception Correction 2: Termites Really Eat Concrete
Termites cannot eat concrete. Termites are small, and their small size often allows termites to squeeze through cracks and crevices in concrete, though. Homeowners who think that termites may have come through concrete barriers may have foundation slab damage and may need the services of a professional concrete restoration company.
Misconception Correction 3: Termites Do Not Eat Through Plastic
Termites cannot eat through plastic. However, some species of termites have been known to try to break through plastic to access a food source.
Misconception Correction 4: Boric Acid Does Not Fully Exterminate Termites
Boric acid is not an effective DIY method to get rid of a termite infestation. While a termite will die if it ingests boric acid, this treatment will not destroy a termite colony, and at best, you’d likely only kill a few worker or soldier termites that a termite queen can easily replace. A termite colony can only be destroyed through the advanced treatment methods of a pest control professional. At best, boric acid will only kill some termites.
Misconception Correction 5: Diatomaceous Earth Does Not Exterminate Everything
While diatomaceous earth is good at contact-killing certain pests such as bedbugs, it does not kill every type of pest and it only kills pests who come in direct contact with it.
Misconception Correction 6: Checking for Termite Damage is Always Important
Homeowners should schedule termite inspections during three key times. First, prospective home buyers should consult a pest control service during the purchasing process. An inspection can reveal termite damage, allowing for treatment and repairs during negotiation. Second, homeowners should schedule a professional inspection every 3 to 5 years. These inspections can stop an infestation early or prevent future infestations by advising changes to the home and landscaping. Third, anyone who has had a termite treatment in the past should schedule ongoing, preventative termite extermination renewal to keep future termites from finding your home and moving in.
Often, pest control companies will offer good prices on termite control retainer service packages to maintain your termite treatments after an infestation. If you suspect your home may have a termite infestation, find a local pest controller near you with termite expertise today!