You probably already know how devastating termite infestations can be to homes, causing an estimated $5 billion in property damage a year in the United States, according to Terminix.

clothes in retail store

But have you ever thought about what a termite invasion might mean for your retail business? In addition to the structural destruction they cause, termites could have severe consequences for your business’s reputation, image and profitability.  

Like other pests that can attack retail businesses, such as rodents, cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes and birds, termites can have a negative impact on your customers’ shopping experience and perception of your store. Even one pest sighting can raise questions for customers about the cleanliness and quality of your retail business, and may deter people from visiting again. They may even feel prompted to discourage other potential customers from doing business with you.

What are the early signs of termites?

While these pests can be found in every U.S. state except Alaska, some regions are more susceptible to infestations. For example, warmer, wetter areas, such as the South and Gulf Coast, are typically more susceptible to termite problems. However, because termites can strike in other regions, too, it’s important to stay alert for potential problems.

While termites can be present without leaving any signs, there are a few things you can watch for that can indicate an infestation:

  • Discarded wings, especially near closed windows, doors or other access points (termite wings are all the same size, while ant wings consist of one larger pair and one smaller pair)
  • Mud tubes, about the size of a pencil, where the ground meets the building, on walls, ceilings, rafters and shelving
  • Wood damage found below or behind walls, floors and other surfaces

How to Help Prevent Termites

There are also some conditions that can make your structure more attractive to termites, and some steps that you can take to help prevent them. For example, subterranean termites build their colonies in soil and are attracted to moisture. Standing water around your building, leaky pipes, clogged roof gutters, improperly vented foundations and overgrown landscaping can all help create a moist environment that is conducive to subterranean termites. 

Any wood that comes into contact with your structure’s exterior, or that serves as a bridge between the ground and your building can serve as a food source for subterranean termites, too. That’s why it’s a good idea to remove stumps, vines, mulch or any other wooden items away from your facility’s foundation, and to trim back tree limbs from the building.

Additionally, openings or cracks in your building’s foundation, roof or walls can also give termites an entry point, as can loose or defective seals around conduit or plumbing lines and damaged shingles, fascia board or eaves. Staying on top of even minor repairs such as these can help protect your store against termites.

When should you call in a professional pest control company?

If you spot any of the warning signs, you should contact a commercial pest control company right away. However, because termites can start causing damage long before there are any visible signs, the best strategy is to take a proactive approach and have a professional termite inspection performed before you ever suspect termite activity. 

For example, Terminix® Commercial Termite Control targets termites in retail establishments with custom treatments, even in hard-to-reach places behind concrete and asphalt. Experienced technicians know how to deal with threats from both subterranean and drywood termites in all parts of the country, and will tailor a solution for your retail business and specific facility needs with minimal disruption. 

Terminix Commercial offers several different termite treatment solutions, including:

  1. LIQUID DEFEND SYSTEM®, which creates a treatment zone at key entry points around and through the building foundation, with exposed termites spreading the treatment to the colony to shut down infestations
  2. BAIT DEFEND SYSTEM®, located in stations placed strategically around the building, offering termite protection right away
  3. TENT DEFEND SYSTEM®, which disperses a carefully controlled, specialized fumigant throughout the infested structure

It’s important to prevent termites before they do irreversible and potentially expensive damage to your retail facility and to your reputation. Take steps today, including a professional inspection, to ensure that termites aren’t open for business in your store.